September 2023 Review

September whizzed by as usual and I only managed to read 14 books for some reason. Not quite sure what happened as I started off really well too. So here they are along with the stats and the vast quantity of books that I bought…

Books Read

Wasteland – Oliver Franklin-Wallis – 4 Stars

The Lost Whale – Hannah Gold – 3 Stars

An Almost Impossible Thing – Fiona Davidson – 3.5 Stars

Some Of Us Just Fall – Polly Atkin – 3.5 Stars

Follow This Thread – Henry Eliot – 3.5 Stars

The Military Orchid – Jocelyn Brooke – 3.5 Stars

The Haw Lantern – Seamus Heaney – 3 Stars

Serious Concerns – Wendy Cope – 3.5 Stars

Follow The Money – Paul Johnson – 3.5 Stars

Reboot – Elaine Kasket – 3.5 Stars

Coast of Teeth – Tom Sykes – 4 Stars

Waypoints – Robert Martineau – 4 Stars

Wind – Louise M Pryke – 3.5 Stars


Book(s) Of The Month

Ravenous – Henry Dimbleby – 4.5 Stars



Top Genres

Fiction – 27

Natural History – 18

Travel – 18

Poetry – 13

Memoir – 10

History – 6

Science Fiction – 6

Fantasy – 6

Art – 4

Environmental – 4


Top Publishers

Faber & Faber – 11

Penguin – 6

Little Toller – 6

Bloomsbury – 5

Simon & Schuster – 5

Jonathan Cape – 4

Elliott & Thompson – 3

Allen Lane – 3

William Collins – 3

Headline – 3


Review Copies Received

The Lure of Atlantis: Strange Tales from the Sunken Continent – Ed. Michael Wheatley

The Lost Flock: Rare Wool, Wild Isles and One Woman’s Journey to Save Scotland’s Original Sheep – Jane Cooper

The Christian Watt Papers: Memoirs of a Fraserburgh Fishwife – Christian Watt, Ed. David Fraser

The Narrow Smile: A Journey back to the Northwest Frontier – Peter Mayne

Nature Tales for Winter Nights – Ed. Nancy Campbell

Politics, But Better: An A – Z Guide to Creating a More Hopeful Future – Tatton Spiller

Human Being: 12 Vital Skills We’re Losing to Technology and How to Reclaim Them – Graham Lee

Yew – Fred Hageneder

Life At Full Tilt: The Selected Writings of Dervla Murphy – Dervla Murphy, Ed. Ethel Crowley


Library Books Checked Out

Rural: The Lives Of The Working Class Countryside – Rebecca Smith

High Caucasus: A Mountain Quest In Russia’s Haunted Hinterland – Tom Parfitt

The Bridleway: How Horses Shaped The British Landscape – Tiffany Francis-Baker

Prophet – Helen Macdonald

Walking The Bones Of Britain: A 3 Billion Year Journey From The Outer Hebrides To The Thames Estuary – Christopher Somerville

Be a Birder: The joy of birdwatching and how to get started – Hamza Yassin


Books Bought

A Legacy Of Spies – John Le Carré – Signed

Shitstorm – Fernando Sdrigotti

Red Smoking Mirror – Nick Hunt –

Still Life in Milford: Poems – Thomas Lynch – Signed

Penguin Modern Poets, Series II #12 – Helen Dunmore, Jo Shapcott & Matthew Sweeney – Signed

Poetry on the Buses – Ed. Valerie Belsey & Candy Neubert –  – Signed

The Hero and the Girl Next Door – Sophie Hannah – Signed

Selling Manhattan – Carol Ann Duffy – Female – Signed

Foothold – Pam Zinnemann-Hope – Signed

Raw – Patience Agbabi – Signed

Penguin Modern Poets, Series II #9 – John Burnside, Robert Crawford & Kathleen Jamie

Drysalter – Michael Symmons Roberts

Selected Poems – Matthew Sweeney

A Smell Of Fish – Matthew Sweeney

The Rings Of Saturn: An English Pilgrimage

Chasing the Dram: Finding the Spirit of Whisky – Rachel McCormack –

Secret Places of West Dorset – Louise Hodgson

The Island Farmers – R. M Lockley

The Fossil Woman: A Life of Mary Anning – Tom Sharpe – Signed

Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan – Jamie Zeppa

Discover Dorset: Fossils – Richard Edmonds

Travels in a Strange State – Josie Dew

As the Women Lay Dreaming – Donald S. Murray

The Gran Tour: Travels with my Elders – Ben Aitken

Megaliths and Their Mysteries: A Guide to the Standing Stones of Europe – Alastair Service & Jean Bradbery

A Second Chance at Eden – Peter F. Hamilton

Empireland: How Imperialism has Shaped Modern Britain – Sathnam Sanghera – Male

Clea – Lawrence Durrell – Male

Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils – David Farrier

The Old Straight Track: Its Mounds, Beacons, Moats, Sites and Mark Stones – Alfred Watkins

The Farmer’s Wife: My Life in Days – Helen Rebanks

The Seed Detective: Uncovering the Secret Histories of Remarkable Vegetables – Adam Alexander

Walking With Nomads – Alice Morrison

Walden – Henry David Thoreau

Dorset Folk Tales – Tim Laycock – Male

Somerset Folk Tales – Sharon Jacksties

On the Slow Train Again: Twelve Great British Railway Journeys – Michael Williams

Round Ireland with a Fridge – Tony Hawks – Signed

Hothouse – Brian W. Aldiss

The Private Life of the Hare – John Lewis-Stempel

Tout Sweet: Hanging Up my High Heels for a New Life in France – Karen Wheeler

Pedalling to Hawaii: A Human-Powered Odyssey – Stevie Smith

Rowing After the White Whale: A Crossing of the Indian Ocean by Hand – James Adair

Bringing Down Goliath: How Good Law Can Topple the Powerful – Jolyon Maugham  – Signed

The Megalithic European: The 21st Century Traveller in Prehistoric Europe – Julian Cope


Any that you have read from that list – or want to now? Let me know in the comments below


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  1. Liz Dexter

    Ooh Empireland is excellent, I work with Sathnam a fair bit and it’s so well done. Did you catch the TV series he did to go with it? Also glad you got hold of Walking the Bones of Britain. I really want to read that soon myself.

    • Paul

      It has been on my TBR for while and found it in a charity shop a week or so ago. I have his previous book to read too and am looking forward to them both

  2. I second Empireland, which I read for last year’s 20 Books of Summer. I still haven’t read the final chapter, for some inexplicable reason. I can also recommend Nick Hunt’s Red Smoking Mirror. I read an ARC in August, but haven’t caught up enough to review it yet. It reminded me of Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book. I also read his earlier NF book, Outlandish: Walking Europe’s Unlikely Landscapes, visiting places with incongruous landscapes, reminiscent of elsewhere. I really enjoyed that. I suspect you may already have read that, though.

    • Paul

      I haven’t read outlandish yet, but have read his first two. I met Nick at the travel writing awards a couple of years ago and he is a lovely guy

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