What I read last month...
At the beginning of June I had about 8 different books on the go and I wasn’t finishing any of them. Then in a flurry, I finished 3 books in a week. That was a good week, I love the feeling of accomplishment you get when you finish a book!
Up until recently I’d been starting books but not necessarily ever finishing them. But I think that’s the nature of what I often read…books more along the self-help line and if they aren’t fully appealing to me, I’ll put them down and not finish them.
In June I switched this up a bit and to make sure I’m reading different types of books at the same time:
- books about self-help and/or writing (such as The Miracle Morning and Show Your Work);
- books for research (I’m working on a kids’ book which I think will be aimed at the 8-12 age bracket);
- books with Reuben (we’ve just had an overhaul and you can see his reading list here); and,
- books for fun (I haven’t read anything like this for months).
June Reading List
Rob Lowe’s Autobiography
In June I’ve managed to read not one but TWO books for fun! The first was Rob Lowe’s Autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, which I listened to mainly in the car and LOVED. It was a bit of a random pick a few months ago, as I didn’t know anything about him, but I’d read that he had quit drinking 27 years ago so I was interested to see what led him to it and what life had been like afterwards.
I quit drinking nearly nine months ago, and while I don’t miss it and I have the best excuse in the world (I’m 4 months pregnant), I do still feel weird at parties. I’m always on the lookout for understanding how other people do it.
Well, Rob’s autobiography talked about so much more.
It was literally his life from start to finish: the ups and downs of coming from a broken marriage; his intelligent but complex mother; and, growing up in Malibu with Charlie Sheen. He talked through all the highlights of being a promising young, famous actor, coming on the scene with actors, such as Tom Cruise and Michael J Fox to when he realised the parts for him had dried up and he had to reinvent himself.
His naturally optimistic character came across so beautifully. That drive to succeed and not take anything personally was inspiring. Then the story around his alcoholism, finally beating it, marrying his wife and having their first child…I was balling my eyes out in a traffic jam while I listened.
Did I mention I’m pregnant?!
All in all, I loved it. It endeared Rob Lowe, who I knew very little about, to me and despite having no interest in acting or hearing gossip from life near Hollywood in the 80s, it was a fabulous book. I even missed him after I finished the book. Again, we’ll put it down to pregnancy!
The Talented Mr Ripley – Patricia Highsmith
The second book I read for fun, courtesy of Mrs Rachel Brady’s Book Club, was The Talented Mr Ripley. The book club was due to chat last Friday, 29th June, at 8pm…I finished reading the book at 8:08, then joined in!
I remember watching this film as a teenager when it came out and loved it, so when Rachel chose it as the June book, I was really excited to get stuck in.
…It took me a while to get into it and by Tuesday last week I was barely a few chapters in! As time was running out and I had a lot of driving coming up, I bought the book on Audible and listened as I drove.
I’ve felt weirdly immersed in Tom Ripley’s life this week. It’s such a strange book because the people he kills aren’t all that likeable so you end up routing for the bad guy!! Very clever writing and Patricia uses pace very well, slowing things right down just before bringing in the suspense again.
I’d say not the easiest book to read/listen to in the world but it got the old grey cells working again and I’ve since started reading her fascinating book on writing: Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction.
The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
This book is categorised under Research because it’s aimed at the age range I want to write for. Common Sense Media say it’s suitable for age 9+.
My first experience of Neil Gaiman, without knowing it, was through the film Coraline. I loved it. So weird and imaginative and the film adaptation is fantastic (if a little scary at the end for younger kids!). So when I listened to Neil’s book, The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction, as recommended by Brainpickings, I was very excited to read more from him. Starting with his Newbury Prize-Winning book, The Graveyard Book.
It’s a very unique and interesting retelling of the Junglebook, a child brought up in a world that isn’t usual…in this case, the boy is brought up by ghosts in a graveyard! Each chapter is almost a stand-alone story, with sometimes terrifying climax and the book spans the boys life from baby to young adult.
The start in particular is a bit gruesome so I think the book has opened my eyes to what kids are actually ok with reading. What seems bad to me (probably as a mother and it was depicting my worst nightmare!) doesn’t necessarily seem all that bad to a kid!
An exciting read with a heartwarming, coming of age theme.
The Christmasaurus – Tom Fletcher
Finally, Reuben and I read the Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher. Dammit this book was amazing! So compelling Reuben was dragging himself out of bed early so we could read a few more chapters before school.
It is long, at over 400 pages, which showed me that with the right level of engagement, younger children are more than capable to enjoy a long book. It was also an easy read with lots of lovely pictures and short chapters. Great for bedtime reading when you want to keep your routine short.
I was surprised, for a book aimed at younger children, at how gruesome one of the characters was. I was worried the chapter introducing him would have upset Reuben but he seemed completely fine with it, in fact it spurred him on and he couldn’t wait to see the man’s downfall!
Magical for both Reuben and me. I HIGHLY recommend!
July Reading List
So, I’m not reading loads of books at the moment but it’s an improvement to at least finish a few.
Here’s July’s reading list…
Self-help and/or writing
- Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction – Patricia Highsmith
- The Creative Habit – Learn it and Use it for Life – Twyla Tharp
- Boy Underwater – Adam Baron
What have you been reading recently? And what’s next?!
I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading, if you can recommend anything or what’s next on your reading list. Comment below or come and join the conversation on the Mums’ Days Facebook Page!
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