Put the Book Back on the Shelf (10)

I seem to have got back into reading in June, having had a while of either just not feeling up to it or choosing books that I didn’t personally like very much. Here’s the books I’ve read so far this month!

Fair Play, Tove Jannson

Fair Play is a lovely and relatively short book by the author of the Moomins. I obviously read it in English translation (my Swedish is nowhere near good enough for attempting an actual book!) but it was beautifully written. I didn’t find it particularly memorable as such and you could call it insubstantial, but I definitely enjoyed it. It’s also refreshing to read a book about older queer women – so often queer literature seems to either be about men, coming out or coming of age narratives or else it’s all very tragic.

An American Marriage, Tayari Jones

really liked this – the characters were mostly memorable and believable, and it felt focused while also being epic in scope. On Goodreads it is described as ‘the Great American Novel’ and while usually that description would put me off (I associate it too much with the Great Gatsby, which I hated) I’m glad it didn’t this time! There was one point I was slightly worried about the direction it might take, but it didn’t go down that route. I can definitely see why it won so many awards and people speak highly of it.

Why Women Have Better Sex under Socialism, Kristen Ghodsee

As suspected, the best thing about this book was the title, which I’m convinced is the best title ever. There was a very useful foreword for non-American readers explaining the focus, which helped because I think otherwise I might have just been a bit irritated by some of the references and examples used. This started out as a blog post, which I haven’t yet read but my suspicion is that it would be better as a short form piece of writing rather than a book. I think a shorter essay could be more focused and more interesting – however, the title alone made it worth it!

Circe, Madeline Miller

Although I’d heard very good things about this, I just couldn’t really get into it. I’m not sure why – perhaps the typeface was too small, perhaps if I’m going to read something based on Greek mythology I should just be honest and re-read Percy Jackson… I’m definitely in a minority for not getting on with this though, so it probably says more about me than it does about the actual book!

Letters from Klara, Tove Jansson

Another book by the Moomins author, Tove Jansson! Letters from Klara is a collection of short stories, mostly unconnected to each other and in a variety of different styles. While I read it all at once, you could quite easily read different stories in between other books – I don’t think you would lose anything that way. Like with many of Jansson’s creations, the strongest element is the character creation, no easy feat. Sparse but lovely is probably how I would sum it up in three words!

Normal People, Sally Rooney

This has been on my to-read list for quite some time, and I finally got around to buying and reading it – I’m so glad I did because I loved it. The two main characters are about the same age as me so I found it easy to emphasise with them – some of the others felt a little bit like plot devices or caricatures, and it was a bit predictable at times, as well as being very straight, so it isn’t a perfect read but it gets very close at points! It was one of those books I read in a day and had an emotional response to without feeling manipulated.

Reading progress: 77/130

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