July was a great reading month for me and I really enjoyed the books I picked up. Most of the books I read this month were contemporary fiction which seems to be the genre I’m leaning towards recently.
I managed 5 books this month which seems to be the average amount I read each month at the moment. I’m happy with this as I don’t set specific goals and alongside working/ having a social life, 5 is enough for me.
Bookstagram has encouraged me to read even more and I’ve already surpassed the number of books I read in 2019. I’ve read 30 books so far and am hoping to get to 50 by the end of the year when I’ll do a nice round up of all the books I’ve read, my favourites and those that I didn’t enjoy.
So without rambling on, here’s the 5 books I read in July.
The Dutch House – Ann Patchett
This is the first Ann Patchett book I’ve read and it definitely won’t be my last. Her writing is hypnotic and simply beautiful. It feels as if every sentence is a work of art that has been carefully chosen to provide the most impact for the reader.
The Dutch House follows the lives of brother and sister Danny and Maeve. Beginning in their childhood home, we are introduced to a dysfunctional family; a father, a stepmother and two children who have been abandoned by their mother. The writing is sharp and observant of human behaviour, told from Danny’s point of view.
The novel moves quickly over the course of Danny and Maeve’s lives, broaching important issues such as the expectation placed upon us by others, grief and sibling relationships. So much is left unsaid by the characters that I found myself filling in the gaps easily to understand their motivations.
I’m still thinking about this book a month later and would recommend it if you enjoyed Normal People or Where The Crawdads Sing.
Three Women – Lisa Taddeo
I loved this book a lot. I’ve never read anything like it and was in awe of the way Taddeo managed to capture female desire in such an accurate way.
Three Women is a non-fiction book following the lives of Maggie, Lina and Sloane. Taddeo spent 8 years studying and talking to these women about sex and desire, even moving to their home towns to develop a greater understanding of their lives.
The result is 3 honest, unflinching stories about how these women’s relationships have defined them.
I wished it could have been longer and even more in depth. Parts of it reminded me of My Dark Vanessa so you might enjoy it if you’ve read that.
The Trials and Triumphs of Grace Atherton – Ansty Harris
This was my least favourite read of the month. I liked the storyline and the characters but the depth of description about the violin is too much for a reader who doesn’t play instruments and some of the plot was too far fetched.
This book follows the life of a shy and lonely woman called Grace. Grace runs her own music shop and is also a keen cellist. However, she hasn’t played in front of anyone since she was kicked out of music school years ago.
The other central character is Grace’s lover David whom she shares years of history with. However, David is married to another woman. He promises her Grace they will start their life together soon but things get complicated when an unexpected event happens, jeopardising everything.
There are two other characters who become good friends to Grace over the course of the book but their storylines were often lacking in depth and believability. Good but maybe don’t put it at the top of your reading pile.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies – John Boyne
I could not recommend this book more. Not only has it been the best book I’ve read this year but I’d put it up there in my all time favourites. The writing is bold, witty and flawless completely hooking you from the first few pages.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies is the tale of orphan, Cyril Avery and his journey to self-acceptance. Cyril is told from a young age by his adoptive parents that he’s not a ‘real Avery’. This lack of compassion is monumental to Cyrils own understanding of what it means to love and be loved in return (totally quoting Moulin Rouge there!)
Cyril soon meets Julian Woodbead and the two become unlikely friends despite the fact that Cyril realises he’s in love with his friend. Their adventures often lead them to trouble and Julian’s friendship will have an effect on Cyril for years to come.
John Boyne has created a masterpiece here with interwoven strands of a plot coming to an ending that left me with a big grin on my face. This story will stay with me for a very long time.
Expectation – Anna Hope
I rounded the month off with one that reminded me a little bit of Normal People. The writing was gorgeous, the characters flawed and the storyline simple but gripping.
Expectation explores the highs and lows of female friendship, being a mother, dead end jobs and poses the question; what does it take to lead a meaningful life?
The plot is rich with perception of what life is like for the 21st century woman and although there was much I couldn’t relate to, there were small observations that really resonated with me. Expectation is told in a quiet, unassuming way just like a Sally Rooney novel. Definitely give it a go if you’re a fan of her or Celeste Ng.
What have you read recently?