Books read May 2019

The weight of expectation proved too much for some of my favourite authors. I DNF’ed Elizabeth Strout’s Everything is Possible, beautifully written but I was not enamoured of the material at all. I found Daphne Du Maurier’s The Parasites, which I read for Daphne Du Maurier reading week, slightly tedious. In White Shadow, Roy Jacobsen made a strange stylistic choice which failed to convince me.  The novel is second in the Ingrid Barrøy trilogy, and has to be read as such. My comments here make it sound bad. It isn’t; it’s just not as brilliant, as The Unseen. Full review of White Shadow on the European Literature Network.

Thankfully Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s Liar didn’t disappoint, nor did any of the three titles from Salt I read to celebrate the publisher’s 20 years in the industry. (A Perfect Explanation, Snegurochka and Flotsam).

Barcelona Tales provided a snapshot of the city through time and place, and I was delighted – nay, thrilled, to interview the translator, Peter Bush here.

The month’s reading ends with a piece of gargantuan, lavish graphic narrative non-fiction.  The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt sees Andrea Wulf, whose book The Invention of Nature won the Royal Society Science Book of the Year in 2016, returns to her favourite subject.  Together with illustrator Lillian Melcher, she has produced an absolute feast to the senses. Full review to follow.

Book of the Month

A full 5 stars to Eleanor Anstruther’s A Perfect Explanation


At some point this month, I got tired of all the restraint and went on a book-buying binge.  And the Edinburgh Book Festival Programme is due next week.  Safe to say,  purchasing targets are undone!


Summer starts next week with 20 Books of Summer.  I think I’m on version 27 of the list of books I want to read in the next three months  … hopefully I’ll have this sorted by Monday, the official kick-off date.

June is likely to be slow on the blog.  I’m headed to Vienna mid-month, and have a 450 page history on Elizabeth, The Empress of Austria (fondly known as Sisi) to read before I go. (It’s too bulky to take with me.)  I blame this on the #1965club.  I discovered Joan Haslip’s history when researching what to read for that little social reading shindig!