The Reading of Books: Looking Back at May and June

I can’t quite believe that we’re half way through the year, but I know that we are.

The sun is shining, the town in full of tourists, and it’s almost time for bed but it’s still light outside.

It’s time to think about this years sixes.

It’s time to pick up my first book for Paris in July.

But I should look back first; and, because I was distracted at the end of last month, I have two months of books to consider.

These were some of my favourites:


And there were other books that I loved. Enough that I’d find it easier to pull a few weaker books from that bottom of the heap found it pulling a few favourites from the top.

So I’ll do is make a few little lists.

I won’t ramble, because I’ve had two good reading months and there are rather a lot of books to go on those lists.

I’ll just say – here they are!

Two very different pieces of narrative non fiction:

Becoming Queen by Kate Williams
This House of Grief by Helen Garner

The first fiction published by one of my most beloved authors:

Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot

Three lovely Victorian novels:

 The Romance of a Shop by Amy Levy
Policy and Passion by Rosa Praed
The Vicar of Bullhampton by Anthony Trollope

Two contemporary stories of mystery and suspense that didn’t work for me:

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish
Disclaimer by Renee Knight

A not as good as her others – but by no means bad – book by a writer of traditional mysteries:

Lonesome Road by Patricia Wentworth

An excellent edition to one of my favourite contemporary crime series:

River of Souls by Kate Rhodes

Two very different books that I’d read before, and were just as good as I remembered:

Cashelmara by Susan Howatch
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Four fine novels by 20th century authors:

The Far Cry by Emma Smith
Modesta by G B Stern
The Meeting Place by Mary Hocking
Vain Shadow by Jane Hervey

Two promising first novels:

Clay by Melissa Harrison
The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

One wonderful one-off:

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild

Two very good contemporary novels:

Flight by Isabel Ashdown
The Red Notebook by Antoine Lauraine

And one shiny new gem:

The Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull

* * * * * * * * *

Now tell me – how has your reading been? – what do you have planned?

6 responses

  1. Thanks for reminding me of Cashelmara, which I had waiting in the wings (patiently, as books do) until the perfect moment– which is now! Already started it. As always, your reading lists spark such fruitful interest. 🙂

  2. Lovely books there you had two great months it seems to me. I had quite a good month too in June although overall I am reading much slower or less than previous years and that is bothering me a bit. But the actual books are great.

  3. Looks like you’ve had two very good months, and I like the way you’ve categorised your reading. Glad to hear The House of Mirth lived to expectations second time around. Lily Bart would rank among my favourite characters in literature.

  4. Funnily enough Jane, I’m already thinking about my ‘books of the year’ (how sad is that! Perhaps because June saw me read/or still be reading no less than 3 corkers – one is your ‘shiny new- – Rebecca Mascull, the other is an ARC, not yet published here Sean Michael’s Us Conductors, and the third, which I’m still being punched, flattened and from time to time broken by its beauty – The Grapes of Wrath. June was an exceptional month!

  5. What a great set of lists! This is the Year of Trollope for me, and now I’ve rediscovered Arnold Bennett, too. So a backwards looking year in some respects, and reading longer and more involved books does slow me down – but so enjoyable!

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