My June in Reading

June has been a funny old month: too busy to engage much in reading, even when I needed it most. So, only 7 books that I read from cover to cover – a record low for me. And, for the first time ever, there were two books I did not finish (in the same month!). But I have made a bit of an inroad into my #20booksofsummer list, although they haven’t been an unalloyed joy so far. So, if you are sitting comfortably, shall we begin?

Doesn't this look like the path to unimaginable riches and adventures?
Doesn’t this look like the path to unimaginable riches and adventures?

The DNF stack

Ingrid Desjours: Les Fauves – for its gender stereotypes and mediocre thrillerish treatment of a subject which could have been very interesting

Sandra Newman: The Country of Ice Cream Star – with apologies to Naomi Frisby, who sent me this one and whose opinions I value extremely highly. Call me shallow, call me comfort-zone reader, but it just required too much effort to follow. The made-up language was very clever (as a linguist, I appreciated the fact it had certain basic rules). I really admired the author’s inventiveness, and the energy and diversity of the young people in the story. However, I’m just not all that fond of post-apocalyptic fiction, and a combination of flu and migraine made it even harder for me to go through with it. I may still go back to it later, when I am fitter and my brains are in less of a jamble.

The #20booksofsummer pile

In addition to Les Fauves (see above), I read four more of the 20 books of summer. At the rate of 5 a month, I may not finish the challenge by September 5th.

Ariel Gore: Atlas of the Human Heart – self-absorbed, navel-gazing, travelling to find one’s self instead of get to know other people

Michel Bussi: Black Water Lilies – Monet, gardens, three generations of women, convoluted yawn

Emma Cline: The Girls – teenager looking for meaning and a sense of belonging, MFA writing style with glimmers of real style

Alison Umminger: My Favourite Manson Girl – another lost teenager with a dysfunctional family, strong YA voice

Found on a bookshelf

Claire Messud: The Emperor’s Children – slightly pretentious, but a sharp, sarcastic portrayal of ‘intellectual’ New York life

Jean-Claude Izzo: Vivre fatigue (Living wears you out) – oh, boy, is he depressing, but oh, boy, does he fit my current mood!

Review copy

Rebecca Bradley: Made to Be Broken – a friend, but also a talented writer who really knows her police procedures and whose work is getting better and better

Unintentionally, this has been a month of women writers – only two men snuck in. It was also, unusually, an Anglo-French month: one third French, two thirds English-speaking. So not the most varied of months.

Before I leave France, however, I want to make more of an effort to find Romain Gary at the library. And I should leave out some poetry books: poetry is always a wonderful source of comfort and inspiration even in the most insane of moments.


14 thoughts on “My June in Reading”

  1. I’m reading Ice Cream Star at the moment, I’m enjoying it but then post-apocalyptic fits my mood right now! Hope your 20 Books of Summer includes some real gems in July 🙂

  2. What is it about June? I feel like I’ve had a very unproductive reading month, though perhaps staring in horror at the news for the past 2 weeks hasn’t helped much. Sounds like you at least managed to read something good. Hope for a better reading month in July.

  3. I quite liked those aphoristic blurbs. Bird’s eye view is the other phrase that comes to my mind. That path remind me of my village tucked somewhere in the country.

    1. Short and sharp blurbs, right? Maybe a bit too dismissive for most books, though. As for the path – I can never resist a hidden path in the forest…

  4. I’m sorry to hear you didn’t have more ‘winners’ this month, Marina Sofia. But I must say I love your commentary: ‘…three generations of women, convoluted yawn.’ I know just the sort of book, and you captured that brilliantly.

  5. My goodness you do heavy reading in the summer! I save these books for fall and winter. My latest indulgence is the incredibly entertaining Thomas Harris and his first book in the series, Some Danger Involved. Takes place in 1890’s, a mysterious enquiry agent takes on a down on his luck Welsh scholar. The various Jewish immigrant population is the background for the story. Spot on period details, a spoiled Pekingese and a temperamental French cook complete the menagerie. It is neither pretentious nor mind numbing. I read it in a couple of hours while swaying in a hammock under a giant oak. Satisfaction given. It is not even vaguely intellectual nor does it pretend to be. But attitudes about refugees will be recognized.

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