What I read in June.
Lucy Boston, The Children Of Green Knowe: Wrote about this for the column, here. It is all golden perfection.
Adi, Tantra: This is not golden perfection, but it was so entertaining that I will be reading the sequel anyway.
Barbara Pym, No Fond Return of Love, A Glass of Blessings: Wrote about the first of these here. I’m going to be reading more Pym over the next few months, so expect frequent reminders that she is great.
Grace Burrowes, Lady Eve’s Indiscretion: I think I’ve gone off Burrowes. I really liked her earlier books, but the last few have oscillated between boring and unreadable for me. So I skimmed this, but I think the “indiscretion” in the title is that the title character got raped? Well okay then.
John Freeman (ed), Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists 4: Hmm. On the whole I approve very much of most of the writers on the most recent Granta list. And I wrote about the collection here.
Gita Wolf, Andrea Anastasio, Bhajju Shyam, Alone in the Forest: Lovely thing from Tara books- will review soon, but I liked it a lot.
Gita Wolf and Sunita, Gobble You Up!: See above.
Michael Rosen and Quentin Blake, Michael Rosen’s Sad Book: I cried.
René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, Astérix le Gaulois, Asterix Legionnaire: I’m trying to work my way through the Asterix books in the original French, just to see if in doing so I can bring my scrappy French back. So far it’s been slower than I expected but mostly successful; I have to look up some words, but I’m getting the gist of the stories and (I think) most of the puns. The last time I studied French was 2002, so this isn’t that bad.
Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves: I’m planning to reread this and write a much longer piece on it, but it is astonishingly good and if you can possibly get a hold of it you should.
Il Sung Na, A Book of Sleep: I think it was Felix Gilman (whose books are excellent and you should read them) who recommended this to me; a lovely, quiet board book involving giraffes and penguins and owls and some beautiful art.
Agatha Christie, Destination Unknown, A Pocket Full of Rye, Third Girl: I thought it would be fun, partly as context to my real research, to read specifically those Christie mysteries that were published in the years around the end of the British empire. These are some of them.
Eloisa James, Once Upon a Tower: This was a romance novel I genuinely liked. Because it’s an Eloisa James book there was a lot of Shakespeare-referencing; there were also people making a mess of relationships and hurting one another for believable reasons, and people utterly failing at sex for believable reasons and it’s all just very refreshing.
Francine Pascal, The Sweet Life: I continue to be fascinated by the Sweet Valley reboots and the ways in which they engage with the original books– see my review of Sweet Valley Confidential here. The Sweet Life has as its primary plot a false accusation of sexual assault, which angered and depressed me (particularly since I read this on the same day as I’d watched a movie about a false accusation of sexual assault), but it also, for example, clearly reminds us that the man accused attempted date rape in an earlier book. I’m used to having a twisted, combative relationship with a series– I’m not used to the supposed author of the series having a similar relationship. (Note: the writing’s still awful)
Jack Vance and Humayoun Ibrahim, The Moon Moth: This surprised me by dispensing of most of the Vance-prose in a Vance story and still being very good.
Jane Austen, Persuasion: Reread so that when I read Antonia Forest’s The Ready-Made Family it would be fresh in my head. It is still wonderful.
Erin Dionne, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet: Entertaining, but I think the sheer horror of any parents calling their daughter Hamlet took me out of the story from the beginning.
Lavanya Sankaran, The Hope Factory: Reviewed for The Hindustan Times, and I’ll post when it’s published. For now, I was unimpressed.
Matt Fraction, David Aja, Matt Hollingsworth, Chris Eliopoulos, Hawkeye 11: Right, so I normally read comics in bulk (if I read them at all) and talk about them then (if I talk about them at all), but this? Amazing. The day it came out I spent the evening screaming about my FEELS at friends on the internet who were, in turn, screaming back. There’s so much to play with here, critically, but I haven’t fangirled in so long and I HAVE SO MANY FEELS.