My June and July reads 2021

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It’s been a couple of busy months, and even though I haven’t read much I did still read more than I expected to be reading! June was the worst, I’ve only read 4 books, about a 1000 pages. It was the month where I needed to organise A LOT for buying our new home. July looks like I’ve read about the same, 5 books, but these 5 have a total of about 2400 pages thanks to finally reading the Stand!

I’m keeping today’s message short, but everything is going well and there haven’t been many panic days. Neither for the new home, as for the old homes, for the wedding as for my new and old job. I’m in a nice flow, where everything is changing and I am feeling very exciting about it all. It does however, wear me out and I am really tired at the end of my days. (This is why reading mostly only happens during the weekend.) The next two months will also be extremely busy, so I expect my reading will be about the same as June and July. After that, I will tell you all about my new reading group and the MAJOR reading challenge I have added to my TBR!

So let’s get to it! What did I read this June and July?

44. still reading, it’s a non-fiction with any technological details and my brain won’t take it at the moment.

47. the Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup (4.75 stars, Dutch, library)
I wanted to give this one a solid 5 stars, but in the beginning was a bit of annoyance about how EVERY man in the story seemed to be seeing woman as just a sexual object. If it adds to the story I’m not one to be annoyed with this easily, but it didn’t add to the story for every male character and thus I ended up giving it “only” 4,75 stars.
The Chestnut Man is nicely paced and is build up from short chapters so you easily keep on reading (just another chapter, ok, just one more, and maybe just another). It’s thrilling and mysterious and the story has many twists and turns, the character building has been done really well! For a moment I thought I knew who the murderer was, but it turned out to be someone else instead. Wasn’t far off though!

48. The distance from me to you by Marina Gessner (3 stars, Dutch, library)
An ok read. I occasionally read non-fiction stories about hiking trails and people surviving the wilderness, so this fictional story needed some adjustment in my thinking. It was also aimed at younger readers, middle grade I think. If I didn’t have to read it for my MAJOR book challenge I probably never picked it up, but in the end I did sort of enjoy it.

49. A life on our planet by David Attenborough (3.75 stars, Dutch, library)
This book is a really good essay about how we humans changed the worlds, in a literal sense, and how this affects our future. The only reason I am giving this less than 4 stars is that the chapters about what we can (AND NEED) to do to save our future does not feel practical enough. Yes, Sir David Attenborough is right in all the things we can change, it’s even scientifically based and there are several positive examples on how others have already done these things. But as a single human, it’s hard to see what I can do on my own. Luckily for the world I read more of these environmental studies, books and tips, so I do have a bit of an idea how to continue my journey on this planet and hopefully leave it behind a bit better even though it might be just a few square meters. But this book gives me both hope as is making me sad, because it still depends on many governments and large corporations to change their ways, while the only thing they see is money.

50. And then there were none by Agatha Christie (5 stars, English, ebook)
Interesting! After reading multiple Miss Marples these last few years, this one had a nice fast pace to it. You can really tell she had a lot of fun writing And then there were none. I read it in 2 days. And even though I had my suspicions about the murderer, Agatha Christie totally threw me off guard when killing that suspect. Should have thought about it more, but it is all explained at the end.

51. An officer and a spy by Robert Harris (3 stars, Dutch, library)
I really like the old spy stories. Iron curtain, Russian threats, yay! So when I noticed this one at the library, I thought to get into something like that. Sadly, there were no major plot twists or any surprises. Kept waiting for something to happen, but it feels like one long bureaucratic horror story. Still written well, this fictional story is so close to the truth it could have happened yesterday (and just for that, it’s actually very good), but I didn’t have any connection to it.

52. Gentleman in slavernij by Janny de Heer (3.25 stars, Dutch, library)
This book is only available in Dutch and has no English title. It’s about our Dutch history as slave owners in Suriname. Even though I didn’t feel a connection to the characters in this story because the writing style feels a bit off, the historical aspects are very interesting to read about. It wasn’t till I was halfway through, that I realized this novel was based on an actual German-Sranam family during the Dutch colonial period and ended up reading it in only one day. I do wish the writer could have added some more of the emotional connection, to make this a proper 4 star read.

53. The stand by Stephen King (4 stars, English, ebook)
Wow, what to say about these 1100-something pages in just a couple of words? First of all, I was surprised about how fast I read this, which already tells you my next bit. It was good. The pacing was nice, not too many slow parts. Some gaps though, but nothing too bothersome. The book is separated into three parts, and the three parts all were different, yet the same and bound together. In the first part of the Stand you learn about a superflu that is rapidly spreading and killing people. Sounds familiair? Yeah, it kinda did. But this was written in the late 80’s. There is one chapter to specifically explain, in a way it fit’s both the story and makes you realize how easy such a superflu spreads. Even with the every day knowledge of 2020/2021 it was eery to read. We meet up with some people that don’t seem to die while everyone else does and foul mouthed as Stephen King can be, he didn’t hesitate to even let a couple of kids die in awful ways we all sometimes think about and now see happening before our eyes. Even though some people might have problems with this, I really felt it added to the story. This superflu doesn’t shrink back for important people or sad people, it just kills everyone. Well, except those few that survived. Who start having dreams, and start following them, finding eachother and setting up a new community. Of course there are a lot of bad things, and there are threats to the community. The last part is about the battle between good and evil, and again we follow a couple of people on their quest. Because this is such a long story there is also a lot of detail, but not much of it feels too overdone. I did notice this is not a story to read just 30 minutes a day from, it’s meant to give you that feeling, soaking up in it and it’s better digested when you read a fair bunch of it at a time. Overall, I think it’s a good story. I might even reread it someday!

54. Uit het leven van een hond by Sander Kollaard (3 stars, Dutch, library)
I read it inbetween part 1 and 2 of the Stand and again, a bit of a dud… The title translates to “from the life of a dog” and the blurb told me that it was about a dog and his owner, who discovered the dog was ill. But in the end, it was hardly about the dog.
It was a nice in-between read, not very intense or very beautiful, but just a day in the life of the main character Henk van Doorn, who’s thoughts we follow, contemplating life and death, age and youth, while falling in love too.

55. The lost apothecary by Sarah Penner (3.25 stars, English, ebook)
Even though this was a pleasant read, I don’t feel I love it as much as others who’s reviews I’ve read. Maybe because I have read so many of them? The Lost Apothecary is an interesting little story, but also a bit predictable. Wife gets cheated on. Goes on holiday trip (which was supposed to be their anniversary trip). Discovers ancient historical story about two other women. Don’t get me wrong, the story isn’t bad, but it’s pretty straight forward and I like my historical fiction a bit more complex. Also, in the end there were still quite a few mysteries unsolved. I wanted to dig in deeper and was left unfulfilled…

And that was it! These were my June and July reads. Have you read any of these too? What did you think about them? Do you have a recommendation for something similar? Or is there anything you would like to know? Ask me in the comments!

2 thoughts on “My June and July reads 2021

  1. RobertG

    Impressed by your reading-list; Bill’s comment made me realise that I too hardly read fiction anymore.
    This summer I did again make a start though – light stuff (Wodehouse) and some ‘cheap sensational fare’ (old ‘True Detective’ magazines ).
    Congratulations on new house! That is really something! (En in ‘het Westen’ van het land al helemaal! 🙂

    Reply

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