Good news first: I have FINALLY managed to post out my competition winners‘ books plus a couple of others I owed fellow book bloggers – look out for something popping through your door soon. Looking at this picture of my TBR from the beginning of May (plus my Pile), everything’s looking very different – watch this space for tomorrow’s pic. It’s about the same size on the shelf, to be honest, with all those lovely acquisitions arriving, but it starts with that pale book after Greg Rutherford now, and the Pile is almost no more! I’ve read 22 books this month, if you count the three two-in-one Debbie Macombers as six – astounding. Just shows what a bit of time laid up will do for you. But I’m better now, back to running and proper yoga (kind of) and raring to go. So here’s one last review and a DNF (that makes 22.3 books for the month, really!)

Mohammad Yunus – “Banker to the Poor”

(29 October 2016, Brierlow Bar Bookshop, Buxton)

I think this is the last of my Buxton haul, actually. And it shows how I’ve come on as I wouldn’t have had the capacity to read this at the start of the month!

The Nobel Peace Prize winner talks about how he founded and ran the Grameen Bank, the first micro-finance organisation in the world, in Bangladesh. It takes in his own story, including the part he played in Bangladesh’s independence movement in the 1970s. Then it goes through his initial idea, founded from the poverty and despair he saw in the world around him as he travelled to and from his university job as a professor of economics, the work of the bank, its development, the people it has helped and the ways he used to help it grow, including using the old school tie network he simultaneously decries for hampering real progress in the country. He’s also not keen on the way the World Bank and other organisations work in creating reliance and greed rather than self-reliance in the very poorest people.

There’s also information on how the bank has spread to other countries and into other areas of activity, which was very interesting, and also deep philosophical economic discussions on poverty, which was a little more skimmable. I loved how he started small and practical, with the villages he could see around him, and how he encouraged his students to work on practical poverty alleviation projects as part of their theoretical studies. I was interested to read that they charged quite significant interest on loans, although this is needed for a profitable bank and all the profits are rolled back into more loans. Although it’s a bit out of date, being written in the 1990s, it gives the background for all the other micro-finance initiatives, like Kiva, that exist now.

I struggled on through NetGalley win “Greatest Hits” by Laura Barnett up to 30% but I was just so not engaged with it. It seemed a bit laboured, well-researched but not really with a spark of life. I think, particularly because I’m working on some projects on older musicians in my working life, I’d just rather read a real biography of a musician rather than a carefully invented one. I did review it and won my 80% review badge, one more review to go for my 20 books badge (is this a good or a bad thing?)

I’m currently reading Willa Cather’s “The Professor’s House” – the LibraryThing Virago Group chose her as their author for May and I only just got hold of a copy after meeting up with Heaven-Ali on Monday. It won’t be done by the end of the month but it’s marvellous.