My reading life – November 2023


Over the last three months, I’ve read more books than in any other period in my life. The grand total of 22. Some people are lucky to get through that many in a year, others in their whole lifetime (pity that non-reader!). How have I managed to do this, you might ask? Well, I quit my job and put on my reading glasses 😊

Reading is to me, another way of exploring. I don’t have any authors or genres that I stick to. Most things are fair game, but I do tend to leave heavy sci-fi, fantasy and horror well alone. What I read is driven by my mood. I can start a good book but not feel ready for it, and I might be drawn to something less mentally taxing, in need of a literary Snickers rather than a carefully handcrafted Belgian truffle (chocolate is one of my other favourite things if you will pardon my analogy).

Among the things I have read over the past few months have been:

A couple of the books that I read were free ARCs (advanced reader copies) through Netgalley, a website which opens a door into the world of publishing for book enthusiasts.  It’s quite a privilege to be able to read new stuff before it has been released and to play a (very small) part in that book coming to market. The mistake I have made each time I’ve dabbled with Netgalley is being a bit too enthusiastic when requesting books to read and then being accepted for more than I can comfortably read and review. It’s especially difficult if I haven’t enjoyed the book, as writing a constructive review can be as hard work as trudging through the book itself. This time I was accepted for four books, two of which I’ve now read and reviewed. I am looking forward to the next two, one of which is the next Katherine Webb “Detective Lockyer” mystery called Laying Out The Bones and the other is an audiobook of a translated Japanese book called Days at the Morisaki Bookshop. I always love a book about a bookshop!

As the end of the year approaches, and having overshot my start of the year target of reading 52 books a year, I’m starting to turn my mind to things that I want to read next year. I’ve got some exciting things on my shelf, some of which I have acquired recently from my sister and from charity book shops in my neighbourhood. These include The Whalebone Theatre, which is a recent release and which my sister read for her book club. She thought it was a great read, and my sis has made some excellent recommendations recently. A few weeks ago, I was delighted to find a copy of Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, which is a modern retelling of Dickens’ David Copperfield. I haven’t read David Copperfield but I have read a couple of Barbara Kingsolver’s books, which were both excellent. Another good friend has lent to me Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, which has a beautiful front cover with a stylised image of The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Japanese artist Hokusai. She also told me that it was a great read, so I think these three books will make it straight on to my TBR for 2024.

I also have something else to look forward to in 2024. When I left my last job, my lovely colleagues (knowing me so well) bought me a reading subscription from Mr B’s Emporium in Bath. I can expect 11 books over the year (not in January as they say we will be reading our Christmas gifts) hand chosen for me by Mr B’s book therapists. To get a flavour what I like and don’t like, I’ve filled out a questionnaire about my reading tastes and things that I’m open to trying as well as gathering info about my other interests, likes and dislikes. Before the book is shipped, they will send me a teaser about the book. If it sounds unappealing, I can request a different selection. But I’m excited about exploring new and different corners of fiction and non-fiction and seeing where the book subscription will take me.

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