I have been managing to get a lot of reading done in April, it is always helpful that there is a long weekend and my husband has been taking the children off my hands for a bit of time so I can get some well deserved quiet time. With also the children sleeping amazingly well, I usually have a full evening where I can read as much as I want to without any distractions or interruptions, which is perfect.
I have decided to split the wrap up in two blog posts as there are rather a large amount of books. Some I have already managed to complete a blog post, others I have not quite got around to it yet, but will do at some point.
The Editor by Steven Rowley
As I said in my April newsletter, this book provoked quite a reaction on social media with a lot of people wanting to read or being their anticipated read. There is no blog post yet live about this book, but I have drafted some thoughts so hopefully in the forthcoming days I can complete this and post it live.
After years of struggling as a writer in 1990s New York City, James Smale finally gets his big break when his novel sells to an editor at a major publishing house; none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie, or Mrs. Onassis as she’s known in the office, loves James’s candidly autobiographical novel about his own dysfunctional family.
As Jackie and James develop an unexpected friendship, she pushes him to write an authentic ending, encouraging him to confront the truth about his relationship with his mother. But when a long-held family secret is revealed, he realises his editor may have had a larger plan that goes beyond the page….
The Editor is published by The Borough Press and is available now.
Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops by Jen Campbell
As I have said before I adore anything Jen Campbell writes and this little book is full of such love for bookshops and made me laugh out loud.
A John Cleese Twitter question (‘What is your pet peeve?’), first sparked the Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops blog, which grew over three years into one bookseller’s collection of ridiculous conversations on the shop floor.
From ‘Did Beatrix Potter ever write a book about dinosaurs?’ to the hunt for a paperback which could forecast next year’s weather; and from ‘I’ve forgotten my glasses, please read me the first chapter’ to ‘Excuse me…..is this book edible?’ here is a book for heroic booksellers and booklovers alike.
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
I am currently reading the Women’s Prize Long-list which The Silence of the Girls is nominated for.
When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis’s old life is shattered. She goes from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the godlike warrior Achilles is a prize of battle. She’s not alone. On the same day, and on many others in the course of a long, bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters.
As told in The Iliad, the Trojan War was a quarrel between men. But what of the women in this story, silenced by their fates? What words did they speak when alone with each other, in the laundry, at the loom, when laying out the dead?
The Silence of the Girls is published by Penguin
The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean
This was on my recommended page when I was ordering other books, and it sounded like my kind of read. I love reading about plants and flowers and the lengths people go to, to get the rarest of them. It is mind blowing.
A modern classic of personal journalism, The Orchid Thief is Susan Orlean’s wickedly funny, elegant, and captivating tale of an amazing obsession. Determined to clone an endangered flower – the rarest ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii – a deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man named John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of American’s strangest flower-selling subculture, through Florida’s swamps and beyond, along with the Seminoles who help him and the forces of justice who fight him. In the end, Orlean – and the reader will have more respect for underdog determination and a powerful new definition of passion.
The Orchid Thief is available now
Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
This was another book on my recommended reading page when I was purchasing other books and immediately knew I had to have it.
Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there’s no delete button. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school – but NO ONE knows it. Most people – her teachers and doctors included – don’t think she’s capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows….but she can’t, because Melody can’t talk. She can’t walk. She can’t write. Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind- that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice…but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.
Out Of My Mind is published by Simon and Schuster and is available now.
My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul
This book I devoured within a day it is a perfect read if you like books about books and a full review is available on my blog now.
Pamela Paul has kept a single book by her side for twenty-eight years – carried throughout high school and college, hauled from Paris to London to Thailand moved from apartment to house to its current perch on a shelf over her desk. It is reliable if frayed, anonymous looking yet deeply personal. This book has a name: Bob.
Bob is Pamela Paul’s Book of Books, a journal that records every book she’s ever read, from Sweet Valley High to Anna Karenina, from Catch-22 to Swimming to Cambodia. It recounts a journey in reading that reflects her inner life- her fantasies and hopes, her mistakes and missteps, her dreams and her ideas, both half-baked and wholehearted. Her life, in turn, influences the books she chooses, whether for solace or escape, information or sheer entertainment.
But My Life with Bob isn’t really about those books. It’s about the deep and powerful relationship between book and reader. It’s about the way books provide each of us the perspective, courage, companionship, and imperfect self-knowledge for forge our own path. It’s about why we read what we read and how those choices make us who we are. It’s about how we make our own stories.
My Life with Bob is published by Henry Holt.
The Lido by Libby Page
The Lido is another book I have not stopped thinking about or banging on about, quite frankly I am boring myself about how much I love this book.
A full review is available on my blog now.
Meet Rosemary, 86 and Kate 26: dreamers, campaigners, outdoor swimmers……
Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George.
Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She’s on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.
So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, to show the importance of friendship, the value of community, and how ordinary people can protect the things they love.
The Lido is published by Orion.
Eating by Nigella Lawson
I adore these mini reads they are perfect for your handbag and I have a tendency to read these whilst the children are doing their swimming lessons.
Nigella Lawson sets out a manifesto for how to cook (and eat) good food every day with a minimum of fuss. From basic roast chicken and pea risotto to white truffles and Turkish Delight figs, Nigella brings the joy back into the kitchen.
Eating is published by Vintage books.
April Wrap Up Part 2 will be available on the blog shortly.