July 2021 books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging at the end of October 2023. Every six-ish days, I’ve been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I’ve found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

With things opening up again, I had two significant excursions in July 2021. The first was to nearby Park Abbey just south of Leuven, where for the first time I saw the astonishing work of Jean Christiaan Hansche in the ceilings of the library and the refectory. This became a bit of an obsession for me over the next few months.

Later in the month, F and I went to Paris before his 22nd birthday.

And I kept up my ten-day posts about the pandemic.

I read 21 books that month.

Non-fiction 2 (YTD 24)
Too Innocent Abroad: Letters Home from Europe 1949, by Joan Hibbard Fleming
The Life and Adventures of Mrs. Christian Davies, Commonly Called Mother Ross on Campaign with the Duke of Marlborough (incorrectly attributed to Daniel Defoe)

Non-genre 4 (YTD 17)
Middlemarch, by George Eliot
Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick, by Zora Neale Hurston
Martin Lukes: Who Moved My Blackberry, by Lucy Kellaway
The History of Mr Polly, by H.G. Wells

SF 11 (YTD 74)
Raybearer, by Jordan Ifueko
Riding the Unicorn, by Paul Kearney
Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse
The Separation, by Christopher Priest
Harrow the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir
The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard
A Deadly Education, by Naomi Novik
Empire Games, by Charles Stross
“Grotto of the Dancing Deer”, by Clifford D Simak
The Kingdom of Copper, by S. A Chakraborty
The Dragon Republic, by R.F. Kuang

Doctor Who 3 (YTD 5, 7 inc comics)
The Last Pharaoh, by Iain McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett
Times Squared, by Rick Cross
Star Tales, ed. Steve Cole

Comics 1 (YTD 19)
Le dernier Atlas, tome 2, by Fabien Vehlmann, Gwen De Bonneval and Fred Blanchard

7,400 pages (YTD 40,100)
13/21 (YTD 65/144) by non-male writers (Hibbard Fleming, Davies/Ross, Eliot, Hurston, Kellaway, Ifueko, Roanhorse, Muir, de Bodard, Novik, Chakraborty, Kuang, Bartlett)
6/21 (YTD 30/144) by PoC (Hurston, Ifueko, Roanhorse, de Bodard, Chakraborty, Kuang)

Unusually I’m going to call out two excellent rereads -normally in these posts I concentrate on books read for the first time. But Middlemarch, which you can get here, is one of the best books I have ever read, and The Separation, which you can get here, is one of Christopher Priest’s best books.