Reading plans

What I’m Reading : Episode 46, July 2022

What I just finished reading

After the disappointing Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro , I was relieved that my next book from the #20booksofsummer22 list was so good. Kololo Hill by Neema Shah follows an Indian family forced to flee their adopted country when Idi Amin issues a decree expelling all Asian Ugandans. The book investigates the meaning of “home” and attitudes towards immigrants. I can recommend it if you’re in the mood for a novel rich in atmosphere.

What I’m reading now

I’m part way through our book club choice for this month — Red Clocks by Leni Zumas. It was published in 2018 as a futuristic novel but the recent Supreme Court ruling on Roe v Wade has made it horribly relevant. Zumas imagines the USA has banned abortion and in-vitro fertilisation and made it illegal for single parents to adopt children. The focus is on four women: a pregnant teenager who’s discovered she’s pregnant, a single woman racing against time to become pregnant, her friend who feels trapped by motherhood and a “witch” who is on trial for a crime she did not commit.

My other book is not my usual reading material but is proving fascinating. In Islands of Abandonment , Cal Flyn explores parts of the world recolonised by nature after the human population fled elsewhere. Among her destinations are Chernobyl, left abandoned after the nuclear accident; Detroit where entire streets of houses are falling in on themselves and an uninhabited Scottish island, feral cattle live entirely wild.

I’m behind with my #20booksofsummer reading so my next book will be from that list.

I’m drawn to The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah in which a woman languishes in a maximum in Harare, Zimbabwe. As part of her appeal against a murder conviction, her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it. 

But I’m also tempted by The Vanishing Sky by Annette Binder which imagines the lives of one German family in the final days of the Third Reich. It’s a debut novel based, in part, on the experiences of her own family.

Now tell me, What are your reading plans . I’d love to know what you’re reading this week or plan on reading soon

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.


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

28 thoughts on “What I’m Reading : Episode 46, July 2022

    • I know Lisa at ANZlitlovers thought it was a very good novel

  • I’ve just finished a Virago, Daughter of Earth by Agnes Smedley, it’s very good but a bit of a grim read. I’m now reading something completely different, an SF boarding school book, sort of based on the Chalet School books, but located on Mars. The author Chaz Brenchley is a fan of that series. It’s surprisingly good.

    • Even though I’m not much of a SF fan I like the idea of re-inventing such a familiar set up

  • Hmm, plans – never for me best laid, yet still prone to go agley. Only four of 10 Books of Summer read, but ten actually completed. Trying to fit in short reads between chunksters like Gormenghast and Middlemarch is a favourite procrastinating pastime so I’m currently reading a novella by children’s author Jan Mark and eyeing up a Dashiell Hammett (The Glass Key, since you ask) from the library.

    • Gosh Dashiell Hammett – I’d forgotten all about him even though we have a few very battered paperback editions that my husband has lugged around through three house moves. I’ve read one but it was so long ago I couldn’t tell you anything about it, not even the title

      • I’d only read The Maltese Falcon before and enjoyed it, and this title was another one of his often mentioned in the same breath.

        • That’s the one I read – only his most famous book so why I couldn’t recall the title is a mystery

    • Not a problem for me since I don’t “do” beaches 🙂

  • I’m a writer so I love readers! And you can’t be a writer without being a reader too, of course.

  • Red Clocks sounds too much like reality for us here in the USA and I can imagine the individual stories are similar to the stories that now here appearing in the news of individuals who are being impacted by the overturning. I am adding Kololo Hills to my interested list. Sounds right up my alley. I am reading A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline after finishing her more recent work The Exiles. Both take a piece of history and she creates a whole story around it. So good.

    • Just looked up Christina Kline – The Exiles has a lot of potential so am adding to my wishlist (which expands by the day).

      • She did a lot of research into the subject and was deeply engrossing. I also liked her other work “Orphan Train” also based on a true events in American history.

        • Thanks for the recommendation – shall keep it in mind

  • kaggsysbookishramblings

    Will be interested in your thoughts on Islands of Abandonment – some have loved it, but I’ve also picked up some negativity too!

    • I’m looking forward to it. I read a collection of short stories by her (yes I know I was astounded too) and though I didn’t like all of them, the writing was strong

  • Islands of Abandonment was definitely one of my top reads of 2021. Fascinating. It’s the only one from your list that I’ve read. Plans? None, as usual. Serendipity rules.

    • I’ve just been reading the chapter on Detroit. I remember driving along the highway on the outskirts of the city some years ago and the number of sound properties just boarded up was horrible

        • Deeply saddening because there are so many people who are homeless for whom those properties would have been the answer to their prayers

        • Exactly. And we don’t seem to have the mechanism, or indeed the will to find ways of tackling these issues.

        • The pandemic is causing yet more blight – every time I go into Cardiff I see places that have closed down and businesses that have stopped operating

  • I just finished The Wise Man’s Fear, so I feel a little lost. But I’m hoping to start The House Across the Lake this week.

    • I can relate to that moment when you finish a book you really enjoy and are reluctant to start another in case its not as good

    • I don’t know either of those sorry. Hope they prove enjoyable


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