WHAT I READ IN JULY

July was a really fun month for reading, mainly because I decided to allow myself the treat of scrapping my TBR for a month and buying all new books. Some of the books which I have on my To Read list have been gathering dust on my shelves for so long that looking at their spines has become a bit uninteresting, and sometimes even quite daunting. Of course they're all on my TBR for a reason and I know each is going to be a glorious story, but I need to take a break and stop forcing myself into reading them in order. So this month really was an enjoyable one for literature. I picked up some books which I'd never heard of before purely because the title sounded intriguing and also purchased a few which have had glowing reviews over recent years but have never made their way onto my TBR. So, in order, here is what I read in July.


Everything, Everything - Nicola Yoon
The first book I read this month was Everything, Everything. I've heard many (mixed) reviews of it since the news came out that it was being turned into a film, so I was curious to see what it was like. The story is sweet but it didn't really have me gripped. It's about a young girl who has a condition which means that she is allergic to pretty much everything beyond her front door. For this reason, she's not able to leave her house, however this doesn't stop her from falling in love with the boy next door. I found this book tolerable. It really pains me to write bad reviews, but Everything, Everything just didn't grip me at all. I wasn't a fan of the format of the story, the pacing or the language. The main characters didn't really resonate with me either. Maybe I was just not the right audience for the book or it was intended for younger YA readers, but Everything, Everything just wasn't for me.


The Little Paris Bookshop - Nina George
I picked up The Little Paris Bookshop to read this month as I wanted a light and sunny read for my trip to the South of France and this one seemed to fit the theme pretty well. The novel is about a Parisian man who is tired of life and broken by love, who decides to retire from his repetitive life and sail through the South of France on a boat which also doubles up as a bookshop, or as he coins it, his Literary Apothecary. From this boat, he prescribes people with literature that will mend their ailments (which I recently did myself, in an inspired blog post here!) whilst travelling and finding his lost self. I loved this book and found it the perfect light and airy holiday read. The language used throughout is beautiful and the way that it speaks about life and finding happiness was really special. It lifted my spirits and made me feel happy and forgiven, and I think that's all that you need from a summery read.



The Power - Naomi Alderman
I doubt I'm the only person who impulse bought this book on their way to the tills in Waterstones this month. I managed to resist it the first few times that I was in store, but eventually I let desire take over and had to pick up a copy. The Power won the 2017 Baileys Women's prize for fiction and after reading it, I can completely see why. This book is the most intelligent one which I've read all year. The Power is set in a world where women everywhere start waking a mysterious power in their own bodies which allows them to shock, hurt or even kill others through an electric pulse which they can summon. Suddenly, women aren't afraid of men anymore and start to take control, and the power levels in society are instantly flipped. Men are scared and women are in control. This book was dark and uncomfortable, but at the same time it holds up a mirror to modern society. It comments on gender inequality between men and women, but hides it behind the guise of a dystopian future. This book made me angry and scared and confused, but it also made me desperate for change.


Hot Milk - Deborah Levy
Hot Milk is probably the smallest volume I've read this year. It's a really short book (I managed to read it in just a couple of train journeys) but it really packs a lot in. One thing I will say of this book is that the blurb actually does the story no justice at all. I picked it up expecting it to be a much lighter and different story to what it actually turned out to be. I was expecting a short but sweet summer read, but what I got was so much more. Hot Milk tells the story of a slightly lost twenty-something, Sofia, who is temporarily living in Spain with her mother, Rose, who suffers from a mystery paralysis that confines her to a wheelchair. The book follows the story of the two of them as they embark on finding a cure for Rose, while Sofia also tries to find herself. The story is quite strange and slightly random, but also quite lovely. It feels sun soaked and friendly and caring, and I enjoyed every page.



The Lesser Bohemians - Eimear McBride

Okay, okay okay. I've saved the best until last here. Because honestly, this book is all that I can think about. I need more than a paragraph to gush about how wonderfully immersive and gripping I found The Lesser Bohemians to be. I need to shout and scream about how much I loved this book, but instead I've kind of just been sitting around thinking about it every minute of the day and getting teary eyed at random moments just playing out the story in my head. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time a book had me like this one has.

When I first started reading The Lesser Bohemians, I wasn't gripped at all. The prose is written in a really obtrusive way which I found to get in the way of the actual story a little. I felt like it was stopping the story from washing over me with little effort required, the way that prose in fiction books usually does. It's written in a stream of consciousness fashion - with sentences that stop and start abruptly, little punctuation and few character names except 'her' and 'him'. Because of this, when I started reading the sentences didn't really make sense to me and I felt like I didn't know the characters that well and had no idea what was going on in the story. At about 50 pages in, I was considering giving up with the book, but I decided to persist for just a little while longer.

And I'm. so. glad. I. did.

Suddenly it just clicked for me. The prose and the characters suddenly became a little more familiar and I managed to sink under the sing-song nature of this book and allow it to wash over me. All at once, it was like reading poetry. Every page made my heart hurt. Usually I can't really tolerate romance novels, but this one suddenly had me caught.

The Lesser Bohemians tells the story of an 18 year old Irish girl who goes to London to become an actress. While there, she falls in love with a man double her age and their relationship, in all of its rocketing highs and gruesome lows, becomes the subject of the story. I was so invested in their love story. I honestly can't remember ever feeling this way about two fictional characters in a novel. I can't explain how this book and the story of these two people made me feel and made my heart swell. I'm not sure if the book has this effect on everyone, or if it just hit a nerve with me and became something else. But I knew while I was reading it that I'd found my book. The book that I'm going to continue to come back to forever and ever, just to re-read passages over and over and feel that heart swell again and again.

I will say that The Lesser Bohemians should probably come with an 18+ warning on it. Because there's a lot of quite mature content and themes which run through out (as well as a hell of a lot of sex scenes). But please, please, please read this book. I hope you love it as much as I have.

3 comments :

  1. I keep hearing about the Little Paris Bookshop and I keep thinking about reading it and then it never quite makes it to my TBR... and The Lesser Bohemians sounds AMAZING.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both are such lovely books, I definitely recommend!

      Delete
  2. Well you've successfully made me throw out my current list and place a big Amazon order...
    I don't get enough time for reading but I'm going to make more of an effort to switch off and read once my baby is in bed :)
    Gorgeous post and beautiful photography
    Hels xxx

    ReplyDelete