books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: July 8 – July 14

I thought this list was going to be shorter than usual this week but actually it’s worked out ok. Why did I think the list would be shorter? Well the Michelle Dean is long and I’ve spent a lot of train journeys reading that, and secondly because I’ve had one of my periodic culls of the tbr-pile which included another round of “50 pages and out” on stuff that I wasn’t sure whether to keep or jettison.

Read:

The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley

Best Of My Love by Susan Mallery

Of Dogs and Walls by Yuko Tsushima

Springtime at Cherry Tree Cottage by Cathy Woodman

All Or Nothing by Rose Lerner

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Dockside by Susan Wiggs

One Hot Summer by Kat French

Started:

The Burning Issue of the Day by T E Kinsey

The Great Successor by Anna Fifield

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Still reading:

Gallows Court by Martin Edwards

Sharp by Michelle Dean

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby

And no books bought – I’m trying hard to restrain book buying urges and the library with its ebook loan service is really helping me.  I did pick up a kindle freebie or two though.

Bonus photo: Summer flowers in my parents’ garden this week – it looks so perfectly English country garden to me.

flower borders

 

Book of the Week, LGTBQIA+

Book of the Week: Proud

Picking a BotW this week was a mix of hard and actually quite easy this week. I read a lot of stuff, but actually didn’t love a lot of it – and some that I did like were by authors that I’ve already written a lot about. But then there was Proud. And it was Pride in London this weekend and I spent my Saturday walking through happy, rainbow-bedecked crowds – firstly on their way to the parade, which started by work and secondly wandering through the after parties in Soho on my way to the theatre in the evening and then back to my hostel afterwards.

Proud is a collection of Young Adult short stories poetry and art edited by Juno Dawson and featuring a mix of new and established LGTBQ+* authors. There’s a huge range of experiences and identities here – including a few that I haven’t seen represented much in my own reading.

I can’t pick a favourite of the stories, because they’re all good and there were several that I really liked. I love a Pride and Prejudice retelling, so I Hate Darcy Pemberley really appealed to me. But then so did The Courage of Dragons – a story about a group of Dungeons and Dragons playing friends who band together during prom to right some wrongs done to one of their number. And then there is Penguins – about prom and crushes and two male penguins who have fallen in love.

Although I read a lot of Middle Grade fiction, I don’t really read a lot of YA – because I find it can tend towards the depressing – particularly when dealing with LGTBQ+ issues. But this is the opposite of that – the stories are affirming and joyous and romantic which is exactly what you want in a book called Proud.

My copy came from NetGalley (yes, I know, I’m super behind because this came out in March and I’ve only just read it) but you should be able to get a copy of Proud from any good bookshop and it’s also available on Kindle and Kobo.

Here’s a bonus picture of the post-Pride march parties.

Partying in the street in Soho near the King Edward Theatre which has Rainbow flags on its big screens

Happy reading!

* I’m using LGTBQ+ here as this is how the book itself describes itself and its contributors.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: July 1 – July 7

After all the nonfiction reading of the last few weeks, this week was thoroughly fiction centric.

Read:

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Proud ed Juno Dawson

It Takes Two by Jenny Holiday

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

Thrill Me by Susan Mallery

Hot Head by Damon Suede

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery

Started:

The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley

Sharp by Michelle Dean

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby

Still reading:

Gallows Court by Martin Edwards

One book bought – but it’s a replacement for a Laurie Graham that I’ve lost – so it totally doesn’t count at all.

Bonus picture: The Coliseum on Saturday night, in the middle of the Pride parade party – I was on my way to see On Your Feet!

St Martins Lane in London

 

Book of the Week, non-fiction

Book of the Week: Seduction

June’s stats coming up tomorrow, but first, this week’s Book of the Week – where we’re still firmly in non-fiction (that’s three BotW posts in a row now!) and in a different part of my historical sweet spot: classic Hollywood.

Cover of Seduction

As the subtitle suggests, this is an examination of the machinations of movie mogul Howard Hughes.  A controversial and massively famous figure in his day, if you’re not into Hollywood history you’ve probably still seen Howard Hughes references in all sorts of stuff – like the episode of The Simpsons where gambling is legalised and Mr Burns turns weird, or Willard Whyte in Diamonds are Forever or the fact that Stan Lee cited him as an inspiration for Tony Stark.  And of course there’s the Martin Scorsese film The Aviator in which he’s played by Leonardo DiCaprio.  But like Hallie Rubenhold in The Five last week, Karina Longworth is coming at this from the perspective of the women in the case – and there were a lot of them – she examines what Hughes’s obsessions with sex, power and publicity meant for the women in his orbit and how it affected them. Hint: he was a real piece of work, even more than you might already be thinking.

This was where the majority of my commute reading time went last week (five of my six train journeys) because although it’s fascinating it’s also super long. I’m a recent* convert to Longworth’s podcast, You Must Remember This, and was a little bit worried that this was going to be covering some of the same ground that that has already covered, but actually that’s not a problem. Some of the stuff has been touched on, but this is much more in depth and with more space to develop an overarching theme and narrative.

Obviously #MeToo has been much in the news over the last few years and if you want an illustration of what powerful men in Hollywood have been getting away with since the silent era then this is it. It would also serve as a great starting off point for a wider journey into Hollywood lore – I know there’s a few more lives I want to explore and a couple of books off the bibliography that I’ll be keeping an eye open for.

My copy of Seduction came from the library, but it’s out now in hardback, Kindle and Kobo as well as audiobook read by Longworth. NB: if you haven’t listened to her podcast, she’s got a very particular way of talking which can take a bit of getting used to and I know doesn’t work for everyone.  I’m not sure how easy it’s going to be to find in bookstores – it’s available to buy from Waterstones’ website, but not on click and collect – ditto Foyles.

Happy Reading!

*as in a couple of series ago.

 

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: June 24 – June 30

It’s the start of July and it’s a Monday so we have the traditional conundrum about how to juggle the schedule for the stats post, but don’t worry, it’s coming.  Anyway, a nice and varied list of books for the last week of June – although it got a bit interupted in places – that’s why there’s a lot of books on the started list!

Read:

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

Seduction by Karina Longworth

We’ll Meet Again by Cathy Bramley

Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen

Kiss Me by Susan Mallery

Why Do You Wear A Cheap Watch by Hans Fallada

Started:

It Takes Two by Jenny Holiday

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

Proud by Juno Dawson

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Still reading:

Gallows Court by Martin Edwards

No books bought – but quite a few audiobooks in Audible’s birthday sale. But they don’t count to they?!

Bonus picture: the heatwave in Fitzroy Square!

A sunny day in a Georgian square

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: June 17 – June 23

A really busy week getting back into the swing over everything post holidays and working over the weekend.

Read:

Roughing It With Ryan by Jill Shalvis

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

Hold Me by Jill Shalvis

Bound with Passion by Megan Mulry

Ghost of a Chance by Cate Dean

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay

Started:

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

Gallows Court by Martin Edwards

Still reading:

Seduction by Karina Longworth

Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen

No books bought!

Bonus photo: The Festival Hall on Saturday night – where I went to see The Light in the Piazza!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: June 10 – June 16

I was sunning myself in the south of France all last week, so this is very much a holiday reading list.  I had a fabulous time – and read some really good books, of which more to follow…

Read:

Before We Kiss by Susan Mallery

Until We Touch by Susan Mallery

Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch

The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective by Susannah Stapleton

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

An Act of Villainy by Ashley Weaver

The Van Apple Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

Fumbled by Alexa Moore

The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey

Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

Started:

Seduction by Karina Longworth

Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen

Still reading:

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

And no books bought.  Mostly because our baggage tag got messed up and I spent the whole time we were waiting to leave running around trying to get our mis-tagged suitcase off a flight to Amsterdam and onto our flight to Nice.  Not the most relaxing way to start a holiday…

Bonus photo: Monaco baby!  Here’s the finishing line and pole position marker from the world’s most famous street circuit.  Him Indoors and I are both big motor racing fans, so we walked the circuit as well as stared at the yachts, obscenely expensive cars and designer shops.  Luckily for us they were still dismantling things after this year’s race, so we got a bit of a sense of the whole thing.

Finish line, pole position marker and podium pavillion in Monte Carlo.