Books of July

Friday, 18 August 2017

I don’t know how it happened but I’ve fallen off the reading trolley. My reading challenge completely fell apart in June and the drought continued into July. I’m struggling to kick my reading horsey into gear and I’m adamant a certain young adult book that shall remain nameless completely threw me off! Maybe it will come back soon but until then 3 books a month is my total.

Books to read

I’ll be honest with you, I actually finished the first book in June but I couldn’t not (the English language is stupid) include it in this post as I loved it so much. *The Blind Side by Michael Lewis is the book that inspired the incredible Sandra Bullock film ‘The Blind Side’ (which you need to watch if you haven’t already) and is so incredibly fascinating for an American football fanatic like me.

The Blind Side predominately focuses on Michael Oher’s story and how he became the player he is today but there is also a nice bit of NFL history intertwined with his life. I practically lapped this book up and conveniently, Sky Sports were showing one of the games from the Joe Montana era that The Blind Side covers while I was reading it. If you have any interest in NFL or even the NCAA (Michael Oher’s NFL career isn’t covered in The Blind Side) then you need to read this book!

I followed The Blind Side up with *Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting. I only saw the film adaption of Trainspotting at the beginning of this year and was eager to read the book once I’d seen T2. Despite being Scottish, I have a hard time understanding Scottish slang so reading Trainspotting took me far longer than I would have liked. It’s mostly written in Scottish slang so I stumbled over a few words (particularly when Begbie was speaking) and I applaud any non-Scot who has managed to read and understand Trainspotting without any issues.

The Blind Side. Trainspotting. Nineteen Minutes.

Admittedly, I didn’t enjoy Trainspotting as much as I thought I would. It’s a great book that explores the never-ending cycle of a junkie but I felt like nothing really happened. I think watching the film first desensitized me to a few scenes in the book so I wasn’t really taken aback by any of it. I’m also tempted into blaming Nikki Sixx’s The Heroin Diaries for my lack of “shock” at Trainspotting as nothing can ever be more disgusting than what he does in a bathroom.

The last book of July is *Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes. I had wanted another Jodi Picoult book for a while and found Nineteen Minutes in a charity shop for 99p so obviously I had to buy it. Nineteen Minutes made me so incredibly sad and I still don’t think I’m over it yet. It focuses on 2 characters who were once great friends as children until an incident caused them to drift apart. The female character became popular while the male character was bullied throughout his childhood and into his teens. As a result of the bullying, he decides to shoot up his school and Nineteen Minutes explores why someone would want to respond to bullying in the most violent way possible.

The Blind Side. Trainspotting. Nineteen Minutes.

I didn’t pick up on it at the time but thinking back over Nineteen Minutes, I realise how many obvious clichés are tied to the story. The clichés haven’t removed my overall feelings towards the plot but I’d be lying if I said certain ones didn’t annoy me (in particular the guy being a fan of heavy metal which always seems to be the thing the media blames for school massacres). There is also a glaringly obvious hint as to how the story will end which again, I didn’t pick up on. I was so eager to find out what happens next that I didn’t fully analyse the book like I usually would. Jodi Picoult is such a compelling storyteller to the point where my pedantic and analytic ways can’t compete.

I think for the first time in months I’ve managed to avoid reading any duds. Trainspotting may not have been what I thought it would be but I’m happy I finally found out what all the fuss was about (and I now have Irvine Welsh’s new book The Blade Artist to read) and could maybe read it again one day. The Blind Side and Nineteen Minutes are my favourite books of July and I’m tempted into reading The Blind Side again just to ensure all those football facts are firmly embedded in my brain. I’m never going to hit this reading target!

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