June was an interesting month in which all but one books reviewed were translations. It wasn’t planned that way, I just went with what appealed most to firstly from my Seagull Books (e-)stacks for #seagullbooksfortnight. Thereafter, from My 20 Books of Summer plan. (Hmm, I’m currently reading the 3rd non-plan book, and I’m only a month in.)

The battle continues with Mount TBR, but I’ve been telling myself that the book industry needs supporting more than ever, and I’ve been giving it some serious support during lockdown. Now that the bookshops are opening up, they’re going to need support too, aren’t they? Well, they’ll have to wait until August, because new books need a home, and with 2200+ books in the house, I am seriously out of space.

It’s time to a cull – although I’m as useless at that as I am at not buying new tomes. Perhaps though the problem lies in the word. This wonderful article (How many books does a person really need?) suggests that collections should be curated not culled. I like that idea. It sounds purposeful. I shall attempt to curate my collection in July. (Although it’s unlikely that any books will leave the house until the charity shops and libraries reopen.)

As for reading plans … I still need to identify 10 books bought over the years at Edinburgh Book Festival for my 20 Books of Summer plan. Something happened when I started hunting for these books that deserves a post of its own. Stay tuned …

Books Reviewed

Choosing my book of the month was difficult as the books I read were so varied. In the end two books went head to head. Both are about men entering worlds very different from their own: Bandyopadhyay’s Bengali classic of the Indian jungle and Rodaan Al Galidi’s is-it-fact-or-is-it-fiction account of 9 years spent in a Dutch refugee asylum centre. I went with the latter because of the retention of humour in the face of extraordinary circumstance.

Black Diamond – Zakes Mda

The Hour between Dog and Wolf – Silke Scheuermann

A Cage In Search of A Bird – Florence Noiville

The Last Country – Svenja Leiber

Aranyak – Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay

Two Blankets, Three Sheets – Rodaan Al Galidi *** Book of the Month ***

Käsebier Takes Berlin – Gabriele Tergit

The Cold Summer – Gianrico Carofiglio

Summer of Reckoning – Marion Brunet