I’m trying to read 52 books this year, starting from September. Here are the 4 books that I’ve read this month.
A Boy made of Blocks, by Keith Stuart, packs an emotional punch. It made me cry (and I do not cry when I’m reading books). This is a story of a dad struggling to forge a connection with his autistic son, while his relationship with his wife falls apart and he simultaneously has to deal with the grief he has been suffering from about the death of his brother. Yes, it sounds depressing, but the way the story develops and the way it is written is actually uplifting, and, dare I say it, life-affirming. And I’ll say it again; it made me cry.
Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach, is a fun, lighthearted look at the science behind space travel. I love the way she writes, and now I plan to seek out her other books; her humour is infectious, with funny lines littered over every page. Highlights for me were the chapters on space toilets and the development of space food. Who knew this book would be so entertaining? I finished it in two days.
Blood Red Snow White, by Marcus Sedgwick, is supposedly a children’s book marketed at teenagers, but honestly, this is too good to be restricted to that audience. The story is set in 1917, during the Russian Revolution, when the Tsar was removed from power and subsequently killed. The storytelling cleverly uses Russian fairy tales, and weaves in actual events from the life of a British writer who became a spy; this is his story, full of espionage, mystery and adventure. It is totally unlike anything else I have ever read.
Fireweed, by Jill Paton Walsh, is a children’s book, set in London during the blitz in WWII. I’d never heard of it before, but apparently it is a beloved classic. A teenage boy gets evacuated to Wales, but makes his way back to London to fend for himself. He meets a girl, and they explore the city together, hunting for food and shelter while trying to avoid being caught by the authorities, or hit by falling bombs. A heart-wrenching journey through war-ravaged London.
I read 46 books last year, you can read about them here.