#2018RoundUp: Favourite Books (So Far!)

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Do you know what? I thought I was having a rather good reading year. At least until I looked at my stats. Out of the 68 (yeah I don't know how I managed it either) books I read in January through until the end of June, only 25 of them have been four or five star reads; with a four rating or higher meaning that I actually liked it and would read it again. According to Google and some probably dodgy formulas, that is just over 36%.
That means almost two thirds of my reading has been average or just shit. Which is shame because the main aim of my reading is to find those books that I will come back to again and again, and that will stay with me long after they draw to a close.
More importantly, there have been some highlights - the ones that make the rest worth wading through and the most beloved of which you will be reading about whilst I continue to moan about shitty books (36%!). I have found some auto-buy authors (a post about that coming in the next few weeks!), some awe-inspiring writing abilities and honestly, just a really enjoyable few hours reading.
And what more could you ask for?
Jessie Greengrass' phenomenal debut features an introspective look on the prospective of motherhood. Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction alongside Kandasamy's When I Hit You, it is a literary masterpiece that is only made more brilliant by the fact that Greengrass was too busy to attend the award ceremony because she was giving birth to her first child.
A short novel, but one that packs a punch. Carys Davies' West is a historical fiction novel about a man who leaves his daughter behind, to go and search for bones of the monstrous beasts that have been rumoured to reside in the as-yet-uncolonised western United States. It is a journey for which we already are almost certain of the outcome, but that fact does not make West any less thrilling - for it is in the monotony of the days, the sprawling sense of the American west, and the inner workings of each character's mind where this novel is really told.
Everyone has heard of Truman Capote and everyone has heard of his fall from grace. Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott turns an examination of his life and the choices that he made into a non-fiction novel that I can imagine that Capote himself would have enjoyed. It is honest and a little biting, evoking a time in old Hollywood that most of us can only dream of. It is also the reason why this post is so late - even though I was only halfway through Swansong at the end of June, I knew that I could not craft this post without it.

When I Hit You
Meena Kandasamy's unflinching and raw look at an educated woman being the victim of domestic violence is a sight to be beheld. Emotional, hard-hitting and even a little funny at times, I can't imagine that I am the only one who believes that this should have won the Women's Prize for Fiction. Either way, it is a book that I won't be forgetting anytime soon and one that I cannot help but press into the hands of everyone that I meet.
Sometimes it is good to read about someone's life that is completely different from your own. And Tara Westover's life is about as different from my own as it gets - raised by a mentally-ill father who was obsessed with the end of days, she doesn't step foot into a classroom until she enters college at age eighteen. Then suddenly, her tale becomes about belonging; about being too much of one place to truly fit in in the other. And that is where Tara Westover does not seem all that different.
This book is a murder-mystery the likes of which I have not seen in a long time. A lot of them are average, sub-par, but in The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Stuart Turton has crafted a novel that is not only unique, but incredibly enjoyable. For fans of Cluedo and murder-mysteries of old, step inside the world and see if our protagonist can stop the murder of the girl he witnesses every night. This is a book that you are going to want to read in one sitting.

Head on over to http://bit.ly/2y7JSWV for these books, as well as all of the others featured in my reviews, complete with the added bonuses of free worldwide shipping and bringing a little joy to my life.

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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