Posts Tagged ‘june reads’


So it’s the 1st of July, although it doesn’t feel like it, here, in fact as I write I’m contemplating an actual bubble bath later.

June saw the start of #20booksofsummer hosted by Cathy – sticking to the list is the challenge for me, and I have done ok so far. June got off to a good start reading wise, I fairly flew through my first four or five books. Then, predictably things slowed down, and last week was a particularly slow reading week. I did read some wonderful books though, and that is the main thing. Posting this round up later than usual – so racing through it a bit.

I began June reading a wonderful Persephone book which I had managed to overlook for years, Princes in the Land by Joanna Cannan, it could easily make it on to a list of favourite Persephone books were I to compile one. Monday or Tuesday is a slim volume of stories by Virginia Woolf, which I read for phase three of #Woolfalong. Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh was a birthday gift from a friend, it’s a really good read, filled with bee culture it’s a story of the lies of omission, the past and friendship. Beryl Bainbridge reading week saw lots of bloggers reading and writing about the author who died in 2010. I read A Quiet Life and A Weekend with Claude, I enjoyed both of them very much, A Quiet Life is a more domestic type of novel, while A Weekend with Claude concerns the relationships between a peculiar bunch of characters during the weekend of the title, it reminded me a little of Iris Murdoch. I had been looking forward to reading Fingers in the Sparkle Jar for weeks, a I finally slotted it in between the two Bainbridge novels. It is a stunning coming of age memoir, superbly written, it is a must for fans of TV naturalist Chris Packham. I was several days late for Margaret Kennedy day, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading Troy Chimneys her unusual historical novel, which won the James Tait Black memorial prize. Up next was another collection of short stories, A Dedicated Man by Elizabeth Taylor, a wonderful collection by one of my favourite writers, her short stories are really a must if you’ve not read any. My final read for the month was Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin, a review should be up in a few days, I seem to be blogging slowly too just at the moment, so bear with me.

So I read exactly nine books during June, all off my #20booksofsummer pile. I’m quite pleased with myself.

IMG_20160630_212352Now I will take a short break from the pile to read this gorgeous looking review copy which only arrived the day before yesterday. Another collection of short stories, the cover art blew me away, and when I opened it up and skimmed the first page I was smitten. I hope the rest is as wonderful as it promises to be. Rosy Thornton is an author new to me, but she has apparently written several other books – if anyone can point me in the direction of other Rosy Thornton books I should read, I would love to know.

July is the start of #Woolfalong phase 4 – check out my #Woolfalong page if you need a reminder of the schedule. I was planning to read Flush and to re-read Nigel Nicolson’s biography, but I appear to have just ordered Winifred Holtby’s critical memoir – which I might read instead or maybe even as well. I also have to read the early nineteenth century novel Zofloya by Charlotte Dacre for my very small book group, which has been postponed so I have an extra week to get to it, but I’m not sure I am looking forward to it.


So what will you all be reading in July? as ever I’d love to know.

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June began with Mary Hocking reading week; I had already read one book the last week of May, so I kicked June off with the second of my two Hocking reads The Hopeful Traveller, a sequel to A Time of War. It was so lovely to stay with the characters I had just spent time with in the previous novel. Mary Hocking week was a great success from my point of view, I so loved seeing everyone’s posts and chatter about it. From one reading event to the next with Summer will Show for Sylvia Townsend Reading month. That was a big complex novel set during the French Revolution of 1848. Next I finished All Day Long by Joanna Biggs – which, I began reading during May, a fascinating portrait of Britain at work in the twenty-first century, set against a backdrop of the economic downturn. After which I got down to The Silver Spoon (and two short interludes) for my Forsyte saga reading, I gobbled them up, as I seem to have done with all the Forsyte books once I have picked them up. I have though, abandoned my chunky big paperbacks in favour of my kindle, and will continue to read my Forsyte books on it as the print size is much more comfortable. A Persephone book is always a treat to read, and Heat Lightning was a lovely book, a slow, thoughtful read, peopled with believable, complex characters, the quiet drama unfolding over one, hot sultry week. Mr Harrison’s Confessions by Elizabeth Gaskell, a book so full of charm it can’t help but be a huge hit with anyone who loved Cranford. It is in fact referred to as the prequel to Cranford, despite being set in a different place. Circles of Deceit by Nina Bawden, is a novel of family fractures, a theme Bawden always wrote about so well, I always enjoy her writing, and this novel is particularly astute. Watership Down was read for a book group, though unfortunately I missed the actual meeting through work related exhaustion. On Sunday I finished Road Ends by Mary Lawson, a lovely novel set in Canada and London, by the author of The Other side of the Bridge (review to come) in which she has created another memorable family. I have finished the month reading Elizabeth and her German Garden (for book group 2), a book I am very overdue in reading. At the time of writing, I am still reading that and naturally liking it very much. So as well as the end of June, that all also brings me to the end of my list for #20booksofsummer part 1.


For #20booksofsummer part 2 I have decided (possibly foolishly) to go for broke and choose all remaining twelve books.


The more observant among you will notice there are not twelve books in the obligatory book pile photograph. Three of my chosen titles are on my kindle, and one book is not out yet – I await its arrival with baited breath. The majority of the titles on the pile, that I don’t have to read for book groups, are books that I have had tbr for ages. I very strongly resisted the urge to read the books I have bought very recently. I now feel quite excited about reading books I had almost forgotten I had got.
So on #20booksofsummer list part 2 are:

Swan Song – by John Galsworthy
The Hundred Foot Journey – by Richard C Morais – for book group 1
Stranger in the House – by Julie Summers for book group 2 (non-fiction, stories of the men returning from Second World War)
Go Set a Watchman – by Harper Lee (on pre-order it should arrive the middle of July)
Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie
The Mill on the Floss – by George Eliot (a re-read)
The Rising Tide – by Molly Keane
The Bay of Angels – by Anita Brookner
The Hopkins Manuscript by R C Sherriff – it was a review from Karen that made me really want to read this and I have now had it ages.
West with the Night – by Beryl Markham (non-fiction and another re-read)
Holiday – by Stanley Middleton – a booker winner from 1974
The Lying Days by Nadine Gordimer – just a book I have been meaning to read for such a long time.

So there they are – I doubt I will finish all of them in July – though I should get most of the way through them, and with the long school summer holidays beginning for me on July 17th I may read a little more than I have been (my total for the year so far very much lower than the last few years I am sad to say). Now all I have to do is just make sure I don’t get distracted from this lovely pile of books (which is always the danger of making book piles).

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June has turned out to be quite a fairly successful reading month for me; I managed to read a bit more this month than last, – taking twelve books off my tbr. Of course June has been Mary Hocking month for me – and I think one or two other people have also been reading her – including some of my lovely friends from the LibraryThing Virago group. I actually managed four Hockings – and so enjoyed them. I have another two sitting here tbr – after an impromptu visit to ebay. I do so enjoy her world, recognisably English and firmly rooted in the times they were written, be it the 70’s 80’s or 90’s; with storylines featuring Greenham common protestors, Irish troubles, homelessness and child protection. I would so like to see her books being re-issued, I am sure there must be a lot of out of print authors who would deserve to be re-issued, how one goes about raising the profile of such authors with publishers I have no idea. However one result of her books being out of print is that I have been acquiring some rather nice old ex-library copies. It might sound strange but I do rather love them, wondering who has had them before me, and where they might have been.









Beauty is a sleeping Cat – reviewed The Very Dead of Winter – a novel I read and very much enjoyed in December, and I know Liz is reading Good Daughters and will review it soon.

Aside from those lovely Mary Hocking books my other stand out reads for June were:
Brook Evans by Susan Glaspell – a wonderfully poignant Persephone book
Drawn from Memory – the first volume of memoir by Winnie the Pooh illustrator E H Shepard
Beyond the Glass by Antonia White – the fourth book in her famous quartet of novels.
So this is my complete June list – a review of By a Slow River will be along in due course.

52 Letters from Constance (1991) Mary Hocking (F)
53 The Kindly Ones (1962) Anthony Powell (F)
54 The Last Kings of Sark (2013) Rosa Rankin-Gee (F)
55 The Meeting Place (1996) Mary Hocking (F)
56 Beyond the Glass (1954) Antonia White (F)
57 A Song for Issy Bradley (2014) Carys Bray (F)
58 Brook Evans (1928) Susan Glaspell (F)
59 An Irrelevant Woman (1987) Mary Hocking (F)
60 Drawn from memory (1957) E H Shepard (NF)
61 Look, Stranger (1978) Mary Hocking (F)
62 The War Workers (1918) E M Delafield (F)
63 By a Slow River (2003) Phillippe Claudel (F)

I have no exact plans for July – which feels wonderful – I am going to read just exactly what I want. Although saying that I do intend to read one or two more Great War theme books and I have now started my next Anthony Powell – but after that I’m going with the flow.
So what will you be reading in July – any special plans?

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IMAG0229Pictured: walking through a field of oil seed rape on a rare beautiful day at the end of May.

I read ten books during June, a great mix, which found me deviating slightly from the pile of books I put together at the end of May. One of those books I simply didn’t get around to, another From Dusk to Dawn by Violet Trefusis I read five pages of and threw to one side, finding it utterly banal. It later had a bookcrossing sticker put inside it and was taken to the monthly bookcrossing meet up where I hoped it would find a more appreciative reader. Three of the books I have read during June, I hadn’t intended to read at all this month – I do so easily get distracted by other books I find.

This is this list.

59 No Fond Return of Love (1961) Barbara Pym (F)
60 A Very Private Eye (1984) Barbara Pym, H Holt, H Pym (NF)
61 Locked Rooms (2005) Laurie R King (F)
62 Farewell Leicester Square (1941) Betty Miller (F)
63 A Particular Place (1989) Mary Hocking (F)
64 A Woman of my age (1967) Nina Bawden (F)
65 Quartet in Autumn (1977) Barbara Pym (F)
66 Stoner (1965) John Williams (F)
67 The Exiles Return (2013) Elisabeth De Waal (F)
68 Perfect (2013) Rachel Joyce (F)

June started with Barbara Pym reading week – for which I re-read No Fond Return of Love before moving on to her diaries and letters in ‘A very private eye’. Later in the month I re-read Barbara Pym’s ‘Quartet in Autumn’ which I absolutely loved this time around. My Classic Club spin book was the hugely enjoyable ‘Farewell Leicester Square’, and I also read another Persephone book ‘The Exiles Return’, which I liked very much although I had a few minor issues with it. ‘Stoner’ by John Williams was one of two wonderful discoveries ; ‘Stoner’ a modern American classic which seems to have gone unrecognised by many for a long time was a giveaway on twitter – and one I was really delighted to have received. My other wonderful discovery was ‘A Particular Place’ a Virago Modern Classic by Mary Hocking – whose writing is reminiscent of both Barbara Pym and Elizabeth Taylor. I immediately bought four others from awesomebooks and it seems several members of the librarything Virago group seem to be gearing up to read her books this summer too. The last book of the month was ’Perfect’ by Rachel Joyce – a review copy from the publisher – the novel comes out next week and I’ll post my review in a couple of days – but I urge everyone to look out for it – it is quite remarkable.


So July is upon us – in a few hours at least. Last July Liz and I began our months of re-reading a month of re-reading in July and another in January in recognition of how many wonderful books we have read and never seem to have time to re-read. I loved my re-reading – but in the months since January when I did my last month of re-reading my TBR has exploded! I just can’t justify re-reading all month – as I have some review copies I need to get around to – so glad I don’t get too many of these generally – too much pressure. I also wanted to celebrate all things Brookner and came up with an Anita Brookner reading month for July too. So July will be a mix of

Brookner, three re-reads and some review copies. IMAG0275I haven’t decided which of the Brookners, I have, to read yet – although I have started with Undue Influence.

I will try to read at least a couple of Anita Brookner novels during July – her writing is really very good indeed.
I also have Bartchester Towers by Anthony Trollope, The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald and The Sweet Dove Died as my re-reads. IMAG0277A group of Noble Dames for my Hardy reading challenge. And review copies of Big Brother by Lionel Shriver –which came out in May and The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy which is out in July and a memoir The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines by Shohreh Aghdashloo, which came out a couple of weeks ago.


Some great things to look forward to for me. What will you be reading?

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June reads


The picture was taken when out walking last weekend in The Breiddons just over the Welsh border – I was kept company on the coach there and back by The Age of Innocence.

Only 9 books read this month (half way through the 10th) – but some really good ones among them. I actually managed 3 non-fiction books -I  haven’t been very good with non-fiction this year – not that I read that many really any year. I also have to admit that one book that was on my June pile – didn’t get read – infact after reading a couple of pages I dropped it from mount TBR completely – and read a Persephone book instead.

58 The Sleeping Beauty (1953) Elizabeth Taylor (F)
59 The Magnificent Spilsbury & the case of the brides in the bath Jane Robins (NF)
60 Manja (1938) Anna Gmeyner (F)
61 The New Moon &the Old (1963) Dodie Smith (F)
62 Nella Last in the 1950’s (2010) P & R Malcomson (ed) (NF)
63 Illyrian Spring ( 1935) Ann Bridge (F)
64 The Bottle Factory Outing (1974) Beryl Bainbridge (F)
65 The Age of Innocence (1920) Edith Wharton (F)
66 The World that was Ours (1967) Hilda Bernstein (N F)


So my special mentions this month are:


1. Manja – a nice thick Persephone book about the lives of 5 children in a small German town between 1920 and 1933.


2. Illyrian Spring – a beautiful new edition of a Virago favourite from daunt books – a lovely story about a middle age woman who runs away from home.



3. The Age of Innocence – the third Edith Wharton I’ve read in 2012 – a wonderful novel about New York society.



July of course will be all about re-reading some old favourites for me – and I am looking forward to each of them enormously.

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54 Truth, Dare, Kill (2011)

Gordon Ferris ( (F)

55 The Girl in the painted Caravan (2011)

Eva Petulengro (NF)

56 Clear Light of Day (1980)

Anita Desai (F)

57 The News Where You Are (2010)

Catherine O ‘ Flynn (F)

58 Dancing with the Virgins (2001)

Stephen Booth (F)

59The Return of Captain John Emmett (2010)

Elizabeth Speller (F)

60 The Vicar’s Daughter (1927)

E H Young (F)

61 Ngaio Marsh  (2009)

Joanne Drayton (NF)

62 The Marriage Bureau for rich people (2008)

Farahad Zama (F)

63 A Wreath of Roses (1949)

Elizabeth Taylor (F)

10 books read this month, 2non-fiction and 8 fiction books.  My special mentions this month are all fiction. 1. Clear light of Day – Anita Desai – lovely India set family drama, beautifully written and evocotive. 2 The Return of Captain John Emmett – Elizabeth Speller – excellent WW1 set mystery, looking forward to the sequel. 3 The Vicar's daughter – E H Young –  well written 1920's novel, about a couple of vicar's and a lot of misunderstanding. 4 A Wreath of Roses – Elizabeth Taylor – Chilling, beautifully written novel by an author I can't praise highly enough.

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53 Shadows of Sherlock Holmes

David Stuart Davies (F)

54 Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad

Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit (NF)

55 Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden

M C Beaton (F)

56 The Gentlewomen

Laura Talbot (F)

57 A Life like Other People’s

Alan Bennett (NF)

58 Making Conversation

Christine Longford (F)

59 The Railway detective

Edward Marston (F)

60 No shame, no Fear

Ann Turnbull (F)

61 The Greengage Summer

Rumer Godden (F)

62 A Cotswold Killing

Rebecca Tope (F)

63 The Mitford – letters between six sisters

Charlotte Moseley (NF)

Some really lovely books this month. I must draw attention to the Mitford letters, and to The Greengage summer and The Gentlewomen.

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