August is my birthday month (I had a lovely day) and also school exam results month (my youngest child attained his place at university) so as a family we have been celebrating. Having reached month’s end this is also the end of summer, although I still have a couple of weeks with all my children home before they disperse, each to a different UK capital city to continue with their studies. I anticipate quieter times ahead.
I was offered a new opportunity early in the month when a producer from my local radio station, BBC Wiltshire, contacted me to ask if I would like to come into their studio in Swindon once a week to recommend a summer read to listeners of the afternoon show. How could I refuse? You may read about, and listen if interested, to my five guest slots by clicking the following links.
The 15 books I read in August proved a mixed success in terms of enjoyment, the smaller presses mostly outperforming the larger houses.
A note on this next book…
I had a ticket to a sold out event in Bath, part of Patrick Gale’s latest tour, but offered it back to the bookshop when I realised his latest story wasn’t for me. I hoped that a more appreciative attendee could go along and perhaps buy the book – better for all concerned. In doing this I discovered that the bookshop runs a waiting list – worth knowing if you can’t or no longer wish to attend a popular event.
I reviewed two books in the Canongate Myths series for Bookmunch. The latter proved not to be what I had expected, and not in a good way.
I will be attending the Debut Authors event at the Marlborough Literature Festival next month so borrowed (and enjoyed) the books to be discussed from local libraries.
Salt kindly sent me their 2018 short story collection, edited by Nicholas Royle and offering a fine taster of current work in the form. I had only read a couple of these stories previously, in author collections. I do enjoy short stories and must read more of those currently languishing on my TBR mountain.
I also enjoyed three poetry collections. I would happily take more of these.
What Are You After? by Josephine Corcoran, published by Nine Arches Press
Certain Manoeuvres by Lydia Unsworth, published by The Knives Forks And Spoons Press
Circling for Gods by Jo Burns, published by Eyewear Publishing
I posted two interviews that other sites did with me.
Judging the writing competition referred to in that second interview will likely keep me busy throughout September, limiting my other reading. My blog may appear unusually quiet.
Finally, as a judge for last year’s Guardian Not the Booker Prize, I and my fellow judges were asked to nominate a wildcard choice to complete their shortlist. We opted for Three Dreams in the Key of G by Marc Nash, published by Dead Ink. If you are following the prize and read the book do let me know your thoughts.
As ever I wish to thank the publishers who send me their titles to review – the arrival of a book parcel makes my day.
My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your support is always appreciated.