March 2021 Review

March felt more like a more normal month than previously. It was a good reading month, with three, yes three, books of the month. But, first some stats after reaching a quarter of the way through the year.

I have read 50 books and 13682 pages. Thirty-four of the authors were male and the remaining 16 were female (34%). I have read 23 review books, 12 library books and 15 of my own. I have read books from 34 different publishers so far.

The top three publishers are:

Eland – 4 books

Saraband – 2 books

Head of Zeus – 2 books

(in fact, there are 11 publishers with 2 books read so far)

The top three genres are:

Travel – 10 books

Fiction – 9 books

Poetry – 6 books

So on to the books that I read in March

Barn Club a combination of architecture and craft and the story of a barn being built from elm for his clients using volunteers. They help with the cutting of the wood and learnt about how to cut the wood to make a self-standing structure. I really liked it

I know it sounds odd, but I read five fiction books this month. Like Fado is a collection of short stories by Graham Mort that are thoughtful, but not always cheerful. Million-Story City  is a collection of writings by the late Marcus Preece pulled together by his friends and editors Malu Halasa & Aura Saxén. There are all sorts of things in here, graphic strips, music journalism and plays. If you like something a bit different then this might be one you’d like. I have been a big fan of the late John Le Carré and I am reading the one on my bookshelves to pass to my brother in law to make space for other books! Our Kind Of Traitor is his take on the way that Russian money is swirling around the world in legal and illegal schemes and how those at the very top of our country are influenced by it. Chilling stuff.


I had read Gabriel Hemery’s previous collection of short stories loosely about woods and tree and he offered me a review copy of this. It is a diverse collection again, some of which I liked more than others, but there were a couple of great stories inside. So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell is a story of murder set in the 1920s and how it affected those for years after.


Notebook is Tom Cox’s latest book and it originated from the time that his bag was stolen with a precious notebook inside. There are various musings from his other notebooks. It is quite random, but also an insight as to how he creates his wonderful books. In Minature is Simon Garfield’s exploration into those that are fascinated about replicating the real world in tiny form. Really enjoyable read. The First of Everything is a huge list of all the things that you may of heard of and who invented or discovered them first. Not bad


If you want to know about how the birds that we see around us got their names from our language, their behaviour and those that travelled all around the world trying to find new species then Mrs Moreau’s Warbler by Stephen Moss is a good place to start.

Desert Air is a collection of poetry set in and about the deserts of the world drawn together by Barnaby Rogerson. It is a great little collection and pocket sized too.

Two of the travel books that I read this month were written about the same place at the same time but two guys who were there at the same time. It was interesting seeing how Gavin Young and Gavin Maxwell’s experiences overlapped in their books.


Humanity has a habit of mucking things up and leaving them. But what happens after they have been left? In Cal Flyn’s fascinating book, Islands Of Abandonment, she travels to these places to see how the natural world is claiming them back. Highly recommended.

And now for my three books of the month. I am a big fan of Stephen Moss’s writing and Skylarks with Rosie is his lockdown diary of the natural world that he sees in his garden and the loop that he walks around every day. Wonderful piece of writing. Springlines sadly is out of print now, but I managed to pick up a copy second hand. It is a wonderful collection of art and poetry by Clare Best and Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis. Finally is  The Book Collectors of Daraya a wonderful story of a few men who set about collecting books from the rubble of the town and making a library from them. Books helped them face the horrific bombing they were subject to on a daily basis. It is a wonderful story.


Any here that you have read?

Any here that you’d now like to read?

Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. Liz Dexter

    Looks like some lovely books there and I have already added a few to my wishlist …

    • Paul

      It was a good reading month, Liz.

  2. Helen Williams

    Some interesting books there, added to my TBR! I’ve seen The Book Collectors of Daraya pop up elsewhere, will need to get hold of a copy.

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