My Year in Books :: June

Books Read in June

Having been converted by my daughter to reading on a Kindle, the two books I managed to get through in June were both chosen from Amazon’s 99p Kindle ‘Daily Deal’ offerings. It’s certainly a great way to extend my book purchasing budget and if occasionally selecting something I subsequently don’t enjoy too much, or even abandon reading, then it’s not a big deal!

Time to Say Goodbye – S D Robertson
Billed as ‘a heart-rending story about the unique bond between a father and his daughter’, six-year-old Ella knows her father will never leave her as he promised her so when her mother died. However, life had other plans for him and the story relates the reason for him being unable to keep his promise.

Many of this book’s reviews were four and five stars, with most reviewers having loved it but with a note of caution being: ‘best given a wide berth by the cynical’. I did not realise from its description that it is a ghost story – stories of which I am not fond. Nevertheless, it started on a promising note but I did begin to find the writing style very stilted in parts. That said, the story did make me want to keep reading to the end. A good effort by a debut author, but not necessarily one that will encourage me to look out for further novels by him.

Our Kind of Traitor – John Le Carré
Years ago now I delved into the Le Carré novels ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’, ‘Smiley’s People’ and ‘The Constant Gardener’ – none of which I ever finished! After watching the recent BBC series ‘The Night Manager’ and thoroughly enjoying it (Olivia Colman, Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie in lead roles perhaps having something to do with that fact) Le Carré was on my list of authors to give another go. Happily, I can report getting all the way to the end of this one and really enjoyed it. Maybe I was previously just not mature enough in my reading, not ready for spy, intrigue, thriller novels or even not ready for Le Carré. It may not be the best of Le Carré suspense-wise, with committed Le Carré fans possibly finding this offering lightweight, but the writing during the slowly evolving story is superb, never making me feel I wanted to give up for lack of a fast pace.

The story revolves around Britain in the recession, with a young couple – a leftish academic and his girlfriend who is a lawyer – escaping the depressed UK for a holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua. A meeting with a Russian millionaire by the name of Dima lands the couple in a dizzying dilemma where the worlds of the City of London and the intricate corridors of espionage collide. With a plot line that travels from Antigua, through London, Paris, a village in Switzerland and a night-time journey through the Swiss Alps, it’s well worth a read.

What books did you read in June?