Thursday, 3 July 2014

What I Read in June

I'VE BEEN ON HOLIDAY! I went to Spain for a wonderful week in the sun. Oh, and my sister got married. LOOK AT THIS PICTURE OF US!!

While we were away I raced through three books so I thought this would be another one of those 9 book months, but since we got back I've been working on a really busy thing and falling asleep about 9pm most nights. I've also started watching the US version of The Office (yes I know, quite late to that party!) and so that's how I've been spending a lot of my reading time. ALSO, I have been doing some longform reading too while travelling, so I'll have a round-up of some favourite reads up soon.

But without further preamble, here's everything I read in June:

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?: (And other concerns) - Mindy Kaling (Paperback) 9/10

I have a mega-crush on Mindy Kaling, so I was bound to love her first book, a collection of essays about her life; growing up in Massachusetts, starting out in comedy, and her favourite times from the set of The Office.

Mindy is so warm and funny and self-deprecating in a way that I find absolutely endearing. I only gave it 9/10 because I wanted SO MUCH MORE, so I was pleased to see Mindy recently reveal that she’s got another book on the way!

By the way, The Mindy Project, in which Mindy plays Manhattan based OB-GYN Mindy Lahiri, is absolutely stonkingly good telly. Mindy writes, produces, directs and stars plus every episode has at least three proper belly laughs and we all know how rare those are these days. WATCH IT!

The Lemon Grove - Helen Walsh (Hardback) 7/10

‘A sexy summer read’ the reviews cry, and they’re not wrong, this is a great beach book and I read it in a day while flitting between the beach, a sun-lounger, and a glass of wine (or five).

Jenn lives for her annual summer holiday to Majorca with her husband and 15 year old step-daughter Emma. Except this year Emma is bringing along 17 year old Nathan, and Jenn’s perfect little family getaway is thrown out of whack as she struggles to deny her feelings towards the boy.

This was definitely a page-turner, and the ending was fantastic, but I couldn’t quite get past my sense that the whole thing was a bit unconvincing. Still worth a space in your suitcase though!

Snapper - Brian Kimberling (Hardback) 7/10

Nathan is one of a handful of people who makes his living as a birdwatcher, and is intimately familiar with the local woodland in Indiana. In this book he shares his stories of turtles who eat thumbs, the townspeople who answer letters from Santa, and Lola, the wild woman next door.

As he faces a turning point in his life he must choose whether to stay or move away from the town that has become such a part of him. This was a really lovely story about the way that the places we grow up change us and made me think a lot about whether you can ever truly 'leave' a place.

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories - B.J. Novak (Kindle) 8/10

B.J. Novak is Mindy Kaling’s best friend, so it felt nice to read their books so closely together. This is Novak’s first collection of short stories and essays (I really hope he does another!) and it does not disappoint. Some stories are merely a few lines, others much longer, but they’re all really charming and witty.

My favourites are the story of a boy who wins $100,000 from a cereal packet, a summer camp for gifted teens, and the man who invented the calendar.

This is a perfect book to have on the go while you’re reading something bigger, and reading a few over lunch each day brought some much needed humour to my week.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou (Kindle) 8/10

Maya Angelou died the same day my book club met in May, so we wholeheartedly agreed that we should read this to mark her passing.

It’s the first of many of Angelou’s autobiographies, and covers her childhood growing up in Southern USA and her experiences of segregation, abuse, and moving from one family member to the next. It’s a tough read, but an important one I think, and there are chapters from this book that will stay with me forever.

Angelou is not someone I was really aware of growing up, but I've learned a lot about her through American blogs. She's so insightful and positive, despite so many experiences that most would struggle to overcome. I'm looking forward to reading more of her books.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Let me know in the comments or over on Twitter.


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