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October 2016 Reading Round-Up

Last time I said it was likely I would read more books in October than I had in September. And I did. I’m rather happy about that. I know on Twitter I’ve been saying I had 10 books to read – I did, just that I had a little more time than I’d thought for some of them and managed to finish some in September, so there isn’t 10 here. Anyway, this month has been one of if not the busiest, mentally, of my life. A ton of promotion for the first In Conversation event – as you may now know there will indeed be a second; we’ve Elizabeth Fremantle joining us in Southampton on 24th November – and a whole lot of reading. I feel like there was a reading slump involved at some point but this was one of those times where I absolutely had to read so it happened.

The Books

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Dan Richards: The Beechwood Airship Interviews – Whilst studying for his MA, Dan decides to create a decorative zeppelin for his student union bar and as he starts the process he considers the relationship between artist and their space which leads him to interview various well-known people. A great book that defies categorisation.


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Alan Titchmarsh: Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour – When his wife dies, Tim decides to go on a few months’ long trip to continental Europe to take the sort of journey he’d always wanted to go on in his youth. There are a lot of devices and some repetition, but this is a lovely book full of summer. (My non-British readers may be interested to know that Titchmarsh is first and foremost a household name here due to his career as a TV gardener. His show was one of, if not the first, reality makeover series on our televisions.)

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Jo Bartlett: Somebody Else’s Boy – When his wife dies in an accident at the theatre where she worked, Jack decides to move to the coastal town they both liked and in doing so he meets drama teacher, Nancy. Predictable in that good comfort-read way but a bit tell-rather-than-show.

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Kate Walker: Indebted To Moreno – Rose left Nairo’s squat a decade ago, thinking he was a drug dealer, and when he shows up at her bridal store as a rich customer the real story starts to unravel. Including a sensitive look at anorexia, this is a pretty fair book.

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Keith Stuart: A Boy Made Of Blocks – Alex has found relating to and dealing with his autistic son difficult and as the family reaches breaking point, young Sam discovers the video game, Minecraft, which Alex starts to find may be key to healing the rifts. A superb story with keen writing and a lot of heart, this book can be considered semi-autobiographical (the author is in the same position as main character, Alex) and is a lot of fun.

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Kirsty Moseley: Worth Fighting For – When Ellie’s parents are involved in a car crash she leaves her new home in Britain to return to America and the boy who broke up with her three years before. Not a bad book but suffers from an overly oblivious heroine and a bit of info-dump.

Looking just at the books here, both The Beechwood Airship Interviews and A Boy Made Of Blocks were a joy to read. Stuart’s book finds me in a new situation: I’m aware that some of the references to Minecraft are not factually correct (which is odd when he’s a gamer by trade) but it’s such a wonderful book with an important message and lessons that I want to make it one of my ‘best of 2016′ books despite that. I’ll probably be thinking on it for a while longer. The Richards might make the list too, but I think one bent rule is enough for one year (to have two of Richards’ books would set a precedent).

Quotation Report

Getting beer in stock either for the babysitter or the kids is absolutely fine when you’re absolutely desperate for time away with your wife, or, at least, so thinks Matt from A Boy Made Of Blocks.

November’s looking pretty busy too!

How was your October?



November 2, 2016, 2:15 pm

Nice to see you’ve picked up the pace! Well done! Happy November!


November 4, 2016, 7:33 pm

It is great to hear your reading was up in October, so was mine :-D


November 12, 2016, 9:55 am

Freda: Thanks! Hope you’re having a good November :)

Jessica: :D It’s that autumn thing again I think!



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