July's Books

In July I read lots – 11 books. I’ve written about 6 of them (the links underlined go to my posts on the books). For the books without reviews I’ve added a few thoughts in this post, although I do intend to write more fully about some of them later on.

Three of them are TBRs (books I’ve had since before January 2014), which is good, but as I’ve acquired more than three this month the total number of TBRs is rising, not falling! I read three non-fiction and the rest are fiction of various genres.

  1. Midnight in St Petersburg by Vanora Bennett – a review copy, historical fiction. I thought this portrayal of the Russian Revolution and the effect it had on ordinary people was well done and I did enjoy it.
  2. Casting the Net by Pam Rhodes – a review copy from LibraryThing. A light easy-to-read book that deals with serious issues from the Christian perspective. Life in Dunbridge is far from peaceful and the Neil, the curate has many crises to face, not the least being his vicar’s loss of faith. It’s full of interesting characters, painting a picture of life in a small town.
  3. A Place for Us by Harriet Evans – I received this from Lovereading as a mystery book – no author or title and no publication date. It’s a family saga about the Winters, who at first appear to be the perfect family, but no family can be that perfect and one by one their secrets begin to surface. The book has a slow start as the Winter family is large and it took me a while to get them all clear in my mind. I thought some characters were more fully developed than others, which makes the book rather disjointed. However, after the slow start I soon guessed what the big secret was and I thought it all became too predictable. An entertaining, if undemanding book, which I think could have benefited from being shorter. The book is to be published in 4 parts – Parts 1 and 2 are available now.
  4. Shadows on Our Skin by Jennifer Johnston – another review copy, this is the story of Joe, living in Derry (Londonderry), Northern Ireland before the Troubles and the Bloody Sunday attack in 1972.  An engrossing book, the writing is taut and spare and yet poetical, and the scenes standing out vividly in my mind.
  5. Shakespeare: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd  – a fascinating book which enhanced my understanding of the world in which Shakespeare lived and wrote. A book I’ve been meaning to read for ages.
  6. The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier – historical fiction. I really liked this book about the life of Honor Bright after she emigrated from Dorset to America in 1850 where she joined a Quaker community in Ohio. It intertwines her story with that of the €˜Underground Railroad’, helping the runaway slaves from the southern states to escape to Canada.
  7. Wycliffe and the Four Jacks by W J Burley – crime fiction, set in Cornwall. This is a quick read, with plenty of red herrings, but not too difficult to unravel. I enjoyed it.
  8. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling) – crime fiction. I’ll be writing what I think about this book in a separate post.
  9. I Murdered My Library by Linda Grant – an essay of just 28 pages in which Linda Grant tells about moving house and downsizing her considerable book collection to fit into a small flat. I really liked this little e-book.
  10. Charles Dickens: a Life by Claire Tomalin – I intend to write a separate post for this one too. One of my TBRs it’s a long and detailed biography that taught me a lot about Dickens.
  11. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark -I’ve read this book for the third time now and I still think it is an excellent book. I last read it in July 2008. I may write more in a separate post.

It’s always hard deciding which book I enjoyed this most and this month it’s even more difficult as I enjoyed most of them very much. But, for the second month on the run, it’s non-fiction, and mainly because it is so well researched and detailed – and even more so because it made me want to read more of Charles Dickens’ books it has to be Charles Dickens: a Life by Claire Tomalin.

5 thoughts on “July's Books”

  1. Funny, we read exactly the same amount of books. I simply couldn’t choose a favourite. Oh, well.

    I Iiked The Last Runaway a lot too and will be interested to hear your thoughts on The Cuckoo’s calling and the Dickens biography, both of which I fancy reading.

    You had an excellent reading month! Like you I read a few off the tbr pile and then replace them with new ones. Which isn’t really the idea is it? LOL!

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    1. Cath, I think I’m reading more because I’m not writing about all the books I read. Sometimes, there just doesn’t seem much to say about them. And as for the TBRs, sometimes they don’t seem as enticing as the books I’ve bought recently – can’t think why that is! 🙂

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  2. Gosh you manage to read a lot – the non-fiction I find especially heavy going! Claire Tomalin is excellent at biographies, but I’ve always found Peter Ackroyd rather hard work, although it’s only his fiction I’ve read.

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  3. Margaret – So glad you found a lot to like this past month. And I have to say, as someone who likes history/biography/historical fiction, several of your choices really appeal to me. 🙂

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