February 2021 Review

Compared to January that was a much faster month. I think the extra daylight helps. The only disadvantage with February is that there are only 28 days, so I only managed to get through 16 books from the huge TBR that I had set myself. That said there were some really good books in the ones that I read. So, here they are:


I really like most of the books that China Miéville has written, with The City and The City being an outstanding favourite. Un Lun Dun is his first children book that I have had on a shelf for ages and this month I read it. Really enjoyable with the imagination that he has, but it was a touch predictable plotwise.


I read two fiction books this month, the first was a family drama set in Ireland. The Wild Laughter by Caoilinn Huges is about a family coming to term with financial losses after the crash and with the added dilemma of the request from a very ill parent. I was sent Sunny And The Wicked Lady by the lovely people at Salt. This is Alison Moore new children book. I don’t normally read these any more but it took no time at all to read this little adventure ghost story.


I really enjoyed Toast when I read it recently so thought I would read, Nigel Slater’s second foodie memoir, Eating for England. Thoroughly enjoyed it, but just felt it could have been better laid out. Also on the food theme is The Lost Orchard. THis is the story, with recipes naturally, of Raymond Blanc’s desire to create an orchard in Oxford. Not a bad book.

If you want a memoir about a life taken far too early, then I can recommend The Mahogany Pod by Jill Hopper. This is a tribute to her boyfriend of no time at all who passed far too early from cancer.


Botanical Curses and Poisons sounds like quite a morbid book, but thankfully Fez Inkwright manages to make plants that can kill an utterly fascinating subject. One of my favourite nature writers is Stephen Moss this was a book from a little while ago. It is following on from the great books, The Unofficial Countryside and Edgelands and is about the wild life that exists in the cracks. Great stuff. Nicholas Pyenson’s book is more academical and is about his passion, whales. Quite liked this, but there was the odd flaw here and there.


The two poetry books I read could not have been any more different Black Country by Liz Berry is about home life and How The Hell Are You? by Glyn Maxwell is more contemporary and political.

How Britain Ends – Gavin Esler Politics 4

I was sent this ages ago by Sandstone Press and they moved the publication date got moved back. Paul Braddon’s The Actuality is a dystopian science fiction thriller about an android who has been living in an apartment illegally. She has to flee when people realise that she is there and this is the story of her trying to escape to Europe.


I read wo travel books from the middle east that share a border Writing from Iran, Mirrors of the Unseen is Jason Elliot’s follow up to the spectacular Unexpected Light. Not quite as brilliant as that, in my opinion, this is still an excellent insight into that country. Moving over the border to Iraq, Wilfred Thesiger’s The Marsh Arabs is a travel classic and well worth reading.

My book of the month is the latest travelogue with recipes by Caroline Eden, Red Sands. She has a way of getting to the essence of the places that she is passing through, partly via the food, but mostly because she is a sensitive and receptive traveller.

Any of those take your fancy from this month?

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  1. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    A wide variety Paul. The travelogue with recipes and poetry piqued my interest. 🙂

    • Paul

      It is beautiful, Marje. Have a look for Black Sea too

  2. lindasbookbag

    I fancy them all!

    • Paul

      That is the correct answer, Linda!

  3. Dorothy ~Jane McLachlan ~ Wortley

    I aim to get 2, The Mahogany Pod and Red Sands.
    They sound absolutely incredible…
    Thank You for you concise reviews throughout the month.
    Will hold off until I can ” physically get ” to my favourite Bookshop as I do have a vast backlog and more on route.

    • Paul

      No problem at all. I am so behind on my reviews

  4. Liz Dexter

    Oh, The Accidental Countryside does look great!

    • Paul

      It was. Review to follow in a few days

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