Books I read in June

book-club-clipart-bookAnother month over. We are now officially half way through the year, but I have not yet hit the half-way mark on my annual reading challenge. in fact, I’ve only hit the quarter-mark, so I am sorely behind! This is highly unusual for me, however, I feel my circumstances make this more understandable, when you take into consideration that fact that I have a boisterous 5 1/2 year old (Tadpole), and an 8 months old who doesn’t tend to sleep much (Button, aka Choochie). Our youngest seems to be turning a corner on the sleep side of things though (touch wood), so hopefully my reading will pick up over the coming months and I will get caught up again!

So, here’s what I’ve been reading this month…

Peach Blossom PavillionMingmei Yip – Peach Blossom Pavillion Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
ISBN: 978-0007570126
468 pages
If you enjoyed the likes of Memoirs of a Geisha, you’ll most likely enjoy this memoir-style novel following the life of a prestigious Chinese courtesan in a high class establishment, where her beauty and accomplishments in art and music make her highly desired. Starting as an innocent girl of thirteen, XIang Xiang is introduced to a heady lifestyle that, although working in the sex industry, is far preferable (or so it seems) than the alternatives of becoming a nun (she is deemed far too beautiful to do so) or begging in the streets.

The narrative slips effortlessly between that of the elderly Xiang Xiang, relating her history to her granddaughter, and the unfolding events of her life as they happened, following the loves and losses of the narrator as she grows older and wiser, but all the more beautiful and sought after.

There is a peacefulness to the writing style that is redolent of the quiet, refined traditions of China, yet there is also a tenseness that keeps the story rolling at a pace that is one moment languid, the next, flying like the wind. it’s definitely worth reading if you have a fascination for the Orient!

QUEEN-OF-BEDLAM-copyLaura Purcell – Queen of Bedlam Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
ISBN: 978-1444720808
432 pages
Reviewed as part of the blog tour promoting the novel.
Read the full review HERE.
Read Laura Purcell’s guest blog post HERE.

the witchesRoald Dahl – The Witches Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
ISBN: 978-0141346410
224 pages
This is the latest Roald Dahl book I finished reading to Tadpole. I think it’s been our favourite so far, especially as the film is a firm favourite in our house! I confess I loved doing the voice for the Grand High Witch (she’s written with a clipped accent, just as she’s played by Anjelica Houston in the movie), and although there are (as usual) some differences between the source material and the big screen adaptation, we still found it enjoyable, as it meant there were still a few surprises in store for us as we read.

an abundance of katherinesJohn Green – An Abundance of Katherines (ABANDONED)
ISBN: 978-0141346090
272 pages
Off the back of enjoying The Fault In Our Stars so much, I grabbed this in the hopes it would be similarly enjoyable. I was wrong. I couldn’t get on board with any of the characters – I found I couldn’t relate to them, nor did I particularly like them. In fact, they inspired no more than antipathy in me, and I was bored by their journey, so I’m afraid I abandoned this one unfinished.

Books I plan to read in July:

  • Roald Dahl – James and the Giant Peach
    Tadpole is enjoying our tour of Dahl’s classics so much, we’ll be continuing with this (and watching the film too, at some point, I’ll wager!)
  • Syrie James – Jane Austen’s First Love
    One of the books I’m reviewing via NetGalley. I’m a huge fan of Austen, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy this foray into her personal life.
  • Jo Baker – Longbourn
    This is the book that won the poll at Book Club Forum for the reading circle I’m hosting in August, so I’ll be reading it this month to enable me to set some questions for the group to consider and discus.

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