I got back into my reading routine near the end of June thankfully! The month started off quite slow as I found The Disconnect a slow to digest read while in Manchester.
However, the Welsh air has definitely restored me to normal affairs and I’ve been waking a little earlier each morning to read and enjoying our outside patio where I can enjoy some quiet time to get through my novels.
I managed six books this month and hope to read the same number or more in July while I’m a little bit more out of the way in Wales.
Here are the six books I read in June and their reviews:
The Disconnect by Roisin Kiberd (Gifted)
We all live online now: the line between the internet and IRL has become porous to the point of being meaningless. Roisin Kiberd knows this better than anyone. She has worked for tech startups and as the online voice of a cheese brand; she’s witnessed the bloated excesses of tech conferences and explored the strangest communities on the web. She has traced the ripples these hidden worlds have sent through our culture and politics, and experienced the disorienting effects on her own life. In these interlinked essays, she illuminates the subject with fierce clarity, revealing the ways we are more connected than ever before, and the disconnect this breeds. From the lure of the endless scroll, to the glamour of self-optimisation; from the cult of Energy Drinks to the nostalgic world of Vaporwave music; and from silicon town centres to dating tech bros, Kiberd explores the strange worlds, habits and people that have grown with the internet. She asks what we have gained, what we have lost, and what we have given willingly away in exchange for this connected life.
My rating: ★★★
This one took me quite a while to read, as it was made of many short and long essays written by Roisin Kibberd. The book opened with how social media and the internet had a severe effect on Kibberd, almost driving her to take her own life. The book explains how Dublin is the Silicon Valley of Europe, with many tech companies opening their headquarters there, making everyone on dating apps in the city a software engineer for a ‘well-known tech company’, but are always reluctant to tell you which one. Kibberd’s addiction to Monster Energy drinks reflected my own addiction to Diet Coke, so who knows, it may inspire me to write a memoir about Diet Coke in the future.
Caught by Harlan Coben
Seventeen-year-old Haley McWaid never gave her parents a moment’s worry. Until one morning her mother wakes to find that Haley didn’t come home the night before. Three months quickly pass without a word, and everyone assumes the worst. Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission: to identify and bring down sexual predators via televised sting operations. Her latest target is Dan Mercer, a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens. But his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.
My rating: ★★★★
This is my third Harlan Coben book and just like the previous two that I’ve read, I thoroughly enjoyed. Coben writes detective/thriller novels so well with many twists and turns and chapter endings to keep you hooked and wanting to keep reading. I don’t know how Coben keeps churning out book after book to such high quality, but I’ll definitely keep reading.
Slay by Brittney Morris
By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is a college student, and one of the only black kids at Jefferson Academy. By night, she joins hundreds of thousands of black gamers who duel worldwide in the secret online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer – not even her boyfriend, Malcolm. But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, the media labels it an exclusionist, racist hub for thugs. With threats coming from both inside and outside the game, Kiera must fight to save the safe space she’s created. But can she protect SLAY without losing herself?
My rating: ★★★★★
I picked this up in a Free Little Library in Edinburgh, and even though it seemed like a Young Adult-type fiction book, it intrigued me all the same. I was after some easy reading, after some heavy non-fiction and this is exactly what this offered. I got through the book rather quickly, and as expected there were a few parts of the book that were quite juvinile for a young audience, but the book still covered important topics about race and discrimination and the plot was different to what I’ve ever read before.
The Whole Marketer by Abigail Dixon (Gifted)
As marketing roles continue to evolve, expand and embrace the complexities of the modern world of business, marketers are under increasing pressure to perform as individuals and teams. The Whole Marketer argues that now is the time to take stock of technical skills required, examine the latest thinking, identify capability gaps and discover how to be fulfilled in a professional context and as a human. Abigail Dixon looks at functions of a marketing team through a lens of personal development. Her rich experience comes from leading marketing teams, and training hundreds of marketers at varied stages of their career to achieve formal qualifications. She is passionate to help marketers to be a better version of themselves tomorrow.
My rating: ★★★★
As an influencer marketer, I always find reading books about marketing extremely helpful as I start out on my career journey. The Whole Marketer couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I passed my probation at my new job. Even though I’ve only been there three months, it already feels like more than a year as I’ve settled in so quickly. The Whole Marketer outlines everything a marketer would need to understand the industry they have entered, but I will say that the booked lack information on digital marketing and social media/influencer marketing which are becoming huge sectors for the marketing industry.
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
It is Ireland in the early 1950s and for Eilis Lacey, as for so many young Irish girls, opportunities are scarce. So when her sister arranges for her to emigrate to New York, Eilis knows she must go, leaving behind her family and her home for the first time. Arriving in a crowded lodging house in Brooklyn, Eilis can only be reminded of what she has sacrificed. She is far from home – and homesick. And just as she takes tentative steps towards friendship, and perhaps something more, Eilis receives news which sends her back to Ireland. There she will be confronted by a terrible dilemma – a devastating choice between duty and one great love.
My rating: ★★★★
I’m not usually one for reading books set back in the 1930s-1960s, except if it’s written by Fitzgerald, but I have to say I really enjoyed Brooklyn. Not that I’m pining for my life in New York (understatement) but it was really nice to read about places in Dublin that I recognized (they still exist today!), reading about Liverpool and then reading about Eilis’s life in Brooklyn. My two home cities plus my favourite place in Ireland, the book couldn’t have offered me much more really. Now I’m left wishing I was born back in the 1940s so I could get myself a green card.
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
Lou Clark knows too many things. . . She knows how many miles lie between her new home in New York and her new boyfriend Sam in London. She knows her employer is a good man and she knows his wife is keeping a secret from him. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to meet someone who’s going to turn her whole life upside down. Because Josh will remind her so much of a man she used to know that it’ll hurt. Lou won’t know what to do next, but she knows that whatever she chooses is going to change everything.
My rating: ★★★★
Are you sensing a theme here? The third book in the Me Before You series is set in New York, following Louisa Clark’s new life in the Upper East Side. Again, it was lovely to vividly picture everything mentioned in the book since I had been to most places. Although again I was left pining for life in New York, you do have to wonder how these fictional characters manage to nab a green card in five minutes. Another easy and enjoyable read by Jojo Moyes, I’m just sad the series has now come to an end.