Sunday, January 30, 2022

Ten Books from my To Be Read Pile

There are far more than ten books on this pile, and plenty more which look great. I had reading commitments last year that I entirely failed to keep whilst readjusting to full-time work, and thanks to working in a bookshop I've acquired an actually horrifying number of new reading commitments. In an effort to get some sort of grip on this I've seriously curtailed my book-buying - unnecessary anyway because of the number of proofs and review copies coming through the door and plan a few round-ups of the best looking of them over the next few months. 

Shalimar by Davina Quinlivan is due out from Little Toller in March and is blessedly short so I have high hopes of reading it soon and quickly. It tells the story of Quinlivan's Anglo -Asian family in a blend of nature writing, magical realism, and memoir. All of that sounds brilliant to me. 

Jumping Jenny by Anthony Berkeley is one of the latest British Library Crime Classics. I liked the last Berkeley I read, I'm equally confident I'll like this one. I find it hard to go wrong with classic crime. Every few weeks I'll be in the mood for it, and it very rarely disappoints me. This one starts with a murder at a fancy dress party where the theme is murderers and their victims. I'm already intrigued.

The Word Hord by Hana Videen is an exploration of daily life in old English, and something I was given for Christmas, it's also a book I wanted. I've started following Hana Videen and her @OEWordhord account on twitter as preparation/encouragement to actually read it rather than leaving it lying around where it does, both in my opinion and social circles, look really cool. 

Latchkey Ladies by Marjorie Grant is just out from Handheld Press. I've been particularly excited to read this ever since 'Dreaming of Rose' where it's mentioned at length. Four women living in London at the end of World War I treading a fine line between independence and disaster - I'm expecting big things. 

Foula, Island West if the Sun - Sheila Gear. I was sent from Northus well before Christmas, and still, in my head think it's only just arrived. I'm going to start taking it to work with me. Foula is an island off the west coast of Shetland that fascinates me, and this book, first published in 1983 will be a mix of nostalgia for the Shetland I remember and interest for an island that's always been on the horizon but I've never visited. 

Aurochs and Auks - John Burnside. Essays on mortality and extinction - I started reading this a couple of months ago and thought it was extraordinary, then got swept up in other things. It's high on my list to finish. 

The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews looks set to be a biggish release in February. I got a proof, along with a colleague, through work. We both think it looks exceptional; "beguiling tale(s) of superstition, myth, and murder" strongly appeal to us. It's one of a handful of very promising books for this year I've got my hands on.

Wild and Wicked things by Francesca May is another one of these, it comes out at the end of March. It is apparently The Great Gatsby meets Practical magic in a lush, decadent gothic novel. It's also set near Whitby (unlike The Great Gatsby) and has plenty of queer characters. Francesca May is Derby based, so practically local, the first few chapters were promising and I'm looking forward to reading more.

The Winter Gust by W.C. Ryan is already out and getting excellent reviews, again the first few chapters are really promising. It's set in Ireland in 1921 against a backdrop of the troubles. So far I've only really read fiction by Molly Keane and Elizabeth Bowen that touches on this, another reason to be interested in seeing what Ryan will do with the subject. 

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman came out this week and is last but by no means least on this list. When I got the books together the other day this was the one I picked off the pile first, partly because of the lush cover design. I would have posted this on Friday if I hadn't started reading. I think this book deserves to be big, there will be a proper review of it really soon.

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