What I’m Reading: Episode 26, March 2020

Time to share with you all what I’m currently reading, what I recently read and what I plan to read next. 

What I’m reading now

For the first time ever I purchased a book in advance of publication. I loved Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies so much, I just had to have the final instalment in Hilary Mantel’s trilogy. I wasn’t expecting The Mirror & The Light to be so big. Huge in fact and because it’s in hardback, it’s heavy. Which makes it very difficult to read in bed….

Hilary Mantel

But that’s only part of the reason why my progress through this book is at glacial speed. The main factor is that this is a book which takes a good amount of concentration. Mantel’s narration is slippery. You have to keep on your toes to be certain who is speaking. Plus there are a lot of characters (the list at the front of the book is five pages long).

But I’m not complaining. This is a book of sheer brilliance. It is absolutely meant to be savoured. I suspect I’m still going to be reading it when it’s time to do my April edition of “What I’m Reading”.  

What I just finished reading

WalesReadingMonth (otherwise known as Dewithon 2020) has been running throughout March. As you’d expect I’ve been participating in the event hosted by Paula at Book Jotter by reading a few books by Welsh authors that were on my TBR shelves.

I posted my review of one of these – Turf or Stone by Margiad Evans – a few days ago. It wasn’t great. Far more to my taste was One Moonlit Night by Caradog Pritchard. It was written in the Welsh language in 1961 as a portrayal of life in a small slate quarrying town in North Wales. The narrator recalls his childhood in this community, a life in which joy, sadness and tragedy are seldom apart.

Caradog Pritchard

Pritchard’s novel is written in a poetic style but also uses the local dialect. Once you’ve tuned into this, and got accustomed to the oddities of character names (Will Starch Collar is my favourite), the book is tremendous. I’ll post a more considered response in the next few days.

Incidentally the photo was taken on what turned out to be my very last trip to a coffee shop for some considerable time. No prizes for guessing why coffee shops are no go areas right now.

I also just finished The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves, a debut novel which comes out in April. It has an interesting twist on the theme of relationships because it focuses on a married couple who have not spoken to each other for six months. I’m on the blog tour for this mid April so will share my thoughts in a few weeks.

Abbie Greaves

What I’ll read next

I said at the beginning of the year that I was pulling back from reading challenges that involved making lists of books to read or goals for the number of books to read. But I am joining in short reading events where I can and where I have a suitable book/s on my TBR.

There are two coming up fairly soon. One is ZolaAddictionMonth hosted by Fanda and the other is the 1920club hosted by Karen and Simon.

I have one book lined up for each.

For Zola Addiction month I have His Excellency Eugene Rougon/Son Excellence Eugène Rougon which is book number two in Zola’s Rougon-Macquet cycle. I’ve been reading them out of order but am now trying to fill in the gaps.

For the 1920 reading club I have Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence. This will be the final book on my Classics Club project (woo hoo….)

I turned to Twitter to help me decide which to read first. But it didn’t help. Because it was a draw… So I shall have to rely on my instinct instead.

In the meantime there is the (not so small) matter of the Mantel to finish, and The Binding which is the next book club choice. And a library loan of Actress by Anne Enright (not that it needs to be finished soon because libraries have gone the way of coffee shops). And more than 200 other books on my shelves.

I shall be busy.


Those are my plans. Now what’s on YOUR reading horizon for the next few weeks? Let me know what you’re currently reading or planning to read next.


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

About 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

Posted on March 25, 2020, in British authors, Classics, Irish authors, Reading plans, WWWednesdays and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. I’m currently reading The Dutch House by Ann Patchett and I’m loving it. It is exquisite.

  2. I just received my copy in the mail, and I agree, it is doorstopper worthy. I appreciated your comment about the attention it will require. I hope to get into it soon.

  3. Karen your share button has disappeared.

  4. Oh I almost forgot about the 1920s club – thanks for the reminder! I have an F Scott Fitzgerald lined up!

  5. I was unable to pick up my copy of Actress from the library, or rather should I say I chose not to because I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be able to get it back before they were closed. Consequently I’m very jealous. There was no way I could buy the new Mantel because at that size it simply wouldn’t fit on my reading stand. I will eventually get round to getting a copy on Kindle which is going to be the only way I’m going to be able to read it I’m afraid.

    • I was lucky that the Actress loan came through when it did. We had no warning of the library closure. They just put it on twitter that all libraries would close that evening….
      I understand about the Mantel, I knew it was a big book but couldn’t believe it when I picked it up at the shop.

  6. The Mirror and The Light is definitely on my TBR list, but it might take me a little while to get round to it… At the moment I’m really enjoying short stories (maybe I’m finding it easier to concentrate on them?) in the form of collections by Curtis Sittenfeld and Julia Armfield. Time to get back to the novels in April, though!

  7. Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins

    I saw how big TM&TL was and my jaw literally dropped – lugging that thing around surely counts as a workout! I’m actually really struggling to read at the moment, a very strange feeling for me, so I’m trying to stick to fun, light-hearted books that don’t demand too much.

  8. am also currently reading The Mirror and the Light, and enjoying it a lot!

  9. Looking forward to your Wharton thoughts!

  10. Plans? IDK…. I keep picking up books and putting them down, until in the end I just whizzed with great pleasure through an old favourite for 1920. We shall see where I go next!

  11. A freind was top of her library’s list for the Mantel and got it just before they closed. Silver linings…

    • Well that was lucky – if her library has the same system as ours she would have to read it within the permitted borrowing time of 3 weeks and then have to return. No chance of getting it renewed because there would be a long waiting list

  12. I’ve heard Anne Enright talking about “Actress” on Irish Radio and BBC TV. It’s on my TBR, too. Having just read Joseph O’ Connor’s “Ghost Light” I’m expecting parallels – or not!

  13. I’m reading The Mirror and the Light in hardback as well – very heavy weight wise – and I’m finding it takes time to absorb the details. So it will quite some time before I finish it. And I’m wondering about taking part in the 1920 Club too.

  14. Karen, I hope you enjoy savouring The Mirror & The Light 😊

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