My May reading - sharing my passion for books with others

Author: Anne

Date Published: Jun 3rd 2018, 1:08pm

May was a month in which I talked about books a lot. Actually, I often talk about books but the month had more opportunities than usual to share my passions with others. Early in the month I had an opportunity to meet an old friend (the friendship is old, not the friend) Wendy for coffee and pass on to her a couple of books I thought she would like. Wendy works occasionally in a community library so we had lots to talk about. Later on in the month I met our erstwhile reviewer Sara for a great morning of charity shop book buying and talk about books – we like a lot of the same books so we had a great time together and I was able to pass on to her a bag of books I have been saving since the last time we met that I thought she would like. I have also passed on a bag of books to my mother in law and another to my sister this month but strangely seem to have about the same number on my shelves that I had before I started ! I finished the month charity shopping for books with my niece, her partner, my brother and my husband and was able to replenish my shelves with some new finds. A great month of sharing my passion with others.

I read 27 books during the month and reached my 150th book of the year which was “Golden Hill” by Francis Spufford. This is a novel set in early New York and centres on a young man who arrives with a bank note to be cashed for $1,000. He has to stay for a while as the bank wishes to confirm its authenticity before it is cashed and he becomes involved with local families, spying, theatre production and various other things which threaten his life a few times. It has a clever premise which slowly becomes revealed as the book progresses.

I noticed that quite a few of the books I read in the month were set in the past including :

• “Middlemarch” by George Elliot – The author actually set this in the past when she wrote it. It is a story of the inhabitants of a small, rural town just at the advent of the railway when society is changing. I have struggled through this book before but it was definitely enhanced for me by listening to it on audiobook.

• “A Passage to India” by EM Forster – Another classic I listened to this month rather than read. It still has a surprising amount to say about racism and cultural attitudes

• “The Secret Agent” by Joseph Conrad – This is set in the early part of the twentieth century and is the story of an anarchist who is forced into setting off a bomb with unforeseen consequences. We often forget now that bombs and terrorism are not a new thing.

• “To Serve them all my Days” by RF Delderfield – I remember a TV version of this many years ago but wasn’t sure if I would still enjoy a book about teaching in a minor public school. It is, actually, an engaging read even if at times I was reminded of “Decline and Fall” by Evelyn Waugh.

• “The Thief Taker” by CS Quinn – This is a crime novel set in 1665 and concerning the plague. I enjoyed it a lot although there were some remarkable coincidences needed to resolve the plot

Of the books I read in May 12 were on Kindle and 12 in paper with 3 on audio. Only one was non-fiction which is unusual for me and doesn’t help with my aim to read more factual books. Nineteen of the 27 were by female writers although that isn’t a particular aim of mine. Only two had a main character who wasn’t white – I see that I am not reading as diversely as I would have liked either.

I did read two science fiction books this month which is unusual although I read a lot of fantasy :

• “Z for Zachariah” by Robert O’Brien is a short but punchy post-apocalyptic novel with no zombies for a change ! The monster here is all human.

• “The Collapsing Empire” by John Scalzi has a much bigger scope as the communication between different planets begins to break down. I see that there is a sequel to this one which I look forward to reading eventually.

The best title of the month – “The Virgin Suicides” from the book by Jeffery Eugenides, another book which is set in the past, even if only in the childhood of the narrators. I’m not quite sure what I thought about this book especially as it has an unusual narrative style but the title is definitely attention grabbing.




Twas indeed a very good day and I am most appreciative of the books received