Snapshot April 2017


The daffodils are in full bloom in gardens and hedgerows everywhere here. The tulips I planted in September also reared their heads this week but for me, the real signs of Spring are the blossoms on our neighbour’s magnolia tree and the sound of birds making their nests in our hedge. It’s fun to watch them gather on the fence, then swoop down in a synchronised movement  for a bath and splash in the pond before retreating to the safety of the hedge. Much more fun that daytime tv…


A few weeks ago as part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme I posted a list of 10 books I was thinking of reading this Spring.  One of my choices is His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet, a book I bought last year when it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, but have only just opened.  It’s a historical thriller set in Scotland in 1869 that’s constructed in a way to make you think its actually a true crime story. Subtitled “Documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae”, His Bloody Project is constructed from the memoir of a 17-year-old crofter charged with three brutal murders, together with witness statements, medical reports and an account of his trial. I wanted something that would keep me engrossed while I’m in hospital recovering from round 2 of surgery – but I also didnt want something too taxing. So far this is hitting the mark.

State of my personal library

One of my goals for 2017 is to enjoy the books I already own and to reign back on acquiring yet more. Three months into the year and I haven’t bought a single book. I’m making slow but steady progress on reading my own books even though March was a bit of a slow reading month. I read just three titles:

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney, winner of the Bailey’s Prize in 2016

Ancient Light by John Banville

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

The first two were part of the ReadingIreland2017 month hosted by 746books and  The Fluff is Raging.

I got part of the way through The Little Theatre by the Sea  by Rosanna Ley which is the book selected for the launch of Trip Fiction’s Book Club. While I enjoyed the descriptions of the two locations  -Sardinia and West Dorset – I was less enamoured with the main character, a newly qualified interior designer, and found the narrative style rather laboured. A few years ago I would have persevered right to the end even if it wasn’t an enjoyable experience but now I’m over the guilt feelings associated with abandoning a book. Why spend time on something that doesn’t light my fire when I have so many other potentially more interesting books awaiting me???

Wishing for…

My wishlist in Goodreads continues to grow as a result of recent announcements about short/longlists for various literary prizes.  The  Man Booker International Prize alone has 13 books that I haven’t read; then there’s the 2017 ABIA Australian Book Industry Awards Longlist plus the 2017 PEN America Literary Awards and the shortlist for the Dylan Thomas International Prize  announced within the last few days. I’m going to have to be careful otherwise all that TBR is going to get out of control….

On the reading horizon…

I have an advance copy of Hell’s Gate by Laurent Gaudé to read before publication date on April 11. It’s a story of a taxi driver and his wife who are consumed by grief when their only son is killed in the crossfire of a gangland shoot-out in Naples. And then it’s back to my Booker project via The God of Small Things  by Arundhati Roy, her debut novel about  the childhood experiences of fraternal twins in Kerala whose lives are changed when their young cousin arrives.

And that’s as far ahead as I feel like planning right now…


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

23 thoughts on “Snapshot April 2017

  • The Man Booker Prize announcements always greatly add to my TBR list each year. I read The God of Small Things almost 15 years ago, but it definitely left a lasting impression.

    • It’s quite an unusual novel based on the little I’ve read so far. I love her descriptions of the characters

  • I hope His Bloody Project and your other reading helps with your recovery from your second round of surgery 🙂

  • Wishing you a speedy recovery. I made a vow not to buy books between 1 Jan and 31 March this year, which I succeeded in honouring, but I don’t have to tell you what I did on 1 April, do I ? Happy reading, and resting.

    • I know what you did because you just published a post about all your purchases…..

      • Actually, the current post refers to book-buying in December. I regret to report that I April’s splurge are fresh extravagances. I’m convinced it’s a disease. At least that’s what my BFF Norma says, and she’s much much worse than me when it comes to book buying. Next to her, I am a paragon of restraint.

        • The two of you would definitely be dangerous on a shopping trip together

  • All the prize lists do the same to my tbr, but I’d rather add them than forget about them!

    • Without the lists I’m sure I wouldn’t know about half these books

  • I’m sorry to hear you are back in hospital but glad that Roderick Macrae is keeping you company – I read this one around the same time I read a non-fiction account of a crime and the style was remarkably similar, so much so that at the beginning I was quite confused about whether it was true or not.
    Congratulations on not buying books and working your way through your TBR – I’ve done well at reading three books a month from those books I bought prior to 2017 as I figured every little helps.

    • At the beginning I wasn’t sure whether this was an account of Macrae Burnet’s ancestor. And I’m still not absolutely sure it was all fiction

  • I’d be interested to hear what you make of My Bloody Project when you finish – I really enjoyed it though there’s a ‘but’ for me!!! God of Small Things still one of my favourites of the Booker winners I’ve read.

  • I wish I had the self-control to forgo book shopping. Right now I have a pile of seven new March acquisitions next to me to be written about in an upcoming post! I’m looking forward to what you think of The God of Small Things. It was a mixed bag for me.

  • “A few years ago I would have persevered right to the end even if it wasn’t an enjoyable experience but now I’m over the guilt feelings associated with abandoning a book. Why spend time on something that doesn’t light my fire when I have so many other potentially more interesting books awaiting me???” Sometimes I think I’m there but there are one or two books which have been on my in-progress list forever that I know I’m not particularly enjoying but still pick up from time to time so, my rehab is clearly incomplete. Oh since you’re pulling books from awards list, I recently shared the long list for Bocas (the Caribbean lit prize) if you want to check it out: as well as the short list for the Burt Award which recognizes the best in Caribbean teen/young adult fiction

  • OMG, I just finished Hell’s Gate. I received it and was at first very hesitant, reluctant even, it sounded too supernatural stuff for me. But then the author… so I tried a bit. Until 50% of the book, I was debating if I should stop, and then something clicked and I devoured the whole thing. It is actually so so good! If I had time, I would reread it right away

  • The God of Small Things is a very good read. You may or may not be aware that Arundhati Roy was interviewed is Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs a week or so ago (I have yet to listen to the podcast). Hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.


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