Monthly Review – June 2015

Posted June 30, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 5 Comments

Double IndemnityAs I look back at the first half of 2015, I tend to wonder where all the time went but I also think about the 55 books I have read so far this year. As most people know, I have decided to do some more re-reading and focus on translated fiction; in particular Russian literature, where I am determined to specialise and become somewhat of an expert. Sure, it is a big task but there is something about the challenge that excites me. It has revitalised a joy for literature that I feel was missing. This does not mean I am going to stop reading and reviewing other things, I just have a goal in mind.

However, this has not translated too well to my blogging at the moment. Ever since taking a few weeks off to go to New Zealand, I have struggled to get back into reading and reviewing. I did get sick for a few weeks and I was feeling stressed with work but I plan to get back into the swing of things. I did think maybe BookTubing was causing me to neglect my blogging but I do not think that this is the case, but only time will tell. I am still determined to have my blog document my reading journey and BookTube is just allowing me to explore different options and hopefully get better.

I have read a very small amount in June, nothing too bad; I managed to finish six books this month. The first was a very interesting book called Sweetland by Michael Crummey, which explored the concept of isolation and heritage. The story started off a little shaky and I found myself being more interested in the secondary characters but then it really kicked into high gear. This novel was picked for my real life book club and I am not sure if I would have read it otherwise, but I am glad I did. One thing I love about book club is having books picked for me to read and discuss; I have discovered so many gems because of it.

I also read The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, which is the first novel by Gary Shteyngart. I love Shyteyngart and have wanted to read everything he has written. I would have disliked this book if I did not know anything about Gary Shyteyngart or have read his memoir Little Failure. There are a lot of autobiographical elements, which I may have missed if I had not been interested in this writer. I also read a novel, which might well be my favourite for 2015, Girl at War by Sara Novic. This is the perfect book for me, it reminds me of my love for All That is Solid Melts into Air last year and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena the year before. There is something about these books that I love, I think it is my interest in the eastern bloc and the people’s struggle that I am drawn to.

Next I read How To Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis, a literary memoir where the author went back to all her old favourites and looked at the women within the books. This was part literary criticism but I had issues with the author’s opinions towards the theories and really effected my enjoyment of the memoir. I then picked up Dog’s Heart by Mikhail Bulgakov, which was translated by Antonina W. Bouis, to continue my interest in Russian literature and Bulgakov as well. This novella is also known as Heart of a Dog but this depends on the translation. Finally I read Double Indemnity for the Literary Exploration book club, which was a re-read for me and I posted a review for this book yesterday.

I am starting to get back into the swing of things and I hope to get back to reading and blogging as well. I am currently reading a heavy book that happens to be over 700 pages as well and that is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, I am enjoying the novel but it is taking some time to work through it. Also I am reading One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore, I am loving this novel and I do not want it to end, so I think I have been taking my time with the book. That was my reading month; it was not my best but it also was not that bad. How was your reading month?

Monthly Reading

  • Sweetland by Michael Crummey
  • The Russian Debutante’s Handbook Gary Shteyngart
  • Girl at War by Sara Novic
  • How To Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis
  • Dog’s Heart by Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Double Indemnity by James M. Cain

Monthly Posts

5 responses to “Monthly Review – June 2015

  1. Violet

    I’m reading How to be a Heroine and absolutely loving it. 🙂 I pretty much agree with everything Ellis says (so far): it almost feels as though she’s reading my mind sometimes! I think that her ‘conversation’ about the books she loves and what they mean to her is what I went online looking for, and didn’t really find amongst the book blogging crowd. Sorry to hear you had issues with the book. What specific things troubled you?

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