This is a selection of my best reads for this month. It was an excellent month of reading, and I will be reading more of the books by these same authors as they were all very strong, enjoyable and some of them quite a challenging read.
The Maytrees, Annie Dilliard.
I’ve run across Dillard’s name or books referenced in a lot of my reading of late, so I got this from the library. It is not a book to be read in bite sized chunks, it needs substation portions of time to get to grips with its style. There isn’t any dialogue, which I actually quite like and the use of language can be quite dense at times, but this makes it a beautiful read. As does the subject matter, of love, life and death, which is quite a lot to take on in a slim novel. I will look out more of her books and probably revisit this one as I think it will greatly benefit from a second reading.
Oliver Sacks. On the move.
This book was on BrainPickings 2015 top reading list and I can see why. And oh dear – just like a lot of the books I have read of late it has spawned a vast number of entries in my ’to be read’ list. I loved reading about this man’s life and found his cross of science, care of patience and outright recklessness of his youth to be an engaging and enjoyable read. It made me long for my motorbike again, which is never a particularly good thing.
The Graveyard book. Neil Gaiman
Gaiman is possibly my favourite living author, in fact I have his picture and a quote above my laptop, and he narrates this audiobook. He is an extremely good narrator and speaker, as well as writer. This book is actually a children’s book, but don’t let that put you off. This book is based on Bod, a boy who grows up in a graveyard. Yes, a somewhat unusual topic, but done so brilliantly with Gaiman’s usual style of fantasy that in his hands doesn’t seem fantastic, but totally plausible. It is my dream to be able to write like Gaiman…
I really enjoyed this book – I listened to it as an audiobook. Since I’ve become gluten and dairy free, I have become so much more aware of the sensitivities of my body, changing my diet has meant a big reduction in pain and fatigue – a huge reduction in fact. This book makes it really apparent how under researched the gut really is and how much it can affect our lives.
Essentially we really should listen to our ‘gut feelings’ as it is beginning to look like we essentially have a second brain in our stomach. Not literally, but the gut can have that much influence over our lives.
I have made a few changes as a direct result of this book – plastic chopping board for meat, clean tea towels and dishcloths every day etc. I have always been scrupulous about washing my hand after handling raw meat and eggs, but it is always good to get a reminder.
I loved the authors light-hearted way of talking about this serious topic and it managed to balance hard-core science facts while remaining accessible and interesting. I wish there were more such books about other topics on the body.
How to paint a dead man. Sarah Hall.
I actually chose this off the library shelves, which is unusual for me, I normal get books on recommendations, but I was drawn by the title. This was nonlinear and following the lives of several people at once. I loved the different styles of writing for each of the different characters, with different narrative techniques and language. Another book which was devoured very quickly.
Wildflower. Drew Barrymore.
This book was so much fun and light-hearted. Drew writes in a way that makes you feel like she is with you telling you the stories of her life. There is no sense of pomposity or negativity at all. There are lots of ‘so’, ‘really’ and multiple !!!! and ???? throughout, giving it a really enjoyable air!
Rumi, Lion of the heart. Translated by Coleman Barks.
I’ve seen snippets of Rumi’s poetry across the internet, normally superimposed on a pretty scene, but I hadn’t actually read any of his poems. This little edition is a beautiful collection and I savoured it over a couple of weeks (unusual for me). However, the layout was atrocious, but the commentary is excellent and the translation seems to be a good one (as far as I can tell, not actually being able to speak Persian).
Angela Carter, The bloody chamber
I have read a lot of Angela Carter, but surprisingly not this version. As usual it is fantastic, dark and twisted. Right up my street.
The Lie Tree. Francis Hardinge
Winner of the Costa book award in 2015, this was a fantastic YA read, with a strong female lead, who wants to be a natural scientist in an [alternative] Victorian England. It focuses on evolution, especially linked to religion and the threat it poses to established doctrine. The story is fast paced and deeply enjoyable and I really didn’t foresee how the book would end.
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