Saturday, 4 July 2015

June in Books

Books finished:
The Lost Art of Sinking by Naomi Booth
Rough Riders by Peter Doyle
The Unseen by Katherine Webb
City of Women by David Gillham
Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig
Girl at War by Sara Novic
The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller
Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers
The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins

In progress:
Armadale by Wilkie Collins
Italian Neighbours by Tim Parks

June was a very good month for reading and I have my travels to thank for that (and the post-War and Peace euphoria). I adored pairing books with the countries I visited. If anything, it made my experience in those places even better and it felt like I was truly soaking up the atmosphere in each city. Reading Girl at War in Zagreb was particularly powerful because I think the repercussions of that war are still evident in the city in certain areas, and reading history whilst being there in the present was a little spine-tingling.

It was similar with Miss Garnet's Angel. I've visited Venice a couple of times previously - once with my family and once when my bestie and I travelled around Italy - so it is fairly familiar to me. Reading about places, sights and most of all churches, that I remember was one thing, but then revisiting these places with the lovely Julia Garnet in my head was something else entirely. It made reading the book quite an immersive experience and it felt like I was walking the same streets Julia walked (albeit metaphorically speaking).

Unusually for me I actually think I retained a lot more information from the books, particularly with the more contemporary novels. I have an awful memory and I don't often hold on to facts, anecdotes or little nuggets of information so this was all new to me and pretty great. I'm sure I drove my sister crazy by parroting on about the war in Croatia and Italian churches! It's hard to explain why reading in this way was so different, but I would certainly recommend pairing books and cities if you travel.

After narrowly avoiding a horrible panic attack on the flight home I decided that Tim Parks's non-fiction offering was not going to cut it. Thankfully I'd downloaded Wilkie's Armadale before leaving London so I turned to this in my hour of need. As ever the lovely Wilkie helped bring my breathing - if not my heart rate - back to normal. It's a shame it couldn't do the same for my sister's hand (sorry, chuck).

Book of the month: Girl at War by Sara Novic
Let down of the month: The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller

What books did you read in June? Do you have a book of the month or a let down of the month?


1 comment

  1. Noooooo!I've just started The Year of Reading Dangerously!! Oh well,hopefully I'll like it more than you did! I read Madame Bovary while visiting France years ago and it definitely gave it an extra something!


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