June 2021 Review

I almost can’t believe that we are halfway through the year already. First a few mid-year stats. I have now read 99 books and 26274 pages, or pretty much double what I had read by the end of March. Sixty-four of the authors were male and the remaining thirty-five were female (35%). I have read 52 review books, 27 library books and 20 of my own. I have read books from 59 different publishers so far.

The top five publishers are:

Eland – 5 books

Picador – 5 books

Faber & Faber – 5 books

William Collins – 5 books

Bloomsbury – 4 books


My top five genres are:

Travel – 17 books

Natural History – 15 books

Fiction – 14 books

Poetry – 11 books

Miscellaneous – 5 books

So on to the books that I read in June. I read four fiction books during the month. Trimming England by M.J. Nicholls is a comedic story about a future English Prime Minister who decides to rid each count of its most annoying citizen and send them to Jersey. There were some amusing parts, but it wasn’t really for me. The Others is a completely different book, set in the modern-day, it is about an author who finds a set of notes about the Carlist Wars in the mid-1830s and the story of a Prussian Gentleman who arrived in the region to fight. Not a bad book overall. The Lip is Charlie Carroll’s first fiction book. This story is about a girl who lives in Cornwall and who objects to the way the people who can afford second homes are pricing the locals out of the neighbourhood. I liked it and the way it tries to deal with mental health and many other factors. My fourth book is one of my books of the month, which is at the bottom of this post




I read three books that had a food theme, one of which made it to my books of the month too. These two could not be more different though, the first is all about the wonderful drink that is cider. There is not a lot of detail in here, but it is a good introduction though. Pete Brown writes some really good books on food and drink and this is his selection of the meals that make Britain. Some of the foods he picks would have made my list but some won’t have…



I read two books that had a musical theme, the first Lev’s Violin is the story of Helena Attlee being captivated after hearing a violin play and sifting through history to find out more about the instrument. When Quiet Was the New Loud is a book about the music that Tom Clayton listened to during the late 1990s and early 2000s. I must admit that the music is not really my sort of thing, so much so that I had barely heard of some of the bands he talks about. That said I really enjoyed the book, he has a way with words that makes it worthwhile reading



The Odditorium does exactly what it says on the cover; namely tells you about all the people who have done something significant but slighting unusual in their lives. Interesting and light-hearted reading.

I read two natural history books this month and both had the same story to tell about how interlinked the natural world is, but from very different perspectives. I can recommend both



The two science books I read both were about the nuclear industry. The first is about the creation of the superheavy elements that were originally needed by the scientists and engineers who were making nuclear reactors. The second is about the mess that we have left in the relentless pursuit of this nuclear goal.



I have only reading Wilding before by Isabella Tree, so was looking forward to her book on Nepal. This is part travel and part history about the Living Goddesses who are still revered in Nepal. Whilst context is needed, I felt this was much heavier on the history and rituals behind the position rather than her travels in the country learning about them.


An so onto my books of the month. First up is the wonderful Summer in the Islands, an account of the time that Matthew Fort spent travelling around Italy on his Vespa eating lots of lovely food. This will make you hungry! Next is The Heeding, an artistic and poetic response by Rob Cowen & Nick Hayes to the lockdowns that we had to go through with the pandemic. Finally is the beautifully written Fox Fires, about a girl who is looking for her father in the dystopian city of O.


Have you read any of these? Are there any that you now want to read? Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. Liz Dexter

    What a great and varied reading list for June! I haven’t read any of these, I’d be interested in Isabella Tree’s one, I think. My top publishers so far are Vintage, Dean Street Press, Persephone and Penguin – Vintage is skewed by my Anne Tyler project, though!

    • Paul

      Thank you, Liz. Vintage print some excellent books. I have two Persephone books but not read them yet.

      • Liz Dexter

        Ooh, which ones?

        • Paul

          Greenery Street and The book of short stories

          • Liz Dexter

            Both excellent!

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