The Monthly Booking: June 2020

Monthly reading list June 2020
The fact that I haven’t yet read these books will be rectified in June

After last month’s desert theme, I’m moving into June with no reading plans grander than trying to clear a few titles from my to-be-read pile. The fact that I often buy books and take for ever to get round to reading them has nothing to do with having changed my mind, but more with there being so many great books out there that my reading list gets longer by the day and, inevitably, although they don’t deserve to, some fall behind. This month is an attempt to right some of those wrongs.

The fact that I haven’t yet read Ducks, Newburyport – a book I have been actively looking forward to for many months – is one such omission to be rectified, and despite its enormous length (which can’t help but put a reading list under pressure) I am determined to complete it by the end of the month. Although it is occupying the ‘small press’ spot on my list, three of this month’s four titles are actually published by independent presses. The fact that my shelves and reading lists are unwittingly but definitely becomingly more weighted in this direction is, I hope, something being reflected on many other bookcases.

Not included in the core list are a few new works in translation that I am thrilled to be able to review this month, so stay tuned for these plus whatever else I find time for.

In June I will be reading and reviewing:


Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara (Chatto & Windus)

What the publisher says: ‘Drawing on real incidents and a spate of disappearances in metropolitan India, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is extraordinarily moving, flawlessly imagined, and a triumph of suspense. It captures the fierce warmth, resilience, and bravery that can emerge in times of trouble and carries the reader headlong into a community that, once encountered, is impossible to forget.’


The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig, translated from the German by Anthea Bell (Pushkin Press)

What the publisher says: ‘The World of Yesterday is a heartfelt tribute to an age of humanity and enlightenment that Zweig feared was lost for ever. An incomparable record of a lost era, this is also essential reading for those who have already fallen in love with Zweig’s fiction.’


Trout, Belly Up by Rodrigo Fuentes, translated from the Spanish by Ellen Jones (Charco Press)

What the publisher says: ‘Told with precision and a stark beauty, in a style that recalls Hemingway, Trout, Belly Up is a unique ensemble of beguiling, disturbing stories set in the heart of the rural landscape in a country where violence is never far from the surface.’

Small Press

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann (Galley Beggar Press)

What the publisher says: ‘A scorching indictment of America’s barbarity, past and present, and a lament for the way we are sleepwalking into environmental disaster, Ducks, Newburyport is a heresy, a wonder – and a revolution in the novel. It’s also very, very funny.’

4 thoughts on “The Monthly Booking: June 2020

  1. What a beautiful pictorial composition, you are brave taking on Ducks, I usually have one title I call my ‘One Summer Chunkster’ but this year it’s going to be ‘Middlemarch’ a classic I’ve never read but need to rectify. Ducks does seem to be universally loved, but will likely have to be an ebook version some time in the future for me.

    Interested to see what translations you will read, I managed to acquire a few during the lockdown thanks to the generosity of a number of publishers, mostly women in translation in anticipation of August’s WIT Month.

    I did read ‘Trout, Belly Up’, appreciating its Hemingway-esque style, holding up a mirror to a very masculine world, though I’ve enjoyed others from Charco Press more. I look forward to your thoughts on it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Claire! I’m a bit worried I’ve taken on too much here – if it wasn’t for the size of Ducks I think I’d be fine – but also enjoy having a thick title to read as the summer arrives. I read ‘Middlemarch’ a long time ago and often think I should revisit. I’m looking forward to hearing what you make of it, and also to seeing which translations you’ve got your hands on! I still need to get my plans together for WIT month, but there are so many amazing titles out there at the moment that I feel we’re quite spoiled for choice.


  2. This looks like an exciting round-up! I really enjoyed Ducks, Newburyport and liked Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line as well. I hope you’ll have a good reading month ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

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