July reading round-up

Five books read in July. Not been the easiest of months with various unwelcome distractions, so I was glad of some good reading matter to help keep me sane (I use the term loosely). And they were all good! (I started and abandoned The binding by Bridget Collins on account of it being awful, so not including that.)

I’ve signed up for NetGalley, which supplies advance reader copies of forthcoming books for review and Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is the first book I was given. It’s basically chick-lit so I’d never have read it otherwise and quel surprise I hated it to begin with. I wrote a brilliantly scathing review half way through reading but annoyingly it then got much better and I ended up quite liking it curses curses, so I had to junk my first write-up for a more positive one. That’ll teach me.

The Martian chronicles was on my list of modern classics I’ve never read. So glad I did, though; it was excellent. The stories struck me as chilling allegories of colonialism – I don’t know if that was the intention, and I’m not versed in SF at all – but here’s my take anwyay.

Still on SF giants, Ursula Le Guin’s lovely essays Words are my matter are like sitting listening to her hold forth with her inimitable wisdom and charm on writing and reading, naturally, but all sorts of other things as well, and she can talk about anything interestingly. I don’t think it’s necessary for authors to offer a moral compass, but I like it when they do, and she is someone to look to for how to read / write / live / be human etc.

Ali Smith’s Summer and Toni Morrison’s Jazz were huge complex books by immense authors that were impossible to do justice to in a short review. I offer my brief but heart-felt gushings anyway: definitely the highlights of my reading month.