July Reads and August Plans

July, dear July.

I know I complained that June had been cold. So it is quite ironic that the heat of July has been almost unbearable for someone like me who is not used to hot weather. However, it has given me good excuse to sit in the shadow of my balcony and read. I read 6 books in July, and I must say that I enjoyed all of them in different ways. The selection of books was again very varied, and despite some doubts on my part, I also managed to finish Moby-Dick ( only a couple weeks after the read-along ended). In addition to book reviews, I posted my May-July book haul as well as shared some of the blog inspiration in the Very Inspiring Blogger Award post.

Aside from reading for pleasure and blogging, I’ve been working in July and studying for a book exam in politics. Nevertheless, July has been a fun months with a few summer parties, weekend trips, swimming in the lake by the summer cottage, going to see The Fault in Our Stars with friends and heading for tea and ice cream afterwards.

Books read in July:

I blogged about most of the books I read in July (and I still do plan on reviewing As White As Snow), but I’ll quickly talk about the book that didn’t get its own review. I began the month by reading Pikku Pietarin Piha (eng. Little Peter’s Yard) which is a collection of causeries. The perspective in the book is mainly that of a young boy who spends his days in the courtyard shared by several families, and relates their lives. Peter has recently lost his mother and beside the events of the yard, the book also includes his dreams in which he talks to God about his mother, asking how she is doing “up there”. The humouristic tone of the book comes from the naïveness of the child, but there is also sadness in the conditions and struggles of the time period. This book was recently listed as one of the vital reads from the 1950s Finnish literature, and though I didn’t catch all the historical references, I enjoyed it very much. 3/5

Books on my August TBR:

  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
  • White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen (Finnish)
  • Salo by Turkka Hautala (Finnish)
  • Kiinalainen puutarha by Markus Nummi (Finnish)

I’ve actually already read The Kite Runner, but because I finished it on August 1st, I decided to include it in the August TBR. Both The Kite Runner and Tess of the d’Urbervilles were on my July TBR, so I’ve added them into my August TBR list. Although I feel a bit hesitant to pick up bigger books so soon after Moby-Dick, I want to read the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, Storm of Swords, this month. I have high expectations because many say it is their favourite of the series. I was originally planning on including only books from my own shelves in this month’s TBR, but then I discovered that a mobile library that has a stop really close to my home. So I took a glimpse inside and saw that they had The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – I had to get it. The book is set in WWII and tells the story of a young German boy who befriends a Jewish boy trapped in a concentration camp. I’ve heard it’s one of those books that makes you cry, so I’ll try to have tissues close by for that.

As you might have noticed, there are three Finnish titles on my TBR list. I’ve lately been reading more Finnish fiction which is great because the first six months of 2014 have been awful of that account – Tove Jansson notwithstanding. And I’m enjoying it. I mean, I love reading in English and in other languages, but Finnish is my mother tongue and thus there are some things that come across better in Finnish. However, none of the Finnish books in my TBR have been translated into English (UPDATE: White Hunger was translated into English in early 2015). From what I gather, Salo is supposed to be a narrative about a small Finnish community coming to terms with the changing society (similar to Pikku Pietarin Piha – just more modern time period). White Hunger was nominated for the Finnish national literature prize in 2012, and Kiinalainen puutarha (eng. The Chinese Garden) tells of a young girl and her uncle who are running from their home in Kashgar, China.

And that is all for my July Reads and August Plans. Please let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these books or have suggestions on what I should read first. Happy reading! x

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