We’re approaching halfway through September and I realised that I hadn’t written my August review! So here it is. It was a really good reading month and even though I had a week off, I didn’t get as much read as I thought that I would. Story of my life.
I read three books about books in August. One is my book of the month, but these two were good too. Dear Reader is Cathy Rentzenbrink’s memoir seen through the books that he has read in different stages of her life. Burning the Book is about those that have chosen to destroy books for all manner of reasons and Richard Ovenden looks at why societies do this.
Elites by Douglas Board is about how you can climb the corporate greasy pole should you wish to do so. Some of this book I liked, but I did have problems with some of the other parts of it.
I think that those that are still stupid enough to think that climate change is a fallacy, must with be in the ay of the old giants or have a cupboard full of tin foil hats. Fire, Storm & Flood is a graphical book about the very visible damage that we have done and are continuing to do to the planet. It is not a good book in lots of ways but it is written with clear and concise aims.
I managed to read three fiction books this month. Wyntertide is the sequel to Rotherweird and is set in the same tiny part of London that is in a very different world to ours. In this book, a long-dead man called Gerald Wynter is playing the long game and the omens are not looking good. Piranesi is two books in one really. To begin with, it starts off as this most fantastical place, an infinite room with ornate and strange statues in each one that is inhabited by one man. He is visited by one other person, who he calls the Other. But someone else is trying to gain entry to this place and it is then that the book changes in tone. It has just won the Women’s Prize too. Weathering is very different to these two, it is about a mother and a daughter who have ended back at the village that the mother grew up in to tidy up and sell her later mothers house. But the presence of her mother is still there in the house and the river nearby.
The three history books that I read in August could not have been any more different. Walking Pepys’s London is exactly what it says it is, a series of trails around Lond following the roads that Pepys would have taken that have been taken from his famous diaries. Cathy Newman was concerned about the lack of female representation in history, so she wrote Bloody Brilliant Women to tell the stories of women who have changed history in significant ways. It is a very good book. No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen is the story of how a group of radical pacifists took possession of 300 acres of land at Fratling in Essex and established a community farm. It is a fascinating book as this is a side of the Second World War that you don’t hear that much about.
Two very different books on nature, in August. This comes from Sam Lee’s perspective as a musician and is a eulogy to the drab bird with the fantastic voice that is the nightingale. The second is a book about the time that nature takes, from the fractions of a second up to the time that is measured in aeons. Well thought through concept for a book.
My poetry book for August was Slate petals. This uses form, structure and layout in a quite unique way. I particularly liked the poems within poems that used subtly different font colours.
Even though I had a week off during August, it was a staycation for a whole variety of reasons that I am not going to go into here. One of the best ways of travelling though is from your armchair at home where I read three more travel books. The first, The Kindness Of Strangers is a compilation of essays by a number of travel writers telling of the time when they have had to rely on or have been helped by people that they had never met before. It is a wonderful collection showing that there is some basic humanity left out there. I have not been to Greece, yet, but Dilys Powell’s book, An Affair Of The Heart, is her love story to the country. My final stop was Mallorca where Anna Nicholas took me to her home and introduced me to her vast menagerie and the characters that make her life fun and full.
My book of the month is the fantastic White Spines by Nicholas Royle. reading this book about his stories of finding the Picador books that he so treasures felt like I had discovered a kindred spirit. If you like books, or reading and collection books then you need to read this
So any of those take your fancy? Or have you read them already?