April was a reasonable reading month, managed to get through 17 books in total, helped by the long weekend at Easter. Still have a massive backlog of books to read, not helped by buying more!
The AA sent me The Woman Who Rode A Shark. Primarily aimed at children, this book by Ailsa Ross & art by Amy Blackwell tells the stories of 50 women adventurers who have made a difference.
I actually read quite a lot of fiction this month too, South of the Border, West of the Sun was one that I found for a friend and before posting it off to her, read it. I think that it has been my favourite Murakami so far. I read Grief is a thing with Feathers when staying with my wife’s aunt one weekend. I liked it but didn’t love it like some people. Managed to get a copy of Lanny by Max Porter from the library. This story of a boy called Lanny and his place in the natural world has a dark undercurrent of folk horror. I really liked it.
I also read most of the shortlist from the Wellcome prize, including these two fiction offerings, Murmur by Will Eaves and My Year Of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. Murmur was the winner of the prize, in the end, but of these two I preferred the other!
The remainder of the shortlist were The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein, Mind on Fire by Arnold Thomas Fanning which is about his descent and recovery from mental illness and Heart by Sandeep Jauhar which is fairly self-explanatory. All were worthy inclusions to the shortlist but my favourite of these, and our Shadow Panel winner was The Trauma Cleaner. Not one to read when you are eating your lunch though.
Gabriel Hemery’s new book, Green Gold is a fictionalised account of the of a Victorian Plant Hunter called John Jeffrey. He has based the story of actual correspondence from the Association that sent him to the west of America in the search of plants and conifers. I thought it was really good.
I had read David Bramwell & Jo Keeling’s book called The Mysterium and realised that the library had The Odysseum. This is about Strange Journeys and things that have happened to people. Not bad overall.
Out of the Woods is a blend of memoir and natural history as seems to be the fashion these days. This by Luke Turner is also an exploration of his bi-sexuality and how he spends time in the forest to get some comfort amongst the trees.
This month poetry book was Sincerity by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. I have only read a couple of her works before but thought this was really good too.
Chris Mullin has written some of the best political diaries of recent years seen from the perspective of the back benches and a brief spell as a Junior Minister. This is a step back and a look at his time as a journalist, his first political stirrings, his marriage and now retirement from political life. Not as good as the diaries, but still worth reading.
Kassia St. Clair’s book, The Secret life of Colour, was really good, so I was looking forward to her next book. I managed to get hold of a copy of The Golden Thread. This wasn’t too bad in the end, but it did have some flaws that showed that it might have been rushed to publication. Fantastic cover though
I have actually met Dan Richards and interviewed him for his previous book, Climbing Days. In fact, the cover of that book adorns the wall of my office with the striking image by Stanley Donwood. I was really pleased to be sent a proof of his new book, Outpost by Canongate. In this, he heads out to visit as many bothys as possible. These small shelters are for walkers and explorers to shelter in overnight before heading onward on their travels. An excellent book that shows how he is maturing as a writer too. Looking forward to hearing his next project.
Monisha Rajesh’s first book was about taking 80 Trains around the colourful country of India. Her next book, was the logical next step up from there, Around the World in 80 Trains. She is an author that engages with the people around her as she travels and this makes it a far more interesting book to read. Well worth reading.
I first came across David Seabrook last year when I read, All the Devils are Here. In that, he mentioned a series of killings in London and it turns out there was another book that he wrote about those murders called, Jack Of Jumps. It makes for grim reading, but this is still an unsolved murder case even though there has been plenty of speculation as to who the perpetrator was, including Seabrook’s own idea in here. Fascinating, if grim, reading.
Not a bad month overall. My book of the month was Outpost, which I would urge you to read if you can. Are there any here that you have read? Or want to read?
A few other questions for you too:
1. Do you like the summing up posts?
2. Would you like to see a monthly TBR Post of what I am planning to read?
3. Would you like to see blog posts with a more general book centred theme rather than just reviews?