Snapshot of July 2017


July snapshot

The year has moved forward once again catching me out by suddenly turning into July. So my post in which I take a quick snapshot of what I was reading/ planning to read etc on the first of the month is a bit behind schedule. But I know you’re all desperately waiting for this (a girl can pretend can’t she??) so let’s get on with what I was up to on July 1, 2017

Reading now

A tale for the time being-1Last month the book on my bedside table at the start of the month was one of  the titles on my 20 Books of Summer reading list: The Vegetarian by Han Kang. It was one of the strangest books I’ve read for many years and one of my favourites for 2017 so far. (here’s my review my review in case you don’t know the book) On July 1, I was coming towards the end of another book from that reading list: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I’ve since finished the novel (review is posted here) but would love, if I ever got the time, to re-read it because it’s so rich in big themes (the meaning of time, Zen Buddhism, suicide to mention just a few) and yet is a highly readable coming of age story about a lonely Japanese girl.  If all the books I read in July are anywhere as good as this one I’ll have a stellar month.

On July 1 I was also creeping my way through Katherine of Aragon by Alison Weir which is the first in her series about the six wives of Henry VIII. I borrowed this from my sister just before going to see Weir talk at an author event marking the launch of book two in the series. I made it to about page 100 and then stalled. It’s not that the book is poor or lacking interest (I’m a sucker for the Tudor and Stuart periods in British history) but the characterisation lacks a bit of something special.

Reflecting on the state of my personal library

One of my goals for 2017 is to enjoy the books I already own and to reign back on acquiring yet more. I started 2017 with 318 unread books. With the help of some culling (mainly children’s fiction and some non-fiction books) I’m now down to 276. Although I haven’t imposed a ban on buying new books, I have been very restrained. So far this year I’ve bought just three titles and acquired another ten through give-aways or from authors/publishers. I’m giving myself a huge gold star here when I think that in 2016 I bought/acquired 180 new items for the bookshelves.

Thinking of reading next…

I don’t plan far ahead with my reading because invariably I change my mind at the last moment. I have plenty of choices in my 20booksofsummer list still and July is also when I’m going to join in the Japanese literature month hosted by Meredith who blogs as Dolce Bellezza. I also have a copy of The Monster’s Daughter, a debut novel by Michelle Pretorius that I’ve agreed to review before the paperback version is published at the end of July. It’s set in her native South Africa and is a dual time frame narrative. Part of it takes place in 1901 at the height of the Boer War, when a doctor at a British concentration camp conducts a series of grim experiments on Boer prisoners. The other part focuses on a murder investigation in 2010 which begins with the discovery of a body burned beyond recognition.

Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale as dramatised by Channel 4 in the UK. It’s a fabulous adaption that is compelling viewing. In between we’re catching up on an old favourite – Foyle’s War, a British detective drama television series set during and shortly after the Second World. All the action takes place in the coastal town of Hastings where Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (played by Michael Kitchen) has deal with potential spies, blackmarketeers and a few murderers. Although some plots are a bit far fetched, the episodes are always convincing in their portrayal of the period (apparently the Imperial War Museum acted as an advisor to ensure historical accuracy).

Listening: I’m a latecomer to the podcast called Serial – season 1 is a compelling true story about a murder in Baltimore and a fight for justice for the teenager sent to prison for 16 years. It’s as good as another true life story I heard earlier in the year called The Body on the Moor in which BBC Radio followed a police investigation that tried over the course of a year to identify a body found by a cyclist. I highly recommend this one.

And that is it for this month. Lets hope by the time of the next snapshot I haven’t gone off the rails and my book stock hasn’t suddenly multiplied many times over.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

22 thoughts on “Snapshot of July 2017

  • I think I made it to Season 7 of Foyle’s War, but then for some reason, gave up on it. I think I liked it better when the three major characters were working together as a team.

    • Agreed. The final season where he ends up working for the secret service wasn’t anywhere as good as the Hastings episodes

  • I watched Foyle’s War up until about Season 7. For some reason I haven’t returned to it yet.

  • Serial is absolutely amazing, I agree, though don’t bother with series 2 – in series 1 it’s really the case that makes it so interesting, and when they move on to a different story, the podcast loses its edge. Yay for Ozeki and Atwood and self-restraint, too!

    • i heard season 2 wasn’t anywhere as compelling. I might just listen to the first couple of episodes and judge from there

  • You’re my role model for not buying books!

    And I love reading about these “challenges.” I happen to be reading a Japanese novel, so I am inadvertently participating in Japanese Lit month. I usually get behind when I plan to do these things, so this is much better.

    • Im chuckling at the idea I’m a role model! I’ll be interested to see what you read for Japan literature challenge – I just finished Goodbye Tsugumi and now have a book by Ogawa though I can’t recall the name of it right now

  • If you like Serial you might want to look into the novel Six Stories because it reads like a podcast, each week they interview another person.. it works really well and is a unique format.. and the plottwist is amazing!

  • I loved watching The Handmaid’s Tale, and saw it on Hulu. I finished Season I…and hope there are more seasons.

    Some book-buying weeks are more restrained than others…LOL.

    Enjoy July, and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

    • that might be a different adaptation to the one I’m watching

  • I am also watching The Handmaid’s Tale – I am a few episodes behind but I do have them all recorded, so I am hoping to binge watch them soon 🙂

    • avoidance of places where they sell books is one of the ways I’ve kept things under control..

  • Oh, we are in concert about three things here – Ozeki (I adored) Katherine of Aragon/Weir (she’s better in non-fiction, for me) and Handmaid’s Tale

    • I might check out Weir’s non fiction – the talk she gave about Anne Boleyn was fascinating

  • The reduction of my TBR stack isn’t going as well as yours – too many ARCs and library loans 🙁

    I’m watching Handmaid’s Tale at the moment as well – it’s stunning, isn’t it? I was tempted to reread it before I started watching but decided to see it without making comparisons. I might reread soon though (it’s been decades…).

    And when you’ve finished Serial and looking for more fantastic podcasts, sing out – I’ve listened to some great things lately.

    • I’m curious now about all these other fantastic podcasts I could have missed. Do spill the beans


We're all friends here. Come and join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: