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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.

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