They say a change is as good as a rest and a change is what I needed.  Perhaps I’ve been simply reading too much.

Anyway May 1989 was the month in which we scouted out Scotland as a potential home – the weather was glorious for two weeks – and we decided to move here from Germany.  The weather has never matched what was obviously two weeks special effort for our behalf but May is always the best month of the year.  So when a group of Palimpsest forum members announced the Take a Picture A Day in May challenge, I signed right up.  I have a new camera, needed to know what it (or rather what this photographer) can and cannot do before heading to Spain in June, and I also needed an incentive to get outside more often and dust off the figurative cobwebs.  I’m delighted to say that with the help of some clement weather, I have walked miles and miles this month and I managed to complete the challenge.  I’ve ignored that the other participants are brilliant photographers, while I am firmly of the snapshot variety.  I’m pleased with some pictures, not so happy with others  but at least I do know what my camera is capable of.  Bring on Barcelona!

You can see my pictures here or all entries here.  Try picking a favourite.  It’s not possible.  There are some absolutely stunning photographs in that selection.

The result  of all this street, field and castle wandering is a poor reading tally for May – only 6 books – but I’m feeling refreshed now and ready to tackle the TBR with vigour.  Just as well because it grew rapidly this month.  You already know about the five purchases made in London.  With a little colour-coordination they made their way my Tapadim2010 challenge.

As for the rest ……

The small pile on the left are publisher donations to the cause – thanks to all and I will read them I promise.  On the right, you see a rather whimsical selection.   Apart from Amy Sackville’s The Still Point, purchased on the back of Gaskella’s review, there isn’t a new release among them.  I had intended on buying David Mitchell’s latest but I want a 1st edition and I find that it’s already on its fifth printing.  How can that be?  Have Sceptre been playing with us collectors by printing a small first print run?  

The purchase pile, in more detail, from bottom-up:

Simon Singh – The Code Book – charity shop find in Dunoon, earlier today.

INXS – Sometimes only tales of 1980’s rock ‘n roll excess will do.  £1 from the pound shop.

Colum McCann – Dancer.  This book has the dubious honour of being a replacement from one I lost earlier.  Possibly the only book I have ever lost.  I suspect it disappeared by mistake in a charity shop clearout. £1 from the pound shop.

Clare Morrall – Natural Flights of the Human Mind.  £1 from the pound shop.

Next up –  3 New York Review of Books – follow-up purchases from the recent Spotlight on Series.

Gregor von Rezzori – Memoirs of an Anti-Semite

Stepen Benatar – Wish Her Safe at Home (The most read title in that spotlight series – I had to see what the fuss is about.)

Simenon – Red Lights

O Henry – Cabbages and Kings  – My first print-on-demand title from Myna Books.  I’ve been looking for a copy of this for ages and Frances from Non-Such Books pointed me in this direction.

Amy Sackville – The Still Point – Gaskella’s fault!

Paul Morand – The Allure of Chanel – Illustrated copy from Pushkin Press

Helen MacInnes – The Salzburg Connection – The most whimsical selection in my whimsical TBR.  Charity shop find – I was drawn to it because of the title.  I love Salzburg and a 60’s thriller set in the Austrian Alps sounds like pure escapism to me.

The final two are destined for my suitcase in two weeks time. 

Colm Toibin – Homage to Barcelona and a Spanish Phrase Book and Dictionary.  I know they speak Catalan in Barcelona but I’m sure they won’t take humbrage if I practice my very elementary Spanish on them, will they?

Add the 13 in that pile to the 5 London purchases and multiply by 4 = 72.  Applying my new 1 in 4 rule I should have read 72 books before purchasing 18.  I read 6 so that leaves a deficit of 66.  OK.  Let’s see if a book buying embargo in June together with a clear-out can fix that before July.