Well today you get to see something exciting … the new iteration of my TBR shelf! After so many years (literally 20 years) sharing this shelf with my husband’s books, my books just got too much, the piles I was making were perilous, and (with his permission) I’ve moved all of his books to be gone through in my study and have taken over THE WHOLE BOOKSHELF. Positives: I can see all the books. Negatives: I can see ALL THE BOOKS. There are a lot of them.

I read 17 books in January, including all the NetGalley ebooks I intended to read (“The Love Songs of W.E.B. Dubois” is going to be a long read and I did skim Johann Hari’s “Stolen Focus” but it wasn’t much new, he seemed to state things as new that weren’t and he’s the guy there was a huge plagiarism scandal over, so I decided not to review the book here), as well as most of Richard Osman’s “The Man Who Died Twice” which I’m reading along with Matthew (and seems never-ending, I have to say!). In print books, I finished my on-going readalong with Emma and read one book for our monthly Virago challenge as well as my Larry McMurtry 2022 book for the month. I’ve done really well with my NordicFINDS challenge (scroll down my January TBR post for the books) – the challenge continues until the end of 6 February and I’ve already read and reviewed five of them, I’ve read two now out of the Jon Kalman Stefansson trilogy and will review them together soon, I have a short book of short stories to go and I’ve made some progress in my massive saga book. In addition, nine of the ten count towards my TBR Project!


In print books, I shared a parcel from Australia and an Unbound book and my birthday incomings already, and just one more has come in since then, Eileen Jones’ “How parkrun changed our lives”. My friend Rachel kindly picked up a copy at the Running Show and had Eileen sign it for me, and I actually met Eileen that day as she came to our Oaklands parkrun first! Given it at the next parkrun, what could I do but photograph it there?

I was quite restrained with NetGalley requests (or they were quite restrained with what they gave me?) in January and ended up with these

Sofi Thanhauser’s “Worn” I have read already and reviewed it here. Tomi Obaro’s “Dele Weds Destiny” (published in June) follows three Nigerian women friends over 30 years, one moves to America, the other two stay behind. Alecia McKenzie takes an artist back to his mother’s homeland of Jamaica, where he heals and learns amidst family in “A Million Aunties” (Feb). Clare Pooley wrote the lovely “The Authenticity Project” and her publisher kindly offered me “The People on Platform 5” (May): what will happen when the commuters start talking to one another? Georgia Hill’s “The Great Summer Street Party” (Feb) looks at a community commemorating D-Day 75 years on (it’s one of those books split into three: will I get hold of the others?), and A. J. Clementine is a trans woman TikTok star who tells her story of pain and acceptance in “Girl, Transcending” (Feb), one of those books you can only read on the Shelf App.

Currently reading and coming up first

I’m currently reading Richard Osman’s “The Man Who Died Twice” from NetGalley (truth be told, I finished it this morning, after Matthew reported what chapter he’d got up to on the audio book on his walk and I wickedly carried on); Jon Kalman Stefansson’s “The Heart of Man”, the final part of his “Heaven and Hell” trilogy, being read for Annabel’s NordicFINDS challenge, and Maya Angelou’s “Mom & Me & Mom”, the last prose book Ali, Meg and I are reading before we finish our readalong with a volume of poetry (or will we all read the essays, too?) and fortuitously a Virago book by a North American writer which fits the LibraryThing Virago Group’s monthly challenge. I hope to read a book of Reykjavik-based short stories which will complete my NordicFINDS nine, and will continue with my saga book. And my Larry McMurtry for the month is “Texasville”, the sequel to “The Last Picture Show”. I’ve also got “No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy” by Mark Hodkinson, the memoir of a working-class reader, and just in, one more exciting book I can’t wait to read and review …

Coming up next

The main focus of my print reading this month will be on the ReadIndies challenge run by Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings and Lizzy’s Literary Life. I’ve made a lovely pile for it just out of the first part of my TBR (also cunningly forming part of my TBR Project, too!).

I won’t go through descriptions etc. of them in case I don’t get round to them all, just note I have a metaphorical pile (as they’re all back in (visible) place on my TBR shelf), but all of these are published by independent publishers, from Profile Books to Unbound via Dean Street Press, and I’ll link to their publishers as I review them.

My NetGalley TBR for February is quite big but also fairly fiction and memoir-heavy so I have hopes of getting them read. As well as “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois” and “The Man Who Died Twice” rumbling along in the background, I have these eight that are all published this month.

Shellee Marie’s “Influenced Love” is a light romance about social media influencers, Kodo Nishimura should be inspiring in “This Monk Wears Heels”; Monia Ali’s “Love Marriage” is the first new book by the author for a while; “Small Town Girl” is Donna McLean’s memoir of being involved in the Spy Cops scandal (read about in novel form in “Skylark“); “Girl, Transcending”, “A Million Aunties” and “The Great Summer Street Party” I’ve described above and Charmaine Wilkerson’s “Black Cake” is a family story of a matriarch of a Black American family forcing her children to come to terms with one another through the medium of cake.

That’s 19 books to read this month, I can do it, can’t I?

How was your January reading? What are you reading this month? Have you read or picked up any of my selection?