My Reads For July. Come Share What You’ve Been Reading This Month!

Before I get onto the books I’ve read in July, I have a question for you. Have you ever given up on a novel partway through, and if so, why? I ask because I’m ashamed to say there are two novels recently that I’ve attempted to read and been forced to abandon. Though utterly different, my reason was the same: an inability to connect with the characters. I can put up with a lot of things, but I have to care for the people I’m reading about. For me, it’s the most important element of any book. But what is it for you? What is the one thing that will make you close a novel without reaching the end?

OK, these are the book’s I’ve got through this month:

Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy

My thoughts: It’s over ten years since I went through most of Maeve Binchy’s novels, and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this one. There’s a warmth to her style that is unlike any other author’s I’ve read, and I can see myself returning to her books whenever I’m in need of something comforting.

Blue Sky Adam by Anthony McDonald

My thoughts: Every bit as stunning as its prequel. Erotic, sensuous, beautifully written and brought to life with gorgeous descriptions of the French countryside, this is a poignant portrayal of love and the journey to maturity.

The Enemy by Charlie Higson

My thoughts: What a skilful writer Charlie Higson is. In this novel he creates a world where the grown-ups have been transformed into monsters by a hideous disease and the children are left having to fend for themselves. It’s gritty, hard-hitting and packed with memorable characters, and I believed every single word.

The Spell by Alan Hollinghurst

My thoughts: A strange, sleepy kind of book, detailing the intertwining relationships of four gay men. Though nothing especially dramatic or noteworthy happens throughout the story, it’s nevertheless superbly written and kept me enthralled from start to finish.

Thinking Straight by Robin Reardon

My thoughts: Wow, Robin Reardon is fast becoming one of my favourite authors of young adult fiction. She deals with the issue of homosexuality with wit, sensitivity and originality, and her characters truly leap off the page. Most of all, it was refreshing to have an author put forward a religious view of sexuality that was more positive.

Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas, Book 1) by Dean Koontz

My thoughts: I admit, I didn’t get very far with this, only a few chapters in. While I could appreciate that it’s well written and the character of Odd did come across very strongly, I found myself unable to relate to him in the way I need to in order to keep reading.

Pillow Talk by Freya North

My thoughts: Again, I couldn’t finish this, although I did get over halfway through. Though it would be hard to find a novel less like Odd Thomas, I gave up for the same reason: lack of connection with the characters. Plus, the author had an annoying habit of changing tenses for no apparent reason, sometimes mid-scene, that grated on my nerves.

With or Without You by Brian Farrey

My thoughts: What can I say? I absolutely adored this book. This isn’t just a novel about a gay teen finding love and his place in the world. It’s far more about his struggle to find himself, whilst being terrified of losing the people closest to him. Poignant, emotional, brutally honest … a truly outstanding novel.

Well, these are all the books I’ve devoured this month. Now I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading, the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Let’s chat books!

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2 thoughts on “My Reads For July. Come Share What You’ve Been Reading This Month!

  1. Re: your question about not finishing books… I have an extremely difficult time NOT finishing a book. My friends and family constantly tell me that I should “move on” – there are too many books in the world to get bogged down. I might listen to them one day. ;-)

    Looks like majority on this list are winners, though – love getting recs like these. My favorite read of the month: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones.

  2. Janet, I used to be exactly the same. Giving up on a book partway through almost felt like a failure. Now though I take the view that I read solely for pleasure, so if I’m not enjoying it, what’s the point?

    Thanks so much for letting me know about Silver Sparrow. I’ll certainly check it out!

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