Two books today as one of the reviews is a very short one that doesn’t really need a post of its own. I’m half-way through the 20BooksOfSummer project now, having completed Book 10 on 15 July (slightly less than half-way through the time span, as it finishes on 4 September). So although I’m not reading anything from the project right now, I feel reasonably confident I’ll achieve the goal. One little naughty confession too, but it doesn’t count …

John-Paul Flintoff – “Sew Your Own”

(19 November 2016)

A book claiming to detail one man’s attempt to survive the global economic meltdown and address inequality, it was a bit more episodic and chaotic than I’d have expected, had I not seen some reviews saying it was quite disjointed. I sort of assumed it was a collection of columns from a newspaper or something, and the short chapters made it easy to read.

He starts off in a posh suit shop getting measured for a tailored suit and ends up making his own clothes, all fired up by the idea that we’ve all become both dependent and oblivious, unable to look after ourselves of imagine what goes on behind the scenes to provide our power, etc., so not really working to keep energy use down, etc. He references other “quest” types like Danny Wallace and AJ Jacobs, which is nice, taking inspiration from them, although they tend to be single issue at a time people and his explorations are a mish-mash of recycling, making clothes, disposing of rats and looking into religions.

He does share some good and practical ideas (smile at a teen in a hoodie, plant a guerrilla garden) and shockingly joins the Tories for a bit. He does try to meet politicians with small and big Ps as well as representatives of different religions, although he doesn’t really come to any conclusions apart from most politicians bringing things round to themselves and the Quakers being the most restful religious group. His reporter job comes in handy, as a lot of the insights he gains from people come from interviews with them, though this undermined it a little for me, as he was able to use this access rather than gaining it for himself, if that makes sense? I also got stupidly annoyed that he assumes no reader has heard of musician and artist Billy Childish except in relation to Tracey Emin, because this reader had!

So: entertaining and a bit thought-provoking but disjointed. I loved the column supposedly written by his wife about living with such a paragon and his striving to be good!

This was Book 10 in my 2oBooksOfSummer project.

Veronica Stallwood – “Oxford Mourning”

(19 November 2016)

I’d previously enjoyed “Oxford Exit” in the same series, with its novelist main character and Oxford academic setting. But this one didn’t really do it for me – the main character is unlikeable, the plot didn’t resolve very well and there was a gift of a cat at the end, which means something horrible will happen to it in a subsequent book. So I’m going to stop looking out for books in this series, which is a shame, as the first one was good.

I’m currently reading Marian Keyes’ new novel, “The Break” which isn’t out until NOVEMBER but I got via NetGalley. Very exciting. I’m apparently not allowed to review it on here until a week before publication, but can review it on NetGalley, so will do that and set up a scheduled post on here that I’m bound to forget about.

Running Like a GirlAnd that confession – well, my lovely BookCrossing friend Cari, who I’ve known for over a decade and shared many books with, has recently started running and bought this book to read. She kindly sent it to me, so I now have a very clearly American edition of a British book, which I think is quite cool. I have just the person to pass it on to, and will therefore promote this up to the TBR pile so I can get it to them before the next running club 5k and Beyond group starts up.

How are you doing with 20 Books of Summer, if you’re doing it? What are you reading at the moment?