November 2020 Review

Another month rushes by and we emergy from Lockdown lite into winter and the coronavirus rippling its way through the population once again. It has been a difficult year in so many ways and whilst I have been distracted at times, books once again have been a solace at times too. I somehow managed to read 16 books during November, probably because of the three poetry books I ended up reading. It was a good month too all good books and finally finished one that I had been reading for absolutely ages. So here they are

I normally only try to do one blog tour a month as reading to a deadline is not always convenient but I promised to do three in November. The first was a book called The Greatest Beer Run Ever by John Donohue and I chose to do this because it sounded utterly mad. It started in a bar and He agrees to head to Vietnam to pass on some beers to friends of his and others who are fighting in the war there. And I was right, it was mad and a heartwarming read.

My second blog tour book was, Lev Parikian’s new book, Music To Eat Cake By. In this, he was challenged to write articles on any subject by whoever sponsored him. So here, you will find essays and musings on birds, cricket, snooker, space travel, a bit more cricket, hiccups, music and a little more cricket. It is hilarious. Read it.

For those playing apocalypse bingo, we haven’t had the asteroid yet this year, but there are still a few more days to go. The end of the world is something that has troubled people for millennia.  Adam Roberts normally writes science fiction, so is quite used t thinking about different places and worlds. His take on the end of the world is quite upbeat all things considered.



Nightingales In November is actually about them all year round. I thought that this was a nicely written book about twelve species of birds and what they do month by month. Increasing from twelve birds to 366, Dominic Couzens has had the difficult job of picking from the 10,000 or so species around the world and condensing them into this charming book. There is much more to fungi than mushrooms on toast and The Secret Life of Fungi by Aliya Whiteley tells all about their hidden worlds.


Two more books on birds I read this month were Featherhood and Blood Ties. In the first, Charlie Gilmour writes about the way his life was changed by the addition of a baby magpie. It helps him deal with all of the events of his life and come a little way to understanding his actual father. Ben Crane’s book is about falcons and building a relationship with his son. Both very different and yet have lots of things in common.


This is a compilation of poetry art and photography all about Manchester called Mancunian Ways.  I have never visited the city, but this short volume gives a good flavour of its character.  I can’t remember where I picked this volume of Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry from, but I liked the previous stuff of hers that I had read. Rapture is about love in all of its myriad forms. Caroline Bird’s latest collection is starting to get onto shortlists, including most recently the Costa. Library had a copy so I got hold of a copy and then someone else reserved it, so it got bumped up the list. I quite liked The Air Year it is very different from other poetry I have read in the past and she digs deep in her emotions to find the words.

We all have blood flowing through us, and in Nine Pints, Rose George takes us around and out of the body in search of this life-giving fluid. It is a fascinating book on all manner of things that will make some people cringe.

The third blog tour that I was on this month was the final book in Peter F. Hamilton’s Science Fiction trilogy, The Saints of Salvation. It is fast-paced and set across thousands of light-years as humanity fights back against the Olyix. Great ending to the series.

TV affects culture as much as culture affects TV and Phil Harrison looks at the way that the British have dances and moved with the box in the corner of our rooms. It makes for fascinating reading.

Having read On Fiji Islands by Ronald Wright, I want to go to the islands. This was his account of staying there in the 1980s and is an enlightening experience,

Vickery’s Folk Flora is the book that I started way back in 2019 and have dipped into for snippets of information about all manner of plants over the past mumble mumble number of months that I have taken to read it. It is brilliant and if you have any interest in folklore, social history or most importantly plants, then you need a copy of this. It is my book of the month for November.

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  1. Liz Dexter

    What a super variety you’ve read in November!

    • Paul

      There is never a dull moment, Liz

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