The year in books – a summer update

As I get back into the swing of blogging I thought now was as good a time as any to update you on my challenge to read at least one book a month this year – joining in with Circle of Pine Tree’s the year in books. For regular readers I’d previously mentioned having a lull in my reading, but over the summer the book worm in me woke up and I’ve loved reading. I’d imagine this might be down to book choices; there’s nothing better than getting engrossed in a book and then only being able to think of the story in those moments where you can’t read.

Over the summer I also hit 15 books read this year so far, so I’m really chuffed I’ve been able to meet my goal. It hasn’t felt like a tough goal, but more a prompt to encourage me to read. The funny thing is when I talk to other people about reading the general message that comes through is how much they’d like to read more. And how they loved reading as a child. Isn’t it funny? So many of us want to read, but yet making time for it doesn’t seem to happen.

So I’ll use this post to recap on what I’ve read over the summer. It’s become a bit of a lengthy post, so if you prefer to just go with the headlines I’ve read the following over the summer. Oh, and I read my first Bill Bryson book and now I think I’m hooked!

  • Better than Before – Gretchen Rubin
  • The Versions of Us – Laura Barnett
  • Mary Poppins Opens the Door – P.L. Travers
  • Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson
  • The BFG – Roald Dahl
  • At Home – Bill Bryson

Below is also my book choice for September – though I’d imagine I’ll finish it in the coming days!


The year in books - a summer update. This Little Space of Mine


September’s book choice

This month I’m reading Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. Recommended to me by family, I was dubious about whether this was my kind of read. A feeling reinforced when the first chapter talks about the murder of a cat (don’t worry, that’s not giving anything away). Fast forwarded a few chapters and I’m hooked on this crime thriller. A real page turner, I’m looking forward to watching the film of it once finished. Have you read Child 44?

Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

I so wanted to enjoy this; I loved The Happiness Project and the Happier podcast is a regular listen, but this pained me to read. I couldn’t wait to finish it. While it definitely had some interesting points that I know I’ve already started putting into practice, I felt irritated at times and finished the book feeling like it could’ve been half the size and still added the same value. The Happiness Project had a magic and a structure to it, something I can relate to, that Better than Before was missing. Having said that, I’m not sure I’m going to absorb Gretchen’s words in book form and I’m pretty sure the Happier podcast is a better medium to reach me.

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

Described as “One Day meets Sliding Doors” I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The Versions of Us tells three different versions of a couple who met in the 50’s and, while sometimes it got a bit tricky flicking from one version to the next, I enjoyed the sentiment and finished the book thinking about moments in my own life and which path they could’ve led me down. I’d say this is an easy read; there are moments when it perhaps drags a little, but I loved the characters and learning their story, so certainly didn’t bother me. A fab read I’d recommend to others.

Mary Poppins Opens the Door by P.L. Travers

I haven’t continued with the Mary Poppins collection since March, so thought I’d squeeze in the third story before our holiday. I’ve got to say that I’m still in two minds as to how I feel about the stories; one minute it feels cold with the chapters a collection of short stories instead of one flowing story, and the next there’s a warmth and I smile at the words and the sentiment behind them. In terms of children’s books, I was all about Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton so this is definitely taking me out of my comfort zone. I’ll continue on with books 4, 5 and 6 soon and let you know how I feel! Have you read them? Would love to know your opinion.

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

I’ll never forget a family holiday where my Dad read one of Bill Bryson’s books and laughed his way through it; I knew it must have been good but it’s only now that I’ve finally started reading his books. Notes from a Small Island is his story of a tour around Britain one final time before he and his family moved back to the US. It was written in 1995, so it’s safe to say a lot has changed! I found the book fascinating and couldn’t put it down; I was only 9 when it was written and boy oh boy did the Briton feel like a different place to what it is today. I kept thinking how much I’d love it if he did a follow up… turns out The Road to Little Dribbling was published earlier this year. It’s high on my reading list now.

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Knowing we’d see the film soon, I packed this in my suitcase and devoured it in a day. Absolutely loved every single minute of it, I re-read it The BFG with a smile on my face and remembered just why I loved Roald Dahl so much as a kid. We’ve since seen the film and it didn’t disappoint. I’d heard mixed reviews, but ignore them. The film was beautiful to watch and true to the story and I couldn’t have asked for more. I’m thinking of reading George’s Marvellous Medicine for my next Roald Dahl re-read.

At Home by Bill Bryson

Described as “A short history of private life” I was a bit worried that this wasn’t my kind of read; it’s essentially a history book – would it hold my attention? A thousand times yes. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this and all the nuggets of information Bill Bryson gave us. Kudos for how At Home is structured, each dedicated to a room in the home, and for all the elements included – from food, to education, to our relationships and even bugs and animals, this book covers all those every day items we all take for granted. Loved it!

Have you read anything you loved recently? I hope my monthly posts on what I’m reading are inspiring you to read more. Don’t forget to catch the #theyearinbooks hashtag over on Instagram!

Leanne x

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2 Comments on The year in books – a summer update

  1. Louise
    09/09/2016 at 3:23 pm (1 year ago)

    I really love Bill Bryson’s books! I recommend the Down Under Australia one and the Notes from a Big Country America one. I discovered him as a teenager and laughed my way through them all! Did you also know that he’s a great linguist? His book Mother Tongue was on my uni reading list and, if you’re into that kind of thing, it’s really fascinating 🙂

    • Leanne Beale
      13/09/2016 at 9:09 am (1 year ago)

      Ooo different recommendations, thanks Louise! I’m curious about the Mother Tongue book too, so might add that to the list. 🙂 xx