For July, I decided to dig into three new-to-me books, two of them being fairly new releases, with all three being quite different from each other. I took my time, savoring and processing each book, something that I've focused on this year as I used to just devour books quickly. My new motto for my reading life is quality over quantity, and these three books are definitely quality reads.
My first read for July was World War II veteran, John Henry Meller's The Boy With Only One Shoe, his memoir about serving with the Royal Air Force Bomber Command. While the memoir places the main focus on Meller's service during WWII, this book is written like an autobiography in which, with the help of his daughter Caroline Brownbill, Meller also details his early family and school life, as well as his courtship and marriage to his wartime sweetheart. I was impressed with not only Meller's willingness to share his wartime memories, but also his honesty when discussing the emotions and thoughts that he experienced during that time.
It was interesting reading the point of view of not only someone who served during the war, but that from a soldier serving in a war that was taking place in his own country. I've read quite a few WWII books, but all from soldiers whose home country was not the battleground, so for me, this memoir had an added depth to it because of the fact that he was British and discussed how he felt seeing his country ravaged by war. Meller is engaging and respectful in the telling of his life story, being vigilant in giving credit where credit was due and pointing to the people who had shaped and helped him along the way. I was deeply impressed with the fact that Meller made a point of acknowledging both the USA's and women's role in the war effort and its outcome.
This memoir is an interesting read for anyone interested in a military member's first hand memories of the war, as well as pleasantly delightful for reading it feels as though you're sitting down in a comfy chair one on one with Meller as he looks back on his life. While I thoroughly enjoyed the whole book, especially the details of Meller's service in the Royal Air Force Bomber Command, I think I most enjoyed the little antidotes and photographs sprinkled throughout the memoir, like the schoolboy prayer that Meller would recite to himself when flying on missions to comfort and calm himself, shared at the end of chapter 17. I found them touching and relatable. The Boy With Only One Shoe is one of the best books that I have read in a long while, a definite must read.
The second book I read in July was Lauren Graham's delightful memoir, Talking As Fast As I Can. I've been a fan of Gilmore Girls since it first aired and love Lauren, so I was so incredibly pleased to find that she's just as likable, relatable, and funny in real life as she was on the show. This book is a fast, easy read due to its very conversational structure. Graham details her life with wit and down-to-earth charm, gives behind the scenes commentary on the Gilmore Girls show broken down by each season, and shares notes from her diary from her time filming the Gilmore Girls reboot. If you're looking for a pleasant, witty memoir, Talking As Fast As I Can is the perfect book.
To round out the month, I picked up Regina Jennings' The Major's Daughter, an enjoyable historical fiction novel that rounds out Jennings' Fort Reno series. I enjoyed the first three books in the series, so I was excited to finally read this one, which was released the later part of last year. The Major's Daughter is a pleasant, quick read, though in my opinion, it's not as strong as the other three in the series. I didn't really care for the heroine in this book (Caroline), she seemed a bit too self-absorbed for my liking and I found myself growing more frustrated with her as the book went on. With that said, I still found the book to be overall enjoyable, and a nice change of pace after two nonfiction reads, and I'd certainly recommend Jennings' Fort Reno series as a whole.
And with that, it's on to a new month with plenty of books waiting to be read.... ;)
Born and raised in Upstate NY, Liz is a freelance writer. She has written for websites, blogs, and magazines for the last 10 years. She also acts as a proofreader and beta reader for several authors, all the while working on her first book.