the year in books :: July


Summer reading is always such a pleasure: there’s little more relaxing than stretching out on a blanket in the sunshine with a good book. With three small boys to run after, my moments of quiet reading usually occur when they are safely tucked up in bed, but I live in hope that the summer will bring me the occasional moment of al fresco reading bliss.

My June book choice was just perfect for the long, warm days that we were blessed with last month. Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book is an utterly lovely novel. It seems unassuming with its slow, gentle plot, but it is perfectly pitched, infused with an intense sense of place and filled with gorgeous natural imagery. Set on a tiny Finnish island, it focuses on the relationship between a little girl called Sophia and her grandmother, and in doing so, it interweaves character exploration with quiet philosophy. I honestly didn’t want it to end, and I can see it being a book that I revisit summer after summer, just as the characters revisit their island retreat. I am currently halfway through Last Child in the Woods, which is persuasive and compelling, even if it does preach to the converted, in my case. I shall continue to dip into it during the month ahead. I also managed to squeeze in a second novel, the remarkable, and insidiously devastating, Swimming Home by Deborah Levy, which was lent to me by a friend.

For my July choice, I have picked Matt Haig’s The Humans, which comes with rave reviews, and I have already devoured the first couple of chapters. Looking further ahead, to August, I am planning to read Maggie O’ Farrell’s Instructions for a Heatwave, which I’m hoping will prove a relatively easy read, perhaps even an appropriate one! I’d also like to read Burial Rites, which has been very well received by fellow #theyearinbooks participants, and sounds intriguing.

So, lets get on with the July link up. Here’s a reminder of how it all works:

The aim is to read (at least) a book a month during 2014. At the start of the month, we blog the book that we are planning to read in the month ahead. If we feel inspired to, we could also write a little about the previous month’s book. Not a review, as such, just some thoughts: a recommendation (or otherwise!) for others who might be thinking of reading it. It’s not a traditional book club, so we don’t have to all read the same book. This is just about trying to ensure that we make space for reading in our busy lives, and hopefully a way to discover more lovely books (and lovely bibliophiles).

If you would prefer to share your book choices over on Instagram, that would also be great, please use the hashtag #theyearinbooks so that we can find your posts. The same hashtag is also active on Twitter. There is a Year in Books Pinterest board, so do let me know in the comments if you would like me to add you as a pinner. If I should have added you, and haven’t, do nudge me. Pinterest is a little problematic on the issue and it sometimes takes a couple of attempts. There’s also a Goodreads group for this project, and you are welcome to join, whether or not you have a blog of your own.

If you would like to add a badge to your blog, you can grab the code over in the sidebar. I am compiling a reading list of book suggestions which people have left in the comments here, or via Instagram. Please feel free to continue to recommend books in this way and I will add them to the list.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you have linked up before- everyone is welcome and it’s never too late to get involved. I would be grateful if you could link back to here in your post. Do add your link below – click on the blue button at the bottom of the post.

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  • Hi Laura, I just wanted to say a great big ‘Thank You’ for setting up and maintaining the Year In Books project. It is fantastic, I love joining in with it, and have been led to so many great blogs, and bloggers, through it. As a relatively new blogger, I sometimes find these long-running projects a bit untouchable, and I don’t know how to access them, but your welcoming words and overt invitation to join made such a difference. So thank you; your hard work is much appreciated!

    • Thanks so much, Penny, it’s very sweet of you to say, and I am thrilled that so many people have joined in and are enjoying it. Such a lovely community to be part of and I am so glad that you decided to take part. Laura xx

  • Some great sounding recommendations there. My list of books I want to read is growing much faster than I can read them but this project is a brilliant way of increasing the range of books I read. Thanks Laura!

  • What a great idea, I think I’ve seen this before but had forgotten! Anyway, I did a post during the week with recent reads and viewing – lucky to get DVDs through our library system too. I’ve found your twitter hashtag for #theyearinbooks and added my link to that – all very high tech! Look forward to working my way through your suggestions too!

  • Hi,

    I’ve missed a couple of months now, poor show, I know. The good news is that I have finished one book and am ready to offer up my review and new book for July – will blog later and link up.

    The real reason I’m commenting is the camera in your photo – that was my first camera – love that you have one, did you get the case too? Have you found anywhere that sells the film?

    Off to look through the books on the list to get some holiday reading organised.

    katie x

    • Hello Katie! I picked it up in a box of old cameras from the auction house. I think it just takes standard 35mm film, in which case its should be easily available. I haven’t tried it yet, though, I’ve been too busy getting excited about the polaroid cameras which were also in the box… 🙂

  • Oh, the Tove Jansson book sounds great and I’ve heard good things about it elsewhere too (on Radio 4, I think?). I also want to read the Maggie O’Farrell book – especially as I was born right in the middle of that heatwave!
    Would it be possible to add me as a pinner to the board? I’m englishmamma there. Thanks!

  • As Isabelle and Penny said, thanks for setting this up, I think it’s a great idea. It’s certainly given me the nudge I needed to get back into the habit of reading. Thanks for being so welcoming 🙂