What I read in June…

img_8694Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith – the most recent addition to the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, where Mr Polopetsi gets into some difficult bother for being too trusting and Mma Ramotswe goes in search in someone’s childhood to some unexpected results, and a dog doesn’t seem to want to leave Mr J.L.B. Matekoni’s apprentice, Fanwell. As always the book is full of wise ponderings of Mma Ramotswe and reasons to rage against Violet Sepotho. I love that Mr Polopetsi is back in the series again and very excited to find out what will be happening in Gaborone when we go to the book festival in August!

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The Complaints by Ian Rankin – Another Edinburgh author, but with a far more macabre view on things! I read the sequel to this years ago when I went on spa day with my friend Carrie, and didn’t know you sat next swimming pools and read at spa days. I borrowed the book she had brought while she was getting a spa treatment and got hooked. Of course then I had to go and read the first book. I really love the character of Malcolm Fox, and the conspiracy theory elements to these books. I really am hoping for a third…please Mr Rankin?!

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Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Well this is basically exactly what it says in the title. A friend of Chimamanda asked for advice on raising their daughter to know her gender shouldn’t make her unequal to others. This is a simple and thought provoking read that I think is worth everyone taking time to meditate on…not just parents. And let’s not go into the fact I didn’t manage to get a ticket to see Ms Adichie at the book festival this year. *shakes angry fist at Nicola Sturgeon*

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Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult – It’s rare that I read so much fiction in such a short space of time, but with some unexpected time off and the fact I was still reading Between the World And Me, and a couple of other non-fiction books I felt I needed to keep a fiction book in my Currently Reading pile. Only problem was that I started reading and had to find out what had happened. The story really focuses on a mother and daughter, and a night when a woman was found dead, and the mother found injured at the elephant sanctuary where they worked and lived. As always with Jodi’s books, the different chapters tell different elements of the story from perspective of different characters – their present thoughts, past thoughts and memories.  It’s not quite the ‘real life’ feel of her other novels. The twist at the end was not what I expected, and was saddened by how it ended. But I guess it wouldn’t be a Jodi Picoult novel if I didn’t finish a book without that feeling!

BK’s BookPouch: A Boy Called Christmas

So after working for 14 straight days between bagel and bear making (and 2 Girlguiding trips and 3 Girlguiding meetings), on Friday I had a day off. This day was spent sleeping, washing my hair, delivering a Christmas gift box and meeting a fellow bagelista who I hadn’t seen in a while. Reindeer onesie on, Eliza the Elf and I settled down under fairy lights to finish reading the book I’d only gotten a few pages into at work the other weekend.

Matt Haig‘s ‘A Boy Called Christmas‘ came out this year, and tells the story of a Finnish boy called Nikolas. With shades of Roald Dahl grossness in places, but also a sort of stream of consciousness way of narrating the story that made me love Miika the Mouse, Donner the Reindeer and Little Noosh who welcomes Nikolas when he goes searching for his father in Elfhelm. It also has some fun illustrations which add so much to Nikolas’ story drawn by Chris Mould.

Definitely a book that Primary School aged children will love in the lead up to Christmas, and adults too!

Get your copy of A Boy Called Christmas on Hive if you can’t get it from your nearest bookshop!

What I’m Currently Reading… August Edition

This Saturday the Edinburgh International Book Festival begins – my favourite time of summer! The first event will be taking my friend’s daughter to see Jacqueline Wilson and we are both very excited about it (Jacqueline is her favourite author and she often gives me updates on what knowledge she has gained from her monthly subscription to the Jacqueline Wilson magazine). The challenge will be not spending all my savings in the Book Festival bookstore as I’m booked up for several events over the next few weeks!

So going into August – what I am currently reading? Here is the list of books I’ve been reading since I finished my last pile.

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A book + cake = a contented koala

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper LeeTo Kill A Mockingbird is a book that had failed to make it to my bookshelf as a teenager as it was recommended by a school teacher. Most of the books they seemed to recommend I found deathly boring, so I never read it. The furore Go Set A Watchman has created, made me realise that I really needed to give it a go. I enjoyed the read, can understand why people love it but I would be lying if I said I thought it’s the best book I’ve ever read. It took several chapters before I felt the story got started, and I felt like it jumped around too much, I started to get confused who was who and how they were related in one chapter. I found the ending a little disappointing…just as the story became interesting, it felt like it came to rather an abrupt end. I almost want to go and edit the book to include more story.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling – I have a bit of a girl crush on Mindy Kaling, and though I don’t watch The Mindy Project and have never seen an episode of the American version of The Office, I do think this woman is hilarious, clever and I’m like…thank the Lord for some diversity on our television screens. This book is a collection of essays that are a mixture of thoughts and memoirs written by Mindy. I’ve found the book really easy to read, related to a lot of what she has shared and it’s been my ‘handbag’ book for the last week since finishing To Kill A Mockingbird. I’ve almost finished it, and it’s totally made me want to write more. Oh, and Dear Mindy…I’m so glad that we have almost identical writing offices and uniforms. 🙂

Friends, Lovers and Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith – since reading The Forever Girl at the start of the summer, and realising that I was lacking some fiction in my life, I decided to give Isabel Dalhousie another go. She’s the only main protaganist created by Alexander McCall Smith that I’m supposed to like but struggle to. I’m not sure what it is. I do find the storyline always interesting, but something about this character irritates me slightly and I feel terrible about that. I love Bertie, and Precious Ramotswe, I loved La and felt for Clover, Freddie De La Haye is the best dog in the fiction world since Hairy McLary  and I even feel like I would know how to handle Prof Von Igelfeld. I have two friends that love Isabel, and I don’t understand why I don’t. This inner turmoil and guilt seems to be distracting me from actualy enjoying reading a book by one of my favourite authors (There’s a joint third position here between Alexander McCall Smith, Jacqueline Wilson and J.K. Rowling).

Only When I Laugh by Paul Merton – The realisation that I’m going to be seeing Paul at the Book Festival next Monday (as long as I’m able to get the day off…!) and that I’d almost finished Mindy’s book found me back in Waterstone’s this week buying Paul’s memoir. I read the first couple of chapters in a comfy chair in the store before I got too cold and hungry to sit there any longer and headed for home where there was bread and fleecey blankets. I like it so far, and I love reading and hearing about people’s life stories. His anecdote about the wonders of a supermarket with automatic doors had me pondering over what inventions today’s kids will consider weird that we ever lived without (my suggestions during a discussion about this with my friend are: wifi, smartphones, DVDs).

As always, you can follow my reading habits on Goodreads. I even track down my favourite quotes there! 🙂

Any books that you’ve been reading this summer? Leave a note in the comments…