It’s State of the TBR time again and I know I’ve already thrilled you with one post today but I can’t possibly not post a State of the TBR on the first of the month, can I?

I managed to finish 15 books in May (not all reviewed yet: one to come tomorrow and one Shiny New Books review shared below), which I was very pleased with, including four from the physical standard TBR shelves pictured here, so that has shifted things along a bit and allowed me to fit in a couple of new ones.

Books in

I have had both physical and e-book incomings this month, since the last round-up. In e-books, first, I have “In Our Own Words: Queer Stories from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Writers” which I have to admit I thought was more non-fiction than fiction; “Windswept” by Annabel Abbs which is about the effect of nature on various female writers, and Sara Nisha Adams’ “The Reading List” which is a feel-good novel about reading and community. All NetGalley and – oops – all published in June.

In physical books, I had a lovely trip to see my dear friend Ali the other week which resulted in her passing me “The Virago Book of Women Travellers” – a reprint of a book published in the 1990s I had managed not to read at the time, and a heavy hardback she fancied reading in a different format. And I got home to find one of my Unbound (subscription model publisher) books had come good – “Cut from the Same Cloth” edited by Sabeena Akhtar is a book of essays by British women who wear the hijab, and looks brilliant. Those two fitted on my shelves at the back, though I don’t think they’ll stay hidden for long!

Currently reading

I’m currently reading “Motherland” by Jo McMillan, which Kaggsy from The Ramblings kindly sent me last year – it’s a novel about the only Communists in Tamworth and what happens when they have a trip to East Germany. It’s really good, but a bit visceral for mealtime reading, so I’ve also already picked up one of my Dean Street Press reads for the month.

A challenging read for Shiny New Books

There are no easy solutions to the plight faced by farmers in the face of consumers demanding cheap food and Brexit removing subsidies (some are for and some against this). What we do have at the end is a section about the Covid crisis which mentions the parts of social behaviour which interacted with the farming industry – demand for products, small farms pivoting to provide food locally they would have sent to restaurants, etc. It was interesting seeing that from the other side, so to speak. It’s clear that the author’s intention is to explain what goes on on farms, and she does that, and to help people learn and understand, and perhaps regard farmers with more respect. I hope she achieves that aim, too.

Bella Bathurst’s “Field Work” is not an easy read but it is an important one. Read my full review here.

Up next

Thought I had a busy May? Now it’s time for 20 Books of Summer hosted as ever by Cathy from 246 Books with her sign-up post here, and these are my first six in what I’m calling “The One With All The Diversity”. Of course I usually read pretty diversely but this year, instead of just picking the first 20 books from my TBR shelf, I’ve gone through picking out a special pile. Some pretty meaty ones here, hence only expecting myself to read six.

“Over the Top” by Jonathan Van Ness is the stalwart hair and beauty guru of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s chance to tell his story. I do kind of wish I had the audio book which he narrates himself but I’m sure this will be great, too. Bryan Miller helps William Kamkwamba tell his story of “The Boy who Harnessed the Wind” and brought wind power to help his region of Africa. “Common People” edited by Kit de Waal is a collection of pieces by self-described working-class folk. Akala’s “Natives” tells of race and class and his own story in the UK, and David Olusoga’s “Black and British” tells Black British stories going right back to prehistory and accompanied the brilliant TV series. Juno Dawson writes compellingly about experiencing life as male and female in “The Gender Games”.

In NetGalley reads published in June, I have two of the books outlined above, “Windswept” and “In Our Words” plus Natasha Brown’s “Assembly”, a short novel of a Black woman in a White space making a stand, Sara Jafari’s novel, “The Mismatch” tells stories of Iranian families in the UK, and Anita Sethi’s “I Belong Here” takes the author into the British countryside after a jarring experience of racism.

I then have two lovely Dean Street Press novels, Molly Clavering’s “Mrs Lorimer’s Quiet Summer” (which I’ve started already: large family gathers in the Scottish borders) and Ruby Ferguson’s “Apricot Sky”. Aaand of course I have my two Anne Tylers for the month: “Breathing Lessons” and “Saint Maybe”. So that makes 15 books again plus one to finish …

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