Dr Alice Violett
Book thoughts and PhD archive

What I read in August 2019

September is my favourite month because (paradoxically, considering the leaves begin to fall off the trees) it feels like things are starting up and coming back to life. As I explained the other month, I’m in the right place for now, but I’m still getting that sense of new beginnings.

It could be that because I spent so long in education, I just can’t shake off those old September vibes. Maybe it’s because a couple of my friends are starting jobs that are more or less exactly what they want and I’m getting a vicarious thrill. Perhaps I’m just excited to go on a (mini) holiday for the first time in yonks. Or I could just be looking forward to all the new books that are coming through!

I didn’t review any books in August, but I did review a film, but a book blog post is coming soon. I’ve written notes, so it has to happen.

The Closed Circle, Bellman & Black, Blacklands, Alex in Wonderland

The Closed Circle, by Jonathan Coe - 4.5*

Bellman & Black, by Diane Setterfield - 4*

Blacklands, by Belinda Bauer - 4*

Alex in Wonderland, by Simon James Green - 5*

The Darkest Hour, Trans Britain, Darkside, The Sea, The Sea

The Darkest Hour, by Barbara Erskine. My newfound love for this author continues apace - 5*

Trans Britain: our journey from the shadows, by Christine Burns (ed.) - 4*

Darkside, by Belinda Bauer. I was going to give it a 4 throughout, but the ending was such a cop-out - 4*

The Sea, The Sea, by Iris Murdoch. I wanted to like it more, as the writing is good and there are some interesting insights into human nature, but reading through metaphorical splayed fingers (you can hardly bear to ‘watch’ the main character most of the time) wears a bit thin over 500+ pages - 3*

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, How the Dead Speak, An Orchestra of Minorities, A Rare Interest in Corpses, The Turn of the Key

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, by Elif Shafak - 4.5*

How the Dead Speak, by Val McDermid - 4.5*

An Orchestra of Minorities, by Chigozie Obioma. I’ve never read anything quite like it, and absolutely devoured it for the most part (the last 100 pages dragged a bit) - 4.5*

A Rare Interest in Corpses, by Ann Granger - 4*

The Turn of the Key, by Ruth Ware - 4*

Looking ahead…

The Confession, Bone China, Elevator Pitch, The Art of Dying, The Truants, The Haunting of Peligan City

I normally pick five books, but I just couldn’t narrow it down this month - and they’re all new releases! It could have been seven or eight if I was even less disciplined. Jessie Burton and Linwood Barclay are two of those authors whose books I always pre-order on Kindle as soon as I hear they’ve got new books coming out. Laura Purcell and Ambrose Parry’s previous books were on my best of 2018 list so I have high hopes of their new releases.

The Truants is a bit of a wildcard as it’s a debut, but how could I not reserve a novel about an overlooked middle-class girl’s experiences at a Brutalist university in the east?! And as for the new Potkin and Stubbs, well I do like to support my work friends (hi Sophie!), though of course it helps that the first in the series was pretty awesome…