Reading plansWWWednesdays

What I’m Reading: Episode 30, December 2020

 October and November slipped by before I remembered I hadn’t done my monthly update on what I’m reading currently, what I recently read and what I plan to read next.  So I’m making sure December doesn’t go the same way, but writing this update early on in the month.

What I’m reading now

By coincidence, my current reads both have a connection to Wales.

Medical memoirs seem to have become a bit of a thing in recent years. I’m hoping War Doctor proves as insightful as the best of those I’ve read, particularly Dear Life by Rachel Clarke and This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay.

David Nott is a consultant vascular surgeon based in London who volunteers as a doctor in conflict zones; dispensing life-saving treatment in some of the most dangerous places in the world. He actively goes in search of the assignments. “It is a kind of addiction,” he says in the prologue, “a pull I find hard to resist.” War Doctor is an account of his experiences in Sarajevo, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq (and many more besides).

I didn’t realise until I reached chapter that Nott was born in Wales though he no longer lives here.

On my Kindle app, I’m reading Shadow Soul which is the third title in the series featuring Detective Inspector Tudor Manx.  These are all set on the island of Anglesey, a location well known to author Dylan Jones. He was born on the island and some of his relatives continue to live there though Dylan himself now lives in Oakland, California.

Shadow Soul has a complicated plot involving a drone attack that goes wrong, a kidnapped politician and a campaign against people who buy holiday homes on the island.


What I just finished reading

For Novellas In November I managed to read three titles. A Meal In Winter by Hubert Mingarelli was superb and has made me itch to read more of his works. I’m a bit behind with reviews of the remaining two books but should get to them shortly.

Apple of My Eye is very witty as you might expect if you’ve read anything else by Helene Hanff, including her most famous book : 84 Charing Cross Road. It originated when Hanff was commissioned to write the text for a book of photographs about New York. She realised that she’d never visited many of the landmarks in the city so set about rectifying that, accompanied by her chum Patsy.

You don’t need to be familiar with New York to enjoy this book; Hanff’s quirky take on the city and tourists will sweep you passed the details.

Apple Of My Eye has been in my bookcases for years but In The Sweep Of The Bay is a very recent addition. It was published in November, the second novella from a fellow book club member Cath Barton. It’s a simply wonderful story of how a marriage built on love can easily slip away without either party doing anything wrong.

What I’ll read next

Always a tough question for me because I much prefer to have flexibility in what I read and don’t like to be over-regimented. I decided to put to the test the random selector I described a couple of weeks ago. It came up with three options from all the books I’ve bought in 2020.

The Wild Silence is a follow up to a book I adored last year: The Salt Path. It’s a true account of a couple who walk a 630-mile coastal path when they lose their home and farm and have no where else to do, and no money with which to do it.

It was the cover of The Harpy that first caught my attention. Isn’t it striking? But it was the review by Susan @ a lifeinbooks that persuaded me to get a copy. Megan Hunter’s novel is about love and betrayal – between husband and wife, and parent and child – and revenge.

And finally we have The Mission House by Carys Davies, a Welsh author who is fast establishing a reputation for literary fiction. lt’s set at hill station in South India where a British librarian arrives seeking an escape from his life in south-east London. But religious tensions are brewing and the mission house may not be the safe haven it seems.

I’m torn between which of these three to read first. They all sound entrancing….. if you’ve read any of them maybe you can give me a recommendation?

This post is for WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.


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

11 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: Episode 30, December 2020

  • Karen, I am pleased to hear you enjoyed three reads for Novellas in November – I also took part and read five novellas, which is amazing for me! 😅 I haven’t read any of your possible next reads so can’t help you there, but I hope you enjoy whatever you choose next and happy December reading! 😊

    • This was only my second and of course is vastly different to Charing Cross but the acerbic sense of humour is still very much in evidence thankfully

  • I hope you enjoy The Harpy, Karen. In the Sweep of the Bay had already caught my eye on Twitter, thanks to that lovely cover. It’s on my list! Pleased to hear you rate it so highly.

    • I know you enjoy novels about relationships so Sweep of the Bay could well be to your taste

  • I haven’t read one review of Wild Silence….I wonder how it holds up compared to the first?

    • I’ve been trying not to read any reviews so they don’t spoil my enjoyment. I suspect it has the similar interest and reflections on nature that I enjoyed in the first book

  • My vote is for The Harpy. Loved it! It will likely be one of my favorite books of the year. In the beginning I thought, “oh, I know this story,” and expected it to be predictable. It most definitely was not.

  • Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins

    I’ve got The Mission House buried in my TBR mountain somewhere too! I really must get to it, it sounds great. And the cover of The Harpy is GORGEOUS!

    • The Mission House was highlighted as the book of the year in a sunday newspaper supplement last weekend. Which is a tremendous achievement considering all the books that were in competition with it including some by high powered names


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