July proved to be my best reading month so far this summer, with 9 books read. I had a nice selection of books this time around. I started with Howards End was my 1001 Book Challenge book for the month, and even though it is a reread, it never lets me down. I'm not exactly sure how many times I've read it now, but it is one of those books that I take something new away from each reading.
After that I finished Brandon Mull's Fablehaven which I had been working on since June. This was a fun little read. It's about 2 kids who are staying at their grandfather's farm for a couple of weeks while there parents are on vacation, and it turns out the farm is Fablehaven, and modern day refuge for magical and mythical creatures. It's worth checking out if you are looking for something a little light but still amusing.
I admit, Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book, 10 3/4 Anniversary Edition is a complete cheat on my reading, as I just read the original edition in March, but these books are so ridiculous they make me laugh every time. Plus, the 10 3/4 Anniversary Edition had a new introduction, 8 new pages of story, and each of the individual pages were enhanced with new art.
Walter Moers' A Wild Ride Through the Night was quite clever. Moers took 21 of Gustave Doré's etchings from various of his works and wrote a whole new story which involved Death, his sister Dementia and how Doré cheated Death and lived to tell the tale.
Penelope Przekop's Aberrations was a review copy sent to me, and I am pleasantly surprised by how well-written this book is. It touches on so many subjects: narcolepsy, discovering homosexuality, dementia, love, loss, the need for the idea of mother; and each of these aspects Przekop touched on with care and understanding. I think it tops my reading for the month and comes highly recommended.
Tom Evans' 100 Years of Ermintrude was another review read. The book is told in 33 stanzas and recaps the life of Ermintrude, but told backwards from her 100th birthday to her childhood and earlier, with each stanza highlighting a moment in her life (the birth of her children, her daughter's breast cancer, her son's wedding, the death of her husband, etc). Some of the rhymes seemed very forced, but Ermintrude's story was very touching and it was interesting to see how Evans could make you see how Ermintrude moved forward in her life, overcoming each obstacle even though he was telling her story in reverse.
Nancy Bruno's Genuine Men: Journeys in Stories and Stills was another review copy. Bruno felt that there needed to be more positive male role models who were everyday people, so she chose 35 men ranging it age from 12 to 91 years old and told their stories of how they felt that they had become men along with accompanying photographs. The stories seemed a little vague at times but overall it is a nice presentation.
I listened to an audiobook of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, which I have read before but enjoy each time, and thought listening to it would be a good way to get an extra book in for the month. I'm in my car quite a bit, and with my library right across the street now, I thought I'd try and check out some audiobooks for awhile and see how those go. Next up is The Fellowship of the Rind.
Lastly, I read the first Hellboy graphic novel by Mike Mignola, Seed of Destruction. After watching the second movie this summer, I thought I'd try giving one of the books a try. It is the basic premise for the first movie, and while the movie does follow the same idea, the graphic novel and movie do diverge significantly in some areas.
Overall, not a bad month for reading and hopefully August will be just as good.
I think I'm going to shut From My Bookshelf down for a while; maybe for good. I've been putting this together for quite a few years now and it's starting to feel a bit more of a chore. I'll keep my Goodreads & Instagram connected, but with the state of the world right now, I just want to read without worrying about making sure I post something about it. Who knows - when the world starts to make some semblance of sense again, I may start actively posting here again. Until then, as always, happy reading!