July in books

Well, I thought I ought to make some sort of effort to write this post before August ended…

July books 1

The month began with a lot of re-reading of the various Harry Potter books (only the last three are shown in the photo, but I made my way, in a very non-linear fashion, through the whole series).  There’s nothing like revisiting familiar stories for relaxing reading, and I find children’s books are particularly good escapism.

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.* Admittedly I can’t remember much detail about this novel, but I recommend it nonetheless! I like a good post-apocalyptic storyline and this one is actually rather charming. The main players are a troupe of travelling performers who put on Shakespeare productions, coming across across the various inhabitants who hare survived a Georgian flu pandemic that devastated the world (the actual logistics of how this spread don’t ring quite true to me but I don’t think that matters much, and of course, I could be wrong!)  I’m now on the look-out for my own copy as it’s definitely one I fancy re-reading in the future.

Cat out of Hell by Lynne Truss. Lynne Truss can write amusingly (I’m particularly fond of the collection of columns and similar short writings Making the Cat Laugh), and the setting on the novel had personal appeal.  But the overall verdict is incredibly disappointing and not worth bothering with.

Upstairs at the Party by Linda Grant.* Another book that I was attracted to by the setting (one of the niggling annoyances with this was that she was unnecessarily coy about naming it) this was really a modern take on the campus novel (it is told as reminiscence, but this to me seems to be the contemporary style). The student protagonists are a largely believable group of moderately exasperating students, though no more so than any group of students. At times intriguing but not especially remarkable.

July books 2

The Great Night by Chris Adrian.* This book has its own picture not because it was notably better or worse than the other books I read, but because it was due back to the library later, and I only just managed to finish it before the end of the month. I can’t quite make up my mind where I stand on this one: I started reading it at the beginning of the month but when I put it aside only a chapter of so in, I found I had no great impetus to pick it up again.  A sort of re-telling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with Oberon, Titania and Puck living in modern-day San Fransisco, it’s definitely one of the oddest books I’ve read in a long time.

*denotes a book borrowed from the library.

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