June- Border Book Festival and lots of books.

June a busy month rather like December we are all trying to get to the holidays. All running low on energy and yet there is so much on.  Athletics joining one child’s activities along with footie and tennis. The other child doing Duke of Edinburgh trips and drama plays. Lots going on at work. And then there is one of my favourite weekends of the year the Borders Book Festival. This year we managed ten events and although I always say this but I think it was the best yet. A good  mixture of make you think talks (John Naughtie), entertainment (Anne Reid and Carol Klein) fiction and then the wow factor hearing and meeeting Judy Murray.

Despite a very busy month I did find time to read with nine books on the June list with two of them non fiction most unusual for me. The list reads:

1. The Vanishing Futurist – Charlotte Hobson 3/5

2. Lost for words – Stephanie Butland 4.5/5

3. Cousins – Sally Vickers 4/5

4. Golden Hill- Frances Spifford 3/5

5 Hame – Annalena McAffee 4/5

6. Mistress and Commander – Amelia Dalton 3/5

7. Knowing the score – Judy Murray 4/5

8. Into the Water – Paula Hawkins 4/5

9. Death in Oslo – Anne Holt 3/5
Unusual for me to have so many high scoring books in one month. But that’s reading  sometimes you feel your reading is stale nothing much new out there and then you read a few sensational books. Reading is much like life a bit of a rollercoaster.

My favourite read of the month was Lost for Words. The cover looked like that horrible genre chick lit which are two reading descriptions I hate as often totally undermines books aimed at the female audience. Despite the cover I was drawn to the book as it was a book about a book shop and that held my attention to look at the cover. So glad I bought it and read it quickly and it didn’t languish on a bookshelf. This was such a beautiful story about damaged people some who are healed by reading and opening up to one another by facing the past. It’s about the love of books and parental love both of an actual parent and a surrogate. It’s a book you want to finish but don’t as you want to stay in that world.

I also loved Cousins by Sally Vickers who I saw at a wonderful afternoon tea event at Mainstreet Trading my local bookshop. It’s a family saga set in Northumberland and London. A deeply intense book about family relationships and secrets that we keep. I read it after the book event finishing the next morning all in the sunny setting of my garden. One of my favourite ways of reading a book.

I am not a great reader of non fiction. I much prefer fiction as it helps me to sleep thinking about the plot and what happens next beats counting sheep for me any day. But I did read two this month. One Mistress and Commander. My husband enjoyed this more than me. I did enjoy it but it didn’t grasp my attention as much as I thought it would. Despite the fact that it was about sailing round the west coast. Judy Murray’s book did though grab my attention which surprised me. Although I really enjoyed her talk at the book festival I often buy a non fiction book then rarely read it. I decided to read it one hot sunny evening and then finished the book practically in one sitting. Lots of the story you knew but much I didn’t and I found it a fascinating read and my admiration for this feisty lady rose more. We owe her a lot. And as a British tennis fan I salute her.

Finally a friend has been telling me to give audio books a chance. I have listened to them in the past very ad hoc. Mainly as my dad did in his car which was how I listened to Les Miserables. And David Williams which both my kids at various points loved to listen to in the car. I was given a free trial by Amazon and thought I would give it a chance particularly as I could listen to the new Paula Hawkins book for free. I did think that Girl on the Train was over rated. And wouldn’t have bought this in hardback but a free trial was very tempting. Surprisingly I loved this book so much better than her first. At the start I listened to it in my car on the way to work by the end I was listening to it in the kitchen cooking, in the bathroom having a bath, dressing, dog walking you get the idea. If you loved Girl on the Train I am sure you will love this one and if like me you thought it was over hyped give it a go. And again if like me you thought that audio wasn’t your thing. I would also recommend it. Though it can over take your life.

Finally a book I read in March and loved my husband has just read. A boy made of Blocks. He too loved it so another recommendation for this great book.

And  another two ticks for the 2017 reading list.  A non fiction book tick will give that one to Judy Murray. And a book that improved an area of your life. My audio book experience did that. It sure improved listening to the news to and from work and made me in a much better mood. And less pessimistic that the world had gone nuts. On both sides of the Atlantic. It’s a cop out maybe but sometimes you need to take time out to make more of your time in.

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About fionadranesblog

40 plus mum of two married with a mad cocker spaniel. Along with two colleagues run Bright Light Marketing a rural marketing agency who specialise in getting rural businesss noticed. www.brightlightmarketing.co.uk. Live in St Boswells in the wonderful Scottish Borders. Love books, walking and living life to the full here in the Scottish Borders though its sometimes a juggle!
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