Book review – Bart Yasso – “My Life on the Run” #amreading #running @RunBookshelfFB

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I pulled this book out of order (I only acquired it last month, from the lovely Cari, when she was visiting) because it was the Runner’s Bookshelf book of the month. But in truth, it’s no hardship to pull a book on running off the shelf a few months (OK, a year) early. I ended up feeling a little ambivalent about this one. Oh, but who else pores over race training plans that they never intend to use? It’s a bit like reading cookery books from cover to cover, isn’t it! Does this happen in other genres, too?

Bart Yasso – “My Life on the Run”

(23 August 2018 – via BookCrossing, from Cari)

The autobiography and race reports (for some races, though: an Antarctic marathon among others!) and training plans in the back (including an interesting 10-day based plan: what??) from the Runner’s World Ambassador and massive distance runner who invented the Yasso 800 (basically, the average of 10x800m repeats will echo your marathon time: run 800m in an average of 04:25 and your marathon time will magically be 04:25:00).

I liked his story of his own redemption from a hard-living lifestyle, especially as he later teaches a group of prisoners to run (although he doesn’t disclose his history to them), and the humility he shows in discussing his Lyme Disease and his decision to make every run he has left count, basically by going out in perfect conditions, doing races and pacing that he really cares about, but limiting general runs to a few miles. This must be an awful trial for someone who’s been up there doing Death Valley runs and whatnot. I like his emphasis on running as a form of therapy in his recovery, and his depth of experience means he can tell tales of running in the Boston Marathon of 1982, 50 minutes behind the epic Salazar/Beardsley battle.

But I wasn’t so personally sure about his early exhortation to “Run on the edge of death” and “Run until you puke” – not my style at all and I found that off-putting (I do realise that one has to try hard and that I don’t like pushing myself, but I don’t think this emphasis is particularly helpful), and his drip feed of attitudes to women being based around them being “cute” or not is wearing. To be fair, he is respectful of those women he lists in his running heroes section, and he’s friends with Amby Burfoot, whose own weird attitudes I detailed in my review of his book. But when, talking about his wedding, he inexplicably feels he has to mention that they’re married by a mayor, who happens to be a woman (“That makes her a mayoress” (it doesn’t)), it does grate a bit.

One other thing I did like to round up this slightly ambivalent review: under the newbie’s marathon training plan, he mentions that next time, “You can … improve either your time – or how easy your time is” (p. 230) and he does mention that the effort to do a 6-hour marathon is just as important as faster efforts, so that’s encouraging.


I’m currently reading “The Vikings in Britain” and thoroughly enjoying it. I’ve had quite a lot on and am really hoping to get to my Iris Murdoch read for the month soon – I know at least two of the Readalong-ers have already finished it!

Sedate lady running 03-09 September 2018 #amrunning #running

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Another busy week with a good amount of running and one strength training session (OK, so I’m getting there with consistency, right?

Tuesday – Club run night so as usual I ran up, ran round club run and ran home again. It had been a bit dimpsy-dark through the park last week and, although on this route (we have two summer routes and two winter ones that alternate) we were going through the park first, I didn’t take any chances and wore my flouro tabard (It was still pretty warm, so I was in short sleeves still and I think capris). I was quite tired and Trudie and I had to make each other NOT peel off (on this route we can turn right rather than left after the park and just go home again!) so we did well.

5.4 mi 12:37 mm

Wednesday – I swapped Dave Yoga for my Paul Circuits again as that worked well last time. I did it on the ground floor this time, as the thuds of the burpees and squat jumps were A Bit Much in the guest room last time! Here I am doing a plank next to Birmingham History, Cook Books, Running a Hotel books and oversize in our downstairs through-lounge. I was more prepared this time, and also making less noise and having not bothered to have my shower first so I was OK to have a big sweat meant I tried a bit harder. So I did the same or more on all of my exercises (hopefully you can see the sheet below) although my right hip hurt when I was lying on that side. I warmed up with going up and down all the stairs four times and doing skips with no skipping rope top and bottom and a full 10 minutes of yoga for a warm down, including a minute of lying flat and still. I was dripping with sweat after this, which makes me feel a bit feeble, but hopefully I’ll get fitter with time.

Thursday – My friend Sara had been asking about speed work so we went for a daytime session, running to the park to warm up then talking about and trying fartleks, surges, intervals and tempo work (we only talked about tempo work!) and then running back. Sara picked it all up quickly and I think found it useful, and it was fun doing it together. She’s faster than me but I got under 9 mm pace briefly on some intervals!

5 mi 12:05 mm

Friday – Quite a challenging Claire Yoga class (I got to cheer Claire on at parkrun the next day!) but it felt good and was relaxing. I’d cleaned the house before I went (cardio! squats!) and had a bit of a headache, but that dissipated.

Saturday – I did parkrun volunteering in the morning – my 120th volunteering stint and my 100th at Cannon Hill parkrun (the rest have been at Cannon Hill Junior parkrun). My friends Andy and Greg turned up with matching umbrellas so there had to be a photo, obviously.

I was stationed as a marshal at the MAC, which is a complicated junction where runners arrive and leave in three different directions and have to be kept out of each other’s way. But it was all good, everyone was very well-behaved and it only rained a bit (I won parkrun by getting my flourescent gilet off, getting my pacamac out of its bag, getting it on and getting my gilet back on between the start and the runners reaching us! Then I helped lead Run and Talk – it was raining properly by then so we just went to the cafe and chatted, so all good.

Sunday – Mr Liz went off with his birdwatching club and as I’d arranged to meet a friend to run fairly early, I got up with him just before 5am and had my breakfast. We’d gone to bed early in preparation so I just stayed up until I left at 8.15 (sometimes I get some more sleep between breakfast and running). It was a nice day but a bit cool and windy, so I went for a tight under t-shirt and my teal hoody (the sides are mesh so it’s not that warm) and long but thin tights.

Pre-run – nice flat hair

I didn’t meet up with the original friend as she had a tweaky foot, so changed the route and met Sara for a 10-11 mile run she needed to do in preparation for the Birmingham Half-Marathon next month. I have a 10-mile route that goes up to the suburb of Northfield, takes a turn by the big shopping centre, runs down to the cricket ground then back up our way – a simple if a little hilly route. Here we are, succeeding at getting the shopping centre into our runfie.

We took it fairly gently – walking on hills, for example. No one wanted to be tired for the afternoon of the next day and I just wanted to get some miles myself and get the other ladies round happily. After some complicated directions, we met Sonya in Selly Oak and were trying to get a photo including their matching half-marathon tops from last year when a passer-by took pity on us and snapped a photo! This is on one of the main roads into the city centre – still plenty of green and it’s a lovely route with lots of trees.

What’s going on with my hair, though?

We got back – I ran out of energy at about 10 miles and the culprit on that would be the fact that I had a home-made veggie pizza (OK, a few pieces of ham on there but not much) and some low-fat ice cream for my dinner on Saturday night – usually if I’m planning to run long, I will eat some brown rice or pasta and have more protein and then a carby pudding. So I know that does actually work: however many Shreddies and oats I ate for breakfast and the two gels I consumed did not give me enough to get round energetically. I did whip out a tiny burst of speed at the end: I left Sonya and Sara to run to the park (they were very happy with their 8 and 11 miles) and I went down the high street and rounded mine up to 11.6 to bring the week to a round total.

Post-run – messy hair!

11.6 mi 13:13 mm

I was pleased with this week. I have to say, I’m really liking not having something to train for and being able to just run whatever I want to run, pause and help someone else learn about something or support friends, and not be constantly tired, cranky, etc. I don’t think I’m losing fitness – in fact, I have the energy to think about doing other things and I’m going to try to build in another strength and conditioning workout. I love having that neat line on my Strava of 20-27 mile weeks from 07 May until now and feel well and reasonably strong. Do you like keeping to a particular base when you’re not training for anything in particular?

Miles this week: 22

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 725 miles (only 25 to do in the whole of the rest of the month to hit my target!)

Weekly wrapI take part in the Weekly Wrap run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here.

It’s competition time! Win one of two fab books from @LethePress #competition #winabook

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Well, there were exciting happenings in the week, when my final two books in Paul Magrs’ “Phoenix Court” series arrived in the post. The full set of books includes “Marked for Life”, “Does it Show”, “Could it be Magic” and the previously unpublished “Fancy Man” and they’ve been reissued in lovely new editions by Lethe Press (more about them below), with additional material in the form of words from Paul and exclusive short stories!

Now, I read the first three of these books in the 1990s – I remember so clearly going round to Lewisham Library on the bus (the number 36 from New Cross Gate, which was still a Routemaster with the open platform at the back – sometimes I’d go round the back of the High Street, shoot straight past the library and up the High Street before I could get off, trudging back down the way I’d come with my big bag of books, because we could take either 9 or 12 books out at a time – and my golly, I did).

This wasn’t long after Paul wrote the books. I loved their North-East of England magic realism, a land of tatooed gentlemen swooping through precincts (precinct is a word I very much associate with Paul). I’d known some Birmingham regional writing and this was regional writing par excellence, taking the known and twisting it into a fun and fabulous unknown that you could get lost in.

Paul has of course gone from strength to strength, producing the much-loved Brenda and Effie novels, “Aisles”, which features Iris Murdoch as a character, and “Exchange”, which featured BookCrossing and led me to track Paul down with an email and make friends with him!

But these books I have remembered all those years, and yearned to have them. How could I resist when Lethe Press reissued them and I could subscribe (just like the old, original model of novel publishing!) and have them. And here they are.

But even more excitingly, due to a slight mix-up with my order, Lethe Press very kindly sent me MORE books. And being the generous lady I am, I thought I’d share them with you, my readers, and hopefully get Lethe a bit more well-known in the process.

Lethe Press

Lethe Press, who you can find here, publish “The strange, the eerie and the queer”. They’re big on speculative fiction and are devoted to ideas that get ignored or forgotten by the bigger, mainstream publishers. I think it’s brilliant that there are so many small presses dealing with topics that get pushed to the side – I read about so many of them on everyone’s blogs and it’s a lovely feature of today’s publishing world, I think.

The books

What fab covers, first of all!

Here are the blurbs:

“The Kissing Booth Girl” by A.C. Wise

“Ladies and Gentlemen: I give you the Kissing Booth Girl! Lips that beguile. Oh, I promise, the nearest thing to nuzzling an angel can be yours—today!—for a shiny round Seated Liberty I know you carry in your very pockets as I speak.” But to mechanically-inclined Beni, is the ethereal girl who fell from the sky a wish come true or false hope for life beyond the confines of the odd carnival called home. Her story–as well as tales of an order of deep-sea diving nuns caring for a sunken chapel and a high school boy asked to prom by the only dead kid he’s ever met–can be found in A.C. Wise’s newest collection of the fantastical, the weird, the queer and the poignant.

“The Spellbinders” by Aleardo Zanghellini

1299 AD. In the shadow of Canterbury Cathedral’s spires, a fateful encounter brings together Edward, teenage heir to the English throne, and a darkly handsome soldier from Gascony, Piers Gaveston. Youthful infatuation gives way to a bond more powerful than any attempt at keeping them apart. Edward and Piers enter a pact of sworn brotherhood. A decade later, Edward’s spirited new Queen, twelve-year-old Isabella of France, quickly becomes smitten as much with her royal consort as with his dashing lover. But the power-hungry Earls resent Gaveston’s monopoly of royal favour and his defiant self-assurance. Political intrigue mounts and the Earl of Lancaster has Gaveston murdered, leaving Edward devastated and thirsting for revenge. A debut novel, a historical epic with its foundation in the story of England’s most infamous homosexual prince, will captivate readers.


Now, I know I’ve got lots of lovely lady readers who like a jolly good mid-century forgotten women’s author, and so do I. But I like other stuff, too, and I know they do. Some have been exploring works in translation from all over the place, others live in Russia in their heads for years on end. And I’d like to bet I’ve got some adventurous readers or visitors who would just love to try one of these excellent reads.

How to win a book

To go into my marvellous prize draw, just comment below with a note of which book you’d like to try for (you can put down both!). I’ll leave it open until the end of the month then do some kind of random number generator business and post it off to you. Good luck! If you’re non-UK, I will need to send your book surface mail, but this is open to everyone. All I’d ask is that you promise to give the book a read and review it somewhere – anywhere, to help Lethe Press along, too. And do share my Tweet and Facebook post about the comp, too!

Book review – Gurjinder Basran – “Everything Was Good-Bye” #20BooksOfSummer #Amreading

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I’ve finished the 20 Books of Summer Challenge! It finishes today, I finished the last book today and here I am reviewing it. Hooray! What fun as always. Cathy has done a round-up post of her own experience with it here.

Gurjinder Basran – “Everything Was Good-Bye”

(25 October 2017)

Everything in Meena’s life can be viewed in two ways. There are six daughters in her family but only five of them are mentioned after Harj ran away. Aunties watch your every move and the family unit is protected, but domestic violence is witnessed and ignored. Meena wants to be a writer but her writing is used against her. Unconventional, arty Liam says he’ll wait for her and doesn’t.

Set in the Canadian Sikh community from 1990 through into the 2000s, it’s threaded through with pop culture – mostly music – references that will resonate with anyone but imbued with a special sense of what it is to be embedded in a community within a community – and with a precarious position within that inner community. When Meena is criticised for this, you wonder what her other choice would be. Very difficult, whatever the reason.

It’s very well done, especially as I think it’s a first novel, and we’re pulled into caring for Meena as she tries to negotiate life without much support, navigating the arranged marriage to another bad boy that she’s accepted, her only real ally – even when Liam reappears in her life – her childhood friend Kal. And he’s her husband’s cousin, so which side is he supposed to be on?

I guessed one of the plot points but it’s a really good, engaging read.

This was Book 20 in my #20BooksOfSummer project and rounds off the project.


A couple of quick confessions. I nipped up to ASDA and went past a few charity shops. How could I resist this terrible, lurid 1971 Iris Murdoch cover (the book is reviewed here, it’s not exactly as described!)

It’s a 1971 Avon Bard Books imprint book and it looks like they did a few titles in the US. I didn’t want to start collecting weird IM editions but I couldn’t help myself with this one!

This is more conventional: a history of running by a Norwegian, published in the early 2000s so not completely up to date but it does look interesting – Thor Gotaas – “Running: A Global History”.

Did you do 20 Books of Summer and finish it? What’s the next challenge? I’m reading Bart Yassos’ “My Life on the Run” at the moment but it’s quite … visceral, so I need something else to read at the table. Probably the next Iris Murdoch …

Sedate lady running 27 August – 02 September 2018 #amrunning #running

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Quite a big running week this week with a bit of volunteering / officiating. I also managed to remember that as well as Paul’s short workout I had a whole set of CIRCUITS to do, and did those, with inept photography. So if you want some inept photography, carry on reading …

Volunteer lady is club-themed

Tuesday: Club run night. There was an emergency shout-out for a tail runner, as the person down to do it couldn’t do it. I never mind running at the back as I’m usually around there anywhere (shout out for the party pack at the back!) and I feel I lose less of my run than a faster runner, so I volunteered. Actually not a lot slower than usual (and faster than last time) and we had a lovely time – my friend Trudie came with me and we took another woman round who was pleased with her progress – as she should have been. I ran there and back but measured the club run separately. I was a bit late getting there and had run up with Mary Ellen – I wondered why I was having trouble talking (about kitties!) and then when I looked we’d been under 10 min mile pace for a lot of the half-mile up there – no wonder!

5.2 miles, varying paces

Wednesday: Having found these circuits (I KNEW I should have been doing more stuff!) I decided to eschew Wednesday yoga to do them. I set myself up in the guest room: note to self: this is upstairs therefore burpees and squat jumps are going to be a little … noisy. I also had my phone timer set to 1 minute intervals as that’s how long I was meant to do each station. I was planning to set up my home gym (OK, three sets of dumbbells and a yoga mat) up on the top floor but think I’ll have to revisit that!

The plan was to do a minute of each and record them, with the aim of watching my improvement. Quite a few of them are on the fitness test I did with Paul the other week (front, side planks, hold as long as poss, sit-ups and push-ups and squats, do as many as poss in a minute) so I will try to improve those. I already did more push-ups but I wasn’t going down very far. It’s still strengthening my arms, right?

I warmed up by marching up and down our two flights of stairs until I was a bit warm and had done 130 steps. This seemed like a good warm-up. Then all the things: here’s my side plank with Very Severe Face Of Concentration.

I warmed down by doing 10 mins of yoga stretches. I took a photo of myself doing Downward Facing Dog and was actually quite pleased as I thought I was more like a table top at the front end.

I will try to do better with the photos another time – very much a work in progress!!! I also have an out-take to share, when the timer didn’t work (I didn’t work the timer!) – my friend Jenny said it looked like I was fist-bumping myself, and I’ll take that!

Thursday: I didn’t want to be out late and had a lot of work to do, so I arranged to run with our friend Sonya towards where Ruth works, pick her up running home and do some more. A nice sociable run and as Sonya was trying to get to 10 miles, I took her to 7 and we plotted a long loop home for her.

5.5 miles 12:27 mm

Friday: My friend Jenny came to Claire yoga with me. A lovely class although there was a variation on pigeon pose I could. not. do. I tried out my new yoga mat, bought mainly for home workouts, and it worked very well.

Add a blue jumper to my uniform: look like I’m starting school rather than being a 46 year old athletics official in training.

Saturday: Our local club, Sparkhill Harriers is part of a track and field veterans’ (over 35s) league and in order to stay in the league / get points, they need to contribute officials to meets. I am looking for experience at track and field meets. I have a friend in Sparkhill Harriers. Result! So I subbed in for them, freeing up a club member to compete (everyone competes in a million different events. I got to help with two events: I was moving the height of the bar and picking up and replacing the bar when it fell for the high jump (a job I haven’t done before) and Pulling Through for the javelin: it was measured with tape(s) and my job was to make sure the tape was tight from the measuring spike to the centre point of the run-up (a tiny, faded triangle) so the official measuring it could check the measurement from the line. So. Many. Squats involved in both of these, plus lifting the bar and arm-over-arm reeling in the tape. So I didn’t do any more circuits this week!

I did get to see a World Record being broken – something I’ve not seen live before. The woman you can see on the track just past the finish line had just broken the over-60s 3000 m world record by over 30 seconds. We all cheered her on and it was very exciting!

Sunday: Time for a long run after doing four medium ones last week. Ruth wanted to try for 15 and Mary Ellen and Caroline came out with us for a bit but were more time-constrained. We ran part of the No 11 bus route: I had an aim to run round the whole route some time in the autumn (26.2 miles) but have decided against that now as being too draining on time and energy, especially with my work doing officiating. We ran clockwise through Cotteridge, Bournville (yes, where the Cadbury chocolate factory is) and Selly Oak, Harborne, Bearwood and almost to Winson Green (where the prison is). Eight miles out and eight back. Mary Ellen and Caroline left us in Selly Oak and ran back together, getting 10 miles in each (well done, ladies!). We pressed on and had an enjoyable run, jeffing (run 4 minutes, walk 1, ish) from the start to conserve energy. As a result, I found it an OK run and don’t feel too tired now.

Here are some pics from the run:

Liz and Ruth at the half-way point

Number 11 bus and bus stop at the half-way point!

Shadow selfie at Lifford Lane

Ruth’s done 15 miles! Longest ever run!!

Off I trot for my last mile

Thanks to Ruth for all pics except the shadow selfie! We saw fellow runners Grace and group and Nick at the start, then Dave Teedon and his son in his car in Harborne, and a recognised but unknown club runner. It’s always lovely to see those familiar faces.

Kit review: I’d bought singles of three new Torq gels: Lemon Drizzle, Caramel Latte and Cherry Bakewell. I would have taken pics but now they’re all consumed.

  • Lemon Drizzle – pleasant and a cakey undertone but not one I’d buy a big box of.
  • Caramel Latte – HELLO. A lovely bitter coffee taste then the caramel, and a good injection of caffeine. I’d say this is as good as Gu Caramel Macchiato and I would buy and use again. I got excited when I saw a bin to throw the packet away in, I’d sip it another time.
  • Cherry Bakewll – a good hit of cherry and a proper marzipan taste with a hint of pastry. Delicious and I will be buying a box of these.

It’s really great that you can buy singles, postage-free (in the UK) from the website as you can’t always get all the flavours in local shops. They have a great Facebook page and are very responsive on there, too. I wasn’t given anything free and all opinions are my own.

I left Ruth at her 15 mile point (I was at 14.9 as she started before me) and was so proud of her for achieving that. I then had a BIG HILL to get up but stormed up it and home, to have 16.3 miles in the bag (I remembered having done .2 somewhere along the lines and wanted to get a round total for the week). I did forget to pause my watch and think I’ll put auto pause on next time as that’s annoying.

16.3 miles 13:27 mm

This was part of the number 11 route, from the arrows to just before the B of Birmingham. I’ve had a think about whether I’m going to make the full attempt and I’m going to leave it as it’s too much commitment of time and energy, just the same as for a race, which I’ve stopped doing for the foreseeable future.

Miles this week: 27

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year:  miles (I sailed past the target for the end of August and did extra this week too)

Weekly wrapI take part in the Weekly Wrap run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here.

Book review – Joanna Cannan – “Princes in the Land” #20BooksOfSummer #Amreading @PersephoneBooks

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My last Persephone read in August (I note there is a Persephone Reading Week in October so might be able to slot “Long Live Great Bardfield” in then. I enjoyed the other Joanna Cannan I’ve read, “High Table“, though found it a little dated: although this is set in interwar England, the sentiments and experiences are fresh and relevant today.

Joanna Cannan – “Princes in the Land”

(25 December 2017 – from Ali, who reviewed it here)

A quietly desperate book which is beautifully done but raises the question very forcefully about how valid it is to pour all your love and care and concern and friendship into raising children when they will apparently throw it all off at seemingly the first opportunity. And we’re not talking a smothering mother here but a fair, friendly and liberal one who offers opportunities for free and frank discussion and growth. Or thinks she does. Kind of the opposite of the mother in “Guard Your Daughters”.

In this smallish book told in episodes that jump forward a few years to a decade or so in time (very clearly delineated), we first meet Patricia and Angela and their controlling, anxious mother Blanche on their way to (have to) live with their paternal grandfather after their father’s death. The forbidding old man takes a liking to fiery, unfeminine Patricia, who rides unsuitable horses and hunts (sorry, not one for the non-lovers of hunting, although there are no actual Unpleasant Scenes, just mentions), while bored by compliant Angela and Blanche, who never forgets they are there on sufferance and keeps a tight-lipped, passive-aggressive lid on herself. Living honestly is the key here.

Patricia meets a spiky working class man as she rushes around impulsively making friends on trains (the very idea!) and then we watch them transform – and I’m struggling to think of another book I’ve read recently that portrays so well how the cocoon of marriage and parenthood transforms lively young things into, here, a watchful, resourceful and domesticated mother and a complacent Oxford don, consoled by the fact that everything that happens has happened before in history.

The narrative is quite unconventional and experimental in parts, sometimes mentioning Patricia in the present tense, as though the narrator/author is a friend of hers, and memorably including a paragraph detailing the thoughts of the family horse. But it’s not so experimental that it’s tiring to read, if you know what I mean, just a little quirky.

One by one, Patricia’s children betray her and her careful raising of them, submitting to the cheaper lure of suburbia, getting embarrassingly religious or proving to shockingly NOT be horsy, and as she ages (to my exact age – oh no! She is missing some teeth but not as decrepit as the heroine of “A Lady and Her Husband“) she despairs. Will anything jolt Patricia out of her malaise?

A devastating, quiet portrait of the change that family life brings to especially women (husband Hugh’s family and catalyst appears to be the university, although he claims to have deep feelings about the family). Poor Patricia is blind to both the interior, independent lives of her children and the disdain her academic neighbours have for her old-money, upper-class ways, but she tries so hard and we long for a resurgence of her old life and vigour.

This was Book 19 in my #20BooksOfSummer project and the last book in All Virago and Persephone / All August.

 

State of the TBR – September 2018 #amreading

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Oops. Well, I have read nine books from the standing-up books and one from the Murdoch pile but I’ve also had quite a few book confessions this month. Oh well, my new plan of trying not to work at the weekends is going well, so I do have more reading time, and I can’t wait to get stuck into lots of these. Actually, it’s not as bad as it has been, as I note I can fit the whole Pile in at the side in its normal order, not with the shorter books carefully at the bottom and the bigger ones overhanging!

What’s up next? Gurjinder Basran’s “Everything was Good-Bye” is literally waiting on the kitchen table for me to start. It’s the final book in my #20BooksOfSummer project (see the list and all the reviews here) and it seems fitting that I did manage to fill August with Viragoes and Persephones (and one Iris Murdoch) as I’d planned, for All Virago (and Persephone) / All August, and am starting this final read in time to (hopefully) finish it by the end of Monday, when the challenge ends.

Then, although I’ve got lots of lovely books coming up (and some to review, see below), I can’t help but think that I’ll be diving into Murdoch’s “The Nice and the Good”, one that I adore and am really looking forward to re-reading again. Whatever happens, it will be read and reviewed early in the month.

I’m not sure whether I’ve shared these three brilliant review books with you. Kindly sent by the publishers to review on Shiny New Books, they all look like the kind of read I’m going to have a personal, emotional connection to, so I’ve arranged to do a full review on here and then a more serious and literary review for Shiny (thank you, lovely Editors, for allowing me to do that). Thomas Williams’ “Viking Britain” deals with the history of the Vikings in Britain (oddly enough) and looks fascinating and readable. Cathy Newman’s “Bloody Brilliant Women” deals with unsung heroines of the 20th century, and Joni Seager’s “The Women’s Atlas” (which I know I haven’t told you about, as it arrived yesterday) looks at various reproductive, safety and health statistics for women worldwide and presents them in an accessible infographic form – it will be of course both depressing and uplifting, but it’s certainly an important book and looks to have been done excellently.

I have also got a few NetGalley books that are coming out soon; notably, Ingrid Fetell Lee’s “Joyful” (about being more … joyful, taking joy from small things etc.), Roxane Gay (ed.) “Not that Bad” (a book of essays about rape and sexual assault, again, necessary if uncomfortable and dispiriting), Nancy Campbell’s “The Library of Ice” (travel in the ice of the Far North, I saw this reviewed on Bookjotter’s blog and she kindly gave me a link when I couldn’t find it myself!) and “Life Honestly” which is a collection of essays and writings from the writers at The Pool (I love their honest articles so this looked great). These are all not out yet; I do have a shameful backlog of books published a while ago now.

Coming up apart from all these review copies, this is the beginning of my actual TBR – running, memoir, light reading, mid-century reading, a book on E Nesbit (ee!) and two books that got a lot of blogspace when they first came out but I’ve come to later in their lives. And yes, anyone with an eagle eye or the patience to search or an eidetic memory will note that in this picture I get up to CHRISTMAS 2017! So there’s an achievement of sorts.

As I’m usually in a few Not-so-secret Santas which start building up in September/October, this is traditionally a time of reading and not buying, but I’m not going to limit myself in that way as we all know what that leads to.

Anything catch your eye here? Anything you’ve read and can’t wait for me to read?

 

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