Category: Book Musings (page 1 of 10)

August 2019 Review

Was dreading August as I had two daughters getting exam results… Turns out they did really well, and are moving onto their next things with A levels and an apprenticeship. Spent a week in Jersey, as we do every year, and had a really good time. Didn’t get as much read as I had hoped as we seemed to be busy there every single day and I had to socialise… I did manage to read two books in two days though which helps keep the totals for the Good Reads challenge up.

It was a reasonable month for books too, managed to read 16 books, but not as much variety as last month, however, I had three books that I awarded five stars to this month. More on that a little later.

First up is a memoir called The Chronology Of Water by the author of The Book of Joan, Lidia Yuknavitch. This is her memoir of a troubled early life and how she overcome abuse, drugs and alcohol to become the person she is now. It has an unusual writing style, with short punchy sentences and chapters. You have to be pretty broadminded when reading this too, it is quite some book.

Really liked Erling Kagge’s book on silence, so when I realise that the library has his new book, Walking: One Step At A Time, I reserved it straight away. I really like his writing style and philosophical outlook on life and thoroughly enjoyed this little book.

 

Two natural history books this month, first was The Seafarers: A Journey Among Birds by Stephen Ruttabout his passion for the seabirds that inhabit our coasts and islands. Really nicely written. The second is an extracted book from The Worm Forgives the Plough by John Stewart Collis. Located just north of me in Cranborne it describes his time spent clearing an ash wood with his axe and billhook and his observations of the woodland life.

 

Two poetry books this month instead of one. The new Simon Armitage was reserved by someone else so ended up reading that one too. I liked both of them but connected to Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic more than Human Chain. This is the first Seamus Heaney book I have read and have others of his to read at some point.

This is not Hannah Critchlow’s first book, that was a little Ladybird science one I read a while back. The Science Of Fate is looking at how we are not free to shape our own ‘destiny’, rather our futures are determined by our genetic makeup and past family histories. Made for an interesting read.

   

I ended up reading a pile of travel books this month too. I have only read Full Tilt by Dervla Murphy in the past but had picked Between River and Sea up in the library as it is an Eland Book and I am trying to read (and collect) all their books. In this, she spends a lot of time with the people of Palestine trying to understand just how difficult their lives are as they try to move around their country. In Just Another Mountain, Sarah Jane Douglas tells her story in the context of climbing Monroes and other mountains around the world. It is tragic and heartwarming at the same time. For Love & Money is the fourth Jonathan Raban book that I have trad. It is not all travel writing, that is the final part of the book, but mostly concerns him earning a living from writing.

   

Peter Owen Jones’ real job is a vicar in the Sussex Weald, but he enjoys the outdoor life. This is a series of walks that he has compiled to allow someone to ascend the same vertical height as Everest in just 12 Days without having to leave the shores of this country nor risk life and limb climbing in the Himilayas. David Roberts is a man who has climbed countless mountains and after being diagnosed with cancer realised that he had to take it easier. Limits of the Known is about looking back over his own adventures, asking why others have had the same drive as him and meeting with other adventurers who tell their stories. On the Road to Babadag is about travels in a part of Europe that very few write about and even fewer read about. Andrzej Stasiuk where possible trys to avoid cities and likes to find places that very few seek out. Surreal at times and equally fascinating.

   

I have three books of the month for August and they are Hunting Mister Heartbreak by Jonathan Raban, Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents and Enclosure by Andy Goldsworthy. All brilliant for entirely different reasons, Raban because he writes about America so well, Goldsworthy because he is my favourite artist and Pratchett, well because he’s Pratchett.

September 2019 TBR

August flew by.  So it is TBR time once again. I ended up reading eleven books from the August TBR, things got shuffled around as some of the library books that I had got reserved by others and had to be read and returned. As usual, I have an equally ambitious list for September and they are below:

 

Blog Tour:

Only one for this month and it is this one from Unbound:

Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines by Henrietta Heald

 

Library Books

The Landscape by Don McCullin

How To See Nature by Paul Evans

The Hen Harrier         by Donald Watson

Epitaph for the Ash: in search of recovery and renewal by Lisa Samson

The Bumblebee Flies Anyway: A Year Of Gardening And (Wild)Life by Kate Bradbury

The Edge Of The World: A Cultural History Of The North Sea And The Transformation Of Europe by Michael Pye

Most of the Royal Society Shortlist that I could get from the library

The Remarkable Life Of The Skin: An Intimate Journey Across Our Surface by Monty Lyman

Clearing the Air: The Beginning and the End of Air Pollution by Tim Smedley

Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe by Steven Strogatz

Six Impossible Things: The ‘Quanta of Solace’ and the Mysteries of the Subatomic World by John Gribbin

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

 

#20BooksOfSummer

Not going to finish by tomorrow… However, summer finishes around the 21st September so will carry on with these until then.

Still Water: Reflections on the Deep Life of the Pond by John Lewis-Stempel

White Mountain: Real And Imagined Journeys In The Himalayas by Robert Twigger

A Raindrop in the Ocean: The Extraordinary Life of a Global Adventurer by Michael Dobbs-Higginson

Blue Mind: How Water Makes You Happier, More Connected and Better at What You Do by Wallace J. Nichols

When the Rivers Run Dry: Water – The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century by Fred Pearce

 

Review Books

Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie ( I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to this)

Vickery’s Folk Flora: An A-Z of the Folklore and Uses of British and Irish Plants by Roy Vickery

Sunfall by Jim Al-Khalili

Tempest: An Anthology Edited by Anna Vaught & Anna Johnson

The Many Lives of Carbon by Dag Olav Hessen, Tr. Kerri Pierce

The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey on Two Rivers by Moritz Thomsen

The Book of Puka-Puka: A Lone Trader in the South Pacific by Robert Dean Frisbie

Irreplaceable: The Fight To Save Our Wild Places by Julian Hoffman

The Ancient Woods of the Helford River by Oliver Rackham

 

Wishful Thinking

As I Walked Out Through Spain in Search of Laurie Lee by P. D. Murphy

My Midsummer Morning: Rediscovering a Life of Adventure by Alastair Humphreys

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

Our Endless Numbered Days by Clare Fuller

 

 

July 2019 Review

July came and went. We had a fantastic week in Sicily and were rewarded with sunsets like this

Didn’t get quite as much read as I wanted, the story of my life, but did read 17 books in the end and I think that they were as varied as ever

Unusually I read four fiction this month. I have read all of Ben Aaronovitch’s books. and The October Man is his latest novella. Set in Germany, this book introduces some new characters and a new magical challenge. I was recommended The Stolen Bicycle by the author Jessica J. Lee. This book by Ming-Yi Wu is about man who is looking for traces of his father after he disappeared two decades ago.  Whilst in Sicily I read one of Norman Lewis’ fiction books, The March of the Long Shadows. didn’t think that it was as good as his non-fiction, but he did capture the atmosphere of the island very well. The final fiction book was Golden Hill by Francis Spufford. I have read Backroom Boys by him a few years ago, so was looking forward to this and it was quite a romp around a very early New York.

            

I haven’t seen the tv series, but the book about Chernobyl is a fascination account about the worst nuclear accident so far. Serhii Plokhy has had access to the archives and in here reveals just how close we got to it being far worse than it already was.

Paul Kingsnorth has been an environmental writer for years and he hopes that moving to Ireland on a small plot of land will help him to find a purpose. He enjoys the work but he realises that the tools that made him a writer have begun to ebb away. Savage Gods is his musings on the loos of words and how he sought them out again. I have read Mike Parker’s books on maps and this was recommended to me by Jon Woolcot of Little Toller. On The Red Hill is the story of being gay in rural Wales seen from his life and his partner, Preds and from the perspective of Reg and George who were a couple when it was still illegal. A multi-layered book of life, love and landscape.

   

Another recommendation from the people over at Caught at the River was The Lark Ascending by Richard King. In this book he looks at the interwoven links between the music we create and listen to and the landscape around us. It takes us from the classical Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams to the modern rave scene.

I read two Poetry books this month. First was The Girl Aquarium a new collection by Jen Campbell. There were some that I liked in this, and there were some that I struggled to elicit meaning from. Karl Tearney’s new collection, Second Life is rooted deep in the PTSD that he suffers from. It is much more black and white and very raw at times.

   

I read a lot of travel books this month! Mike Carter is another author who I have read all his previous books and this new one was kindly sent by Faber. In All Together Now, he repeats the walk that his father took from Liverpool to London in 1981 as a protest about the lack of jobs in the north. As he walks he takes the political pulse of the country as we were about to vote in the 2016 referendum. Around the same time that this walk was taking place, Jonathan Raban was sailing around the coast of the UK. His brilliant writing cuts through the political noise around the Falklands War and the miner’s strike that was taking place at the time. Emma Bamford is also on a boat and her travels take her from America to the Carribean and around Malaysia. it also forces her to reconsider her priorities as she contemplates the stressful job she has in London.

         

As we were going to Sicily, I had collected all the books on the island that I had. I had read and loved, Mary Taylor Simeti’s book, On Persophy’s Island years ago and found Bitter Almonds in a charity shop. This is the stories and recipes that she collected from Maria Grammatico who grew up in a convent and learnt to cook the most amazing pastries. I have read a couple of Norman Lewis ‘ books before, and Eland kindly sent me this. Sicily was an island that he loved, he married the daughter of a mafioso and spent a lot of time there. He is travelling around the island, catching up with old friends and familiar places. Quite a wonderful book from a wonderful writer. Matthew Fort is also travelling around Sicily on a scarlet red Vespa in his book, Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons. He is not really there for the culture, though it is inescapable on this island, but is there to discover the delicious foods from locals. A book that makes you very, very hungry. Horatio Clare is another fan of the place and he has curated a select set of writings about the island in Sicily: Through the Writers’ Eyes. A really enjoyable book, and we even made it to one of the places mentioned in the book.

           

 

I had two books of the month in July, All Together Now? and Savage Gods and would recommend that you read them if you had a chance.

August 2019 TBR

These are the books I am hoping to read in August. I do have a week in Jersey and a long ferry trip over and back so am aiming to get some serious amounts of reading in.

Blog Tours 

None – Hurrah!

Library Books

Between River and Sea, Encounters in Israel and Palestine by Dervla Murphy

Human Chain by Seamus Heaney

White Mountain: Real And Imagined Journeys In The Himalayas by Robert Twigger

Viva South America!: A Journey Through A Restless Continent by Oliver Balch

On the Road to Babadag by Andrzej Stasiuk Tr. Michael Kandel

#20BooksOfSummer

White Mountain: Real And Imagined Journeys In The Himalayas by Robert Twigger

Limits of the Known by David Roberts

Just Another Mountain by Sarah Jane Douglas

Everest England: 29,000 Feet in 12 Days by Peter Owen Jones

For Love & Money by Jonathan Raban

Hunting Mister Heartbreak by Jonathan Raban

A Raindrop in the Ocean: The Extraordinary Life of a Global Adventurer by Michael Dobbs-Higginson

Blue Mind: How Water Makes You Happier, More Connected and Better at What You Do by Wallace J. Nichols

When the Rivers Run Dry: Water – The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century by Fred Pearce

Still Water: Reflections on the Deep Life of the Pond by John Lewis-Stempel

The Chronology Of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch

Review Books

Vickery’s Folk Flora: An A-Z of the Folklore and Uses of British and Irish Plants by Roy Vickery

The Seafarers: A Journey Among Birds by Stephen Rutt

Sunfall by Jim Al-Khalili

Tempest: An Anthology Edited by Anna Vaught & Anna Johnson

Still Water: Reflections on the Deep Life of the Pond by John Lewis-Stempel

The Many Lives of Carbon by Dag Olav Hessen, Tr. Kerri Pierce

The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey on Two Rivers by Moritz Thomsen

The Book of Puka-Puka: A Lone Trader in the South Pacific by Robert Dean Frisbie

Irreplaceable: The Fight To Save Our Wild Places by Julian Hoffman

The Ancient Woods of the Helford River by Oliver Rackham

Wishful Thinking

As I Walked Out Through Spain in Search of Laurie Lee by P. D. Murphy

My Midsummer Morning: Rediscovering a Life of Adventure by Alastair Humphreys

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

July 2019 TBR

This is the second time that I have put forward a TBR for the coming month as the last one seemed to go down well. Some of the review copies and Wishful thinking are the same as last time as I ended up reading the five on the Wainwright longlist that I hadn’t yet read. There are quite a few library books to read too, as these are reaching the end of their renewal phase. Probably not going to get to all of those. I know I am not going to get to all of these, I only managed 17 last month in the end, but aiming to make a serious indent into the list below

Blog Tours 

Second Life – Karl Tearney

Library Books

The Stolen Bicycle by Ming-Yi Wu

Chernobyl: History of A Tragedy by Serhii Plokhy

Untie The Lines: Setting Sail And Breaking Free by Emma Bamford

Cobra In The Bath: Adventures In Less Travelled Lands by Miles Morland

The Edge Of The World: A Cultural History Of The North Sea And The Transformation Of Europe by Michael Pye

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind The Myth Of The Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth

Tweet Of The Day: A Year Of Britain’S Birds From The Acclaimed Radio 4 Series by Brett Westwood & Stephen Moss

Elephant Complex: Travels In Sri Lanka by John Gimlette

White Mountain: Real And Imagined Journeys In The Himalayas by Robert Twigger

Concretopia: A journey around the rebuilding of postwar Britain by John Grindrod

#20BooksOfSummer

In Sicily by Norman Lewis

Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons: Travels in Sicily on a Vespa by Matthew Fort

Sicily: Through the Writers’ Eyes by Horatio Clare

Bitter Almonds: Recollections and Recipes from a Sicilian Girlhood by Mary Taylor Simeti

The March of the Long Shadows by Norman Lewis

Review Books

Limits of the Known by David Roberts

Vickery’s Folk Flora: An A-Z of the Folklore and Uses of British and Irish Plants by Roy Vickery

All Together Now: One Man’s Walk in Search of His Father and a Lost England by Mike Carter

The Seafarers: A Journey Among Birds by Stephen Rutt

Sunfall by Jim Al-Khalili

Tempest: An Anthology        Edited by Anna Vaught & Anna Johnson

Still Water: Reflections on the Deep Life of the Pond by John Lewis-Stempel

The Many Lives of Carbon by Dag Olav Hessen, Tr. Kerri Pierce

The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey on Two Rivers by Moritz Thomsen

The Book of Puka-Puka: A Lone Trader in the South Pacific by Robert Dean Frisbie

Savage Gods by Paul Kingsnorth

Irreplaceable: The Fight To Save Our Wild Places by Julian Hoffman

The Ancient Woods of the Helford River by Oliver Rackham

Wishful Thinking

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

The House of Islam by Ed Husain

Chasing the Ghost: My Search for all the Wild Flowers of Britain by Peter Marren

Origins: How The Earth Made Us by Lewis Dartnell

Quicksand Tales: The Misadventures Of Keggie Carew by Keggie Carew

Revenger by Alastair Reynolds

The Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds

Origins: How The Earth Made Us by Lewis Dartnell

The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea

When: The Scientific Secrets Of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

The Good Life: Up the Yukon Without a Paddle by Dorian Amos

A Raindrop in the Ocean: The Extraordinary Life of a Global Adventurer by Michael Dobbs-Higginson

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

In the Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott

Coasting by Jonathan Raban

Any on there that you have read, or want to read? Let me know in the comments below.

Book Musings – June 2019

Halfway through the year. It seems to go faster Didn’t read quite as many as May but still had a very varied month with regards to the books that I did read. I am not going to do a favourites so far through the year as others are doing, but I am going to do a few stats.

Books Read so far: 108

Male authors: 66

Female authors: 42 (39%)

Review Copies: 54

Library Books: 47

Own Books: 7

Top Five Publishers:

Unbound

Jonathan Cape

Riverrun

Bloomsbury

Simon & Schuster

Top Five Genres:

Travel

Fiction

Science

Natural History

Poetry

I am really pleased to almost reach 40% female authors. in my reading. Having that variety adds further depth to my reading.

Anyway onto the books that I read in June. Dixe Wills is carving himself out a very small genre and Tiny Churches one of his books that have covered subjects as diverse as campsites, islands and stations. Informative and enjoyable and quirky.

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read, was a book that my wife spotted in a bookshop one day, and the library had it.  Philippa Perry writes about how we need to learn from what our parents did and improve on it. Our relationships are as good as the effort we put in at the end of the day. Very much focused on new parents, it had a little suitable for my three teenagers.

I rarely read crime fiction, because it is not really my thing. However, Benjamin Myers is another thing. As Rebecca from Bookish Beck says, he could make a shopping list interesting. These Darkening Days is about a series of attached in a northern town and the race to find the perpetrator after one victim is killed. Very good as I have come to expect by Myers.

The Wolfson history prize looks to celebrate the very best in historical non-fiction each year and Trading in War by Margarette Lincoln is her book about London’s docklands in the Age of Cook and Nelson. She has included an immense amount of detail in here and has still made it very readable.

I have been a fan of both Tony Hawk and Tony Hawks for years. The latter has been inundated by fans of the former asking all manner of skateboarding questions, that to put it frankly he is ill equiped to answer. The A to Z of Skateboarding is his slightly (ok very) sarcastic repsonse. Hilarious.

Most people are fed up with the news now days, it is a relentless stream of violence, politics and is just grim. Jodie Jackson  has a different take on it and in You Are What You Read: Why Changing Your Media Diet Can Change the World she advocates taking a very different approach to the way that you consume it.

I love being alongside the sea and this book by Isobel Carlson is a celebration of all things wet, sandy and rocky. Not a bad gift book and has some beautiful photgraphs.

I also managed to read the five on the Wainwright Prize longlist that hadn’t got to.  I have been vaguely aware of Kate Humble via Springwatch but Thinking On My Feet is the first book by her that I have read. In this, she champions taking time each day to get outside and go for a walk and she takes us through a fairly hectic year in her life and the walks that she enjoyed all over the world. Marc Hamer spent a lot of his working life killing moles for people who wanted pristine lawns until one day he decided that he no longer wanted to do it anymore. How To Catch A Mole And Find Yourself In Nature is an exploration of his life being outdoors. It is a really nicely written book.

     

Lynne Roper discovered wild swimming when she was recovering from breast cancer and she swam in the sea, rivers and ponds until she died from a brain tumour. This diary of her favourite swimming was put together by Tanya Shadrick who couldn’t find anyone to publish it, so she formed her own publishing company and it ended up on the Wainwright. I had the privilege of meeting her last week and she is an amazing woman in her own right. People underestimate urban wildlife, thinking that to get that experience in the natural world you need to be in the wilds of Scotland. You don’t and Ghost Trees by Bob Gilbert proves that. He lives in the East End parish of Poplar and he discoveres the wildness that our capital city has evry day of the year. A charming book.

     

My poetry book this month was The Sea That Beckoned by Angela Gabrielle Fabunan. It is an interesting collection exploring those places we’ve sought to call home.

Rough Magic by Lara Prior-Palmer is partly sport and partly travel. In this, she describes her participation in the World’s Wildest Horse Race across the Mongolian Steppe. I am not a big horse person, so initially wasn’t sure on this, but it was a really good read.

I also read a couple of travel books and both walking. Kathryn Barnes does not consider herself a walker, but there was something about the Pacific Trail that appealed. In, The Unlikeliest Backpacker is her story of the walk she undertook with her husband and the characters that she met on the way. I have read a few of Hugh Thomson’s books before, Green Road into the Trees and the excellent, Tequilla Oil. One Man And A Mule is the account of his journey across the North of Britain accompanied by Jethro the Mule and Jasper Winn. It isn’t about the journey though, rather about the people that he meets on the way. Really enjoyable book.

    

I had two books of the month. First up is the magnificent Underland by Robert Macfarlane with his accounts of heading deep underneath the surface of our planet. Secondly is a searingly honest account by Joe Harkness from stepping away from the twisted blanket around his neck and his slow recovery aided by rediscovering his love of bird watching. Bird Therapy is a force for the good that the natural world can bring to our mental health.

    

Independent Bookshop Week 2019

For all of those who just one click their latest release to their phone or Kindle are missing out the pleasure of walking into a bookshop and spending some time looking. If you are anything like me you will quite often you will find the book you were after and inevitably end up with a couple more. I can hear my overcrowded bookshelves crying softly…

Did you know that there are around 900 independent bookshops around the UK? This creates thousands of jobs in the local community as well as thousands of other jobs in publishing and associated industries. For every pound that you spend in an independent shop almost doubles in value as it transfers to the local economy.

My very local book shop is Gulliver’s Bookshop in Wimborne.:

This bookshop has been going fifty years this year and is run by bookshop angels. No really. The family that own and run it, surname is Angel. They also have a sister bookshop called Westbourne Books and now own the shop Square Records for those that want to choose something to listen with their chosen reading material. I am fairly clued up on new releases with regards to non fiction in the coming year, but every now and again there is something on their shelf that I haven’t come across.

Not only are they fifty years old, but this year they won Best Independent Bookshop in the South West and were a finalist for the overall award. Sadly they didn’t win (boo), but this is an acknowledgement of the effect they are having in the town. The other thing that they have been running for the past nine years if the Wimborne Literary Festival. I have been almost all of the years it has been running and they are great little events and a chance to meet some of my favourite authors.

If you’re not sure where your nearest independent bookshop is then you can find one here. Whilst they have been having a resurgence recently, you do have to use them or you will loose them.

Follow Gulliver’s on twitter here, and follow the hashtags #BookshopHeroes and #IndieBookshopWeek and @booksaremybag for news this week about other peoples favourite shops.

Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton

Today is the publication day for the paperback of Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, here is an extract:

Earth Calling

Drifting through interstellar space, three light-years out from the star 31 Aquilae, the Neána abode cluster picked up a series of short, faint electromagnetic pulses that lasted intermittently for eighteen years. The early signatures were familiar to the Neána, and faintly worrying: nuclear fission detonations, followed seven years later by fusion explosions. The technological progress of whoever was detonating them was exceptionally swift by the usual metric of emerging civilizations.

Metaviral spawn chewed into the cometry chunks that anchored the vast cluster, spinning out a string of flimsy receiver webs twenty kilometers across. They aligned themselves on the G-class star fifty light-years away, where the savage weapons were being deployed.

Sure enough, a torrent of weak electromagnetic signals was pouring out from the star’s third planet. A sentient species was entering into its early scientific industrial state.

The Neána were concerned that so many nuclear weapons were being used. Clearly, the new species was disturbingly aggressive. Some of the cluster’s minds welcomed that.

Analysis of the radio signals, now becoming analogue audiovisual broadcasts, revealed a bipedal race organized along geo-tribal lines, and constantly in conflict. Their specific biochemical composition was one that, from the Neána perspective, gave them sadly short lives. That was posited as the probable reason behind their faster than usual technological progression.

That there would be an expedition was never in doubt; the Neána saw that as their duty no matter what kind of life evolved on distant worlds. The only question now concerned the level of assistance to be offered. Those who welcomed the new species’ aggressive qualities wanted to make the full spectrum of Neána technology available. They almost prevailed.

I hope that you enjoyed that. I loved this book when it first came out, and you can read my original review here

Twenty Books of Summer

For the past couple of years, I have seen the hashtag for the #20BooksOfSummer appear in my Twitter Feed at the beginning of June. This is a challenge that is run by Cathy at 746 Books and you can read more about her here. I like challenges as they can often get you looking at books that you wouldn’t necessarily consider. I have one that I created for a group I run on Good Read that is prompting you to pick books that have won or been shortlisted for prizes. Anyway back to this one. The aim of it is to get you to read 20 books that are on your TBR and you have from the 3rd June to the 3rd September to do so.

This year I have decided to join in.  So far I am a week late starting, but I have picked my 20 books from the various piles I have lying around the house and they are here below:

 

We are off to Sicily this summer and five of my pile are books about that island:

In Sicily by Norman Lewis

Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons: Travels in Sicily on a Vespa by Matthew Fort

Sicily: Through the Writers’ Eyes by Horatio Clare

Bitter Almonds: Recollections and Recipes from a Sicilian Girlhood by Mary Taylor Simeti

The March of the Long Shadows by Norman Lewis

Three from the Wainwright Prize Longlist:

Underland by Robert Macfarlane

How To Catch A Mole And Find Yourself In Nature by Marc Hamer

Ghost Trees: Nature and People in a London Parish by Bob Gilbert

Then four books that have a mountain theme

White Mountain: Real And Imagined Journeys In The Himalayas by Robert Twigger

Limits of the Known by David Roberts

Just Another Mountain by Sarah Jane Douglas

Everest England: 29,000 Feet in 12 Days by Peter Owen Jones

Three by the brilliant writer, Raban, that I have been meaning to review for far too long:

Coasting by Jonathan Raban

For Love & Money  by Jonathan Raban

Hunting Mister Heartbreak  by Jonathan Raban

Lastly, five books that have a watery theme:

A Raindrop in the Ocean: The Extraordinary Life of a Global Adventurer by Michael Dobbs-Higginson

Blue Mind: How Water Makes You Happier, More Connected and Better at What You Do by Wallace J. Nichols

When the Rivers Run Dry: Water – The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century by Fred Pearce

Still Water: Reflections on the Deep Life of the Pond by John Lewis-Stempel

The Chronology Of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch

So there we go. Nineteen non-fiction and one novel. Have you heard of any of these? Has anyone read any of them?

You can find out more about 20 Books of Summer at Cathy’s blog and see who else is participating with the challenge here. Or follow the #20BooksOfSummer hashtag on twitter to see weekly progress from all those taking part.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June TBR

This is the first time that I have ever done anything like this as I normally plan what I am going to read on a spreadsheet and change it as things evolve over the month. But after a couple of positive comments from other bloggers, I thought that I would reveal what is on the TBR for June. I have split them into sections, Blog Tours for those that I have to read for a particular date, library books that are due back or have reservations on them. Then onto review copies and a section that I have called wishful thinking as I would love to get to them but with everything else going on, it probably won’t happen!

 

Blog Tours 

Trading in War: London’s Maritime World in the Age of Cook and Nelson by Margarette Lincoln

Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Wildest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Palmer

Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness

The A to Z of Skateboarding by Tony Hawk

Library Books

Tiny Churches by Dixe Wills

These Darkening Days by Benjamin Myers

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (And Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) by Philippa Perry

White Mountain: Real And Imagined Journeys In The Himalayas by Robert Twigger

Defender by G X Todd

One Man And A Mule by Hugh Thomson

Review Books

Limits of the Known by David Roberts

Vickery’s Folk Flora: An A-Z of the Folklore and Uses of British and Irish Plants by Roy Vickery

The Sea That Beckoned by Angela Gabrielle Fabunan

The Unlikeliest Backpacker: From Office Desk to Wilderness by Kathryn Barnes

All Together Now: One Man’s Walk in Search of His Father and a Lost England by Mike Carter

The Seafarers: A Journey Among Birds by Stephen Rutt

Sunfall by Jim Al-Khalili

Tempest: An Anthology        Edited by Anna Vaught & Anna Johnson

Still Water: Reflections on the Deep Life of the Pond by John Lewis-Stempel

The Many Lives of Carbon by Dag Olav Hessen, Tr. Kerri Pierce

The Sea: A Celebration of Shorelines, Beaches and Oceans by Isobel Carlson

Wishful Thinking

The House of Islam by Ed Husain

Chasing the Ghost: My Search for all the Wild Flowers of Britain by Peter Marren

Origins: How The Earth Made Us by Lewis Dartnell

Quicksand Tales: The Misadventures Of Keggie Carew by Keggie Carew

Revenger by Alastair Reynolds

The Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds

Origins: How The Earth Made Us by Lewis Dartnell

The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea

When: The Scientific Secrets Of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

The Good Life: Up the Yukon Without a Paddle by Dorian Amos

A Raindrop in the Ocean: The Extraordinary Life of a Global Adventurer by Michael Dobbs-Higginson

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

In the Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott

Coasting by Jonathan Raban

So that is it. If I spent less time on twitter then I might make some inroads into the backlog. Any on there that you have read, or want to read? Let me know in the comments below.

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