June Summary

By oldenglishrose - Last updated: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - Save & Share - One Comment

Every month I claim that this will be the one when I finally get up to date with reviews, but I think it’s finally time to admit that I am a very, very long way behind now.  However, I’m considering this a positive thing as the time is looming near when I’m not going to have time to devour books at quite the rate I usually do as my time is monopolised by moving house and wedding and honeymoon things.  With any luck, I’ll be able to keep scheduling reviews to pop up while I’m away so you won’t even know I’m gone.

Yet again, June has seen me busily sorting out wedding things; every time I think we’ve got it all done someone thinks of something else that we need to organise.  On top of that, we’ve been battling against the church beaurocracy which is making things unnecessarily difficult for us for a number of reasons, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed and holding our thumbs that it all works out.

June has been a mixed month for books, there being a fairly even spread of books that were great, books I really enjoyed and books that were just ok.  As in May, I only managed 13 books this month, totalling 3,968 pages.  Although I read some pretty chunky ones, this was balanced out with some much smaller volumes in between, averaging out at 305 pages per book.   This month I read:

  1. Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg
  2. Black Butterfly by Mark Gatiss
  3. Anderby Wold by Winifred Holtby
  4. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  5. Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Maugham
  6. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey*
  7. Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism by Natasha Walter
  8. Mapp and Lucia by E. F. Benson
  9. Penguin Lost by Andrey Kurkov
  10. The Pleasures of English Food by Alan Davidson
  11. The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret C. Sullivan
  12. Wessex Tales by Thomas Hardy
  13. The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn

Rather surprisingly, the best book I read this month was the first one: Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg.  I picked it up expecting something light and entertaining, but while it was definitely entertaining it was actually rather insightful and the narrative voice of Daisy Fay is just captivating.  I also really enjoyed Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey although that was no surprise as I’ve read it before in 2009.  It’s a huge, sweeping fantasy book set in a world which is an alternative middle ages Europe and I found it just as absorbing on the second reading as it was on the first.

Additionally this month I’ve enjoyed American Gods by Neil Gaiman, which was good but not as good as I wanted it to be; I returned to Winifred Holtby’s Yorkshire in Anderby Wold which shows the beginning of the themes and ideas which are so beautifully expressed in South Riding; I continued watching the antics of E. F. Benson’s Mapp and Lucia which was delightful, if not my favourite of the series; and, although I don’t think he’s ever likely to become a favourite author, I conquered my fear of Thomas Hardy by reading his Wessex Tales.  The short story format and very pretty Folio Society edition that I read might have helped with that last one.

As in any month, there were some books which I found less appealing.  In fact, it was a month of disappointing follow up books as three of the duff books were by authors that I’ve really enjoyed in the past.  The Black Butterfly by Mark Gatiss was nowhere near as entertaining as his previous novels about the camp, roguish spy Lucifer Box; Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Maugham was rather a let down after how much I liked my first book of his, Up at the Villa; and I loved Andrey Kurkov’s Death and the Penguin last year but the sequel Penguin Lost unfortunately left me cold.  The top of the list of shame is The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn, a historical novel about Catherine Parr but written in a bizarrely modern idiom.  I couldn’t get into it at all, and it’s saved me buying any of her other books, some of which had seemed quite tempting before so at least it’s done a service to the TBR pile.

Speaking of the TBR pile, I’ve been really rather restrained (for me) in my book buying this month: just 13 new books have found their way into the house, 4 of which I’ve since read.  I was given a copy of Virago’s reissue of Anderby Wold by Winifred Holtby at the Virago Book Club meeting discussing South Riding and I started reading that almost as soon as I got it.  I bought Living Dolls by Natasha Walter from Amazon and read it immediately, in anticipation of last night’s Virago Book Club event with the author.  Swiftly after that, I bought Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (also from Amazon) to act as a sort of reading antidote for Walter’s book.  Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami came from Amazon in anticipation of a new book club which is being started up near where I work.  Sadly I can’t make the first meeting, but it’s introduced me to a really interesting new-to-me author as I think I’ve benefitted in the long run.

Then there’s the books that I haven’t yet got round to reading.  I purchased Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons from Amazon as I want to read it quite soon after reading the terrible House in Dormer Forest by Mary Webb, which it satirises, so the original is still fresh in my mind.  From one of the second hand book shops along Charing Cross Road I have picked up The Land of Green Ginger by Winifred Holtby, as the more I read of her the more I want to read; New York Mosaic by Isabel Bolton which I’d never heard of but looks rather interesting; and Peter Abelard by Helen Waddell, who I didn’t know wrote anything other than medieval scholarship until I spotted this little novel.  From charity shops for the princely sum of £1 each I bought Rasero by Francisco Rebolledo (a Spanish novel of 18th century France), The Stone Boudoir by Theresa Maggio (a book about the little villages in Sicily that tourists never visit) and My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin (a Virago; need I say more?).  The bargain of the month has to be a brand new hardback copy of Sunnyside by Glen David Gold, author of Carter Beats the Devil which I loved, which I snapped up for a mere 49p in The Works.  It’s too heavy for train reading but I can’t wait till I have time to pick it up.

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One Response to “June Summary”

Comment from Stephanie
Time July 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I am always behind on my reviews too. Enjoy everything coming up and savor it as much as possible! I got married just a year ago and already I wish I could remember more of it.

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