Monday, 8 June 2020

Reading Record | First Week of June

My reading record posts are a way for me to document all things bookish and reading in my life - I aim to post these consistently, with them most often being in a weekly format, however readathons and certain books will have their own specific reading record.

This post is reflecting on the week that has been - the first week of June - in which I completed four books; a great start to the month!

I read small amounts in both my current fiction & nonfiction book – these are both carried over from the month of May, with bookmarks in them.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is the nonfiction book I’m focusing on at the moment (I do have a bookmark in another nonfiction also), and read just over 30 pages of that today. My current fiction read is The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold; I have passed the 150 page mark in this book, adding a further 20ish pages from today.

I was able to read a great deal more today than yesterday - reading close to 250 pages in total between both my fiction & nonfiction books - and also finished my first book of June: A Walk in the Woods. I had a good experience with this book (my first time reading Bill Bryson), however I did think there would be more writing regarding the actual hiking element of the Appalachian Trail.

This morning I read the remaining 120 pages of The Book of Secrets – what a book! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this book, not the content as such as it is a dark and twisted read in place (there is a lot of sadness within the plot), but the experience of the author’s writing was positive… And the book did surprise me with the ending.

Later in the day, well the evening, I wound down my day with a hot chocolate in hand and an Agatha Christie mystery: Death in the Clouds. This is the last remaining Agatha Christie that I have on my unread shelf, so I’ll definitely need to stock up on some more soon. I read the first five chapters of Death in the Clouds, totalling 60 pages; the scene was set, the characters introduced, a crime has taken place, and now the investigation has begins.

I started a new middle grade book this evening: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly. This was a whim of a download via the digital library lending service – I was drawn in by the cover – and although I have only read 35 pages so far, I am thoroughly enjoying the book.

Song for a Whale follows a young deaf girl, Iris, who feels like the odd one out in her school and is also a little lost after the passing of her Grandpa. Of course, she is grieving for her loved one, but she also misses the kinship they shared as she had a wonderful bond with her Grandpa, who was deaf also. When Iris learns about Blue 55, a whale who has a song different to other whales, she feels an affinity and understanding with the whale.

Carved out time to make progress in both of my current reads – I read a further 62 pages in Song for a Whale this morning (I am now over the half way mark) and 88 pages read this evening in the Agatha Christie mystery.

First thing this morning I finished the remaining pages of Death in the Clouds, concluding this mystery novel.

I quite enjoyed the mystery elements of this book – the overall crime, the investigation, the revealing of the murderer (I did not guess correctly myself) – but there were parts of this book that I, as a modern reader, were taken aback on… This largely included the use of what would now be deemed a racial slur. As a reader, I am conflicted on this in the sense of obviously not advocating the use of such words & thoughts, but also not believing in censorship of books. Death in the Clouds was first released in 1935 and is very much a product of its time; I think that is worth noting.

This afternoon I finished Song for a Whale; what a wonderful middle grade book. I don’t read realistic/contemporary middle grade fiction enough (I tend to read a lot of historical and fantastical middle grade fiction).

I already mentioned a general overview of the book above, so there isn’t too much more to say about the plot itself without spoilers, but I can say that I did love how everything was pieced together and I really like how the theme of belonging was woven throughout, in various ways. Once the book has finished, Lynne Kelly shares two pieces: one about 52 Hertz, a real life whale who sings at a different frequency to others, the whale that inspired Blue 55, and another piece about sign language, including the author’s own experiences with sign language and where the concept of writing about deafness came from – I appreciated these add on pieces, and highly recommend the book as whole.

My next digital borrow from the library came through today: Murder by the Book by Clare Harman, a nonfiction book about a murder that took place during the 1840’s. I have the audiobook version of Murder by the Book and was able to listen to an hour of it this afternoon whilst working on my latest jigsaw puzzle.


Happy reading!


  1. I love how you chronicle your reading. I'm doing pretty well (March was tougher) I find audios easier these days for some reason but, I'm particular about the narrator.

    1. Thanks, Diane.

      The narrator can definitely have an impact on the enjoyment of a book. I hope you've found some good ones so far in June!

  2. I had the same issue with A Walk in the Woods. I really really enjoyed it but expected more actually walking in the woods! I love Death in the Clouds - it's fun to read about air travel in Agatha Christie's day. So different from now! Murder by the Book sounds good too. Hope you're having a great week!

    1. Yes! I am now curious about his other travel books.

      The air travel element within Death in the Clouds was quite interesting; I agree.

  3. I like how you are keeping track of your reading.

    1. Thank you, Deb... Sometimes I fall behind in tracking like this, but I do quite enjoy the detail of it.

  4. I have been integrating a similar reading journal in my Sunday Posts, but these past weeks, have not always had the time to finish a full Sunday Post, so my reading journal ends up not being published. Thanks for giving me the idea to post it separately.
    I sometimes have a hard time with Bryson, but I really loved this book - ignore the movie, quite bad.

    1. I will be sure to keep an eye out for reading journal posts from you.


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