June & July Wrap Up

Welcome Back To A Day In The Life Of The Anonymous Me,

Today I am going to be sharing with you all the books I read throughout June and July. I have to admit that I didn’t read as much as I usually do as a result of June and July being exam months for me. However, once had I finished school mid-July I have loads! I hope you enjoy…!

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‘Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time’ – Edwin Percy Whipple

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So I am going to talk about three books in one to start off with and that’s the Malory Towers books. When I was 11-12 I adored these books. I remember me devouring them and then recommending them to ALL of my friends. Therefore, I am sure you can understand that when my little sister asked me to read them to her I was really pleased. We had read the first three in previous months and we read Upper Fourth At Malory Towers, In The Fifth At Malory Towers and Last Term At Malory Towers throughout June and July. The books follow Darrell Rivers and her friends who go to a boarding school in Cornwall and all the things they get up to. When I was little I loved them for what they were, but as I was reading them to my sister I recognized all the moral stories in them and pieces of advice. I found it was really interesting to read them as a young adult as I picked up on a lot of things that a younger reader might not.

My sister has also picked out some Roald Dahl’s, Anne Fine’s, Michael Morpurgo’s and E.B.White’s books for me to read to her. I am so glad she is following in the same reading path as me, but I am still trying to persuade her to read Harry Potter. Any tips?

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Next up I read On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. If you read my blog last year during Blogmas, you will know that one of my favourite authors is Ian McEwan. So, when I saw someone selling On Chesil Beach second-hand for a really good price, I picked it up immediately. Therefore, when I got home and read the blurb I was a little disappointed. I discovered from reading the blurb that it wasn’t exactly my kind of book. The blurb stated, ‘It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come…’. I was a little apprehensive when I started reading this, but it was not what I was expecting at all. It was incredible. Although it discussed how the characters were feeling on their wedding night, it looked a lot at their lives up to that moment and the expectations of women then. The whole way throughout reading it I kept thinking about how much knowledge Ian McEwan has. Every ounce of the story is filled with excellent detail and I could visualize the scenes in my mind so clearly. The book is so subtle, one of the things I love about Ian McEwan. You come away from reading one of his novels and just think WOW. This is definitely one for the mature reader and I would not recommend it for those of you under 15. However, I don’t want to dictate what you read, so you decide if you are mature enough for it, go for it. Although the book is primarily set around their wedding night, there are only a few pages that contain graphic details.

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You might remember from my May and Half Term Wrap Up that I read Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell. In the back of it was a chapter sampler for Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard, which I really enjoyed, so I picked up a full copy of Beautiful Broken Things as soon as possible and read it in June. The novel is told from Caddy’s perspective and she goes to a private school for girls in Brighton. She is best friends with Rosie, who goes to public school. They have been friends for as long as they can remember, but this year their friendship is tested. In the opening chapters Caddy tells us her milestones she wants to reach before her next birthday are: to get a boyfriend; to lose her virginity; and to experience a significant life event. However, she sets these milestones before she meets Suzanne, who has just joined Rosie’s school. When Suzanne arrives, Rosie spends all her time with Suzanne and Caddy feels jealous about their friendship. It is not until Suzanne confides in Caddy that they begin to come close.

I am so glad that I read this book as it isn’t often you find a Young Adult book purely about friendship. It was beautiful, devastating, heart wrenching and insightful. I thought it was brilliant how the story was told from Caddy’s perspective because although what Suzanne went through affected her, it also affected her friends. Sara Barnard is an amazing author who doesn’t sugarcoat mental health or friendship. This book is so relatable, funny and truthful.

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The next book I read was The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Oh My Goodness – it was phenomenal! This book follows a Father and a Son who are walking through a post-apocalyptic America that is burnt and covered in ash. The boy’s mother committed suicide several years before. It follows their journey trying to get to the coast before winter because the Father knows they won’t make it through the winter. On the cover there is a quote from The Times which I think sums up the book perfectly. It says: ‘A work of such terrible beauty that you will struggle to look away’. The book is depressing, harrowing, dark and shocking, but it is also gripping and mesmerizing.  I also see it as a warning of a believable future which is not too far off.My favourite quote from it was: ‘You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget’. The language used is so simple, but it paints the picture so well. This books is also interesting as it does not have any speech punctuation, so it really relies on your knowledge of speech *thanks my year 2 English teacher*. This book has definitely made its way on My Favourite Books Of All Time List.

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Next up I read All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I am a huge lover of historical fiction, with one of my favourites being Regeneration by Pat Barker. However, I’m talking about Regeneration today, I’m talking about All The Light We Cannot See. I don’t really know where to start with this book. The writing and description are phenomenal. I can picture all the scenes so visually in my head; it feels like I am there. I also liked this book because I have studied Nazi Germany for GCSE and therefore when Anthony Doerr is describing how all of a sudden there was meat on the table in Germany and lots of people had jobs, I know it is because of invisible unemployment ect. The book follows a young French girl who is blind and a boy who is in the Hitler Youth. You follow them from their early childhood years as well as their lives in World War Two. Then you follow the story when their lives cross paths. The writing and story telling is exquisite and exceptional. The way it switches between characters and time periods is sublime and perfect. It is a very long book, but the chapters are very short, which I feel helped me get through it so quickly. I loved seeing how it all connected on the page. It was truly magical.

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I want to remind you for the last review in this post (the one you are about to read) that their are NO spoilers. This last review is also in no way me hating the author(s) as I LOVE the rest of their work.

The last book (or should I say play!) I read came out on the 31st July and I read it on the 31st July! You can probably guess which play I’m talking about. Yes, you got it right. I’m talking about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K.Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. I absolutely adore books 1-7, so I was SOOOOO FUCKING EXCITED for this books. However, sadly I was disappointed *sad face*. The play starts where the seventh play left off and we start with some crossover dialogue from the scene on Platform 9 and 3/4. My opinions are not my opinions on the live performance, but on the script – as I’m sure you’ve all heard the fantastic reviews of the performance with excellent acting and ways of doing magic, but sadly the script didn’t live up to this. The reviews all rave about the staging, acts, performance, how the spells are cast and when you are watching a play it is incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the performance and the atmosphere, but those should be delineated in the script as well and sadly it didn’t. A positive though, was that it was incredibly funny in some places. Ron’s lines where hilarious, as per usual, but it almost felt he was there to add humour and that he didn’t aid the plot in any way as he does in books 1-7. I also adored the scene between Draco and Harry where they are dueling against each other and Draco says to Harry, ‘Keep up old man’. Harry then replies, ‘We’re the same age’ and Draco then wins the debate by saying, ‘Yes, but I wear it so much better’. The humour was my favourite bit, but sadly it didn’t include the world building and description that you get in books 1-7. The best bit of description there was was when they were talking about what the Trolley Lady on the Hogwarts Express sells and even that was minimal. Lots of the magic in the Harry Potter books comes from the description and the inter-monologues of the characters. In books 1-7 the scenes are painted in your mind by J.K.Rowling and you see the characters develop.The play also lacked lots of characters that readers have grown to love in the first seven books such as Luna etc. It was really disappointing to not see them in the play, but I am also grateful for it now I have finished the play as their characters haven’t been tainted. The plot moves so quickly and is exaggerated – it verges on unbelievable. There are so many plot holes, but there are also things in the plot which would have solved the problems in books 1-7 so much more easily. The play has lost the magical touch that J.K.Rowling brings and the small writing on the bottom of the cover leads me to believe the play was primarily written  by Jack Thorne. The writing was dull and almost fan-fiction like. Most of the characters were nowhere near similar to the ones we know from books 1-7. The lack of a narrator, who I see as a character in itself in the books, makes it feel like it’s not a Harry Potter story. The characters don’t leap of the page. Overall, I was really disappointed with this play.

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I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know in the comments what you have read in the months of June and July. Also, any tips/advice to get my sister to read the Harry Potter series (only one to seven of course *winky face*) would be greatly appreciated,

Happy Blogging! xx

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8 thoughts on “June & July Wrap Up

    1. They were great right?! I also used to love the Twins of St Clares books by her. I loved all her series. My sister is a similar age to yours. I got my sister into the series by letting her pick a book(s) off my bookcase that I could read to her. She chose Malory Towers. Happy Blogging! xx

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