April 2020 Review

Well, that seemed a much longer month than usual and it is the first month in ages that I have not bought a single book. Not one. Mind you I am not going to run out anytime soon. I have been sharing pictures of my crammed shelves on Twitter, follow the #ShowUsYourShelves hashtag to see mine and hundreds of others. Would you like to see a bookshelf tour on here? Let me know in the comments. I had a week off in April, and it was my 25th Wedding Anniversary. Our children did a Lockdown dinner for us which was lovely of them.

Even though I had the week off, I spent a lot of time faffing and ended up reading 16 books in the end, and that was only because I read three very short fiction books at the end of the month. Really need to get a wriggle on as I am only just ahead of my Good Reads target at the moment. Anyway, onto the books that I read in April. It was a mixed selection as you can see:

I have been following Tim Clare for a little while on Twitter and he asked if people could read and review his book. Thankfully the library had a copy which I got before they closed. I quite liked it, but it has masses going on and I think reading the first would have helped with the context. Cynan Jones is another author that I have been following on twitter for a while now and really liked Stillicide which I read last year. I have had Cove for a while after buying it last year, it is a sparsely written novella about a man who is struck by lightning whilst out in a kayak and it is his fight for survival. And that is all I will say about it.


Salt kindly added Used To Be to an order that I placed with them a while ago and I finally got to read it at the end of the month. It is not a bad collection of short stories. A more contemporary take on the short story is How the Light Gets In by Clare Fisher. It is an interesting collection and feels rougher at the edges as modern life is.


I have long been fascinated by language and was fortunate enough to be sent a copy of Unspeakable by Harriet Shawcross. In this, she explains about her problem as a teenager of selective autism, this is where people choose not to speak to some or all people. It can be cured, but it is a slow process with those affected.

I am not sure I’d want to keep bees, but completely understand why some people want to. Liquid Gold is an amusing tale of Roger Morgan-Grenville taking up the hobby with a friend half his age and the things that they got up to.

I read two poetry books this month, Awaking and Holding Unfailing. Both very different as one is about climate change and the other is about a modern life in China.


Politics… Just hearing the word is enough for most people, but Tatton Spiller is fascinated by it. In We’re Living Through The Breakdown he evaluates some of the reason why it is so fraught these days and makes suggestions as to how to improve how we deal with each other politically

We are intrinsically linked to this planet and in Origins, lewis Dartnell shows just how we have been formed and shaped by the very rocks that we have walked upon. made for a fascinating read.

There is something about a Gibson book that grabs the zeitgeist by the dangly bits and reinvents just how to do a near future Scifi book. Agency is that book

Managed to read four travel books this month. First up was the latest by the wonderful Kapka Kassabova. In this, she heads over to the border of  North Macedonia, Albania, and Greece where there are two lakes, Ohrid and Prespa. Two ancient lakes joined by underground rivers. Her family were from there and this is a story of family and the push and pull of nations. Another book that was on the Stanford list was Last Days In Old Europe. More memoir than travel, Richard Bassett takes us back 40 years to some of the European countries where he worked. Fascinating read.


When people think of Ukraine then Chernobyl is the town that always comes to mind. But there is vast history in the rest of the country and Jens Mühling wants to discover all about it. A good refreshingly different perspective of a country that is always in turmoil. A calmer book is Leonie Charlton’s Marram Grass. She treks through the Outer Hebrides with her friend  and leaves small beads in memory of her mother. Lovely descriptions of a part of the world that I’d love to go to


My book of the month was the next in the Discworld series that I read, A Hat Full of Sky.  Terry Pratchett does it again with another great Tiffany Aching book and the always hilarious feegles.


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  1. Liz Dexter

    You did read some great books – and happy anniversary and how lovely that you still got a celebration! We managed to have a lovely Italian meal from a local cafe on the wrong day as we got the ordering process mixed up for our recently 6th anniversary!

  2. Helen Williams

    Great selection of books, as always! Congratulations on your wedding anniversary.

    • Paul

      Thank you, Helen.

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