As expected, it’s been a busy month for reading. My holiday, and almost a fortnight off work, has meant lots of lovely extra reading time. I’ve squeezed in six books, of various genres, and am half way through a seventh. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s a lot for me, who normally averages three or four.
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
- The Missing by C. L. Taylor
- Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
- Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
- The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell
- The Bones of You by Debbie Howells
- The Accident by C. L. Taylor
I’ve been quite lucky, with most of them being 8/10 or 9/10, and I’m really struggling to rank them. Both The Missing and The Bones of You were rather disappointing, although I’ve come to expect that of anything with the words ‘Psychological Thriller’ written on the back cover. It’s not that either was bad, just falsely advertised.
My lovely holiday on the tiny Greek island of Halki helped with my quick reading pace this month, and I managed to read three books in the week. I had a last minute change of heart and swapped The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah for The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell. I’m not sure why but I wasn’t really feeling historical fiction. The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell ended up being my favourite book of the holiday, in fact it’s possibly my favourite book of the month. I’m still catching up on reviews, having been too busy relaxing to write anything, so bare with me!
I have hit a bit of a reading lull now though. I’d reserved We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver for immediately after my holiday, but I’m just not in the right frame of mind for it. I’ve read about 40 pages, and it’s annoying because I know I’m going to love it, I’m just struggling to concentrate on something so complex. I’ve put it to one side for now.
Instead, I’ve decided to have a go at The Accident by C. L. Taylor, the same author of The Missing, which I read earlier in the month. While it wasn’t my favourite book, and I certainly had some issues with it, it was written in a really fast-paced, easy-reading style; perfect for what I need right now. It’s proving the right choice, because I raced through almost 100 pages in an hour. Although, not quite finished in June, it almost is, so I’ll include it in this post.
I’m also going to take this opportunity to do a little half year review. The only challenge I set myself this year, was the Goodreads Reading Challenge, in which I pledged to read 25 books. I’ve read 23 already, so I’m doing quite well. I’ve extended it to 30, and might extend it again, depending on how the next couple of months go. I start my masters degree at the end of September, a while I’ll try my best to keep reading when I can, I won’t have anywhere near as much time on my hands. Reading will really tail off, so I’ve really only got 9 months, rather than a full year to complete my challenge.
I have read more books in the past six months than I ever have in any previous year. I think that really only shows how much time I have on my hands at the moment, and how little I have to focus my mind on.
Although I previously loved historical fiction above all else, my love for thrillers has definitely taken over this year, and makes up most of what I’ve read recently. My favourite book of the year so far, however, is historical fiction and was actually the first book I read in January. The Help by Kathryn Stockett is what really sparked my reading bug again, and turned me into this crazy, anti-social person who does absolutely nothing else in her free time but read. The Help remains the only book I have rated 5 stars, or 10/10, this year, other than Six Days in Leningrad by Paulina Simons, which I was really biased about, as it is the memoir of the research trip she took in order to write one of my all time favourite books The Bronze Horseman. I don’t normally read non-fiction, but I found this absolutely fascinating.
There have been other books that have come very close to the illusive 5 star rating; Room by Emma Donoghue and Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller being two really stand out books that I urge everyone to read. Maybe this proves that thrillers aren’t actually my thing. None of my favourite books are thrillers, I just really enjoy reading them, if that makes any sense! I’ve really tried to fit in as many ‘modern classics’ as possible – by modern, I mean of the last 15 years or so. Because of this, I’ve managed to tick off quite a few books that have been on my TBR list for a long time.
I’ve also read quite a few new releases and debuts, largely thanks to Goodreads Giveaways. Although I haven’t won many, I have entered a lot and ended up buying the book myself. My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry and The Passenger by Lisa Lutz are two that I discovered through Giveaways and really enjoyed.
I have pretty much given up on Giveaways now though. I won quite a few, but the ones I’ve read have disappointed me. I feel really bad because I have three under my bed, waiting to be read, but they’re not really my sort of thing. I got a bit excited when I first discovered Giveaways and entered nearly all of them, but now I’m wishing I hadn’t. I’ve now started only entering ones that I know I’m going to read. I have won a couple recently that I’m excited about, but they haven’t arrived yet, and I’m getting worried that they never will as the 4-6 week delivery estimate is nearly up. It’s just annoying that it’s also happened to the ones I actually really want to read – The Singles Game by Laura Weisburger and My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal. I won them both in late May, so there’s still time, I suppose.
I’m hoping next month will be a good reading month. As the weather is getting warmer (or not) I can sit out in the garden with my book more. I struggle to read anywhere with other people around to distract me, so either the bath or the garden are best. I’ve not got a set in stone plan for what I’m going to read next, but I have just won a copy of Tell Us Something True by Dana Reinhardt, and it’s only 200 pages long, so I think I’ll read that this weekend. After that I’ll probably finally read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I’m trying to alternate my thrillers with other things, so I don’t get sick of them. Hopefully by the end of July, I’ll be able to extend my reading challenge to 35, or even 40.
What have you read this month?