31 July 2014

The year in books: July

And I think this completes the mad rush to publish all July-specific blog posts. Whilst I haven't finished July's book despite it being the end of July, June's books were done and dusted a wee while ago.


Ghostwritten - David Mitchell (2013)

date finished: 18 July 2014   |   ISBN: 0340739754   |   pages: 436 (Paperback)

From the author of Cloud Atlas, comes a debut novel written as a series of separate narratives, about the link between ten characters in various locations, including a financial lawyer in Hong Kong, a disembodied spirit in Mongolia, a Russian curator planning a heist in St Petersburg and a quantum physicist in Ireland.

I've not read Cloud Atlas — although it has been thoroughly recommended — so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from Mitchell. It took me a little while to adjust to his language style but that isn't unusual for me, especially if I'm coming from something very different. I didn't enjoy reading all of the narratives and I'm not convinced the first narrative was the best one to start with but then, given the nature of that character and the storyline, perhaps I'm not supposed to like it.

My initial rating for the book was two stars, because I felt it came to an abrupt end without many 'answers'. I now think that was quite unfair as I did enjoy reading it, it didn't feel like a chore, so I've re-rated it. But I still finished the book feeling like I was free falling, unsure of what to take away from each of the narratives, how much linkage existed and whether I had missed something glaringly obvious. Perhaps that is my trying to apply my logic and desire for completeness where it doesn't belong. In summary, I was completely mystified and I just haven't decided if that's good or bad.

rating: ★★★☆☆


I was hoping to have another treeware month but alas, all the library books were checked out and Kindle is cheaper. This month is once again my book club book. With this year being the centenary of World War One, we wanted to read something topical, either specifically connected with WWI or in the very least, war related. A book club member recommended a book originally written in German and with a unique take on World War Two; Look Who's Back (Er ist wieder da) by Timur Vermes.
Summer 2011. Berlin. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of ground, alive and well.

Things have changed – no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman. People certainly recognise him, though – as a brilliant, satirical impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable, happens, and the ranting Hitler takes off, goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own TV show, becomes someone who people listen to. All while he’s still trying to convince people that yes, it really is him, and yes, he really means it.
A striking cover I'm sure you'll agree.

Also read in June...

Sleep Tight - Rachel Abbott (2014)

date finished: 3 July 2014   |   ISBN: 0957652231   |   pages: 384 (Kindle)

Set in Manchester, Olivia turns to the police when her three young children go missing with their father. Two years later, DCI Tom Douglas is now brought in to investigate Olivia's disappear. In doing so, uncovers the truth about Olivia and her past.

I was expecting this to be an easy read but also fairly average and not overly impactful. It was certainly a quick and easy read and whilst I got a little annoyed with some of the monotony, I actually really rather enjoyed it. Especially all the little twists and turns at the end of the book as all the different threads of the story came together. A crier at books I am not but the end of this book actually gave me a lump in my throat. We'll pretend that had nothing to do with being slightly tipsy. I discovered this is one in a series of books with DCI Douglas as the common element and now want to read the others in this series.

rating: ★★★

What are you reading?


Want to take part in The Year in Books project?
Visit Laura's July link-up post at The Circle of Pine Trees blog to add yourself to the list and grab the button she's very kindly created. You can take part using the hashtag #theyearinbooks on Instagram and Twitter. There is also a Pinterest board and a Goodreads group. I know; great, right?


  1. "Look Who's Back" sounds interesting. Might have to check out a kindle sample.

    I just finished reading The Goldfinch and I think I might try reading The Shock of the Fall next as we've got the author coming to our WI at some point next year.

    1. It's not a book I enjoyed really, so much so that I didn't get past about a third of the book! If you do read, and finish it, let me know if it's any good.

      Oh yes, let me know what you think of Shock of the Fall if you read it! I read a sample of The Goldfinch and couldn't get into it and since any version of the book was quite pricey I opted not to get the full book, at least not until it was a bit cheaper.