Book Reviews

Spell the Month in Books: June 2023 

I failed miserably with the May theme for Spell The Month in Books — it was challenging enough to find a book title beginning with the letter Y but throw in the requirement for all three titles to relate to animals and it became impossible! I couldn’t think of a single animal with the letter Y (I assume Yeti doesn’t really count) let alone find a matching book title. So I withdrew defeated.

I know I’m going to do much better this month however. The prompt is to spell June in book titles set in places I have never visited. This gives me a good opportunity to highlight some of the countries that I’ve discovered through my attempts to read literature from around the world.

All links will take you to my reviews.

J = Jamaica

The Long Song by Andrea Levy

Set in the turbulent years before the abolition of slavery in Jamaica, Andrea Levy’s Booker-shortlisted novel is the story of a girl conceived as a result of the rape of a field slave on a sugar plantation. Levy doesn’t hold back from depicting harsh reality of plantation life but there is a surprising level of comic humour in this novel.

U = Uganda

We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayan

Hooray for a dual timeframe novel that actually works! Zayan’s debut novel tells the stories of two men, one in contemporary London and the other in 1970s Kampala. Through these narratives we discover the racial injustice perpetrated by Idi Amin who seized properties owned by immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, and then threw them out of the country.

N = Nigeria

The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Daré 

Another remarkable debut with an unforgettable central character. Daré depicts a society which views women as little more than a product. A thing to be traded; married off to pay debts and turned into a baby production factory.  In such a society, what chance is there for a girl who just wants the right to be heard and to become a teacher?

E = Egypt

Something to Answer For by P H Newby

The first book to win the Booker Prize in 1969, Newby’s novel is one of the winners I struggled to finish. It’s a confusing tale of a man in Port Said in the midst of the Suez Crisis. The widow of his recently deceased friend asks him to find out whether her husband was murdered. At least I think that’s what the book is about. It’s so confusing, a convoluted plot not helped by the fact the main character himself doesn’t know what’s going on.

If you fancy having a go at Spell the Month, you’ll find all the info you need on the website of the host, Reviews From the Stacks. The theme for July is “Red, White or Blue” – books which have those colours in their title.  


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

12 thoughts on “Spell the Month in Books: June 2023 

  • Brava, Karen! I’ve not got quite the range of books read to join in, unfortunately – or fortunately, as I’ve a mountain of stuff to do.

  • The letters are not in the book but for the U, in Uganda…I get it only after quite sometime; like the next day. I can’t do this…too many to be reading and at times too much; I have quite a headache.

  • Astonishingly, I’ve read – and enjoyed – everything but the Newby. After your review, it’ll stay that way too. What are you going to come up with in July – another Y month??

    • I wish I knew Margaret! If only we could choose a book with the colour yellow……

        • I’m going to go off the strict red/white/blue theme – any colour should be good shouldn’t it.

        • You play by whatever rules suit you! Why not? No prizes on offer after all.

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