June 3, 2014

the year in books :: June

yearbooksjune

I have a confession, oh fellow readers…

I have yet to finish last month’s book! My precious reading time has been stolen away by a run of freelance deadlines, two family birthdays and a holiday. There was a time when the latter would have meant devouring a book a day, but, with three boys under six, a holiday no longer means leisurely days, novel in hand. I love our time splashing in rock pools, but I do yearn for those quiet moments, curled up with a book in a shady spot! One of my fondest holiday memories is devouring Middlemarch over a couple of days spent in a grand yet dilapidated apartment, on the Italian island of Ischia.

Still, when I started this project, it was always a target, an aspiration, an intention to read a book a month, and on many months so far I have read several, so I am determined not beat myself up about this month’s slow progress. We’re all just trying to make a little more room for books in our busy lives, right? For the same reasons, I’m afraid that I’m also behind on visiting your posts from May, but I shall make my way round them all in due course- it’s always such an enjoyable journey.

I have been reading A Little History of the World, and what a wonderful book it is. It’s an amazing feat, the distillation of the entire world history into one small paperback, but Ernst Gombrich achieved it with aplomb, drawing together events and movements from across the globe to create a coherent, intelligent and uplifting narrative. His written style is that of a kindly and learned grandfather, and indeed this is a book that I shall certainly be reading to my children when they are a little older. Gombich’s definition of history, in the opening chapter, is fabulous, I only wish that I’d come across it back in my sixth form days when I was writing endless essays on historiography. I look forward with pleasure to the final few chapters, before I get started on my books for June.

My choices for June are both selected  following reviews from fellow participants in the Year in Books project: Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book (inspired by Brooke), and Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, (inspired by Bryony). I’ve been meaning to read The Summer Book for the longest time, and was reminded of this when I came across this fabulous photograph of author Tove Jansson, on Pinterest. Last Child in the Woods is about a subject dear to my heart, fitting perfectly with the Project Wild Thing movement and my resultant Wild Children posts. Looking forward to July, I’ve selected Matt Haig’s The Humans, which I came across via Twitter, and after reading this excellent post by the author on parenthood and writing, I feel compelled to read the book.

So, lets get on with the June 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. 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. (A few people have asked me how to do this. If you have a Blogger blog, you may find this tutorial helpful.)

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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14 thoughts on “the year in books :: June

  1. Stephanie (foggyknitter)

    If the idea is to write about the book we are planning to read in the month ahead, why are you worried you haven’t read the book yet? It’s only 3rd June, I shouldn’t worry yet. I wrote last month’s piece while I still had half the last chapter to go – only fully finished it yesterday!

    The summer book looks like a good seasonal choice

    Reply
  2. simplesuffolksmallholder

    I’ve actually worked out how to add the right link to your blog.
    Enjoy your reading, I’m loving all the new ideas.

    Reply
  3. Amy

    Hi! I’d love to join in 🙂

    I’ll write my June post this evening – should I send you the link when it’s done? Really looking forward to doing the year in books! x

    Reply
  4. Carie

    Oh I shall have to go to check out the Pinterest board to compile a new book list – although I admit I spend more time reading children’s books than ones for me nowadays!

    Reply
  5. Claire Mulligan

    You will LOVE The Summer Book- I finished it last month and immediately wanted to dive into warm summer seas and brew my coffee on the stove and live a clean, outdoor life!

    Reply
  6. rusty {rambles}

    Such a good review, you’ve inspired me to pick up the Gombrich again. Last time I gave up when he started talking about kings and suc (but I am terrible at sticking with books!). I remember reading The Summer Book at uni in London, and loving the fresh air escapism of it. Good book for June! 🙂

    Reply
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