Book review – Dany Assaf – “Say Please and Thank you and Stand in Line” #SayPleaseandThankYouStandinLine #NetGalley

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Continuing my attempt to read all the books in the world (or at least on my TBR), which appears to be continuing through June-September if you see my 20 Books of Summer post, here’s my second NetGalley read for May.* I am trying to keep up to date with NetGalley (and succeeding so far although June might be a little challenging), picking off older books in between, and I’m glad I read this interesting account of the Middle Eastern origin / Muslim population in Canada, written by a kind and humane man who obviously wants to do the best for his nation.

Dany Assaf – “Say Please and Thank you and Stand in Line: One Man’s Story of What Makes Canada Special and How to Keep It That Way”

(06 April 2021 – NetGalley)

Now, with the world as it is, it feels like history is calling us to either harness the power of our multicultural assets, socially and economically, at home and on the world stage, or be torn apart by our differences.

Assaf and his family had always led a happy and integrated life in Canada, his ancestors having come over from the Lebanon over a century ago. But although the book opens with a huge multicultural celebration of Toronto’s team willing the national basketball championship, it soon turns to the horror of his family’s persecution post-9/11, his Alberta-born parents told to go home and victimised by their neighbours (while, it must be said, other neighbours pulled together to support them) and then the wider situation with the police and secret services trying to infiltrate mosques with a constructed narrative around radicalism that they didn’t see in their community. But as well as discussing this division and its causes (mostly down to Donald Trump and his ideology’s ascendancy south of the border, as well as the divisions wrought by misinformation and fake news on social media) he does discuss both the theory and the practice of ending division and pulling together.

The story of his family’s and many other Lebanese people in particular’s arrival in Canada, settling in to become fur traders and merchants, was absolutely fascinating and something I knew nothing about. I was aware Toronto was a very diverse city, but not about the diversity across the country, and this was fascinating to read about. Assaf’s own biography is woven through the book and I particularly enjoyed his tales of his obsession with hockey and, later, his usefulness to his law firm of being able to represent Canadian countries in the Middle East, with his heritage and fluency in Arabic.

There were long sections about American divisive politics, competition law and social media which did for me drag a little, but are very important (I feel I’ve read a lot about divisive politics and the evils of fake news but it’s useful to have this all put down in a book). Things became more obviously readable when he described the Ramadan fast-breaking dinner for the whole of Toronto which he and his wife have been putting on for a number of years now, a lovely occasion to keep people together and learning about each other, and I liked that he didn’t skimp on showing the organisation it takes, too.

A call to action for Canada and for all countries, a kind and humane book that has a lot to offer.

Thank you to the publisher, Sutherland House, for making this book available to me via NetGalley in return for an honest review.


*My other NetGalley read for May was “Fit for Purpose” by Richard Pile, which I didn’t finish. It was a collection of advice we’ve all read a million times before (sleep more, eat well, a good/happy life has purpose) but also while the author reveals he’s a Christian in the blurb (obviously fine), he claims the book is for everyone and then, at least in the first two sections, after the usual, somewhat tired, references and robust use of Bible examples, explains how you can use the precepts under discussion to run your church/church leadership group. So it wasn’t really for me.

Books in, Shiny linkiness and 20 Books of Summer pile #20booksofsummer21 @WolfsonHistory @ShinyNewBooks @VertebratePub

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I seem to be posting reviews of NetGalley books, blog tours, books from my own challenges or other people’s, and there’s not really been room to round up what’s been coming in, plus an important decision about my 20 Books of Summer. So I thought I’d put it all in one place!

Books in

First off, I’ve been very fortunate to be asked to take part in the Wolfson History Prize shortlist blog tour, for the third year in a row. I reviewed “Birds in the Ancient Word” in 2019 and the large (and prize-winning) “The Boundless Sea” last year and this year I was able to choose Richard Ovenden’s “Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack”. Ovenden is director of the Bodleian Library and he looks at the long history of destroying libraries and archives and how this is gathering pace as history progresses – and what this means for history and civilisation. It’s already been a Radio 4 Book of the Week and I can’t wait to get started with it. Watch out for my review on 1 June.

Having already ordered one book from them, on the back of an email from the lovely indie publisher, Vertebrate Publishing, I ordered this gorgeous book by John D. Burns, “Wild Winter” in which he travels into the wild north of Scotland in winter looking for the area’s wild animals. We had a memorable bird-watching holiday in Inverness and north a few years ago so I’m looking forward to reading about some places I’ve been to. Do check the publisher out, too – they seem genuinely lovely.

Of interest to any editor readers I might have, “Respectful Querying with NUANCE” by Ebonye Gussine Wilkins looks at how we work with people who are not from the same ethnic/cultural background as ourselves and raise those queries that editors always have to raise when we don’t know the context as well. It’s a slim volume from the American Editorial Freelancers’ Association and I will get to it soon.

And lastly (I think – I bet I’ve forgotten an ebook) I managed to get myself into our local Oxfam Books on Sunday – I’ve been keen to get hold of some of those lovely books people have been donating furiously, and although I don’t think they had a lot of new stock out, I managed to find in the sport section Anna McNuff’s “The Pants of Perspective” in which she runs the length of New Zealand, and Alex Hutchinson’s “Endure” which looks at how athletes get the mental and physical strength to undertake greater and greater feats of endurance.

Shiny link fun!

I love reviewing non-fiction for Shiny New Books and very much enjoyed reading Mike Pitts’ “Digging up Britain”, which is a look at new archeological techniques applied to sites in Britain going backwards from the Vikings way into prehistory. He has a lovely engaging way of writing and makes all the technology very clear and easy to understand.

Many of us have watched Time Team and various other TV archaeology shows; many of us have seen or heard of some of the sites discussed here (I was particularly pleased to find the Staffordshire Hoard featured), but how many of us have been able to keep up with the enormous strides that archaeological science has been making over recent decades? Pitts is able to take an admirable long view over most of these sites, showing how knowledge has increased and dates have gone back in time or been refined as often generation after generation of archaeologists have studied, pondered, hypothesised and published. Read more.

20 Books of Summer 2021

And finally, it’s almost time for 20 Books of Summer again, hosted as ever by Cathy from 246 Books and people have begun sign-up posts already. I usually decide what to read right at the end of May and pick books off the start of my TBR. This year I decided to go a bit different and have a theme, particularly for the first two months.

I’ve always read diversely, especially since those days mining Lewisham Library for their LGB (as it was then) and “Black and Asian” sections. In the last few years, more and more publishers have been making books available that honour more diverse own voices and centre voices that have been marginalised. And of course, after the Black Lives Matter movement came to prominence last year, even more books have been written, taken on and published, which has been brilliant and inspiring. I have been reading the books I bought then and before, drip-feeding them into the blog, but I’ve decided to do an “othered voices / own voices” theme for June and July in my 20 Books of Summer this year. August has to be put by for All August / All Virago [and other books that celebrate mid-20th century lost women writers] and that worked out well as I had 6 or 7 Virago et al. books and 14 or 15 books in my othered/own voices category still waiting to be read (ones I have read include “Don’t Touch my Hair“, “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” and “Trans Britain“).

It’s quite an ambitious pile as it doesn’t include any of my Anne Tyler re-reads (there will be six during the period of the challenge), review books or ebooks (I never like including books I can’t physically see in 20 Books, no idea why!). So I’m not actually sure I can do it! I’ll share the full title list when I start the project, but here’s my exciting pile for the time being, with Black African, European and British, Asian British, gay, trans, working-class and Gypsy voices represented in the first two months, and some lovely indie publishers in the third. Don’t worry: I’ve left myself some diverse reads on the shelf (a couple of novels and an academic book on white privilege), have a load on the Kindle and am always buying more, so I won’t suddenly plunge into the white middle class for the rest of the year!

Are you doing 20 Books of Summer/Winter and have you created your pile yet?

Book review – Daphne du Maurier – “My Cousin Rachel” #DDMreadingweek

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If a good friend runs a reading week for an author every year and then gives you a book by said author for Christmas in the lovely new Virago edition, well, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it! Here’s my contribution to Heaven-Ali’s Daphne du Maurier reading week and it’s SUCH a page-turner of a book – I started it on Saturday evening and there I was, frantically finishing it at lunchtime on Monday! I read “Rebecca” and “Jamaica Inn” last year and they were also page-turners, although I think I might now have exhausted the ones I can read, as I don’t like ghosty ones or anything too scary (“Jamaica Inn” was a bit scary for me).

Daphne du Maurier – “My Cousin Rachel”

(25 December 2020 – from Ali)

I felt strangely moved, as if all that I did and said was laid down for me and planned, while at the same time a small still voice whispered to me in some dark cell of matter, ‘You can never go back upon this moment. Never … never …’ (p. 171)

We open with a nice jolly gibbet (always good when you start a book over your tea …) and a big wodge of doomy foreboding as our narrator/hero moves from a childhood warning sign at the cross-roads to considering how he shouldn’t have had the fate he had, had he been different, and giving a few little clues to the story to come. It’s du Maurier at her gothic best, warning and foreshadowing and unnerving us.

Then we get swept up in the story, which winds up tighter and tighter, as we learn of our hero, Philip’s, ideal life, raised by his cousin Ambrose, secure in his position and happy in his community, with a godfather whose daughter Louise is his best friend. Then Ambrose goes to Italy for his health, meets a distant cousin, gets entangled, and it’s only when “My Cousin Rachel” arrives at the house to … well, to do what, exactly? that everything starts to get really complicated.

Rachel seems very different, and younger, rather than the evil old temptress Philip has imagined her to be. But is it all push from him and no pull from her or is she working subtle charms on him? Good old Louise sees clearly what’s going on – or what might be, it’s all very murky – but in a sad scene, Philip’s so hell-bent on destroying himself that he almost loses her friendship in the meantime.

There’s humour in the book, in the ministrations of the servants when a lady comes to visit and all manner of silverware is brought out, and in their touching gifts for Philip’s birthday. And du Maurier is partial to a house, isn’t she, and the descriptions of the house and its grounds, and the further fields, are lovely and engaging, too. But the main thing is the plot, ramping up and ramping up, little clues strewn for us to notice and feel clever then … well, the ending is one of many things that can happen, but certainly does work!

There have been a couple of films of this, I think, having had a look around for some way of resolving the unresolved bits of the plot, and it seems one of them at least takes a more conventional approach to the ending, adding a bit onto the actual book. I like it as it is: very exciting and absorbing.

Book review – Anne Tyler – “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant” #AnneTyler2021

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The first May read for my Anne Tyler 2021 project and I have a really odd American Penguin copy from the 1980s that I bought in 1999 – I’m pretty sure I bought it from the big indoor-outdoor book market place in Greenwich as it has initials pencilled in under the price (£1) and I remember they had a system where they sold lots of people’s book stock and wrote them in a ledger with the initials when you bought one. Anyway. Of course I didn’t remember any of it and I think I enjoyed it but it was a bit of an odd one.

If you’re reading along with the project or just this one or whatever, please do share your thoughts in the comments at the bottom or add a link to your review on your blog or Goodreads, etc.. I’m adding links to these reviews plus all the reviews I am alerted to to the project page, so do pop there to see what other people have thought, too.

Anne Tyler – “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant”

(15 August 1999)

… her family seemed too small. These three young people and this shrunken mother, she thought, were not enough to sustain the occasion. They could have used several more members – a family clown, for instance; and a genuine black sheep, blacker than Cody; and maybe one of those managerial older sisters who holds a group together by force. (pp. 107-108)

We open the book with Pearl on what she considers her deathbed, thinking about her life and her three children in particular. We explore their lives, very different, their disappointments in Pearl’s view, and drop down to one grandchild’s viewpoint in a messy, multifaceted novel that seems to be, if it’s about anything, how to live in your community or not touch it at all.

Anne Tyler really does fit a lot into this book. There’s a small family and a large family, a few oddball men who live solitary existences, not one but two families constantly moving house, a mother in a decaying house, and then at one point a few scenes that could easily be expanded into another whole Anne Tyler novel each, as if she just had too much stuff in her mind to shoehorn into this one. We leap around different characters’ viewpoints and different generations, and certainly back and forth in time, whether that’s the narrator starting almost at the end then jumping back to describe the middle generation people’s lives, or moments of recollection and reflection when old, old photographs are examined and re-examined. The focus even zooms in and out at times, almost in a filmic way; this, too, is done with great skill and technical ability, of course, with one scene returned to again and again, from different angles, with different details noticed.

Tyler does mix around her themes a bit, too. The angry matriarch, Pearl, is very handy around the house, almost like an older version of Mary from “Celestial Navigation” and of course like Elizabeth in “The Clock Winder”. I do like these capable women. The book is very competently done, too, very believable, shifting in the omniscient narration between characters’ viewpoints, and shifting from looking down on a scene to being in someone’s head:

all at once [he] had the feeling that the ground had rushed away from beneath his feet. Why, that perky young girl was this old woman! This blind old woman sitting next to him! She had once been a whole different person, had a whole different life separate from his … (p. 264)

She’s also very good, as in “The Clock Winder”, on the details of increasing infirmity, here a gradual loss of sight that Pearl tries to conceal, Ezra enabling this.

The odd thing about this book is the unlikeableness of most of the characters. Pearl is really horrible to her children, although Ezra redresses this at the end and points out it’s a few occurrences over the years, compressed in memory (and the book?). We are told once in her words how it sort of came over her and was unstoppable (“‘Yes, yes, I’ll stop,’ I think, ‘only let me say this one more thing, just this one more thing …'” (p. 140)), and I wonder if she’s the model for later not so nice women. Her oldest son, Cody, is pretty horrible, too, especially to his brother, with whom he has an acknowledged and bitter rivalry, and his son, and Ruth seems to be promising but literally fades away. Jenny never fully comes to life to me, apart from when she comes into relief betraying someone not once but twice, but maybe she wants it that way, again fading into the background, and Ezra, the lonely male of so many Tyler novels, does something pretty unforgiveable to the eponymous restaurant earlier than he should.

It’s not a bad book, but it’s not my favourite Tyler, seemingly too baggy and bulging with extra stories to sit that comfortably. What did you think?

Book review – Maya Angelou – “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”

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When my dear friend Ali read and reviewed Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, I remembered how I’d enjoyed reading this book several decades ago. My innocent question in her review’s comments about whether she was planning to read the rest of the series seems to have spawned a mini-reading challenge for the two of us – with no pressure and following our own schedule – to read them all through from start to finish. And look, there’s a lovely box set (though only available from the book supplier we don’t usually like to use, and not actually in a box). Anyway, fully aware that I’ll probably be reading two of them this month, I decided to catch up as quickly as I could, and I got this read last week.

Maya Angelou – “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

(April 2021)

You don’t have to think about doing the right thing. If you’re for the right thing, then you do it without thinking. (p. 309)

The fascinating and absorbing story of Angelou’s first 17 years, we follow her from a schoolgirl living securely at her grandmother’s house and store to a new mother in California who’d hidden her pregnancy for over 8 months and hadn’t really come to terms with the fact that being pregnant meant she was going to end up with a baby.

Maya and her brother Bailey are moved from pillar to post during their youth, thanks to the vagaries of their parents’ wishes. They’re shipped off alone on the train aged 3 and 4, labels attached, to their grandmother when their parents split up, then end up with their separate parents, who have an air of ineffable glamour, at different times. When things get tough, they tend to get sent back to the small town where they grew up helping at the store and bearing witness to other impoverished Black people’s lives. The travails of the cotton pickers, who gather at the store early and come back exhausted late are particularly detailed.

In cotton-picking time the late afternoon revealed the harshness of Black Southern life, which in the early morning had been softened by nature’s blessing of grogginess, forgetfulness and the soft lamplight. (p. 11)

I loved the everyday details of life as Maya and Bailey grow up, but obviously there are awful traumas, too, from their uncle having to hide when the Klan are in town to Maya’s rape by her mother’s boyfriend, but also the pain of rejection by their parents and the realisation of the lot a racist society is granting them. It’s so well and clearly written with the appropriate amount of detail, so nothing is too traumatic to read as such but it gives a clear and unadorned picture of what is happening. But the writing is also limpid and even beautiful at times. She’s also so good on the life of children, uncomprehending of what adults want of them and living separate lives, and that’s what I’d remembered from last time I read the book, too.

Maya and Bailey’s relationship is beautifully drawn, moving closer and further apart as the years and experiences wear on. I loved reading about his gift of a book on her school graduation day, thrown into horrible contrast by the hijacking of the ceremony by two White officials who tell them only that they can become famous athletes (and that’s just the boys) and nothing else in heart-breaking scenes she skewers from her position as an adult writing the book and looking back. But she prevails, for example becoming the first Black female worker on the San Francisco streetcars, underage at that. As she grows older she’s able to take her own initiative and make her own decisions, OK, not always from a position of sufficient knowledge, as when she decides to sleep with a boy for the first time. The touching scene at the end with her newborn son makes me want to carry on and read the next volume very soon. I know it’s not going to be an easy ride but I know she’ll write it so well.

Book review – Jess Phoenix – “Ms. Adventure” #MsAdventure #NetGalley

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I saw this book reviewed by Anjana from Superfluous Reading and requested it from NetGalley right away and was lucky enough to be approved for it (thank you to the publishers, Timber Press). I had to read it via NetGalley’s Shelf app on my tablet – the app still won’t, as far as I can tell, allow you to highlight specific bits of text you want to refer back to, just bookmark the page it’s on, so I hope I remember what I was bookmarking when I go through it again for this review!

Jess Phoenix – “Ms. Adventure: My Wild Explorations in Science, Lava, and Life”

(29 April 2021)

Jess Phoenix is a geologist and specifically a vulcanologist. In this exciting and well-written book we first meet her going into the Explorers Club in New York, where only the best explorers and scientists in the world are admitted, needing the back-up of two members before they can join. Not only is she a renowned expert in her field, but she runs an organisation called Blueprint Earth which helps people to get experience in fieldwork who might not be able otherwise to afford to do it- especially people from non-traditional backgrounds in the earth sciences. I do wish there had been more on her foundation of this organisation with her husband.

We go on her first camping field trip to Death Valley and see how she copes with it all (not prepared hugely well, alarmed by toilets) and gaining experience and confidence around Hawaii’an volcanoes, on a sea voyage and in Mexico (there’s a great scene where she chases down some cartel members to return her rock hammer – including exchanges written out in Spanish that I was pleased I managed to understand!). The descriptions are great, from picking up stretchy toffee-like lava samples with her hammer to living on a ship full of scientists for a month. She has a good ability to explain concepts and science, although I did have a previous yearning for a career in geology myself, so was aware of some of the ideas beforehand.

She writes well and accessibly, a chapter per expedition, and I enjoyed the one at the end where she takes part in filming a TV programme, having to stand firm about what she will and will not do and refusing to wear the clothes they try to put her into. That part was also interesting for the fact that someone I’ve come across elsewhere, who does the ropes for stunts, etc., popped up, and for the support she got from her male colleagues. An uncompromising woman in a pretty male world who is also trying to make that world more inclusive in several different ways: great reading.

Book review – Gretchen McCulloch – “Because Internet”

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PIle of birthday books

Well, I’m pleased to say that I have now read and reviewed all the books from my Birthday Book Pile (I acquired this one just into February when I met up with my friend Sian and she gave me this one and I spent the money she gave me for charity shop book shopping on more lovelies, which are coming up on the TBR soon). This was a super book and I’m not sure how I didn’t grab it and read it earlier, but waited for it to bob to the top of the TBR …

Gretchen McCulloch – “Because Internet: Understanding how Language is Changing”

(04 February 2020)

One type of writing hasn’t replaced the other: the “Happy Birthday” text message hasn’t killed the diplomatic treaty. (p. 2)

This is just my thing, a book about how the Internet is changing language or language is changing alongside the Internet – especially because we now have a new method of informal writing which hadn’t really existed before, or not in a wide form that could be studied (personal letters and of course diaries were the closest thing to informal writing: now there’s a huge range of it out there and in digital form so manipulable). The author’s stated aim is to look for the patterns and describe what is happening, and also to give her readers some tools to do their own Internet language research.

McCulloch is an engaging and confiding writer, offering asides to the reader and involving herself in the text. This makes it fresh, fun and relatable and takes away any dryness. She also has a knack of explaining concepts in an easy-to-understand way – although I’ll say here that I have studied sociolinguistics and do work as an editor so I might have a vested interest and a bit of understanding and interest pre- reading the book.

After looking at language and society – demographics and especially youth language culture – and introducing the word “familect” for the words and phrases used solely in a family or friendship group, the first chapter also covers McCulloch’s own language use in the text – her style sheet – including lowercase “internet” and “email” rather than “e-mail”. She explains she used corpuses of currently used language to develop this – and indeed in the couple of years since this was published both these uses have come into the big style guides so are accepted or even preferred forms. She’s also keen on singular “they” (hooray!).

The best chapter for me was on the one on “Internet People” and their language use. I was pleased to find myself defined as an Old Internet Person (my first-used social media were usenet, bulletin boards and listservs and I have an alias I’m known as rather than my real name by people – there are three other groupings coming up to modern-day adopters of Instagram and Snapchat as their first online channels of communication).

The chapter on emoji was fascinating, covering their history, different uses and control. I was a bit less engaged with the chapter on memes as they’re something I’ve never really got involved with, and I wasn’t even familiar with the two examples she cited. But she finished with a great call for maintaining space for innovation, many Englishes and other languages and linguistic playfulness.

A great book, fun to read and fascinating.

State of the TBR May 2021

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It’s time to take a look at the state of my To Be Read shelf again!

So not that much movement on the physical TBR, although probably more than it looks – two have left the front shelf but only one from left-hand end, and I pulled one off the back shelf, which, along with moving one out I knew would be needed this month, meant I had room for a couple of new physical additions (see link below). Other than that one, I finished two I had already taken off the shelf and my co-read with my best friend, Emma, which I had had on my bedside table for a few months, read some e-books and read a couple that came in but were for a book challenge or a Shiny New Books review. One came off the Pile for Shiny, too. More on the review that’s already out in a bit …

Books in

I have already written about my Massive Influx (of mainly ebooks) earlier this week as there were so many they had to have a post of their own (here). The eagle-eyed will have noticed these beauties … my dear friend and fellow-book-blogger Heaven-Ali read and reviewed Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” recently, which a) reminded me I’d loved it years ago, too and b) inspired me to ask her if she was going to do the rest of the autobiographies. And that’s led, in that way that these things have a habit of doing, to us undertaking to read them all together, to a relatively free-form and undemanding schedule, fortunately!

Currently reading

On ebook I’m reading Jess Phoenix’ “Ms. Adventure” which I saw reviewed by Anjana from Superfluous Reading and requested successfully from NetGalley. It’s one of those you have to read on a special PDF system or NetGalley’s frankly annoying Shelf app which is a little frustrating (you can’t mark passages, only bookmark pages, for example) but it’s a good read about a career in vulcanology. Bella Bathurst’s “Field Work” I’m reviewing for Shiny New Books (hence the proliferation of post-it tabs!) – it’s a raw and sometimes hard read about modern farming in the UK, but necessary as well as a bit shocking. Finally, Iain Sinclair likes to shock, too, and his “London Overground” which is my new co-read with Emma, opens a bit ickily but we like his work and are persisting with it!

A great read for Shiny New Books

A short interlude here – although I read 13 books in April, not all of them have been reviewed here, as I have firstly got a slight reviewing lag with one to review still, and secondly read three books to review first in other places (one on Iris Murdoch for the IM review and, as well as this one, Mike Pitts’ “Digging Up Britain” which should appear soon in Shiny).

“Empireland” by Sathnam Sanghera is an excellent book that helps explain who we are as British people, how we came to be how we are in some respects, and why the country is as multicultural as it is. It’s a powerful and sometimes challenging read and as one person commented on my review, it would be good if it was read by “the sort of people who wouldn’t want to”.

An extract from my review:

The book opens with a half-serious exhortation to reintroduce Empire Day and ends with a serious exhortation to include the history of empire in our national curriculum, and in between takes a wide-ranging look at how Empire is defined (it isn’t, it can’t be and he devotes some time in the Acknowledgements to explaining what he’s not going to define), how it affected British life at the time (more mixed than you might imagine) and how it affects British life today (more mixed than you might imagine, with a lot of echoes he cleverly draws out, as well as the more well-known legacies of slave-owners’ money (more complicated than you might imagine)). and you can read the full review here.

Up next

I have a busy, busy May coming up! Before I can go anywhere near my physical TBR I have my two Anne Tylers for my project (“The Accidental Tourist” and “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant”, two classics of hers that I hope lots of people will join me in reading), then I have two lovely review copies from British Library Women Writers – Diana Tutton’s “Mamma” I want to read soon so I can enjoy all the blog tour entries, and “Tension” by E.M. Delafield I will be reviewing on the blog tour at the end of the month. And I am sure Ali will be itching to do the next Angelou so I need to catch up and stat “Gather Together in My Name”. AND it’s Ali’s Daphne du Maurier Week 10-16 May, and as she bought me this copy of “My Cousin Rachel” for Christmas, it would be rude not to, right?!

In NetGalley reads I have Dany Asaf’s memoir of being a Muslim Canadian, “Say Please and Thank You and Stand in Line” and Dr RIchard Pile’s “Fit For Purpose” which are both published in May so I’d ideally like to read them, too.

So that makes two books to finish and eleven books to read in May even before I get to anything else. Fortunately there are a few novels and bits of memoir in there which should go along nice and briskly … wish me luck!


What are your reading plans for May? Are you joining me for some Anne Tyler?