June’s reading challenge was to read a book recommended by a family member or friend. I chose my daughter for this who suggested “I am Malala” by Mala Yousafzai. This was a book that had inspired my daughter so I wasn’t surprised at the choice. But it was non fiction and I am increasingly a fiction reader so this was a challenge. But like many things in this disturbing month my views were changed and turned on their head as I read three non fiction books over the course of the month and I’m currently reading my fourth which is part book part poetry so a whole new reading world has opened up for me.
The challenge book “I am Malala” was disturbing very disturbing as you realise as you sit in your cosy house, with your education, your books around you in piles that this is not the case for everyone even in this day and age. I could totally understand why the book inspired my daughter and hope it continues to do so though I can see already the impact it has on her . She doesn’t take her education for granted. She seizes it with great enthusiasm and gives it her all. I believe Malala would find her a comrade.
My other two non fiction books were “Goodbye Sarajevo” and “The Outrun”. The first continues my interest in the siege of Sarajevo. This is the account of two sisters one who is in Sarajevo and one who is in Croatia as a refugee and the impact the war has on their family. It was a very compelling story and like “I am Malala” reminded me of humans inhumanity to other humans. In this disturbing hate filled month it was a telling challenge. “The Outrun” written by Amy Liptrot was an author who I saw at the Borders Book Festival and whose book I bought. A very brave lady who fought her addiction and returned to her home in Orkney. It’s about an Island and how an island repairs and renews you so I related. But more than that it’s about courage and taking your life back.
Fiction wise there was one stand out book which will be probably in my top ten of the year which was “This must be the place” by Maggie O’ Farrell. This was a readers dream I started the book in the afternoon. Saw her in the evening at my local book shop and then finished the book. As ever with Maggie O’Farrell it’s full of deep characters that stay with you long before the books finishes and a story that draws you in from the first page. Highly recommended. Finally a thank you to my son who bought me the audio version of David Walliams “Grandpas Great Escape”. As ever with these books it was funny but the points it was making were profound. Dementia is very sad but this book showed how a boy and his Grandpa still had a strong relationship as the boy never ever forgot that this was still his Grandpa and if he wanted to live in his past the boy would do so too.
I guess my June reading list showed me the importance of love over hate and being strong in your convictions and integrity and that is something to cling to.
In full my June reading list.
1. Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea.
2. This must be the place by Maggie o’ Farrell.
3. The Officers Lover by Pam Jenoff.
4. Goodby Sarajevo by Atka Reid and Hana Schofield.
5. City of Strangers by Louise Millar.
6. When the doves disappeared by Sofi Oksanen.
7. I am Malala by Mala Yousafzai.
8. Grandpas Great Escape by David Walliams.
9. The Outrun by Amy Liptrot.
Next month a book that was published before I was born. I’ve chosen it and it was published before I was born just!