It’s time for me to do mini-reviews of all the books I’ve read over the last three months! You can read my January-March wrap-up here, and my April-June wrap-up here. My reading definitely slowed down over the summer, owing to writing the bulk of my dissertation during July and August, so the only reason I’ve actually been able to keep on track with my goal of reading 50 books this year is because I read a lot of comics/graphic novels over the last few months.
I started the last post by discussing the books that I said I was currently reading in the last one, and yes, I’m still not finished with either The Lies of Locke Lamora or House of Leaves. I’ve only recently picked up The Lies of Locke Lamora again, and I am really enjoying it, it’s just that I’ve been getting distracted by wanting to read other things. Hopefully I’ll definitely get around to finishing House of Leaves this month, as it’s on my TBR for Lauren’s Halloween Read-a-thon.
Now onto the few books I have read!
The first book I read in July was Undying: A Love Story, which is a poetry collection by Michel Faber. I haven’t read any of Michel Faber’s novels (they seem quite daunting to me, even though all of them sound incredibly interesting). The poetry collection is centred around the death of his wife, Eva, who died of cancer. I’m typically not a huge poetry reader, but it’s definitely something I want to get more into, but it means that I find it a little difficult to rate poetry collections. I’m still torn between giving this one 3.5 stars or 4 stars, I know that’s only half a star, so it’s a little silly. Generally speaking, a lot of it wasn’t the kind of poetry I usually like. However, they were still incredibly emotional, and for the most part, incredibly angry. The poems are spilt into two parts, before Eva died and after, and you can feel her absence in some of the later poems. My personal favourites were ‘Contraindications’, ‘Refractory’, and ‘Don’t Hesitate To Ask’. I’d recommend picking it up if it sounds like it it’ll interest you, and it’s probably very good for people who don’t usually read poetry.
I then picked up Saga: Volume Six. I know that for some people the last few issues have been a little messy, or not up to the same standard as the first few volumes, but I’m still really enjoying this series. At times I do wish there was more of a focus on one group of characters, as it does jump around a lot, meaning that occasionally some plotlines or characters don’t feel as developed as they should be. Regardless, I gave this volume 5 stars.
I started reading some Deadpool comics, more or less on a whim. I decided to start with the Marvel NOW! series, given that a lot of people said that this was a good place to go after seeing the film. I know the general consensus is that Cable & Deadpool is the better series, but I don’t mind admitting that my knowledge of the X-Men is pretty terrible, so I was a little intimidated by it. So far I’m enjoying it. I’ve read the first four volumes; Dead Presidents, Soul Hunter, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and Deadpool vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. So far my favourites are the second and third volumes. I found the second volume to be the funniest, but I liked the development in the third volume. From reading reviews I gather that some people generally aren’t fans of Deadpool angst, but given that I’m new to the character/comic books, I don’t mind it at all. The benefit of this is that I’m very interested in reading more Marvel
comics, so if you’ve any recommendations of where to go next I’d love to hear them!
I bought and read Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark, when Canongate lowered the price to 95p on Kindle for a limited time. They did this in response to the EU referendum, the result of which, as I’m sure you’ve seen, plunged a lot of people on the left into angry despair. Hope in the Dark primarily deals with the Bush administration, as it was first published in 2004. As such, some of it went over my head, but I didn’t really mind. I feel like this is a book I’ll revisit time and time again. It’s an excellent read if you’re feeling a little burned out on politics, and are wondering how to stay motivated. I gave it 4 stars.
I also read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in its entirety on the day it came out. I should have a review up for this fairly soon. To be honest, my feelings about this play/script are still very mixed, so it’s been hard to write anything coherent about it. I ended up giving it 3.5 stars. Which is probably the most indecisive rating in the world!
I read Summer Days and Summer Nights, a short story collection edited by Stephanie Perkins. I gave this 3 stars overall. Some of the short stories I really liked, while others were kind of forgettable. I picked this up because I wanted something light and fun to read amidst Dissertation Hell. It certainly gave me a little pick me up, but I don’t think I liked it as much as her other collection, My True Love Gave to Me, which might just be down to me preferring winter over summer more generally. My favourites from the collection were Leigh Bardugo’s ‘Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail’, I thought her writing was wonderful, and it reminded me how much I want to read Six of Crows. I loved ‘Souvenirs’ by Tim Federle, because it was such a bittersweet story that I really wasn’t expecting. ‘Sick Pleasure’ by Francesca Lia Block also took me by surprise. Overall, it’s definitely worth the read if you’re into YA contemporary!
I finished Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, which I started reading thinking it would be a good book for my dissertation, but I later decided against using it. I figured I’d finish it up anyway because I’d been meaning to for a long time, and ultimately I gave it 3 stars. I really enjoyed Anne Rice’s writing, and for the most part I really enjoyed the book. However, some parts really dragged for me, and as much as I found Louis interesting, I also found him incredibly annoying. It was really interesting reading what’s basically the origin of the romantic vampire, but on the whole, I prefer my vampires to have basically abandoned their humanity, so Louis’ constant battle with his didn’t really do much for me. I know that this is kind of a series, but I’m not sure whether I’ll continue with it or not. I suppose I’ll have to see if I miss any of the characters!
Finally, I was approved for Holding by Graham Norton, which I requested on NetGalley and was very surprised to receive! I love Graham Norton, so I was really interested to read his book, and I was not disappointed. It’s a really cosy mystery with a great set of characters. You can read my full review of this book here.
So those are all the books I read between July and September! As you can see, if it weren’t for comic books, there’s no way I’d still be on track for my reading goal. As I was writing my dissertation, reading felt a little too close to working, so I mostly just watched Gilmore Girls in my free time. I also watched and practically rewatched Stranger Things, though it was a little odd watching a show that was so close in subject to that of my dissertation! Now I’m completely free of university related responsibility, and have taken a well-deserved break from reading, I’m managing to stay on track with my reading goals. This is mostly due to the fact that I went on holiday and read four books while I was away. Including those, I’ve read 42 books so far this year, so I’m probably going to surpass my 50 book goal.
I’d love to know what you thought of these books if you’ve read any! 🙂