Reading Horizons: Episode 14

Reading Horizons, 30 January 2019

What are you currently reading? 

I picked up an advance copy of To Catch A Killer at the Orion On Tour event in Cardiff last November. This is part of my project to read more authors from Wales.

Emma Kavanagh comes from South Wales – the one in the UK, not the upstart “New” South Wales which is on the other side of the world.  She is a former police and military psychologist who provides training to police and branches of the armed forces across the UK and Europe. Given her background it’s not surprising that To Catch A Killer is a psychological crime thriller. It features a woman police sergeant newly back in post after a fire at her home from which she was lucky to emerge alive, although with facial disfiguration. Now she is on the trail of the killer of an attractive, well-dressed woman found with her throat slashed in a London park.

This is a very fast-paced novel, with plenty of twists and turns and a central figure who is struggling to deal with the trauma of the fire. I hadn’t come across Emma Kavanagh’s work previously but on the evidence of just this novel, she is a name to watch for the future.

I’m also dipping into  The Clever Guts Diet by Dr Michael Mosely (fascinating once you get over the yucky bits) and Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by J Mark G Williams. I’ve tried about half a dozen books on mindfulness in recent months and this one is the best so far. Very clear, very practical, with a commendable absence of hippy drippy stuff.

What did you recently finish reading? 

Trick Trick by Domenico Starnone was one of the books I received through my subscription last year to the Asympote Book Club, most of which I never got around to reading.

This is a short but very compelling story of an elderly illustrator asked to look after his rather precocious four-year-old grandson for a few days.

Don’t imagine however this is a warm, family bonding kind of story. The relationship between these two people is one based on a battle for control. Grand-dad needs physical and mental space in which to work and complete his latest commission with a publisher is breathing down his neck. The boy just wants to play. In their tussle, the old man begins to question his abilities as an artist.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Always a tough question. This month it’s even more challenging because I’m preparing for an extended holiday which involves multiple long flights. I’m not keen to use up my luggage allowance with hefty books so am planning to take a maximum of 4 paperbacks that I’ll be happy to discard mid trip. I should add that I’ve also been making sure I have plenty of e-books available….

I need variety. Maybe one crime novel, maybe one ‘classic’ although some of those on my owned-but-unread shelves are rather bulky. I have six days to make up my mind. Based on previous experience the selections are going to change multiple times before the case is zipped for the last time.

How do you decide what books to take with you on a trip? Any recommendations for a strategy to help me make decisions.


Reading Horizons is linked to WWWednesday, a meme  hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It involves answering 3 questions:

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on January 30, 2019, in Bookends, British authors, Welsh authors and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. If you like psychological thrillers, I am currently reading ‘The Other Wife’ by Michael Robotham and it’s absorbing. Actually all his crime novels are absorbing!

  2. I took one book that I read in the plane on the way over. I took my iPad with books on, downloaded about 6 books to the device & had others on Kindle ready to download (when access to the internet).

    I heard of a new Aussie author today, by new I mean new to me.

    I read a book a few years ago, as part of the Indigenous reading week. Cannot recall the title for the moment. It featured the aboriginal group for that bit of NSW where my family live.

  3. Of course I hope you’ll read Australian while you’re travelling here. I don’t use my kindle much but last time (only time) I travelled o/s I downloaded some old books that weren’t available except as fragile second hand hardbacks. If I were to make one recommendation I think it would be The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood.

    • That does sound rather dark but powerful. Have made a note of this to buy – I’m sure you have bookshops in Aus and by the time I get to you I’ll have finished all the paperbacks I’m bringing…..

  4. Good on reading Wales and finding a great new author! Yesterday I finished two books. Womanish by Kim McLarin is a book of essays I had been reading from a bit everyday. She is a woman of color who pulled herself out of poverty and became a writer and professor. Very good stuff about racism and feminism from the Black view. I also finished Orfeo by Richard Powers which I loved deeply. Next I will read William Trevor’s first novel, The Old Boys. It is from my 1964 list.
    I don’t take many books when I travel. I don’t seem to read much either, but if I stay in one place for any length of time I either hit a book shop or a library (all my relatives have library cards!)

  5. Trick sounds brilliant!

  6. I have a friend who takes secondhand books on trips with her and tears out and throws away the pages as she finishes each chapter. Not for me, I have to say, but I offer it as one possible solution to the weight problem.

  7. To Catch a Killer looks good…and so does Trick. Enjoy! Here’s MY WWW POST

  8. I always like to take a book that’s set in or about the country I’m travelling to. I find the Trip Fiction website brilliant for finding books set in specific locations.

  9. Ebooks is very convenient for travels. But if you prefer print, I think you would enjoy this new book, also published by Europa Editions. Different, so well written, just 224 pages: https://wordsandpeace.com/2019/01/16/book-review-hear-our-defeats/
    Otherwise, I would go through my TBR list and see which ones I so much want to read

  10. Trick sounds like an unusual read.

  11. I just got back from a 3-day trip from Boston to Baltimore. The flights were short but had delays both ways. I had left my copy of CRAZY RICH ASIANS at work (a Christmas gift request) and forgot to grab it on my way out, so I bought a new copy at the airport. It turned out to be just the right length for the trip — easy enough to read with distractions and interruptions, but cleverly and humorously written enough to keep my attention when I wasn’t being distracted. I never read as much as I think I will when I’m actually away, but I find reading a paperback on a plane easier than reading an e-book.

  12. I read Ties by Domenico Starnone a couple of years ago and I don’t think I’ll ever forget its explosive opening chapter, Have a wonderful holiday, Karen.

  13. I just finished reading a wonderful Aussie debut novel, Boy swallows universe by Trent Dalton, and am currently reading another debut Aussie novel, A superior spectre by Angela Meyer. Next up will probably be a novel by Maria Edgeworth for my Jane Austen group.

    I have no real strategy for what to take when I travel, partly because I find I read very little when I travel. By the time I do the sightseeing I travel for and then write my travel blog for our family, I fall into bed exhausted. When we are on trains or whatever travelling between places I like to look out the window. I may never pass that way again.

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