The year in books: July
My book for July is going to be Paradise by AL Kennedy. Chosen from the library simply because I quite like Vintage books. From the thirty pages I've read so far, it's a story about heavy drinking, told from a woman's perspective. So far, so interesting.
My book for June was Stoner by John Williams. It was definitely borrowed on a whim, as I remembered there being quite a bit of coverage on social media about it a couple of years ago. I have to say I really enjoyed it. The book is linear, following William Stoner from his life on a rural farm as a teenager, through to moving away to study at university and his ongoing life - the people he meets, the job he does, how he ages. It's nothing terribly exciting, or remarkable, but it is captivating. I admit to skipping a few bits (there were some sections on English literature and literary theory which just didn't do it for me) but the book as a whole was marvellous. Highly recommend.
For a change of tempo, I read Spectacles by Sue Perkins. I'd bought it for Mum for Mothering Sunday, and Vikki had read it too - both enjoyed it - and Vikki sent me down her copy to borrow.
I'm not a massive fan of (auto)biographies and have to be particularly interested in the person to want to read it in the first place. I've always thought Sue comes across on TV as a genuinely funny person and from the interviews I've read in the past, as a kind person too. This book is incredibly funny (with laugh out loud moments from the first couple of pages) and keeps up the pace throughout the book. There's also a chapter or so on The Great British Bake Off, I've always been particularly interested in behind the scenes gossip and goings on!
Last weekend I went to the library and wandered round the shelves - I never go to the library with a book in mind, I just wander until I'm attracted to a spine. This time I saw Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller and borrowed it. An excellent decision, I've realised! I came home and started it with a cup of tea, and within five pages I knew I was in the company of an excellent book. I texted Vikki and she replied saying how much she enjoyed it, I tweeted about it and posted a photo on IG and quite a few people who responded said they'd loved it. The book is narrated by Barbara, a teacher at a comprehensive school where a teacher, her friend, is found to be having an affair with a pupil which started when he was only 15. It's probably one of the best books I've read this year.
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman was borrowed from the library simply because it sounded intriguing. It retells the life of Jesus, alongside his twin brother Christ. I studied Christianity as part of my A level in Religious Studies, and whilst I'm an atheist, my knowledge of Christianity, especially early Christianity, is actually quite good. Pullman has used a lot of materials to put together this story. In essence, it's a story about how stories become stories. My favourite bit of the book is the author's note at the end, which talks about why he wrote it, and what questions it has left him with.
Quite a diverse month of reading for me!
Joining in with Laura.