Sometimes life gets in the way and distracts you, and I haven't really fancied reading as much or writing in July.
My cat, Tilly, died at the beginning of the month. I adopted her just over 2.5 years ago when I moved into my current home, and it was love at first sight. She rubbed up against my calves when I went to see her for the first time at her foster home. Such a cuddly cat, always meowing away, knew when I needed a cuddle. She was an older cat who needed a home, and although we didn't have as long as I hoped with her I'm still open to adopting an older cat in the future. She would lounge across the sofa, be naughty and snatch food from my plate at dinner time, take up the whole of the bed, and even jumped in the bath a couple of times to enjoy the bubbles!
There was also my mum's birthday, my sister's birthday, and my niece's too - we did laser tag, and I think all of those years spent watching sniper and action movies has paid off. Of course, I took it seriously - I wanted to win!
And the heatwave - too hot to move, too hot to think, everything turning to straw, too hot to read. My concentration shrivelled to the size of a pea.
The end of the July was the opposite of the beginning of the month with a fantastic trip to the Shard. One great thing about the heatwave is that the sky was clear and the view was incredible and we could see for miles. A day full of laughter, lots of walking, lots of cocktails.
It's only half way through August but I can tell it's going to be a great month.
Right, so books read in July. Folks, I think I've already found my book of the year...
I am, I am, I am - Maggie O'Farrell
I'm not sure why I've resisted until now with reading this book. I've seen I am, I am, I am recommended all over Twitter, Instagram and blogs so the world was shouting at me to read it - sometimes I'm oblivious to the signs. Maggie O'Farrell's memorie looks at the author's seventeen brushes with death. Ranging from a near miss in the woods with a man who goes on to kill another girl days later, nearly drowning at sea, a childhood illness she was not expected to survive, miscarriages. This is an insightful look into life's fragility and the need to make sure you seize the day.
When I Hit You - Meena Kandasamy
Possibly my book of the year. Shocking, brave and important about a controlling marriage and one woman's escape from the physical and mental abuse in India. Based in part on the author's own experiences, When I Hit You, delves into the caste system of India, the impacts of traditional gender roles, and one woman's fight from oppression. This is an important book, and is definitely a must read. This book will punch you in the gut as it's raw with emotion. Just bloody fantastic.
The Cartography of Others - Catherine McNamara
Catherine's latest collection of stories explores the lives of characters all on the verge of a turning point in their lives. A woman waits in a hotel room for her married lover to turn up, a son trekking across a hill thinks of his mother's last few moments before she died, a soprano in search of her voice. Characters are displaced, complex full of uncertainty. There is never a story set in the same location - Catherine takes the reader on a tour around the world from a sail boat in Corsica, a hotel room in Hong Kong, scruffy Paris. Catherine packs so much detail in these stories, pulling the reader into the snapshot of these characters' lives. My review will be appearing later in the month.