For August, The Year in Books is taking a brief hiatus. It’s been a busy few months for me, and several of my most recent reads remain unfinished (or, in the case of Villette, yet to be started!). Later in the month we’ll be taking a trip to a wifi-free, TV-less cottage in France. I have a stack of books to take with me, and I’m hoping to catch up on all of my reading.
My June read What is yours is not yours by Helen Oyeyemi was an absolute delight! Complex, dreamy, magic realism: a collection of interlinked short stories, with characters that drifted in and out of the pages. It’s a book that’s as beautifully written as it is gorgeous to behold.
For July, I’m returning to the classics. I’m joining in with Everyman’s #myEverymansLibrary reading challenge: reading six classics in six months to celebrate twenty five years of the Everyman’s Library. My choice for this month is Charlotte Bronte’s Villette. Described by Virginia Woolf as Bronte’s ‘finest novel’, I’m sure that it won’t disappoint this devoted Jane Eyre fan.
I loved my May read, soon-to-be-released novel A Quiet Life. The discussion that took place about the book at the Sisterhood Camp book group was lively, fascinating, impassioned and thoughtful. Opinions about the book were varied, and although I agreed with the criticisms that were levelled by some of the participants, I still found plenty in the novel to keep me reading (and not just that the protagonist is called Laura and loves photography!) Once I got over my slight anxieties about reading aloud to a large group of women around a campfire, I relaxed into the evening and took great pleasure in hearing the thoughts, feelings and experiences of my fellow readers.
My June read, What is yours is not yours by Helen Oyeyemi, may well be the most beautiful book that I now own, with its exposed spine and creamy embossed cover. It also sounds like an utterly enchanting read. I came across it via the Pool, and just felt that I had to read it…
My April read, Moranifesto, was everything that I hoped it would be: smart, thought-provoking, and really very funny. I haven’t quite finished it yet, but when I do, I shall be foisting it upon friends with an enthusiastic ‘you must read this!’.
This month, I’m excited to be reading a yet-to-be-released debut novel called A Quiet Life by Natasha Walter. I know that books really shouldn’t be judged by their covers… but look! I couldn’t love it more! And the novel does sound like my cup of tea: This is the warm-blooded story of the Cold War. The story of a wife whose part will take her from London in the Blitz, to Washington at the height of McCarthyism, to the possible haven of the English countryside. Gradually she learns what is at stake for herself, her husband, and her daughter; gradually she realises the dark consequences of her youthful idealism. Harper Collins have sent me this book as a part of the book club that I’m leading at the upcoming Sisterhood Camp retreat. I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on, and if you like the look of it yourself, I believe that it’s now available for pre-order.