As predicted, the month was totally sucked up by work (enjoyable work, but graft nonetheless). The big bonus was that we saw some great non-fiction authors at the Festival – James Rebanks, Guy Shrubsole, Nick Hayes, Mary Colwell, Dr Waheed Arian and there was also an amazing pop-up bookshop where – of course – we bought tons of books.
There’s always room for reading though and I managed to fit in 5 books – taking my yearly total to 44/80. This means I need to read 36 books in 5 months to hit my target (7-8 per month). Maybe foolishly, I’m feeling confident at this stage as I work fewer days in Autumn/Winter. I also have around 7 audio books lined up, which will fit in well with the long car journeys we’re going to take.
The reading total may have been modest, but the quality was impressive. Aaronovitch delivered yet another pacy installment in the Rivers of London series and the cozy mystery, A Baffling Murder at the Midsummer Ball had the same easy-read style. The Ibbotson was spellbinding – as promised by dozens of bookstagrammers and Sarah Moss’s writing in Summerwater was exemplary. Despite somehow being more than aware of the Nancy Mitford for the last twenty years, the book has evaded me until now (same with the Ibbotson) so it was great to finish two classics in one month.
- Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch (4/5)
- (paid promo) A Baffling Murder at the Midsummer Ball by TE Kinsey (4/5)
- Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson (4.75/5)
- Summerwater by Sarah Moss (4.5/5)
- The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (4.25/5)
Thankfully Al found the reads he’d been hoping for this month. Although the SF was fairly hackneyed, he enjoyed the story. He was so blown away by the Reni Eddo-Lodge that he’s bought a second copy to lend out. I’m planning to read this one next.
- Beowulf’s Children by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes (3.5/5)
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge (5/5)
Little M was back to longer books in July with a re-read of the first Beast Quest and The House of Hoarder Hill. As usual, she gave top marks to both. Spooky is definitely her mood of choice and luckily there’s a whole bunch of creepy middle-grade reads coming out soon.
- Beast Quest #1: Ferno the Fire Dragon by Adam Blade (5/5)
- The House on Hoarder Hill by Kelly Ngai and Mikki Lish (5/5)
Film and TV
There wasn’t a lot of time for TV, but we all enjoyed watching Sweet Tooth on Netflix and have now started on The Mysterious Benedict Society, which should take us nicely into the school holidays. Al watched a lot of films (I can’t keep up) and I managed to squeeze in Yesterday and Us. I really like Jordan Peele’s narrative style, but I preferred Get Out, mainly because it relied more on psychological unease than outright gore.
July is always a whirlwind because I work pretty much every day for Buxton International Festival. It’s like being at one long party without a break – exhilarating and exhausting. I’ve come to accept that I can’t do anything else while it’s on but the high cultural dosage is worth it.
We’re back out on the road in August for a series of short breaks to see family and friends – with some bookish destinations included. Aiming for lots of reading, blogging and photography to spark off new ideas and plans for the rest of the year.
Wishing you a wonderful 31 days of summer!
Mel, Al & Little M