July was an excellent reading month for me overall and warped into a period of tackling chunky books: ‘The Iliad’, ‘El Tiempo Entre Costuras’, and ‘East of Eden’ which I had the pleasure of buddy reading with Macey and Audrey. I also listened to two edifying audiobooks in July about the black experience in both Britain and America: ‘White Fragility’ and ‘Brit(ish)’ which I’d highly recommend listening to. In the same light, The Booker Prize longlist was announced this week and I’m thrilled to see such a fresh list! But without further ado, here are the books I read in July…
Spanning 2000 years, 47 countries, and legions of historical events, John Boyne’s latest masterpiece is unlike anything I have ever read.
This is a novel of ambitious storytelling, and I admit to initially feeling doubtful. However, I quickly shrugged off my apprehension and let Boyne sweep me away on an epic, strangely hypnotic adventure. As we advance through time and traverse nations, we witness the universal terrors and horrors of man’s inhumanity, familial relationships, the subjugation of women, and more. Ultimately, Boyne explores the unchanging nature of human emotions through time, while simultaneously speaking to us about the turbulence of contemporary society.
John Boyne has reaffirmed his place among my all-time favourite authors. Each book I have read by him has been original, inspired, often heart-breaking, and impressive to the extent that he always leaves me stunned. This book achieves this and more. Read my full review for A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom!
Dirty, funny, messy, wild, I tore through this bold and brutal debut in a delirious 24 hours, and it was brilliant.
Irina fascinated me immediately. She’s a slippery narrator, frankly terrible at times, but you can’t look away. Accessing her psyche was like being swept up by a vortex of terrible force and self-destruction. She flips gender roles on their head and pushes the boundaries of consent beyond their limit Finally, you come out of the other end repulsed, a little disorientated, but amazed all the same. I breezed through this uncomfortably brilliant novel. Read my full review for Boy Parts!
East of Eden is a rare book that delighted me from beginning to end; an impactful classic that moved me, left its mark on me, and will be annotated, torn, and tattered as I soak up its wisdom through multiple rereads.
Despite being a novel of grand scope, it’s intimately personal. Steinbeck places his host of fascinating characters under a microscope and gradually peels back their layers. For instance, we have Cathy who is reprehensible, twisting, and calculating, but one of the most interesting characters I have ever encountered. Meanwhile, I loved Lee and Samuel Hamilton who would delve into deep philosophical conversations as if they were discussing what they were having for dinner that evening. Indeed, this is one of the most philosophical books I have read. Yet, like Samuel and Lee, Steinbeck seamlessly interweaves a string of wit into his intelligent dialogue. Read my full review of East of Eden over on my Instagram.
This book was such a joy. Mr Loverman follows 74-year-old Antiguan immigrant Barrington “Barry” Walker as he lives it up as a bachelor and plucks up the courage to tell his wife the truth: that he’s been cheating on her with his lover and soulmate of over 50 years, Morris.
Barry isn’t a conventional hero: he’s a heavy drinker and harbours some old-fashioned views. However, he’s witty and full of wisdom, and his unfamiliarity with current trends only makes his caustic commentary on contemporary society more amusing. He’s also a lexicomane who skillfully alternates between patios and Shakespearean quotes at the click of a finger.
Meanwhile, Evaristo renders Carmel’s chapters almost poetcally with her now-trademark hybrid style recognisable in Girl, Woman, Other. Evaristo strikes a perfect balance between social commentary and humour, and I couldn’t recommend it more. Read my full review of Mr Loverman over on my Instagram.
*Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ★★★★
The Cat and the City by Nick Bradley ★★★★.5
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (audiobook) ★★★.5
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (audiobook) ★★★★
El Tiempo Entre Costuras/The Time in Between by María Dueñas ★★★★
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (audiobook) ★★★
The Iliad by Homer ★★★.5
Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging (audiobook) by Afua Hirsch ★★★★
*The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi ★★★★
*True Story by Kate Reed Petty ★★★★
July Reading Stats
Total books read: 14
Physical books: 6
Pages read: 4,197
What was your favourite book in July?
Disclosure: titles with an asterisk* were gifted by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.