You can read about why I decided to start doing this here.
* denotes a book that I had already read at least once before
*The Other Boleyn Girl (Philippa Gregory)
*The Boleyn Inheritance (Philippa Gregory)
A Year at the Races (Jane Smiley)
Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)
*Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood)
The Year of the Flood (Margaret Atwood)
Children Learn What They Live: Parenting to Inspire Values (Dorothy Law Nolte and Rachel Harris)
All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)
*The Queen’s Fool (Philippa Gregory)
When I wrote about June’s books, you may remember I had this to say about Philippa Gregory’s works:
And I find that once I start reading Tudor novels I need to read them all again to feel satisfied
Exactly so. I own most of her older ones, which makes it easy for me to pick one up (or two) in a moment where I’m between books from the library, like I was at the start of July. I’ve read them all so frequently it takes me very little time to get through one. I’m not skimming it or speed reading, per se, but I definitely read faster than usual just because the story is so familiar to me. I read another one right at the end of the month (when I once again found myself with a day or two before I could get to my latest bunch of holds at the library).
A Year at the Races and Station Eleven were the two books I brought with me on our annual cottage vacation.
Such is life after children. When we rented a cottage back in 2009 (admittedly for two weeks rather than one), I read around twelve books while we were away. I read so many I couldn’t even keep track of them all.
Back to 2015. I actually thought two was ambitious, but it turned out I could have brought one or two more along with me, because we had grandparents with us at the cottage and this left us with much more free time than would normally be the case. This wouldn’t usually be a problem, because I’m happy to read the books kept at the cottage. One of my favourite things to do at a cottage when we first arrive is find the bookshelf (because there is always a bookshelf) and see what the owners have chosen to leave there. Bonus points if there are field guides (birds, butterflies, plants).
This cottage didn’t have ANY books. And it had a whopping big jet ski parked on a trailer near the driveway.
Not our kind of cottage folk.
But their cottage itself was lovely, and sitting down on the dock reading was glorious, and I really enjoyed A Year at the Races, which is about how Jane Smiley found herself owning and racing Thoroughbreds, and I loved Station Eleven, even if it did weird me out (being set, among other places, in a dystopian near-future Toronto).
Station Eleven has a pandemic at its centre, which reminded me that I never finished Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam trilogy (which also features a dystopian near(ish)-future society after a pandemic). I very much liked how she switched perspectives between Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood so that everything you thought you knew about the world turned out to be otherwise. And then it took a while for my hold on the last part of the trilogy to come in, so I read a couple of other things.
Children Learn What They Live is based around the famous poem written by Nolte (“If children learn with criticism, they learn to condemn”, etc.). Each chapter starts with a line from the poem and explores how to apply it. It’s a decent enough read, but I still like Between Parent and Child and How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk better when it comes to respecting your child through your parenting.
All the Light We Cannot See was the second of three books recommended to me by my sister (who knows I am always looking for something to read- the first was Station Eleven). It’s received a lot of attention. Deservedly so, in my opinion. I had real trouble putting it down once I started reading it.