What I Read in June & July

Oops, I forgot to post this last month! So here’s a double-header of all the books I read in June and July. Some really fantastic ones in this batch, but there’s one that stands so far above the rest I’m putting it above the ‘read more’ line (also, it’s hard to categorise as either fiction or nonfiction). Read on…

A Ghost in the Throat by Doreann Ní Ghríofa

A novel about a woman who becomes obsessed with a poem by an 18th century noblewoman, what she sees as parallels in her own life, and her efforts to trace the woman’s history and descendants, in some ways it’s difficult to describe what makes this book so exquisite.. Is it the richness of the prose, by an author who is mainly a poet and who shows this through the lyricism of even mundane, minor moments? Is it the way it melds genres—it’s won awards in fiction and nonfiction categories, it’s part biography and part memoir and part translation and part novel and it plays with all these styles in a compelling and intriguing way? Is it the way the plot draws you in? Every time I picked up the book to begin reading again, I immediately felt as invested in the narrator’s search for evidence of Eibhlín in marriage records and death notices and the periphery of other people’s lives. Of course, it is all these things and more, and the result is an incredibly special book. Perhaps my favourite of the year so far, and one I will be thinking about it for a long, long time.

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What I read in May

I always set myself a reading goal of 52 books for the year (so on average a book a week). Well, somehow (lockdown), I’ve hit that goal 5 months into 2021. Here are the top 10 fiction and top 5 nonfiction books I’ve read so far this year — what should I put on my to-read list for the rest of the year?

Fiction:

The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott
Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox
No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez
Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas
The Yield by Tara June Winch
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Nonfiction:

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Can’t Even by Anne Helen Petersen
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Read on for reviews of the books I read in May:

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What I Read in April

Okay, so after all my big talk last month about how I might have to split up this month post’s into two because of all the books I was going to read, I actually had a pretty slow reading month. I got a just a wee small little bit obsessively hooked on a podcast (The Magnus Archives) and so instead of listening to audiobooks I found myself listening to the podcast, and instead of reading… I also found myself listening to the podcast. 90 episodes in means it was a quieter reading month than the last couple (and I still have half the podcast to go so May might have fewer than usual books in it as well). That said, I still got through a good few excellent books; read on for my reviews or check them all out on Goodreads.

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Best books of 2020 (published before 2020)

Thanks to Libby and my local library (well, *cough*, the library where I used to live that has an amazing selection), last year I read a lot more brand new books than usual. However, I still picked up plenty of slightly older reads (usually because the hold lists weren’t quite as long). Following on from my Favourite Books of 2020 (Published in 2020), here are my favourites that were published before last year.

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Best books of 2020 (published in 2020)

For all its many, many faults, 2020 was a great year for reading. I had plenty of time for it, meaning I got through a whopping 107 books. I rediscovered a love for audiobooks. And a glut of incredible new titles meant that I already had something exciting and fresh to read (and a great selection on my library’s Libby meant that there were always new ones coming in on my hold lists, so I read more newly-released titles this year than in some other years), along with my endless list of to-reads from years past.

In fact, I read so many great books this year that I found it really hard to narrow down my favourites. I’ve decided to split my list into two parts: books published in 2020, and books published earlier than 2020.

So whether you’re looking for something hot off the press or a modern classic, here are my picks for best of the year, starting with books newly released in 2020.

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On my 2021 TBR

I never round up my favourite books of the year until after the next one starts because I”m usually reading until the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. But in the meantime, forget New Year’s Resolutions, let’s talk reading resolutions. 2020 was probably my best reading year ever—possibly in number but almost definitely in quality. However, I still didn’t even get through all of the books I’ve been really looking forward to! With the knowledge that even more incredible books will be coming out in 2021 and my TBR will continue to grow endlessly long, here are 10 books published in 2020 that I’m hoping 2021 will bring me the chance to read:

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