June was a good reading month for me. I’ve been lucky that some of the books I’ve been picking up lately have been exactly the right thing at the right time. I definitely don’t have the time to go into them all fully in a blog post, but if you follow me on Goodreads, I update it pretty much every day with my initial thoughts and ratings. On top of that, I’ve finished my 2017 reading challenge of forty books already – don’t ask how!
This month I read:
384 pages | Sceptre Books | 3 stars
One sentence summary: An artist conducts an experiment by concealing her female identity in three pieces of art under male names.
An interesting commentary on gender discrimination in the art world and I loved how we never fully knew the truth as it was narrated from a variety of perspectives piecing together their parts of the story.
294 pages | Hodder & Stoughton | 3 stars
One sentence summary: An account of a woman’s mental illness growing increasingly worse.
I preferred his first novel, The Universe Versus Alex Woods, but the author definitely captures the darkness of depression whilst also managing to mix in some black humour; he doesn’t shy away from anything but he isn’t gratuitous or romantic about mental illness.
281 pages | Penguin | 2 stars
One sentence summary: Sal Paradise travels across America during the height of 1950s Beat generation with his idol, Dean Moriarty.
I surely must have missed something because I cannot understand why this is some people’s favourite book. I usually like flawed characters because they can be well-rounded and realistic, but Sal was just irritating.
359 pages | Simon Schuster | 3.5 stars
One sentence summary: Ari and Dante form a friendship one summer that is challenged and strengthened as they come of age.
I haven’t read YA in a while, and I haven’t read good YA in even longer, but this book just nails it with two incredibly well-written characters, an engaging plot and the right balance of hope and angst.
354 pages | Virago | 4 stars
One sentence summary: You can’t summarise this book properly at all, because “a woman who awaits marriage develops an inability to eat” doesn’t even scrape the surface.
This reminded me a little of The Vegetarian by Han Kang in its clever depiction of the relationship between food and the mind. I love Atwood’s writing and I will definitely be returning this because I feel that with each read, I’ll notice another layer to this novel.
384 pages | Hodder & Stoughton | 2 stars
One sentence summary: A memoir and writing craft guide in one, describing Stephen King’s life experiences with childhood, family and publishing.
I’ve never read any of his work before but people kept recommending this book for the writing craft sections, but it just felt like he was stating the obvious. The memoir was definitely 2/3 of the book to 1/3 of advice.
pages | Allen Lane | 4 stars
One sentence summary: How shock political tactics have been and will be used to push through radical policies.
This was impressively coherent, contemporary and concise in the way it addressed very immediate issues like Trump and Brexit. What I liked most was that it wasn’t just an analysis of our political situation, but also offered solutions which I found refreshing in a book like this.
352 pages | Ebury Press | 3.75 stars
One sentence summary: 17-year-old Nina blacks out one Saturday night and her life spirals out of control as alcohol takes over.
I liked this more than I thought I would. I expected it would be an easy read but it addresses big issues like alcoholism, sexuality and rape with honesty and tact.
225 pages | Vintage | 4.5 stars
One sentence summary: A neurosurgeon documents his thoughts on mortality, and what it’s like to go from doctor to patient when he is diagnosed with lung cancer.
My heart shattered with every page. Paul Kalanithi is a scientist, a poet and a philosopher. I was ready to start it again as soon as I finished it on my lunch break, although I was at work and I got a bit emotional.
I’m currently reading The Night Brother by Rosie Garland but I know I won’t finish it before the end of June. It’s a new release that came out this month and has a distinctly Gothic, mystical atmosphere thus far so I’m excited to see how it pans out.
What did you read this month?