Books · Witterings

July Roundup

Summer has yet to arrive, but the rain did and it fell and fell some more. I have yet to enjoy sitting outside reading. I am still indoors on the sofa and on occasion with a blanket! Here is hoping with the start of my holidays in about 10 days or so time, that the rain will only come at night when I am asleep and the days will be sunny.

So what I have read whilst reclining on the sofa during July. I ended June and started July working my way through all of Miss Marple’s short stories by Agatha Christie. On my 2011 list, I have listed the books that the stories appear in but annotated that it is only the Marple ones I have currently read. I aim to go back and reread them, as they are just short enough but also to read some of the others, especially the Poirot ones as well.

Last month I set myself a very small challenge for July. I like something that can be achieved it is all part of what makes me me. This challenge was to read Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, I had only previously read Rebecca and wanted to expand somewhat slightly. I am so glad I did, why have I not read this before. It was excellent and I have raided my mum’s shelf and found plenty more to work my way through and currently have My Cousin Rachel to attempt at some point. Whether there will be any challenges for August I do not know.

I cannot seem to be able to go through a month without some cosy crime, and this was a new author for me Joanne Fluke – The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. The recipes throughout made me want to jump out of bed and start baking. Not good when I am trying to maintain a decent healthy weight! Perhaps reading more of these might keep the weight off? Then again. …

Sticking with crime I know I can go back to Agatha Christie and Poirot so I did with Five Little Pigs. It popped up on ITV3 and although I knew whodunnit I do enjoy this adaptation and wanted to compare book with TV. It is a book which certainly appeals to my organised mind, probably why I like Christie’s writing especially when it comes to Poirot. The books are laid out so appealing. I have plenty more to read and I do try and always partake in Kerrie’s Agatha Christie Reading Challenge, and submit something to the Carnival. And I suppose I am also without trying working my way through all the Christie books, although not in any order. I do have the lists of books written and published thanks to the Agatha Christie Website and I have also got a separate book journal a Christmas present which I use to record all I have read but also great lines and passages out of the books as well.

I also have a love of ‘big house’ stories. The big house where the upper class live and the lower class work. Where the two divides cross and life seems so different when doing nothing upstairs every day to working for 18 hours a day downstairs. Therefore I picked up Rosina Harrison – My Lady’s Maid. There was more to this book than I first originally thought. It has some great information on the roles of some of the functions of staff. Rosina Harrison was the lady’s maid to Nancy Astor which brought us information about her as a character as well as the maids role.

I picked for an Amazon Vine book Karen McQuestion – Easily Amused. An American author, and whilst I enjoyed the book and wrote a review. I made no further comment on it as I normally do on my blog. To be honest, a book to be read and that is it. I am sure all readers understand this concept?

July seemed to be the month for Mental Health not through choice but somehow I drifted towards this. I had Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard sitting on my shelf since I had raved about her book House of Silence. Linda kindly sent me two of her previous books and I knew that I needed to be in the right frame of mind for them. I think for varying reasons, one called to me and went right into it. Oh what a book, a book which will stay with me for ever such a long time, and will be one of the best I have read this year no doubt about that. If like me you have suffered or know someone who suffers from any form of Mental health problem then I advise you to go out and read this book, if anything it will educate the reader.

I had been recommended by my cousin to read This Perfect World by Suzanne Bugler. I come across it in a charity shop and thought I would give it a go. An interesting premise and blurb on the back but it surprised me somewhat with the self harm and bullying themes. However, I would not let that put you off, a book which makes you go back on your own childhood and rethink about how you were treated or treated other children. I wonder what childhood remarks still hurt now all these years later? My review will follow in the next few days as I wanted to give maximum coverage of Emotional Geology.

In recent weeks I had been contacted by a new author Nadine Rose Larter asking whether I would review her debut novel – Coffee at Little Angels. Flattered to be asked, I accepted and it was duly sent in e-version and I downloaded it onto my kindle. I have read it in July and I will count it as a July book but at the time of writing this post, I am really struggling to review it I cannot seem to formulate what I want to say without offending the author. From that subtle (or not so) hint, it was a book which had some good ideas but did not work for me. How do you feel about writing a negative review about a book that just really did not hold it together?

So that is July, 8 books and if I combined all the Miss Marple Short stories into 1, I think that should make 9 not a bad month. As July finishes I am currently reading The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. I loved the review on one of the blogs I read Fleur Fisher and knew I wanted to give it a go. When it came up as an Amazon Vine choice I gave it a go and really enjoying it.

Lets get on with August then…..

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3 thoughts on “July Roundup

  1. I think you had a good month 🙂 I wish I could read Rebecca, I have to try it one more time.

  2. Jo, I do recommend MY COUSIN RACHEL. The “unreliable narrator” technique is so effective – and what an ending!

    A lesser known du Maurier that I loved was THE PARASITES. It’s rather strange and experimental in its narrative technique, but I loved it. Possibly not one to read when you’re feeling low though. The ending is gut-wrenching.

    If you ever get the du Maurier bug and if you like biography, Margaret Forster’s biog of Daphne is as un-put-downable as any novel.

  3. It’s really hard reviewing a book that just didn’t work for you, I always try do positive write up’s, however if a book really doesn’t do it for you, sometimes you just have to be honest. I really need to read Rebecca at some point!

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