What We Read in June

4th Jul 2014

June has brought us a vast range of new titles to keep everyone reading out in the sun. Whether you’re after a holiday romance, an insightful memoir or an informative non-fiction title, there are new books to suit every mood this summer.

Historical Fiction

Beatrice and Benedick

Beatrice and Benedick by Marina Fiorato

Marina Fiorato’s sixth love story tells the tale of Beatrice and Benedick, the lovers from Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing. Set in Messina, Sicily, in 1588, it follows Beatrice of Mantua as she comes to the court of her uncle Leonato to be a companion to his daughter.

When Benedick arrives, the two begin to wage their merry war of wit, which masks their true feelings for one another. But when they are parted by natural disaster and a terrible misunderstanding, they must begin a decade long journey back to Messina and each other.

Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys historical romances, such as Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen.


Hard Choices

Hard Choices by Hilary Clinton

Hilary Clinton’s inside account of the challenges she faced as part of her role as Secretary of State is a stark insight into how her experiences affect her views of the future.

Throughout her tenure, Clinton visited 112 countries, travelled nearly one million miles, and gained a truly global perspective on issues such as economic inequality, climate change and renewable energy.

Drawing on conversations with world leaders and industry experts, she offers her views on what it will take for the United States to compete and thrive in an interdependent world.

Recommended for: Anyone who likes to read in-depth accounts from powerful women, such as Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In.



Meet Me in Gaza: Uncommon Stories of Life Inside the Strip by Louisa B Waugh.

Award-winning writer Louisa B. Waugh’s account of life in Gaza reveals the experiences of citizens going about their everyday lives. It touches upon issues that are not often noticed by outsiders, such as how the people get goods in and out, how they have fun and whether TV reports accurately reflect what life is like inside.

Having witnessed these events firsthand, Waugh gives compelling and compassionate descriptions of this unique environment and shows readers its true nature.

A stark yet inspiring read, it is interspersed with historical, cultural and geographical details that give a clear impression of the Mediterranean country and its people.

Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys journalistic writing, such as Barbara Demick‘s Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea.

Young Adult Fiction

Amy and Matthew

Amy & Matthew: A Love Story by Cammie McGovern.

This insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about finding someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

It tells the story of Amy, who has cerebral palsy and cannot walk without a walker or talk without a voice box, and Matthew, who suffers with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

These two teenagers lead very different lives, but are in some ways more alike than they have ever realised. When they are thrown together in their senior year of high school, a friendship blossoms and grows into something far more significant that either could have expected.

Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys passionate stories of young love, like Rainbow Rowell‘s Eleanor & Park



Women and the Informal Economy in Urban Africa by Mary Njeri Kinyanjui.

This powerful case study explores the direction of feminist movements in metropolitan Africa, from the margins of urbanisation to the business centre of Nairobi.

Although women in vast parts of Africa have encountered many problems to gain urban citizenship, adequate education and a living wage, Kinyanjui shows that new movements are helping women to take control of their financial situations and career paths.

Women’s informal ‘solidarity entrepreneurialism’ is one such movement, as it relies on social ties, reciprocity, sharing and collaboration. This account brings together issues of gender, economics and urbanization and shows how women are heading into the very centre of business activity in Africa.

Recommended for: Anyone who likes comprehensive accounts of women in growing industries, like Bina Agarwal’s A Field of One’s Own.

 What did you read in June?

(Top image via Freshbrewed)