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Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Year in Books: July





June's been a stop-start month month for reading. I haven't stuck to one book and have ended up flitting between a few. It's not the way I like to read really - I forget who's who, what's been going on, and don't get to be fully immersed in the plot. Must try harder in July.

I started June reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt (yes, she of The Goldfinch fame) which I was enjoying. Took some concentration at times, and had the beginnings of a dark, dark edge (which I think is why I haven't picked it up for a few weeks). One to keep at I think. Perhaps a  book for reading in the daytime, instead of attempting to read a few pages before bed when my brain is zonked and I can't remember what I'd read the previous day...

When needing some light relief from The Secret History, I reached for one of my bargain Persephone books, picked up in a local charity shop for a few quid. Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd was the book of choice (chosen partly as Todd also wrote a childhood favourite of mine; Worzel Gummidge!). The light relief took a while in revealing itself though, as the book starts on a desert island, with Miss Ranskill desperately digging a grave for her shipwreck companion. Miss Ranskill does eventually get to leave the island, and is rescued by a Navy destroyer. She arrives back in Britain in 1943 to a land of make-do-and-mend, simple food and hard work - all of which seems very familiar to her after surviving on the island. What is less familiar are coupons, blackouts and bombs, all of which she faces with much confusion (and amusement for the reader). Satirical, witty and with fascinating insights into the mindset of the wartime population, it was definitely an enjoyable read.

I've recently picked up Longbourn by Jo Baker after my mum passed it on to me. As an Austen fan, it appeals - it tells the story of Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of the servants. I'm only a few chapters in, and laundry and chilblains seem to be key features so far, but I have high hopes.

And as goes the phrase 'good things come to those who wait', I happened upon a hardback copy of Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood which has been on my to-read list since before it was published. Looking forward to getting my teeth into that one over the next few weeks too.

Joining in with Laura's The Year in Books link-up.

What have you read recently?

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