Books of July – variety of #reading

July saw me reading more than the first half of the year and I am convinced it’s a big reason for making it a happy month (despite of the heatwave we have in Budapest at the moment). Here are the stories that I met.

The book I loved

The handmaid’s tale

A classic from Margaret Atwood has the most beautiful language I’ve read in a while:

  • To achieve vision in this way, this journey into a darkness that is composed of women, a woman, who can see in darkness while he himself strains blindly forward.
  • Sanity is a valuable possession; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes.
  • Not a dandelion in sight here, the lawns are picked clean. I long for one, just one, rubbishy and insolently random and hard to get rid of and perennially yellow as the sun. Cheerful and plebeian, shining for all alike.
  • God is love, they once said, but we reversed that

It took my breath away, it made me think, even better, it made me scared – given the level of anxiety in today’s society, it’s less and less of a leap to see how it can happen. Extremists are on the rise, weapons are getting stronger, people are withdrawing into themselves or their nuclear family. It’s chilling.

I have to say though, the ending was rather frustrating. But if you’d like to read a book that will make you think and feel, go for this one.

The book I fought my way through

Stealing Silence: The Silent Lands Chronicles – Volume 1

I loved the premise of this series – a world where everything went south because of climate change. It is a very real threat so I was curious what the imagination could make of this. Unfortunately not much. Evil government, clever scientists, flat characters but even worse than that, flat language:

“The sad condition of the once stately manor saddened him.”

Regrettably, this isn’t an exception. On the plus side, it was short at least.

Books I started

I started to watch the series on Netflix and while the acting performance was less than enjoyable, the story was amazing. “Let’s see the books then!” I said, and to my surprise, there are loads in the series. It took a little researching to find out the chronological order and then I found that the series does not actually start at the same place. No surprise really, the first book so far reads like a fan fiction for the Lord of the Rings. I still have hope though, so I’m marching on!

Kalman Mikszath: The Town in Black

It’s been ages since I read a Hungarian book but Mikszath has always been my favourite. He wrote this book based on historical events of the turmoil of Hungary right after the Turkish occupation. He has an uncanny ability to put us in his character’s head – and it’s rarely a nice place. He reminds me of Dostoyevski but Mikszath is a lot funnier. Dark but funny.

Progress update

The goal I set out the last time was to read one book a week. With only 2 books finished, I failed but I do enjoy the ones in progress so I’m not too disappointed about it. I’ll try to read one book per week though – I guess I’ll need to cut down aimless internet surfing 🙂

Reader question:

How are you doing with your own reading challenge if you have one? What was your favourite book you read in July?


Read more: Books of the first half of the year

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My soul breathes music and exhales words.

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