I read 11 books in April, which I was very happy about, as I was working very much full time and did not have a week’s holiday and flights like I did in March. I had a few acquisitions, one of which you’ve not yet seen but will in a moment, and everything has miraculously just fit onto the TBR shelf!

and things have moved around a little bit, at least. Honest!

One new book just in is Reni Eddo-Lodge’s “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” which I bought with a token for the rather lovely Topping and Company Books which my friend Helen from my photo-a-day group gave me (we have a “thing” for pay it forward acts of kindness in the group at the moment; I sent another friend some hot cross bun flavoured chocolate!). It was a slight challenge to use the token remotely but we got there in the end and the book popped through the post this week (shown with the other arrival, my RED January 2020 medal, as I did a bit of fundraising for Mind as part of RED January again this year). It looks like I will need to swallow my “But I’m not like that” reaction and pay attention to what the author’s lived experience is, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of reading it.

I really enjoyed doing a few readalongs last month and thank you to those who suggested books for me to read. I haven’t added enough books to make the TBR different enough again, but I will certainly consider doing that again in the future. I’ve kept “Rewild Yourself” out of sequence while I wait for my best friend to finish “Difficult Women”.

Talking “Difficult Women”, my review of that marvellous book was published on Shiny New Books yesterday. I did review it here, too, with a more personal reaction, whereas my more book review-y reaction makes a slightly different statement.

There is a powerful call to action at the end of the book:

 Ultimately … the cure for feminist ennui is feminist campaigning.

The patriarchy is outlined as the main culprit, pressing men as well as women into repressive and uncomfortable roles. She uses a series of demands sets out at the Women’s Liberation Conferences in the NINETEEN-SEVENTIES (for goodness’ sakes) to show that there’s still a lot of work to get our teeth into, some partially achieved, some where we need to look at the intersection of gender, race and class, some that are still so far away. The description of a Difficult Woman at the very end is a masterpiece and I wish I could quote the whole thing: I encourage you to go and get a copy and read it! [read the full review here]

I also had my review of David Crystal’s “Let’s Talk” published last week.

In a series of main chapters and shorter vignettes, we learn about what conversation is, and isn’t, about discussions on conversation that have been going on for millennia, about taking turns, not taking turns, what we talk about and how we talk about it. The shorter pieces include fascinating notes about topics from battle rapping to conversation cards shared in Victorian times and break up the text nicely – although it’s never heavy-going or overly academic: Crystal is sublimely good at making things readable and understandable. [read the full review here]

What’s up next? Well, excitingly, it’s my dear friend Heaven-Ali’s Daphne Du Maurier Reading Week coming up this month. I won a copy of “Rebecca” in her giveaway last time she did this (she swears it wasn’t a fix!) and then Cornishgirl from the LibraryThing Virago Group sent me “Jamaica Inn” for my Not So Secret Santa gift last Christmas and even though I promised Mr Liz I would read “Where the Crawdads Sing” soon, I do want to try to get both of these read in the first part of the month. I also have my next Paul Magrs, “Fancy Man”, his lost novel, unpublished until Lethe Press did their reprints in 2016 – how exciting!

I have to admit also to a very long queue of NetGalley books waiting to be addressed. Here’s the full stack and I know it’s not too many but it’s also not none! I did really well chipping away at the older books on our holiday, but I need to keep going with the up to date ones while working at the older ones. Any strong recommendations here? I know I have a few reviews saved for “The Authenticity Project” …

Work should (please!) be a little less frantic this month, so hopefully I’ll both get some physical books moved off the TBR and some electronic ones consumed (this of course is by no means all that is on my Kindle!

Are you doing any reading challenges this month? Any NetGalley books there I should immediately grab and make a start on?