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April 2016 Reading Round-Up

This month has been about events, also birthdays. And sunshine – we had a day of lovely spring heat and another during which I got a little burned. I’ve become acquainted with some fantastic books, most that I’ve shared with you through event posts, and others that I’m looking forward to sharing with you. I got a couple of great reads from the charity shop, too, in particular a hardback copy of Susanna Kearsley’s The Firebird; well timed because I’d just finished my first book of hers. It’s also been about the Wellcome Book Prize shortlist.

The Books

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Amy Liptrot: The Outrun – Liptrot’s journey from alcoholic to sobriety which happens mostly back at home in the Orkney isles, as opposed to London, where she helps her father on his farm, takes long walks, watches for birds for conservation, and goes swimming in the sea in all weathers. Solid; good.

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Cathy Rentzenbrink: The Last Act Of Love – The story of the event and aftermath of the author’s brother’s accident as a victim of a hit-and-run. A superb book.

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Suzanne O’Sullivan: It’s All In Your Head – A doctor’s story of her patients who have psychosomatic illness, the history of the diagnosis, and her hopes for change. Good, if a little too ‘are you with me!’ at the end.


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Alex Pheby: Playthings – Based on the life of a turn-of-the-20th-century German judge, this is a fictional account to follow on from the factual memoir the man wrote of his Schizophrenia.

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Holly Black: The Darkest Part of The Forest – When the boy who has been sleeping for generations disappears, things start to go wrong. Not the best summary; it’s an okay book.

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Marie-Sabine Roger: Soft In The Head – A man who speaks of his lack of education and poor childhood meets an old woman in the park and they strike up a friendship over pigeons, books, and learning. Utterly fantastic, there are so many different themes to this book and they’re all handled excellently; and it’s a book wherein I heard the character in my head rather than my usual ‘voice’ – so well written and translated.

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Mavis Cheek: Dog Days – Patsy’s divorced her measly husband and is looking forward to being single and living with her daughter, hopefully staying far away from her friend’s attempts to match-make. An easy, escapist read that’s slightly dated but very honest in its look at divorce.

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Nicholas Royle and David Gledhill: In Camera – During the Cold War an East German girl pinches her father’s camera and take photographs of her family and home life. A great short story with many layers, matching fiction to artwork.

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Susanna Kearsley: Mariana – Julia buys the house she always dreamed of living in and finds herself slipping backwards in time. Pretty awesome.

Finally a month in which I read a lot. I took The Last Act Of Love with me everywhere. It’s an excellent book, though it seems wrong to say so. Mariana was a good runner-up, a few niggles, but I enjoyed it a lot, and In Camera was pretty fab – I loved the way the girl’s narration was surface dressing to Royle’s underlying story. And Soft In The Head I highly recommend; look out for it in June. It’s been a good reading month – the only book I wasn’t keen on was the Holly Black. All the others I enjoyed a fair to a great amount.

Quotation Report

None this time.

Here’s hoping the trees gain more leaves by the end of spring… it still looks wintry here.

How was your April?



May 2, 2016, 3:30 pm

You look like you’ve been doing some great reading and finished such a variety. I am pleased to see ‘pretty awesome’ after Mariana by Susanna Kearsley – not her very best however I did really enjoy it. I really look forward to your thoughts on the Firebird I haven’t read it but I’ve heard it listed as one of Kearsley’s best.

I had a good month in April even though it seemed to fly by! I read my average 4 books and my favourite has to be the science-fiction drama The Martian by Andy Weir. I hope you have another great month in May :-)


May 2, 2016, 4:31 pm

You got a lot of reading done in April, more than lately. Good job! Happy May!

Tracy Terry

May 3, 2016, 3:59 pm

Ooh, loving the look of The Darkest Part of The Forest.


May 24, 2016, 9:58 am

Jessica: Yes; from where I am – far behind you at only one book read (it’s your reviews that made me get myself into gear and read her) – I’m thinking if Mariana was as good as it was her later books must be even better. I hope to read Firebird soon; it seems it’s not quite standalone (I think you’ve read the ‘first’ one?) but hopefully not too much. Indeed, where did April go? (And where is May going, for that matter!) I’ve The Martian on my list.

Freda: Happy late May and June, Freda!

Tracy: It’s good. Not great, but then I’d say it depends on how many other books you’ve read that are similar (I found it weaker than some).



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