October 2021 Review

October came and went and even though I managed to get a week off at the end, I didn’t get as much read as we had a friend staying and had lots of days out around Dorset. It was good to see her. Nut I did manage to read 14 really good books and only one that I wasn’t that enamoured with.


I have read John Wright’s Natural History of the Hedgerow, so when I was offered this I jumped at the chance. It was a fascinating book and full  of those little details that can make a stroll around the countryside a much richer experience.


After he caught Covid, John Burnside almost died, but thankfully didn’t! As he recovered it gave him time to think about the processes of extinction that we have inflicted on other animals and this insightful and thoughtful book is the result. Well worth reading.


I read quite a lot of fiction in October. The first was Mainstream, a collection of short stories and essays from working-class, coloured and LGBT writers that do not have the same opportunities to see their words contained within the covers of a book. Didn’t like every story within, but there are some good ones. Hag is a collection of modern-day retellings of some classic folk lore tales all written by women. I really liked the modern take on the stories.



The next two books are set in America, the first is The Fugitives, which is the story of a band who get an invite to travel to America to play and when money is stolen from them, decide to head after the thief. The Con Artist is a story of a graphic artist who is framed for a murder and the shenanigans that he has to go through to prove his innocence. Both very different books!



I have not yet seen a hummingbird, but having read Jon Dunn’s new book, I now want to go and see one. However, they are native t the Americas and it is going to be a while before I can make it there. Not only is it a good read, but Dunn is a photographer too, so the images are excellent.


This is the second Larking poetry book that I have now read, and I really must write up my reviews. I quite like them so far and can see why he is held in high regard for some of them. As with any collection there were a few that I wasn’t keen on, but it is good to be pushed at times.


I had high hopes for this science book, but couldn’t get along with it. It is quite dry and academic and I thought that it lost focus sometimes.


I read quite a lot of travel books this month and two of them made my books of the month, but more on that below. These books took me to three different places around the planet, first to Thailand and Burma with Charles Nicholl and the slightly dubious company he was keeping at the time. Then a trip to India nearly 50 years ago with the indomitable Dervla Murphy and her daughter. Finally, Joachim Sartorius reminisced about the time that he was fortunate to spend in Cyprus in the book of that name.



My three books of the month for October were equally varied. Tom Chesshyre takes a slow journey around Spain on 52 trains fining the delights of the country in the out of the way places. Equally slow was Jasper Winn’s 100 miles he sent either on or alongside the canal network of the UK as the writer in residence. Finally, still in the UK, but with a heavy Japanese influence, we larns of the 72 micro seasons of that country and see how we can apply them to the UK and our regular four seasons.


Any that you see here that takes your fancy? Or have you read any? Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. Liz Dexter

    Well, about 12 of your posts just all hit my Feedly feed at the same time, not sure what is going on. I enjoyed reading about your October, Light Rains was a favourite of mine, too, and your other two top reads are very enticing!

    • Paul

      Not sure why, Liz. It is very strange, and then it crashed this afternoon too! Lev is such an entertaining writer.

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