Reading round-up May 2018

Teenage girls are our future

Oof. I have not read much this month. Or at least, I haven’t finished many books. I have started at least three books I haven’t finished and possibly won’t ever finish. Maybe I’ll blog about those another time.

We had two fab weekends away in London, enjoying sunshine, music, art, time with friends and some spectacular thunder and lightning. This month’s highlight was seeing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform last Friday. I love them so much and they were on top form.

We also visited the South Bank Book Fair under Waterloo Bridge for the first time in years. I used to go there fairly often. It was always pricey and skewed towards maps and antiquities, but books! Tim found a collection of SF short stories edited by Harry Harrison. I found a novel by Yukio Mishima. We went to a bar on a balcony over the Thames and cracked open those books over a drink and a snack. It was beautiful.

Roll on June.

Books read

Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami
The story is narrated by a young man who, over his summer holiday, becomes slightly obsessed by the sandwich server at his local supermarket. She is aloof, never smiling, never engaging with customers, precise in all her movements. When he starts back at school, he hears rumours about his beloved “Ms Ice Sandwich” and they upset him. It’s a sweet tale of adolescence, discovery and loss.

Your Name, Vol. 2 by Makoto Shinkai (story) and Ranmaru Kotone (art)
Ahead of watching the anime film of this story, I thought I would read on in case the film uses more than the first volume as source material. (Does anyone know how much of the books the film covers?) In this volume Taki investigates the town Mitsuhe is from, after the revelation at the end of volume 1. It continues to be a sweet story beautifully drawn.

Devoured by Anna Mackmin
This is a strange tale told in a strange way, and I loved it. It’s the tale of a commune in 1970s Norfolk. Beth owns a big farmhouse, which she has opened up to a raggedy crew of hippies from around the UK and the US. She and her partner are raising their two daughters in true New Age style: no school, treated like adults when it comes to chores and conversation topics, encouraged to be artistic in every way. From the opening passage where a girl is letting her dog pull her along on her bike down country lanes, singing Jerusalem but replacing every other word with “doggy”, I was hooked.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I love the conceptual basis for this book. It is inspired by and based around found photographs, mostly very old ones. These photos are scattered through the novel, making it a lovely object (and also heavy – gloss paper is really heavy). Sadly the execution didn’t live up to the promise. There’s a remote island, a creepy old children’s home and some magical hijinx. Also a complete lack of an ending. I’ll write a full review soon.

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