May has sort of snuck up on me while I wasn’t really paying attention. Today (Friday morning that is) I was writing the date at work and I realised April had finished, I was astounded, where had it all gone? The first week and a half of April I was on holiday from work, and I think I only really started thinking about it actually being April when I got back to work – which is why it feels like it’s ended sooner than I was expecting.
These are my highlights of the month:
Looking back over the month I see I have read some really great books, I am a little disappointed that I didn’t get a little more read considering that holiday – but I was so busy running around and having a lovely time that I didn’t actually read any more than I would when I am at work. However, as has been said many times before, quality over quantity! April began with a novella; Passing by Nella Larsen, a powerful work from the 1920’s about class and racial identity in America’s Harlem. I have the second novella Quicksand to read soon and based on Passing I am very much looking forward to it. Next I read Elizabeth is Missing, a debut novel longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize, a novel much lauded on social media – it is a poignant exploration of ageing and dementia. I recommended it to my mum and she downloaded it to her brand new kindle and really enjoyed it. To the North by Elizabeth Bowen was read in company with a couple of friends from an Elizabeth Bowen Facebook group, it is an extraordinarily beautiful novel, certainly one of her best. It seems as if almost everyone is reading Elena Ferrante at the moment, and although I am often a little put off the books everyone else is reading (for no good reason that I can think of) I bought myself a copy to find out what the all fuss is, I thoroughly enjoyed My Brilliant Friend, and will be starting on the second book very soon – possibly over this weekend. The Cornish Coast Murder provided me with a delicious little slice of atmospheric vintage murder mystery – reminding me in fact how very many of those kinds of novels I actually have waiting TBR.
A review copy of a large Pamela Hansford Johnson biography kept me enthralled over one very lazy weekend – when I did very little but read (bliss) and certainly whetted my appetite for reading more PHJ novels soon – I am so glad the wonderful Bello books have seen fit to re-issue her novels. If only Bello could do the same for Mary Hocking *sigh* – March House by Mary Hocking was next, a really interesting novel, it is subtle and cleverly dreamlike at times. Summer by Edith Wharton was just a joy of a read, such a beautifully rendered novel, set within a rural community – it is a novel similar in tone and style to the wonderful Ethan Frome. Next I half read and was defeated by The Yellow House, a book group read an experience I have already talked about before, I do hate not finishing a book – but really sometimes life is just too short. The Evening Chorus was a brand new hardback I bought on a whim, based purely on my love of Helen Humphrey’ s small non-fiction book The Frozen Thames – I shall now have to read all her books I suspect, The Evening Chorus which I have yet to review – was a joy of a novel, I finished with a lump in my throat.
I have also managed to read two of my little black penguins – The Old Man of the Moon by Shen Fu – which I may get around to reviewing one day alongside other LBP’s and Emily Bronte’s poems in The Night is Darkening Round me, which I already sort of mentioned in a previous post.
So May has already begun, and I am well into The Young Pretenders by Edith Henrietta Fowler – a Persephone book, and one of the books off the Seven Ages of Women list which I have sadly neglected. It is wonderful, I love books with lovable, memorable child characters and the children Babs and Teddy in this wonderful novel originally published in 1895 are adorable. Up next might be The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante – but these days I select my next read very much according to mood – so who knows. Books I shall probably be reading in May include The World’s Wife – poetry by Carol Ann Duffy and The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood – both for book groups, and The White Monkey by John Galsworthy for my Forsyte Saga reading.