My reading in June has been up and down but has ended on a definite high and I’ve read some books I have really enjoyed in the last few weeks.
I started at the same keen pace I’ve been reading the last few months with Dawn O’Porter’s Paper Aeroplanes, an easy-to-read and absorbing young adult novel about the struggles of adolescence and the joys of friendship. Set on Guernsey in the 1990s, it is inspired by the author’s own childhood there, and is a very honest portrayal of the universal ups and downs of teenage years that will resonate with so many – daring to cover many topics that are often more likely to be glossed over but that ring painfully true, and doing so with a comforting warmth. I really enjoyed the story and the characters’ vulnerability as they wrestled with friendships, family relationships and all that growing up entails in such a disarmingly relatable way.
My next read saw me returning to Judith Kerr’s semi-autobiographical trilogy Out of the Hitler Time for the final instalment, A Small Person Far Away, having read the first two last month. Set some eleven years after the end of the war, and finding Anna visiting Berlin for the first time since fleeing it as a child – with a huge weight of family illness and strain on her shoulders as she did so, her mother’s ailing health bringing her there – this was a less uplifting close to the story than might be expected, but a moving and thought-provoking one, and I felt for Anna in these new unknown years just as in all the others she had weathered.
The Second Baby Book is not one I read in its entirety this month but have been on and off over the last few months. I always enjoy Sarah Ockwell-Smith’s insight into parenting and family life and this book in particular’s unique focus sets it apart. So many books talk of every aspect of how to prepare for a new baby but so few cover the shift in dynamic of a second or more for the new arrival, their siblings and the whole family; and this book has been so very helpful as we’ve moved into life as a family of four. The description of “beautiful chaos” is one I particularly loved:
Read in snatched moments between the busyness and craziness here, as we’ve adapted to our own beautiful chaos, I really enjoyed the comfort and reassurance of this book discussing such a universal experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone expanding their family and settling to what may be different to the first time around but ultimately feels absolutely right for everyone in the new little unit.
My reading had hit a bit of a rut this month – after the first two books I’d read quickly very early in the month, I had couple of weeks just dabbling in re-reading chapters, picking up novels and not getting into them and never finding the time to read.. But then along came Bernardine Everisto’s Girl, Woman, Other, our book club pick for this month and a truly wonderful book – incredibly written and genuinely unputdownable. I’ve devoured this in the last couple of days, falling asleep with my Kindle in my hand desperate to read just a little more and snatching another chapter on my phone throughout the day whenever I could. Told from 12 different perspectives, the interweaving stories in this book are so important – raising issues of race, gender and prejudice in all its forms eloquently and thought-provokingly. I am so looking forward to our book club discussions on it, as this book was eye-opening, enlightening and compelling, one I know I will remember for a long time to come.
Going into July, and into our two-week summer holiday (of course not away anywhere but determined to fill it with all the usual holiday-ish things all the same, reading included!) I feel right back into the swing of reading and so looking forward to choosing my next book.
Hope you are all well. Would love to hear any thoughts on any of these and chat about them if anyone’s read too! Have a good week. X