Good morning and happy Monday! I hope you've had a wonderful weekend; mine was spent enjoying an indulgent brunch with friends on Saturday, helping my mum in her garden yesterday and getting bits and pieces completed for work in the spaces in between. It's strange how easy it has become for me to switch off from the toils of weekly work when I have time off; in a way it's a good thing because I can truly become immersed in what I enjoy doing, but it does make Monday mornings that bit more difficult!
I can't quite believe it's time for The Year in Books once again; this last month I have been reading in little snippets here and there and I've actually got through some of June's choice already (a first for me!), but let's not got ahead of ourselves; what did I think of last month's choice?
Quite simply, I loved it. 'Burial Rites' (Hannah Kent) is not only a well crafted piece of writing, it also houses a profusion of intertwining lives, lies and hidden thoughts set in early nineteenth century Iceland. It is based on the true story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir who was condemned to death for her part in the murder of her lover, and the form varies from first person narrative to letters documenting official responses and plans; it is this deviation from one form to another that allows the narrative to emerge slowly, giving the reader time to form a response. Kent is an impressive story-teller and forces perceptions to change, ideas to formulate and characters to inspire right from the first few pages. Typical first-time novelist she is not.
I'm not one to normally reach for historical fiction (that's more Mr CC's domain) but I have experienced a pleasant conversion upon reading this novel and would recommend you drift from your comfort zone if, like me, it's not normally what you would pick up in the bookshop.
For June I've chosen something different; a collection of short stories (why don't we read these more often?!) by Joanne Harris (author of the brilliant Chocolat); 'A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String'.
Offering a variety of stories - from the house where it is always Christmas Day (sounds good to me!) to online ghosts - this book has received high praise. I'm looking forward to delving back into short stories; they're perfect for dipping in and out of so will fit perfectly with my current reading style.
If you want more reading inspiration, check out The Year in Books link-up from Circle of Pine Trees here (she also has a wonderful blog that you must explore if you haven't already - beautiful images too).
What have you been reading this month lovelies? Have any of you read Harris' short stories before?
P.S. Want to see what else I've been reading this year?
Eleanor is obsessed with stories. She writes for a number of online spaces including This is Your Kingdom, edits Creative Countryside, curates #aseasonalyear and teaches at Chalk House. In addition, she is currently studying for an MA in Creative Non-Fiction Writing. You'll find her roving the fields of the Lincolnshire Wolds or planning her next rural adventure.