Oh dear Oh dear….

After months of restraint the floodgates of book acquisition opened wide this week: five purchases, a review copy and two library books.

The library books are in aid of the #1968Club hosted by Simon of Stuck in a Book and Karen at kaggsysbookishramblings which starts on Monday, October 30. If you’re not familiar with the club, you can find an explanation here.  Despite having more than 200 unread books on my shelves I didn’t have even one that was published in 1968. A quick trip the library and problem solved however. I’m reading Agatha Christie’s By the Pricking of My Thumbs which was the third of her novels to feature Tommy and Tuppence Beresford in the role of amateur detectives. I’ve also taken the unusual (for me) path of reading a work of science fiction. Chocky is a short novel by John Wyndham whose novels I loved when I was much younger. This one features a 12 year old boy who suddenly begins holding conversations with an invisible companion. It turns out not to be a benign imaginary friend but  an alien consciousness sent from its home planet to locate other planets that can be colonised.

New-purchases-2017Now that my broken arm has mended to the point where I can drive again, I’ve been re-acquainted with retail outlets which of course includes bookshops. I haven’t been in one for about 3 months so must have been feeling rather deprived because when I did cross the threshold of a little independent bookseller last week, I was so dazzled I could easily have walked away with half the shop.  They had a wonderful display of the books shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year Award, an accolade which is given annually to works of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction in Welsh and English. The winners will be announced on November 11 and I’ll be going to the event so I thought I should be at least familiar with the three shortlisted fiction titles.

  • Pigeon by Alys Conran: A coming of age novel that turns into something of a murder mystery. Set in North Wales it undercuts ideas of the countryside as a childhood idyll
  • Cove by Cynan Jones: Jones’ fifth novel opens with a kayaker struck by lightening during a sudden storm. Injured and adrift, his memory is shattered. He has to rely on his instincts to get back to shore.
  • Ritual, 1969 by Jo Mazelis: A short-story collection that has a dark, gothic atmosphere


I also got tempted by two other novels: The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa , an author I’ve not come across before. This is a novel about a family who flee Nazi-occupied Germany  only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion. I also picked up Notes From An Exhibition by Patrick Gale. 

Continuing on the theme of fiction by writers in Wales, the wonderful team at Honno Press have sent me Snow Sisters, the latest novel by Carol Lovekin. Two sisters discover a dusty sewing box in the attic of their secluded home on the edge of the sea. Once opened the box sets free the ghost of a Victorian child who is desperate to tell her secret.

If I’m not careful all the good work I’ve put in during the year to reduce my collection of unread books will be wiped out. So I just need to believe that there are no new books being published in the next few months. That’s true isn’t it?

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 October 29, 2017, in Bookends, Wales Book of the Year, Welsh authors and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. I found your article so endearing. I will ask you something where goodreads has been slightly unhelpful. Recommend me a period set novel where the ideology of the characters just clashes with each other . Conflicting in beliefs yet somehow United.
    Oops , now I know why goodreads couldn’t help me. I’m not describing a genre rather a synopsis

  2. If it helps, than yes that’s true 😉

  3. Here’s a link to the very phenomenon you’ve described, the total cessation of all things literary and closure of presses ’til year’s end at least:

    Enjoy your new lovelies! 🙂

  4. If you read By the Pricking of my Thumbs, I really really recommend the French film version of it by Pascal Thomas with Catherine Frot and André Dussolier. It’s marvellous.

  5. I’m honoured to be featured on a list with Patrick Gale, one of my favourite writers!
    I hope you enjoy Snow Sisters! xXx

  6. After such an enforced break from bookshops you Certainly deserved those books. I finished By the Pricking of my thumbs, yesterday. An enjoyable read.

  7. There was good reason for all of them 😉

  8. Happy to hear you’re able to drive again. All of these books sound tempting! I’m particularly drawn to Cove. I love to kayak and I’m afraid of lightening, so that one will be joining my TBR pile soon.

  9. Broken arm? Did I miss something? This isn’t too bad, surely, as long as you put the lid back on the book-buying now ..

  10. I think you’ve been astonishingly restrained! I like the look of the Mazelis.

  11. No need to feel guilty 🙂 you can never have enough books and if that’s all you purchased after 3! months of abstination, it isn’t so bad at all, plus for the first 3 you justified your purchases with a perfectly good reason and for the rest I can only agree that it’s important to broaden your horizons as well and be welcoming to new authors right ?:-).

  12. I think you deserved them! (But then I am in incorrigible book buyer and I cannot lie…) Glad you’ll be joining in with 1968!

  13. A moderate spree in light of recent events is well earned I’d say.

  14. I loved Notes from an Exhibition. If you do as well, you might want to go on and read A Perfectly Good Man, which isn’t a sequel but which does have some links. I rather like the sound of Pigeon and will keep my eyes open for a copy.

  15. Sometimes it is almost impossible to pass up books we want. I love the look of Snow Sisters. Enjoy!

  1. Pingback: Cove by Cynan Jones – WildmooBooks

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