Ah June, my favourite month of the year. End of exams, the start of summer, some actual sun, and of course my birthday in the middle. This year it also included a ten day getaway where I managed to read a book almost every day – bliss. To make things even better, all the books I read this month were book-books, not bought on my kindle, so I’m feeling even more accomplished. *pats own back*
First up for June was The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, which was not only a good book but is one of the texts I’m using for my dissertation. It’s always nice to feel twice as productive when reading a book. Even if you’re not interested in ancient mythology, this is just the most beautiful book and is the perfect example of how you rewrite a myth. Despite already knowing what would happen at the end, someone Miller managed to make me tear up and have my gut clench on several occasions. Five stars without doubt.
Next up was the short and sweet Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner, which I mainly picked up as we were recommending it at work. A really lovely book, made by the characters in it and the perspective of the main character – she’s an author exiled by her friends to a hotel where she meets several interesting people, but can’t seem to differentiate between reality and her own imagination. Brilliant for anyone who likes reading and writing.
Thanks to work, I got my hands on a copy of This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab, and the concept and execution was nearly flawless. The closest to an original idea you can find, which is something that I often say when it comes to this author. I wrote a bit of a longer review here under ‘Not a Love Story’.
Then I read A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (I wrote a review for the first book here) and, despite originally giving the first book five stars, I want to change that to three stars just so I can give this one five stars. Miles better than the first, and I far preferred our main character and the way she’s developed along with the picking apart of the issues with the previous relationships in the first book – ugh it was just such a great sequel and I’m desperate to have the third book immediately.
Back again to V.E. Schwab, I finally picked up The Archived and what another brilliantly creative piece of work. A good first book in a series, and I hope to pick up the sequel soon – four stars from me.
Then finally, finally, I read the second book in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, which I’ve been meaning to read for literally a year. I read the first last summer and for some reason just didn’t read the second until now – that’s the problem when there are just so many good books to read, I suppose. Brilliant twists and characters, definitely enjoyed it as much as the first.
Now for another dissertation book, Memorial by Alice Oswald which I thought was clever, well done, but a bit too morbid for me. It goes through everyone that dies in Homer’s Iliad ussing similes and metaphors and beautiful devices to create this ‘memorial’. Then I read Weight by Jeanette Winterson which was a lovely retelling of the Atlas myth that, in all honesty, I didn’t know much about beforehand, so it was lovely to discover something new.
Next up was Nod by Adrian Barnes, which I did a full review of here, and then When We Collided by Emery Lord. I thought as a whole the book dealt well with grief and mental illness well and I appreciated that the author didn’t take the easy path ending-wise. There was a very obvious ending that I wasn’t looking forward to, so was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t happen. Three stars from me.
Then (yes, I’m still going people), was the Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, dissertation book number 3 of the month, and I wish someone had told me to read this straight after reading the Odyssey because it’s exactly what I needed. Beautifully told and heartbreaking, using the Maids killed as a harrowing Chorus of sorts, setting up the story as a tragedy and not the epic the Odyssey appears to be. Just wonderful.
And, last but not least, I read Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin and it was a great book to end the month on, an unexpected favourite. A great idea and well told, an alternative history for if Hitler won the second World War with a little fantastical twist which made the book so engaging. One aspect of the novel I really enjoyed was the discovery, in the sense that the heroine was learning alongside the reader of her surroundings and the people around her, which really brought you closer to the narrative.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, means that my book count for the month of June was 12 books. Twelve books! Definitely my best so far. That brings me to 34/50 physical books for this year’s reading challenge and, including kindle books, in total I’ve reached 50 books! I reached my mid-year goal of 25 books easily, and I’m shocked that I got to 50 with kindle books included. I think I’ll need this head start for the rest of this year, what with final year starting in September, but also due to the fact that July has kicked off with illness along with starting full time at work (this means less time to do nothing but read). Though I think I can say that I should be able to reach the 50 book goal by the end of the year.