July 2020 Review

Another month whizzes by and another birthday for me too. Not sure I am any wiser yet… Really good reading this month too, with three books getting five stars and I managed to read 18 too! So here we go.

Not quite sure how I got to hear about this one but managed to get a library copy prior to lockdown. This is a multi-layered story about a Piers Shonks who was supposed to have slain a dragon. Unpicking the fact from the myth takes Hadley all around the country.

Landscapes of Detectorists is about the TV series that is as much about the human character as it is the landscape. In here four academics look at what makes this such a wonderful comedy.

Alex Bellos keep coming up with really good puzzle books and So You Think You’ve Got Problems? is no exception. Brain stretching stuff.

Two very good books from the writer, Neil Sentance on his family history in the fields of Lincolnshire. Really nicely written vignettes of place too.


Roy Dennis has been a passionate supporter of the natural world and the environment for decades. There are 52 essays in her with his take on what we should be doing and some of his past successes in the reintroduction of extinct birds and animals.

I love spending time by the sea, and if you are going to do that then you can’t go wrong picking up these two books. Buttivant’s enthusiasm pours out of the page in Rock Pool and this new edition of Shell Life on the Seashore is beautifully done. Definitely worthy additions to your shelves.


Two poetry books this month, both utterly different. Flèche deals with complex themes of multilingualism, queerness, psychoanalysis and cultural history and The Picture of the Wind is about that perennial British obsession, the weather.


Finally got to read this one, it has been on my TBR for months, and it is a well-written explanation of why carbon is key to life on this planet.

I had read Gabriel Hemery’s book called Green Gold, and when he offered me a copy of this I accepted. It is a collection of fiction stories about trees and often ventures into the science fiction realm. Really enjoyed this.

We rely on codes in almost all things on the web and this book is about their evolution from ancient times to the modern-day. Clear explanations and lots of graphics and pictures

Lots of travel books this month. I have read all of Jamie’s natural history books abut not this one. It is excellent, as you expect from an accomplished writer, full of empathy of the people that she is staying with. Thubron is one of my favourite travel writers but I had not read this, his first book about Syria. It is really good, but a touch heavy on the history, I much preferred his dealing with the people of that city.


And now for my books of the month, three this time. Two are real-life stories of experience in World War 2, one set in Somalia and the other in Italy. Both writers are sensitive to the people that they are alongside and they are both full of tiny details about how life was at that time. Lev Parikian’s new book, Into The Tangled Bank, is my final book of the month. In here he writes about his wider experiences of exploring the natural world and pays homage to some of the great of nature writing. Very funny and occasionally a bit rude!


So there we go. Have you read any of these? Are there any that you now want to read? Let me know below.


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  1. Liz Dexter

    I loved Into the Tangled Bank and hope it will appeal to people who might not naturally pick up a nature book (Simon Barnes’ Rewild Yourself, which I’m reading very slowly with my best friend, feels the same). A great crop last month, I managed to finish 17 but a little bogged down this month so far!

    • Paul

      Seventeen books read is excellent, Liz well done. That is just it, it is an approachable book for someone who may want to dabble a little without feeling that they have to spend a fortune and look like man or woman from Millets! I have almost finished my second. Meant to do finish it last night, but you know, life…

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