A Monthly Review – July

July has been a busy month for me in terms of work and holidays, but I’ve somehow managed to read 5 books this month which I am fairly happy with. Progress is progress, and I’ve already beaten my original reading goal for this year. This month, I delved into two graphic novels, which I’ve never read before and reached the 0.04% completion of my 1,000 book challenge (only 960 books to go!). As I only just picked up Insurgent, I doubt I will complete any more books this month, so here’s what I’ve read (in 1000 book challenge numbering).

36. The Book Thief – Markus Zuzak

I admit that I was slow in the uptake of this book. After seeing the film adaptation, I knew what was going to happen and I couldn’t face the tears that would inevitably happen. In the end, I loved it. It is quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year and it is most certainly a contender for one of my most loved books in the world. It’s a wonderful read and a storyline that will leave you feeling slightly haunted but very much appreciative of your life.

Centred around a young girl, Lisel, in Germany during World War 2, The Book Thief is narrated by death and extremely beautiful. Lisel is adopted into a family with a strict and cold appearing mother and a loving father who becomes Lisel’s role model as he teaches her to read. Lisel’s story is simple; her life revolves around her family, her friends and her books. Until, in the dead of night, a Jew appears at their door seeking refuge from the Nazi rule.

5 out of 5 stars and a recommended read for everyone!

37. Maus (Vol. 1) – Art Spiegelman

Continuing on with my World War 2 reading for the month (no reason behind it), I dived straight into Maus volume one as soon as it arrived on my doorstep. This book is like nothing I’ve ever read before. It’s so unique and creative, in the graphic layout of the book but also in the telling of the story (it’s a first hand account of World War 2 from a Jewish perspective but it’s written by the survivors son).

Maus follows the story and experiences of Vladek (Art’s father) in the run up to the Second World War. From bribing guards and families, to hiding in coal bunkers, the reader gets drawn into what it was like for a Jew in Germany during Nazi rule.

This book is a great piece of history told in an easy to understand manner. 4/5 stars.

38. Maus (Vol. 2) – Art Spiegelman

After completing Maus volume one, how could I not dive straight in to the second half of the story? The story picks up where volume one leaves off, however, the first pages explain the Art’s father died as he was drawing and writing volume one. It depicts Art’s struggle to come to terms with the impact of the first graphic novel and also how to continue on with the series after his father’s death. 

For me, Maus volume two is far superior to volume 1. You follow Vladek throughout his time in Auschwitz, as he battles to stay alive and to find out how and where his wife is. I found myself growing attatched to both Vladek and the storyline in a way that was not present throughout the first book. 5 out of 5 stars.

39. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules – Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

I bought this book on a whim as it sounded fun and light, and I thought it would be a quick read. It was certainly fun and light but I can’t say I was a huge fan of the book. 

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules follows a group of friends who plan to escape their boring retirement home through committing crime, with the end game of a stay in prison. The plot gets more elaborate and unbelievable as the book goes on, but it’s an easy read.

Read my full review of The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules3 out of 4 stars upon reflection.

40. The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon.

No one I know has read this book and I cannot understand why. If you’re a young adult fantasy lover, go and buy this book. It’s one of the best starts to a series I’ve read since I picked up The Hunger Games when it came out and it’s one of the first series I’ve read along with in real time for a long while!

The Bone Season surrounds Paige, who is one the elite clairvoyants in an underground voyant ring in future London. When arrested for killing, Paige is sent to Sheoll I, a city of clairvoyants ruled over and dominated by Rephs, who are all interested in the unique ability Paige posseses. 

I don’t want to tell a great deal about this book as I went in not knowing anything beyond the blurb and it was wonderful. I’ve never been so excited about a book release for such a long time. The Mime Order, book two of the seven book series is due for release in January 2015. I will have my kindle prep for pre-order pretty soon!

 

I’ve had a good month of reading, all the books I’ve read and enjoyed. I have no plans for what to read in August, so suggestions are welcome. I am thinking it’s about time I read The Death Cure so that I can say I’ve finished The Maze Runner trilogy. I sense a lot of young adult literature in my future!

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