What I’m Reading : Episode 45, May 2022

It's almost summer so time to begin travelling around the world in fiction.

What I just finished reading

In last month’s update, one of the books in my “Read Next” list was Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason which had been selected by the book club for our first in person event in two years. We had the meeting last week and it’s fair to say the book had a very mixed reception. Some people loved it, others were lukewarm and called it “disappointing” particularly in view of its inclusion on the Women’s Prize for Fiction. I’ll post my thoughts in a few days (I hope) so for now will just say I was in the camp that didn’t rate it highly.

I also finished All Come To Dust, a crime novel by Byrony Rheam set in Zimbabwe that has an unusual detective character. You can read my review here.

What I’m reading now

An article in the Sunday Times colour supplement alerted me to The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede. It’s a factual account of 38 jetliners that were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland, on September 11, 2001 when US airspace was closed in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. A community of 10,000 people was suddenly called upon to host more than six thousand displaced travellers, providing accommodation, food and clothing. DeFede’s book tells the story of some of the passengers and describes acts of extraordinary kindness by the Newfoundlers.

In parallel, I’m reading one of the books that was included in the Queen’s Jubilee Reading list — it’s a list of 70 books by celebrated authors across the Commonwealth chosen to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. A Golden Age by the Bangladeshi author Tahmima Anam takes place against a background of the war for Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, looking at this from the way the conflict affects one mother and her two children.

The book club choice for June is the dystopian novella Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Often regarded as one of his best works, the narrative depicts a world in which  books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found. I predict this is going to generate a much heated discussion….

June marks the start of 20booksofsummer hosted by Cathy at 746.com though in my case it’s going to be 10booksofsummer. I’ve already made a short list of books I’d like to read between June 1 and September 1, that will take me on a reading tour around the world.

The only question remaining is which of these I’ll read first. My instinct is to begin at home in Wales with The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2000 it’s set in the Maltese community of Tiger Bay in Cardiff where the author grew up. Or I may embark on my travels immediately, hopping over the Wales/ England border to read A Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale.

Now tell me, What are your reading plans

What I’m reading is in support of WWW Wednesday  hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. WWW Wednesday is actually a weekly meme but I choose to do it just once a month. This month, Wednesday somehow became Friday….



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

16 thoughts on “What I’m Reading : Episode 45, May 2022

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  • June 1, 2022 at 6:19 pm
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    I’m currently trying to finish books that have hung over from last month before starting on quite a big book for the Wolfson History Prize and then my 20 Books of Summer. I’m nearly done with “The Virago Book of Women Travellers” edited by Mary Morris, am enjoying Sheila Gear’s “Foula” about life on a Shetland island, and I’m also loving Helen Ashton’s “Yeoman’s Hospital” a 1944 novel of just pre-NHS local hospital life.

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    • June 1, 2022 at 9:24 pm
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      Yeoman’s Hospital sounds intriguing – it would be interesting to reflect on how much nursing has changed in the last 70 years.

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  • May 29, 2022 at 6:25 am
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    I’ve read and love The Golden Age by Kenneth Grahame (which I got for xmas in 1958). A Golden Age sounds completely different. Good to see you reading some hardcore SF – Farenheit 451. OK some SF is just boys toys. rocket ships and guns, but lots of it tackles serious issues that people actually care about.

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    • May 31, 2022 at 10:19 pm
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      OK, so let me throw down a challenge for you Bill. Give me a few recommendations of SF that does exactly what you say – tackles serious issues that people care about.

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  • May 28, 2022 at 10:02 pm
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    I’ll be concentrating on my 20 Books of Summer list but at the moment I’m reading A Corruption of Blood an Ambrose Parry book (Christopher Brookmyre and his wife Dr Marisa Haetzman) it is historical fiction set in Edinburgh. It’s the third in a series.

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  • May 28, 2022 at 1:43 pm
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    The Day the World Came to Town sounds good, I’ve seen that mentioned elsewhere. After my blaze of reading in April I seem to have turned into a reading slug, I’m not making advance plans at the moment. I put a hold on the Sylvia Plath biography Red Comet after rereading The Bell Jar, and I’m looking forward to that. Have a great month!

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    • May 28, 2022 at 4:28 pm
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      The Plath would be quite challenging to read I imagine -not at all uplifting material

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    • May 28, 2022 at 4:29 pm
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      The response of the community was astonishing. I didn’t think the book was all that well written though

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    • May 27, 2022 at 10:18 pm
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      I think that’s one instruction I should be able to obey 🙂

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  • May 27, 2022 at 9:38 pm
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    I look forward to what you’ll say about the Azzopardi as apart from a brief holiday in Malta a couple or so decades ago I know next to nothing about the Maltese diaspora. Like you I’m starting small with ten titles for Cathy’s event (I’ve scheduled my list for the start of June) but may well expand my list.

    Reply
  • May 27, 2022 at 7:03 pm
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    I’m interested in what you say about The Hiding Place for next years Wales Readathon. I enjoyed this year’s so much.

    Reply

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