Sunday, 18 September 2016

July Reading

July was an 11 book month! 7 proper books and 4 graphic novels.

 But MORE importantly.... I REACHED MY 52 BOOK TARGET!!! Book 52 was Nailbiter Volume 3, and it was something I had been waiting to get my hands on for a while so it seemed like a fitting choice for #52.

On to the reviews -

Beloved Poison by E.S. Thompson - This was a random choice from the library, and not as much of a winner as previous random choices. The story is based around a hospital in 1850(ish) England where Jem Flockhart is a resident apothecarist with a secret, who uncovers a secret as the planned demolition of the hospital takes place. I probably mentioned earlier in the year when talking about The Devil In The Marshalsea that I'm not a fan of historical fiction. Beloved poison was a much better story, and I enjoyed the presumably accurate portrayal of an apothecary's work, but the Victorian setting was a dampener.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - A classic piece of fiction that lives up to it's reputation in my opinion. I loved it from start to finish and found the descriptions of the characters and their world to be incredibly effective in creating a vivid immersive story. I only wish I could have followed Offred and her story for longer. I would highly recommend reading this, and perhaps you too will wonder if Atwood was being mildly prophetic with her tale of female slavery at the hands of a fundamentalist christian male dominated new world order...

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin - I should imagine everyone is familiar with the term Stepford Wife, but many perhaps less familiar with Ira Levin's fantastic book. A thematically fitting follow up to The Handmaid's Tale, and no less sinister! I have only seen the recent remake of the film (and love it), and I believe the original follows more closely to the book with the fate of Joanna Eberhart being somewhat more unfortunate, and Walter not such a nice guy either. A short book which I read in one sitting, but still very enjoyable and didn't feel too short either.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio - This is a uplifting but tear jerking story about a boy named August and his horrific facial deformity which makes starting high school somewhat more difficult than it is for the rest of us. Told from the perspectives of different characters it is refreshing to address the negative feelings of the "normal" sibling alongside the feelings of the main protagonist, and it was dome in a relateable and sensitive way. We all know children are often tactless and sometimes cruel, but I think everyone reading the book will be that little bit kinder to everyone they encounter, disfigured or not.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare - I read this 10 or so years ago, and probably enjoyed it more the first time around. I don't particularly go for plays, exception being Euripides whose work I am rather fond of, and it just seemed a little more drawn out than I remember. I may try re-reading others which I enjoyed in the past to see if it was just that story in particular.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn - A garishly covered book containing one of the more odd stories I have ever read. Based around the life of a family of circus freaks in a traveling circus, the book explores the messed up realities of the human condition as told by the albino hunchbacked dwarf Olympia. Where the book could have simply been a peek at the grotesque, it really makes you question life, love, and the universe. Much more profound and insightful than one could predict from a book titled after someone who bites the heads off chickens.

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey - This was a book which caught my attention on the "What Should I Read Next Podcast", and I was fortuitous in picking it up from the library when I did as it has been made into a film due to be released soon! It was quite a long book, but it kept me captivated from beginning to end. Set in London/Outer London after a fungal virus has turned most of the population into zombie like 'hungries' who only spring to life when a uninfected human is smelt, the book revolves around a girl called Melanie, her teacher Miss Justineau, a scientist, and two military men thrust into a dangerous situation in this dangerous world. The ending was unexpected and made for the perfect dystopian novel, I would very much recommend it!

And now for the graphic novels which were the last 4 that I read, although it would have been a nice way to break them up anyhow.

Nailbiter Volume 3 by Joshua Williamson et al - The third trade paperback installment of one of my favourite comics, and the plot thickens! With plenty of time spent with the enigmatic Nailbiter himself this had me delighted and desperate to know what happens next. The fourth volume is out so hopefully it won't be too long before I find out more about the real reason for the Buckaroo Butchers.

Outcast Volume 3: This Little Light by Kirkman and Azaceta - This volume did not seem to move the story on in a significant way in my opinion, compared with the first two anyway. I am curious to watch the TV show but also do not wish to spoil the story!

Postal by Bryan Hill - A new to me story, and one I really enjoyed, about a town called Eden which is basically populated by criminals, and there is a zero tolerance attitude to any illegal activity as the town is meant to be the second chance that serious criminals would not otherwise be able to get. The character of Mark (not a criminal, the mayor's son) is in charge of the postal service, and his position on the spectrum drives him to great lengths to solve the mystery of a murder that happens in Eden. I am very interested to see how this story develops, and am enjoying the frank but sympathetic portrayal of Mark.

Saga Volume 6 by Vaughn and Staples - My favourite of all the graphic novels I read, and the sixth volume did not disappoint. *Spoiler Alert* The Will getting fat was probably the funniest part of the story! I love the bizarre and unusual characters and the bizarre and unusual situations they find themselves in. But more Lying Cat next time please!

So that is July all wrapped up, August's books will be on the way soon.
Have you read any of July's books? What did you think? Or maybe you are considering picking up one of them - I would love to know!

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