A really great idea I had was to write my monthly round-ups as I go along, so I’m not faced with the task of summing up 30+ books all in one go on the 30th. Sadly, this month I forgot my own brilliant idea, so was faced with the task of summing up 30+ books all in one go on the 30th. The Goodreads challenge total currently sits at 229/200.
- Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy
I really liked this collection. I especially enjoyed reading it while sitting on the floor of the school library getting weird looks from students.
- Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green
This amused me a lot. Although I’m not entirely sure all the representation is entirely PC, it’s got a lot of Adrian Mole about it and that’s obviously a good thing.
- We Shall Not All Sleep by Estep Nagy
Interesting novel about two connected families who both have homes on a secluded, private island.
- A Change is Gonna Come by various authors
There are some really good stories in here, especially Phoebe Roy’s and Patrice Lawrence’s. Overall, it’s an excellent collection.
- Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
I am usually far too snooty to read anything that has sold this many copies, but one of my students is writing about it for her coursework so I had to. It annoyed me a lot, then the last few chapters nearly gave me a breakdown.
- Restless Continent by Michael Wesley
Don’t tell me you too don’t sit around reading books about the geopolitics of Asia.
- Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
LOVED this. Life-affirming, witty, real feminism for teenagers, filtered through a prism of Riot Grrrl and zine culture. It is all the things.
- Borne by Jeff Vandermeer
Wild, crazy speculative sci-fi from the author of the Southern Reach trilogy. It’s brilliant. Review here.
- Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel
This was a disappointment and I will now be avoiding all YA books in what I am referring to as the Dead Sibling genre.
- The Establishment (and How They Get Away With It) by Owen Jones
As a champagne socialist myself, much of this was essential reading. Some of it was slightly ranty, obviously.
- The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Verse novel about basketball-playing twin brothers. I liked it.
- Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence
From the author of Orangeboy, a novel about a girl in care who witnessed the murder of her mother by her father as a small child. Overall it’s less bleak than that makes it sound.
- Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Another brilliant July read; I am basically always here for dysfunctional families and this delivered that in spades.
- Negroland by Margo Jefferson
I really liked the style of this autobiographical reflection on being black and middle-class. Jefferson’s perspective is very interesting.
- Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
More YA circus fun. Loads of craziness. I enjoyed it a lot.
- How Much the Heart Can Hold by various authors
Pretentious-sounding but pretty good collection of stories, each inspired by a different kind of love, with fancy Greek terms.
- The Ones That Disappeared by Zana Fraillon
Initially intriguing but ultimately messy take on modern slavery and people trafficking. Review here.
- Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda and the War on Terror by Helen Epstein
Fascinating study of Ugandan politics and US involvement in the region. Quite shocking, very well-explained.
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Possibly the millionth time I’ve read this book, and doesn’t diminish with each reading.
- The Agony of Bun O’Keefe by Heather Smith
Odd little YA about a girl who runs away from her hoarder mother and finds a motley crew of 20-somethings who take her in. It’s good, but peculiar.
- Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I finally read it! I’ve been saving this for my holiday and it was worth it. A brilliant book, as expected. She’s a genius.
- Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls
Fascinating and well-executed historical YA about Suffragettes.
- Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys by Viv Albertine
Excellent memoir from the Slits’ guitarist, with great punk anecdotes.
- The Ascendance of Harley Quinn, ed. by Shelley Barba
Excellent collection of academic essays about my favourite comic book character.
- Gravel Heart by Abdulrazak Gurnah
Slightly underwhelming story of a boy from Zanzibar and his family saga.
- How to Be Human by Paula Cocozza
Incredibly weird book about a woman who gets romantically obsessed with a fox.
- The History of Bees by Maja Lunde
Really compelling vision of a future without bees. An excellent surprise.
- My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
Maybe the most disturbing book I’ve read this year; warped father/daughter relationship, abuse, strange survival skills. It’s excellent, but kind of horrifying.
- Because You Love to Hate Me, ed. by Ameriie
Good short stories based on villains, with unnecessary commentary from BookTubers.
- Kompromat by Stanley Johnson
Reasonably silly satire of 2016’s crazy political events. Dizzying array of characters, amusing caricatures.
- The Book of Etta by Meg Elison
Sequel to The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, continuing the scary post-apocalyptic scenario in which most women have died or will because of a childbirth-related illness.
- The Glow of Fallen Stars by Kate Ling
Sequel to The Loneliness of Distant Beings, which I loved. This one’s good too, following Seren and Dom as they try to start a new life on a strange planet.
- The Village by Nikita Lalwani
Really disappointing in spite of an intriguing premise (an open prison in India inhabited by murderers and their families, which becomes the subject of a BBC documentary). An annoying book to end the month!