We’re almost in a new month, and it’s another month of bookish recommendations from me. I tried to find some great summer reads, and one of them I’ve read very recently. I loved it so much I’m recommending it for this upcoming month of August!
As always, there’s four books from four different genres. Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, and a Non-Fiction book that I’ve been loving the last several months.
So without further ado, let’s get into the books!
Fiction: ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman
No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.
Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart.
Why I Recommend
This was just such a beautiful book, and I’ve got an edition to match too, as my original copy came from Waterstones and ended up in the hands of family on the other side of the world.
The plot, the characters. Everything was written so deftly, I couldn’t fault it. I loved Eleanor from the beginning, and it was wonderful to watch her realise there were people around her that cared, where before she’d been a loner and comfortable being so, even if she never truly lived. This is a book where both the main character, and the reader, learn how to live.
It’s a lovely touching novel, and there wasn’t much I didn’t love about it. I felt for Eleanor over that ending, when you realise secrets about her that were touched on throughout the novel, but never explained until the end.
Yes, this is a lovely book, and I look forward to reading more books by this author in the future. If you’re looking for a heartwarming book to read this summer, I thoroughly recommend it.
Fantasy: ‘Soul Music’ by Terry Pratchett
OTHER CHILDREN GET GIVEN XYLOPHONES. SUSAN JUST HAD TO ASK HER GRANDFATHER TO TAKE HIS VEST OFF.
Yes. There’s a Death in the family.
It’s hard to grow up normally when Grandfather rides a white horse and wields a scythe – especially when you have to take over the family business, and everyone mistakes you for the Tooth Fairy. And especially when you have to face the new and addictive music that has entered Discworld.
It’s lawless. It changes people.
It’s called Music With Rocks In.
It’s got a beat and you can dance to it, but…
And it won’t fade away.
Why I Recommend
Oh my god this was so hilarious, just as all Terry Pratchett Books are. It’s number 16 in the Discworld series, and number 3 in the Death series (if you’re following the character of Death), and I just loved it.
It starts off with a group of young kids deciding to start up a rock band, but pretty quickly the music they produce gets a bit out of control. As the synopsis states… it begins to come alive!
Also enter Death and Susan, because, hey we love these characters. Susan is Death’s granddaughter and has some interesting talents of her own.
Terry Pratchett always creates comedic genius when writing about any human industry, and this was just that. It covers commercialism, rock and roll, the music industry itself, and – of course – Death comes in with another career change.
I thoroughly recommend it if you’re up for something fun and music-filled.
Young Adult: ‘Under a Dancing Star’ by Laura Wood
In grey, 1930s England, Bea has grown up kicking against the conventions of the time, all the while knowing that she will one day have to marry someone her parents choose – someone rich enough to keep the family estate alive. But she longs for so much more – for adventure, excitement, travel, and maybe even romance.
When she gets the chance to spend the summer in Italy with her bohemian uncle and his fiancée, a whole world is opened up to Bea – a world that includes Ben, a cocky young artist who just happens to be infuriatingly handsome too. Sparks fly between the quick-witted pair until one night, under the stars, a challenge is set: can Bea and Ben put aside their teasing and have the perfect summer romance?
With their new friends gleefully setting the rules for their fling, Bea and Ben can agree on one thing at least: they absolutely, positively will not, cannot fall in love…
A long, hot summer of kisses and mischief unfolds – but storm clouds are gathering across Europe, and home is calling. Every summer has to end – but for Bea, this might be just the beginning.
Why I Recommend
You can read my full review for this book here, but let’s go into a bit of detail about why I recommend it. It’s a lovely summery book, set in the glorious landscape of Italy during the 1930s – plus during the summer too! It’s a coming-of-age romance, and I really liked it for that.
You get drawn into the atmosphere of the book fairly quickly. It begins in England, yes, but very soon you’re transferred to the bright sunshine of Italy. There’s romance, art, and lovely character interactions. It’s easy-to-read and get swept up in, and I loved the interactions between Ben and Bea. They did not seem forced at all, and between it all there are hints at darker themes and family secrets. This is a book that dazzles from the first page, and I thoroughly recommend if you’re away somewhere sunny on holiday and want something to slip into and dream with.
Most of the plot centres around the characters of Ben and Bea, and they travel to Florence later in the book, and I must say, I’m inspired to visit – it’s a place I’ve dreamed of visiting, and this book made me thirst for it. There’s food and wine and dancing. Art and passion. Nature and history. Just the thing for summer.
Non-Fiction: ‘Draw Your Own Fonts’ by Tony Seddon
Hand-drawn lettering has never been more popular, and every home designer is in on the act, creating energetic, quirky fonts that seem to jump off the screen, the poster or the page. To the uninitiated this free design can seem a little intimidating. Can anyone join in? Can you learn to draw appealing letters without having taken a graphic design course?
Draw Your Own Fonts proves that the answer is a resounding yes. A lively mix of inspiration and workbook, it offers 30 complete alphabets, drawn in a variety of styles by an energetic line-up of young artists and illustrators, with tips and demonstrations on how you can copy or adapt them to make them your own. With sections on how to use your fonts online as well as on paper, this is a do-it-yourself book that will appeal to anyone who has ever begun a hand-lettered project (or simply doodled a highly decorated word or two on the cover of a notebook) then wondered why it didn’t have the panache of professional work.
Why I Recommend
It’s Planner Day tomorrow, so I thought this would be a great recommendation. So for those of you who have a bullet journal, are interested in lettering and calligraphy, or just love to draw, this is a great book to purchase. I bought it a few years ago and have been dipping in and out ever since.
There are 30 different alphabets to sketch out, shown on the pages, and then there are blank graph pages to sketch out those same alphabets to practice. There’s a whole array of them from simple fonts to more elaborate ones like origami fonts and scripts.
Honestly, I love the various fonts in this book. I feel a few of them are beyond me at the moment! But at least I can practice some of the easier ones to start off with, and who knows, include them in my bullet journal one day!
Yes, I thoroughly recommend it if you’re into fonts and lettering.
That’s it for my book recommendations! Don’t forget to check out many of my book reviews on the blog for more books.
Kate @ Kandid Chronicles x