Dr Alice Violett
Book thoughts and PhD archive

What I read in June 2019

In June I read everything I hoped to, but slacked on the review front. I read some really good books, but either didn’t feel I could get a full post out of my thoughts, or didn’t know if it was really my place to do so. But I’ll include brief thoughts on some of them in this round-up.

The Furies, All That's Dead, The Five, Never Be Broken, Haverscroft

The Furies, by Katie Lowe. The Craft meets The Secret History with a dash of The Stranger Diaries and Girl in Snow, with believable teenage characters in a grotty seaside town - 4*

All That’s Dead, by Stuart MacBride. I can never get enough of MacRae and Steel - 4.5*

The Five: the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper, by Hallie Rubenhold. Heartbreaking account of the lack of support or sympathy for poor people, especially women, in Victorian Britain, and necessary corrective to popular images of the Ripper and his victims. They were so much more, and he was so much less - 5*

Never Be Broken, by Sarah Hilary - 4*

Haverscroft, by S. A. Harris - 4*

The Anarchists' Club, See What I Have Done, The Porpoise, Big Sky, Things in Jars

The Anarchists’ Club, by Alex Reeve - 4*

See What I Have Done, by Sarah Schmidt - 3.5*

The Porpoise, by Mark Haddon - 3.5*

Big Sky, by Kate Atkinson. Such a treat to be reunited with Jackson Brodie! Something I especially love about Atkinson’s books is that pretty much all the characters are fully fleshed-out, with insights into their thoughts and humorous observations of, and from, them. Even the dogs have distinct personalities - 5*

Things In Jars, by Jess Kidd - 4*

Common People, My Sister, The Serial Killer, Thin Air, Diary of a Somebody

Common People: an anthology of working-class writers, by Kit De Waal (ed.). An outstanding collection packed with interest, humour, and warmth. Effectively shows how being working-class is neither homogenous, nor a grim culture people necessarily want to ‘transcend’ or ‘leave behind’ given half a chance. I’d love it to convince certain institutions and professions to welcome and project a wider and more representative range of voices and experiences, rather than expect the small number who beat the odds to assimilate and distance themselves from their roots - 5*

My Sister, The Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite - 4*

Thin Air, by Michelle Paver - 3.5*

Diary of a Somebody, by Brian Bilston - 4*

Looking ahead…

Blue Lily, Lily Blue, The Room of the Dead, The Herb of Grace, The Poison Garden, Sleeper's Castle

July looks to be a mix of new, must-drop-everything-and-read titles from authors I love (M. R. C. Kasasian and Alex Marwood) and older titles I’ve been really wanting to read, but had to push down my TBR pile in June due to an influx of library books I couldn’t renew due to reservations. I read The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge, The Ghost Tree, by Barbara Erskine, and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater in May and immediately reserved the next in the series/back catalogue, only to not get round to reading them. I’ve just been staring at them mournfully, thinking ‘soon…’

At the moment I’m reading The Adventures of Maid West, Lady Detective: secrets and lies in the golden age of crime, by Susannah Stapleton. I’m already absolutely hooked, and Stapleton has only just started uncovering Maud’s story!