Summer Reads

Image from http://mydistance-learning-college.com/
Image from http://mydistance-learning-college.com/

I read a great post on The Pool yesterday, discussing why beach reads don’t have to be fluffy nonsense and can/should be challenging books. This echoes my sentiments exactly. When I am on holiday I typically have more time to read and less distractions (although it’s not the same with a toddler), and I have always tended to favour more serious and ‘depressing’ books while I am by the pool, as I can cope with sad books better when I can go for a swim in the pool if it all gets too much! Having said that, ‘light’ fiction also has it’s place and can be a perfect antidote to another war novel. So, without further ado, here is what I have been reading this summer:

How to Build a Woman by Caitlin Moran: I have heard Moran’s name mentioned a lot recently, but have never read anything by her. This book was part memoir and part ‘rant’, but made me reconsider some of my views on feminism and laugh/cringe in equal measure. I really enjoyed this.

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld: I for once chose a book by its cover, as my son fell asleep while we were out and I made a quick decision in a second-hand bookshop so that I’d have something to read over lunch (though of course he woke up as soon as I opened it). This was an unusual book about a woman who owned a sheep farm and the dark secret from her past which is slowly revealed through the novel. I found that Wyld created suspense wonderfully and I raced to find out what the secret was. As the novel progressed I found myself becoming impatient with the story of Jake’s present, and felt it slowed the narrative down a little, but I would still highly recommend this to some one who is looking for something a little different and dark.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler: I love Anne Tyler and was looking forward to reading her latest novel. I had the perfect opportunity when visiting my parents, as I got this book for my mum for her birthday. She was the one who introduced me to Tyler about seven years ago, and since then I have read quite a few of her books. I had read a few reviews which said that this was similar to other things she has written, but I didn’t find this the case (apart from the setting in Baltimore and the focus on the relationships within a family), and I enjoyed this one very much. Tyler has a way of getting inside her characters and making observations about them which are so true, such as the feeling you get when you look at the stem of a young child’s neck (my favourite part of my own son). I won’t spoil it, you must read it to find out the rest!

All Quiet on the Western Front by E.M. Remarque: This is one of my Classics Club titles so I will review it fully later…

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion: This is the sequel to The Rosie Project which I read a few years ago and really enjoyed. I was in need of something light after reading All Quiet on the Western Front, and this fit the bill. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the first one – it was a bit too far-fetched to suspend disbelief and somehow didn’t have the same magic or humour as The Rosie Project. But I enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first, and it was a much needed antidote to the horrors of the war which had been getting me down.

Sadly, that’s all I managed in my six week break – gone are the days of lazing around and reading with nothing else to do! I am thankful to have discovered some great books though, especially one or two that I hadn’t planned on reading.

What have you been reading over the summer? Do you prefer light and easy reads on the beach or something heavier?

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