January 2022 Review

I am quite a bit later with this than I had intended. Ah well, this is a hobby not a job at the end of the day. So here are the books that I read in January:

I have been a big fan of Billy Connolly for as long as I can remember. He is a great human being and is always interested in those people that have made a difference in their communities. His observational humour is very rude and very funny and this book is a summation of those stories. I really liked it.

I read two history books that couldn’t have been any more different. English Farmhouse is about the rural architecture of the Wessex chalk downs and whilst it is not about a specific farm it is still a fascinating and detailed look at how these buildings were made. Across the other side of the world is the largest ocean that we have on the planet. Scattered across it are thousands of tiny islands that people have lived on for hundreds of years. Thompson takes us on a journey to these places and the people who could navigate between the islands with ease.


Bridging the gap between memoir and history is Thicker Than Water by the author of Islands of Abandonment, Cal Flynn. In this, she finds out about a relative who moved to Australia, and then when she is there find out about the atrocities that he perpetrated. This is her story about coming to terms with what he did.

Tanya Shadrick nearly died after the birth of her first child. She survived and it gave her a new lease of life to change from the person she had been into the person that she is now. Taking those risks meant stepping outside her comfort zone and change her life for the better.

I read six natural history books in January! Biography of a Fly is a graphic novel about a fly who befriends a raptor and we see this through his short life. Finding The Mother Tree is more science-based and is the story of Suzanne Simard’s discovery of how a forest actually functions and the key role that each plant plays, in particular, the mycological networks in the soil. On the Marsh is Simon Barnes year-long diary of the time spent looking at the wildlife on the small patch of march he is fortunate to own in Norfolk


The Sea Is Not Made Of Water is Nicholson applying the same rigour that he did to seabirds to the life under the ocean. Fascinating stuff. Nests is a beautiful book of all of Susan Ogilvy’s paintings of the nest that were in her garden or collected by friends. Thirteen Ways to Smell a Tree is probably the oddest titles book that I have read in a while, but it is well worth it. If you love the scent of wood in any form then I can highly recommend this.


Some people react to conflict by getting angry too. Shahe Mankerian wrote poetry instead and this collection is not really one I liked, the content is just too grim for that. However, I did admire it for its honesty.

I read five travel books too! My journeys were to take to modern and historical Greece in, A Thing Of Beauty, to the forests of Russia in The White Birch and slowly across America in Another Fine Mess.


I have had Elephant Complex on my shelf for ages and I finally got to read it last month. Not as good as some of his other books, but he does get under the skin of the Sri Lankan’s Nick Jubber’s book takes us across Europe finding the original sources of the Fairy Tales that have become so well known these days.


My book of the month is a book on old postcards of the county that I live in. Lost Dorset: The Towns is the companion volume to Lost Dorset: The Villages & Countryside and feature another set of postcards from Barry Cuff’s remarkable collection of Dorset postcards. As I know some of these places I personally find it fascinating.

So 18 books in total for January means that I have made a good start to the 2022 Good Reads Challenge.

Any here that you have read? Any that now take your fancy? Let me know in the comments below.

I also have a couple of questions:

1. Do you want me to include monthly stats? I.e. what genres that I have read, and top publishers?

2. Do you want me to include a list of all the books that I have bought or beent sent too? Or would you want to see that in another monthly post

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  1. Rebecca Foster

    Biography of a Fly looks fun! Chris just read The Sea Is Not Made of Water and thought it was fantastic.

    A mention of the publishers you read the most from would be good. I mostly see your book haul stuff on Twitter, which I think works fine.

    • Paul

      It was. I have sent it on to someone else otherwise you could have had it. The Sea Is Not Made of Water is very good, but not quite as good as Sea Room. Thank you for answering the question, Will add those in from February. Book thread to follow later on Twitter tonight after I have cooked tea

  2. Liz Dexter

    Incomings would be fun to me, I am rubbish at keeping up with Twitter! I think I’ve seen a review sitting in my saved list of On the Marsh and I’ll have to save your Adam Nicolson for when Emma and I have got to it.

    • Paul

      I shall do it from February!

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