What I've Read in July

There isn't much I enjoy about my commute. Standing for 3 hours (that is not a typo) a day as my train flies through the south west London landscape. Knowing, at least 3 days a week one of my trains will be delayed. Sometimes not even making it onto a train because there's only so many bodies which can fit on a carriage. BUT there is one fantastic aspect of my commute, and that, is the 3 hours a day I dedicate to reading (and... sometimes doing my make up). This month, I've read 6 books and listened to the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince audio book on the days when maneuvering a book between sweaty bodies just isn't possible. 

In light of this, I thought I'd give you the DL on the books I've read this month: 

Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult
The two books by Jodi Picoult on my list are no mere coincidence. Picoult is, without a doubt my favourite author, and Leaving Time was not a disappointment in any way. It's a mystery with a sixth-sense style twist at the end, and it literally kept me hooked. I read during my lunch breaks, when I came home from work, I just couldn't keep my hands off it. It follows Jenna Metcalfe, a 13 year old searching for her mother who enlists the help of a psychic and the ex-detective from her mother's missing persons case. One of the reasons I love Picoult's books, is the attention to character detail, with many of her main characters having a quirk, speciality or fixation which educates you as you read the book. This book, revolved around elephants (which also happen to be my favourite animal), and the flood of information I received on my favourite creature absolutely warmed my heart and taught me SO much about elephants I had absolutely no idea about. It was a 10/10 read. 

The Beekeeper's Daughter, Santa Montefiore
I picked up The Beekeeper's Daughter a year ago, when I worked in France, and I just never managed to get into it properly. But there's no excuse when you're commuting, and finally I managed to get involved a bit more with the book. It was a classic love story which floated between eras and revolved around quite a lot of adultery (which I wasn't really feeling tbh). I always plough through and finish books, but to be honest, this was not the one for me. The characters threw the word 'love' around a lot, and it was a little bit smutty. If you're looking for a holiday read, this might be for you, but it wasn't for me. 

Second Glance, Jodi Picoult
Second Glance has honestly been sat on my bookshelf at home for years. I think my mum may have got it before I even knew who Jodi Picoult was (and became obsessed with her - woops). Second Glance wasn't one of my favourite Picoult books, as I felt there were so many characters involved I lost track of who was who a lot. By the end of the book, I'd found my footing and recognised each character by their name, but by then it was too late. The premise of the book was excellent though, based on the supernatural, and how the past will come back to haunt you. Although I enjoyed it, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to a first-time reader of one of her books, as it doesn't do her writing justice at all.

Fierce Kingdom, Gin Phillips (great name)
The wonderful Ryan, who has been featured in a number of my recent blog posts, recently interned at Penguin Random House (the DREAM, I know). And was basically presented his run of whichever books he wanted. This book was absolutely raved about, so he lent it to me to read after him, and to be honest, our feelings were much the same. Fierce Kingdom is set over about 2 hours, and each chapter is a time within those two hours. In the first few 'minutes' Joan and her son are finishing up a day at the zoo, but as she approaches the exit, she sees bodies, and a man with a gun. Because of the books premise, I have to admit, I could not put it down. But, at the end, I felt a bit flat. I didn't expect gore or horror, but, to be honest, not much happens. It's probably an accurate portrayal of what would happen if you really were in this situation, but doesn't necessarily do the storyline justice for a book. 

My Not-So Perfect Life, Sophie Kinsella
Sophie Kinsella is a bit of a queen isn't she? Yes, it's a holiday-read, but there is such an art to that, I still loved every second. Maybe it's because I HUGELY resonated with the main character Katie, (a west country girl who moves to London into a low-paying job and uses social media as an escape - say what?), but also because, to be honest, it just makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It's funny, relatable and makes you feel sorry for her God-awful boss, so really, it's a work of art. 

(Audible) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K Rowling read by Stephen Fry
If you didn't know, I'm a serial Harry-Potter-listener. For the last two years, I've pretty much always had one on the go (in order of course). When I  used to go long distance running, I would find after the first half-hour, listening to an audio book was more bearable than listening to music continuously. When I went through a phase of waking up from panic attacks, they stopped when I started listening to the audio books before I went to sleep. I've tried other audio books, but to be honest, nobody reads a book like Stephen Fry. And by the time I've finished book 7, it's been six months since I started them, so I feel like I can go back to book 1. If you haven't ever experienced audible, I'd highly recommend it. 

Swing Time, Zadie Smith
I feel like this book is EVERYWHERE. And to be honest, for good reason. Zadie Smith has written a modern classic, about two girls growing up on the wrong side of town. Starting in the modern day before going back to the roots of the main narrator, who remains unnamed throughout. Following the relationship between herself and the tortured, talented Tracey, it follows the narrators journey out of the dodgy back streets of London into the global spotlight and then back again. It's a humbling, moving read with irrevocable themes which will be reverberating through you as you go about your daily life, and it is excellent. 

Please do let me know if you enjoy this style of blog post. I've never really done it before, but if you enjoy it and it goes down a treat, I might make it a regular monthly addition! 

Love, A x