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July’s Stories and Poems

Written by Lily Kehoe, 14th July 2023

Summer can be a time where our routines can change – sometimes due to factors beyond our control, and in other instances where a different space or surroundings can provide a welcome refresh. July’s Stories and Poems touch upon the impact that change can make on our lives in all kinds of ways.

Several texts feature on The Reader Bookshelf, as lots of instances of change come when we think about Weathering the Storm. Included this month are extracts from Potiki by Patricia Grace and Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell, and a poem from Stressed, Unstressed, edited by Jonathan Bate and Paula Byrne.

In July’s selection of stories and extracts, change can be both unsettling, daunting and even potentially damaging, when it comes to threatening longstanding ways of life and deeply valued traditions. In some cases, painful change is hard to face up to – what happens when we remain stuck and unwilling to change? Moving in new circles may prove to be a challenge at first but can offer exciting worlds to be explored. Nature can also provide us with moments of transformation, reminding us that such processes are often not calm but necessary to allow us to keep on developing through the stages of our own lives.

July’s stories and extracts are:

‘Dollarman’ (extract from Potiki) by Patricia Grace

‘Marriage Lines’ by Julian Barnes

‘Sea Glass’ (extract from Salt on Your Tongue) by Charlotte Runcie

All My Sons, extract from Act One by Arthur Miller

‘Ruth Goes to the Shire-Hall’ (extract from Ruth) by Elizabeth Gaskell

We’re moving into the ‘in-between’ with this month’s poems, and occupying such spaces can lead to us perhaps being more welcoming of change and things that feel unfamiliar. When we want – or need – to change some aspect of our lives, it can bring us some difficult feelings up from within us. When we are visited by these emotions and needs, how can we make them feel welcome? As summer is bursting all around, we couldn’t stop ourselves from visiting some spaces of nature, too.

‘Angel Hill’ by Charles Causley

‘Accepted’ by Elizabeth Jennings

‘The Bright Field’ by R.S. Thomas – from Stressed, Unstressed

‘I Fly Away in the Shape of a Dandelion Seed’ by Vasyl Holoborodko (translated by Svetlana Lavochkina)

‘How to Disappear’ by Amanda Dalton


If you're a Reader Leader head to the Online Community Hub to download this month's selection.

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