As much as I miss youth work, no longer working late nights means I’ve had more time for reading books. Which is good because my ‘to read’ pile was starting to do a leaning tower of Pisa. In fact, a couple of months ago I got woken up in the middle of the night by an almighty crash…the sound of that leaning tower of books collapsing to the floor.
It’s rare that I don’t have a book in my handbag, and of course it means that people see the books you are currently reading and tell you about others they believe you’re going to love. So that’s made a few trips walking past Waterstone’s (who am I kidding, I can’t walk past) result in some dents to my bank account.
So what have I been reading in the lead up to summer?
The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell – this book caught my eye when I was in the shop for some reason or another in March and knowing that World Penguin Day was coming up in April, how could I not purchase this tale? It was a delightful story of how Tom was walking on a beach during school holidays when he saw 100s of penguins washed up on the shores due to an oil slick. One miraculously had survived and followed Tom back to his apartment…and a friendship between man and penguin was born, and the tales continued as the penguin went to the boarding school where Tom worked. The only disappointment is that there are no pictures of said penguin.
Bittersweet by Shauna Niequest – My friend bought me this book as a gift for a birthday or Christmas and it shows how high my to read pile is that it’s taken me this long to get around to reading it. Shauna writes beautifully and honestly. Although it’s written from a very middle class white privileged perspective, there are such great nuggets of wisdom and real life doesn’t care how much privilege you have. There’s tales of friendship, death, loss, struggle and it’s just real. You will likely cry while reading. This book caused me to text my friend several times while reading it.
The Little Breton Bistro by Nina George – I can’t remember which book I was buying, but while I was buying it I spotted this book. I utterly loved Nina’s book The Little Paris Bookshop and still dream of wandering into a Literary Apothecary. So this book well and truly jumped the queue. It took me a while to get into it, as it began with the main character attempting suicide. I started reading it during a difficult week, so that wasn’t the best thing to be reading and was put off wondering if I should continue. However, I’m glad I did. In the end, I was left on a sunny Saturday afternoon close to the end of the book aware that a few friends were on their way round and me yelling out loud at the book (and hoping friends might be late so it would give me time to finish it, because I was ready to give full on BK ranty lectures to certain characters folks if they didn’t get their acts together). Luckily my friends DID run later than expected and all ended well. Phew.
No. More. Plastic. by Martin Dorey – This is a short book with lots of brief to the point information about how we can all make a difference to reduce our plastic consumption and encourage others (like big industry) to do the same. As someone who has been a long time supporter of Surfers Against Sewage and really fed up of seeing plastic nurdles, crisp packets, lollipop sticks/cotton buds on our beaches (even the ‘clean’ ones) I’m challenged because I can make some lazy choices on the plastic front at the same time as being smug about my better choices (like I’ve long been taken my own shopping bags, and I never bag my fruit and veg…). But I use loads of cottonbuds. I don’t do enough to campaign for change. I use plastic toothbrushes. I buy stuff that’s got the worst kind of plastic packaging because it’s yummy. There was also a lot of stuff I wasn’t aware of, and it had loads of little tips that all of us can do to help make a little bit of difference to a big problem. So buy a copy, get inspired and let’s reduce our plastic!
And yes, I’ve bought my Book Festival tickets! I’m looking forward this year to seeing Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith, Maggie O’Farrell, Laura Bates and going to some intriguing debates and workshops. This year all my events will be in the evenings and weekends so I hope that I manage to sort my workload so I don’t miss anything from staying back to get tasks finished. 🙂
What have you been reading lately?