Sunday, 5 August 2012

Reading round-up: July

44. Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt - 8/10 (full review). An unashamedly emotional tale about love, friendship and fitting in, framed within the story of a misfit teenager whose beloved uncle is dying of AIDS. I thought this might be overtly sentimental, but it was actually very touching and I loved the characters.
45. The Missing Person's Guide To Love by Susanna Jones - 6/10 (full review). Another intriguing mystery from Susanna Jones, this had a very interesting set-up, but I found it uneven, despite a brilliantly rendered setting. The ending was also extremely confusing!
46. The Spectacular by Keith Ridgway - 9/10. A very short, but brilliant, story. The style and themes reminded me a lot of Paul Auster with a more comical twist, and it's made me very interested in the author's other work.
47. The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman - 8/10 (full review). Beauman's sophomore novel is characteristically clever, funny and ridiculous. I enjoyed it a lot, despite disliking the protagonist intensely, but I didn't think it had the same brilliant impact as his debut.
48. The Last Weekend by Blake Morrison - 8/10 (full review). Disturbing and insidious, this is a classic unreliable-narrator tale. I found it unpleasant in places - the narrator is horrible - but it was also incredibly compelling.

Looking over these scores, I've realised I've actually had a pretty good month for reading. There's been no real letdowns apart from The Missing Person's Guide To Love by Susanna Jones, which I was expecting quite a lot of having enjoyed two of her other books. It seems a bit silly to say a short story was my favourite read of the month, but The Spectacular really was excellent, and I'm now very keen to read Ridgway's latest novel, Hawthorn & Child. As far as more substantial books went, Tell the Wolves I'm Home and The Last Weekend were both great, albeit very different: the former was more of a tearjerker, the latter very dark and twisted. The Teleportation Accident was also really good, but I think my expectations were way too high, and I didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much as I did Beauman's debut, Boxer, Beetle.

As usual, I have a HUGE list of books I want to read for the coming month. I'm actually pretty happy that nothing I really want to read is being released in August - should give me a chance to work through some of those I already have!


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