Welcome to another monthly round up! I feel like I had an excellent reading month in May, and there are a ton of books here which I cannot wait to tell you about – enjoy!
A Skinful of Shadows – Frances Hardinge
I picked this book up because I’d bought tickets to see the author speak at Hay Literary Festival on a bit of a whim. And this book was truly brilliant, so that was a stroke of luck! A Skinful of Shadows follows Makepeace, who is packed off to live with her creepy relatives after her single mother dies, and a pretty unique brand of historical magical kind-of-realism ensues. The writing and storytelling are fantastic, and the characters are vivid and the protagonist particularly fascinating. This is technically a book for a younger audience, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone of any age.
Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese – Patrick Leigh Fermor
This was a bit of a different one for me. I’ve had this and Leigh Fermor’s closest connected volume Roumeli for a while. I initially bought them due to their exploration of Greece, and the relevance to my area of study. Despite being an account of an expedition around what was then modern Greece, I wasn’t left disappointed, as Leigh Fermor is extremely prone to digressions from the stage of the journey at hand, often bringing in elements of mythology and ancient history. There are sections of this book that were terribly indulgent (skip the chapter on Ikons), but overall this is an excellent account of the travels of a man keen to observe and experience a traditional culture, and an enchanting yet resolutely realistic portrait of one of the wildest areas of modern Greece.
Inferior – Angela Saini
Essentially a book of facts and reasoning against anyone who tries to use science as proof for misogyny and the inferiority of women. Extremely well-researched and presented, this is full of valuable information. Although not exactly a gripping read, I rate this highly for the both the research involved and the message Saini is helping to get across.
Love: Vintage Minis – Jeanette Winterson
This is a cute little compendium of sections from Winterson’s books, all on the subject of love. As one might expect from such an excellent author, these excerpts are poignant and direct, and relevant to anyone and everyone. Short, witty, and full of feeling, I did with this book what I rarely ever do: I annotated. And took notes. And quoted. A delightful and meaningful collection.
A Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J Maas
Of COURSE I had to get this – I’m a big fan of the ACOTAR series, and of Sarah J. Maas in general. The length of this book was disappointing, as it was hyped up as the next instalment in the series, which I (and I’m sure others) presumed was a new novel, but this is a novella.And nothing *really* happens. However, I’m such a fan of the series, I couldn’t help but love this book! Just be warned, if you’ve not read the series or it isn’t your favourite, give this one a miss!
The Year of Reading Dangerously – Andy Miller
Definitely an unusual book… I love reading books about books, and books about reading, but there seemed to be little point behind this, other than a middle-aged man getting back into reading books properly. Other books in a similar vein – Bookworm, The Reading Cure – seem to have more purpose, or are at least more focussed upon a particular type of reading (e.g. childhood favourites in Bookworm by Lucy Mangan). I enjoyed the process of Miller reading the books, and was interested in what he read and his thoughts on the books, but honestly this might as well have been an annotated reading list. Nevertheless, I truly did enjoy the read, the writing was really good, and I wouldn’t not recommend it to someone (…if that makes any sense!).
Daphnis & Chloe – Longus
I read this due to its relation to ancient classical literature, but this is honestly a lovely little book. It’s really short, and a great introduction to myths and classical tales. A heartwarming tale, an easy read, a joy to recommend.
Rebel of the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton
I ordered this series on a whim, and WOW are they addictive. The series follows Amani as she strives to escape her oppressive home town, where she is begrudgingly housed and fed by her aunt and uncle. When both magic and a handsome stranger (obvs) suddenly roll into town, Amani realises its now or never. The remainder of this instalment features Amani as she encounters exciting new people, good and bad, and as she begins to find her place in this fantastical world that Hamilton has built.
Traitor to the Throne – Alwyn Hamilton
Told you these were addictive! Although I’ve held off reading the final book in the trilogy for now… I can’t really say too much about this book without ruining the first one, but we still follow Amani and the group of rebels she has encountered, as they plan their next move and Amani generally seems to keep walking into traps. I think that about sums it up! Seriously though, this is a fantastic YA series which I’m really looking forward to finishing, and I sincerely hope Alwyn Hamilton continues to write brilliant books after her debut trilogy!
That’s all for this round-up folks, catch you next month!