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Talking Books: Mid year review

First off, how the hell is it July already?

I’ve lost track of how many books I’ve read so far this year and whether or not I’m schedule to reach my target. 

I suspect not, my reading has been very up and down so far. There’s been months where I’ve flown through books and others, like this month for instance, where my reading has completely fallen off a cliff.

My TBR remains stubbornly long (doesn’t everyone’s), I’ve read more new releases than books I already own and there have been some absolutely superb debuts.

So, here are my highlights six months into the year….

The one that made me want to travel…

Memphis by Tara M Stringfellow.  I loved this book about the women in the North family and the place they call home.

It was filled with strong, female characters who cared for each other. It spans seventy years and three generations of a black, southern family; it is one of my books of the year, for so many reasons.

I loved how Tara M Stringfellow brought Memphis to life, her descriptions were so vivid that immediately after I finished reading, I amended our road trip route so we could spend longer in Memphis. I just had to see it and experience it for myself. 

It lived up to my expectations, it is a music lovers dream and a city I love, so I have to say a big thank you to Tara M Stringfellow for that!

The one that surprised me…

It has to be Impossible by Sarah Lotz. I was so sceptical going into this, it labelled itself as a Rom Com like no other, I just couldn’t see how you could mix up that particular genre and surprise a reader.

Hats off to Sarah Lotz, she managed it. Impossible was so unexpected, it was filled with twists, I’d never in a million years have predicted where this tale was going and the characters were wonderful.

The one that I recommend to everyone…

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams.

It is just a beautiful book; it sums up how I feel about books and reading and the joy that comes from a story you love and want to desperately share with others.

I adored the unexpected friendship between Mukesh and Aleisha, I loved the concept behind it, and it made me write my very own Reading List.

The one I related to….

Careering by Daisy Buchanan. Ah, your twenties, that decade where you’re desperately trying to establish career, earning peanuts, giving blood, sweat and tears to job that doesn’t always love you back and wandering around like an exhausted pigeon.

I liked the fact that this was about two women at the opposite ends of their careers – Imogen just starting out and Harri, just passed up for promotion.

Both facing different challenges but under the same pressure.

Daisy Buchanan skewers the somewhat dysfunctional relationship women have their careers. You’ll recognise an awful lot of it, I know I did.

The one that deserves the hype….

Earlier this year, you couldn’t walk past bookstore without seeing Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Hell, you couldn’t follow bookstagram, book twitter or any book blogs without seeing another glowing review of it.

Hype around books makes me nervous, I’m a cynic and often think “Surely, it can’t be all that?”, plus I’ve been burnt before by hype.

Luckily, Lessons in Chemistry lives up to it. 

It’s funny, it’s sad in places and there are some dark incidents in it. 

It’s tale about a woman fighting against sexism and misogyny in 1960s America, and yet it is depressingly familiar. I loved the message in this and am so pleased it didn’t fall flat for me.

The one that left me smiling….

A lot of contenders for this but it goes to The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page.

I was championing Janice all the way through. She’s a cleaner in Cambridge and over the years has found that people open up to her, they trust her with their stories. Janice treasures them and keeps them locked in her mind.

The only thing is, Janice will not share her story, what she doesn’t count on is meeting Mrs B, who is determined to get Janice to tell her own story.

It’s about friendship and relationships. It’s a story about second chances, guilt, forgiving yourself, starting over, rebuilding and living life.

The one with the most compelling character….

How to kill your family by Bella Mackie. As you can guess from the title, Grace Bernard, the lead character in How to kill your family, isn’t exactly a nice person. She’s on a mission to kill her family.

She’s been working on the plot since she was a teenager and discovered her millionaire father had abandoned her and rejected her dying mum’s pleas for help.

 Grace, is evil, she’s cruel, she’s a complete psychopath and yet, rather strangely….I liked her. I was completely won over by her and her mad plan.

The one that left me on edge…

A tidy ending by Joanna Cannon. I had really mixed feelings reading this book, I wasn’t exactly feeling it, and yet I wanted to finish it.

The narrator, Linda, is so unreliable. She stirred up so many emotions; I felt sorry for her, I cringed at her behaviour, she frustrated me, annoyed me and then shocked me.

This book is a lesson on not judging a book by its cover.

The one that made me angry….

Take my hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, this is such an important book and it’s release this year, incredibly timely.

It’s about a chapter in history that I was not familiar with, enforced sterilisation in America.

It is such a powerful book about choice, reproductive rights, racism and classism.

Everyone should read this book, it is so important, we have a duty to educate ourselves on the history of women’s rights among other things because, as it says on the back of this book…HISTORY REPEATS WHAT WE DON’T REMEMBER . . .

A pretty good reading year so far, even if there have been a few books that have felt like a slog.  I’m still not at a point where I can DNF a book, I’m not sure I’ll ever get there. Luckily for me, I’m good at being able to gauge what I’m going to like.

Here’s to the next six months of books and hopefully, getting that TBR list under some kind of control, wish me luck!

Have you read any of these? I’d love to hear what you thought of them.

radiosarahc View All

Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm

3 thoughts on “Talking Books: Mid year review Leave a comment

  1. Great list of books. I love how books sometimes surprise us! Lessons in Chemistry is excellent.


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