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?