Monthly Roundup – November 2019

November on social media has seen the emergence of annual lists and memes of personal achievements, along with their naysayers. I haven’t taken part. I looked at photos of me taken in 2009 and 2019 and concluded that I look much the same, just older as expected. I thought of the many things I have done over the past ten years and these largely involved my three children – they own their achievements. I have read many books and written many words but this is hardly noteworthy – it is what I do. I live a quiet life and very much hope this continues.

One highlight of this past month was a rather damp weekend in Cardiff where I spent time with my student son. While there I completed week four of the ‘couch to 5k’ running program. I am still strength training at the gym and the weights I shift are gradually increasing. Small steps to meet personal goals that affect only me.

I was tempted by two literary events, both to be held in Bath. One disappeared from the bookshop website before I could book a ticket – I have no idea if it was cancelled. The other event didn’t offer a no book ticket option and, as a family, we already have at least three copies – for the talk alone it was too expensive to justify. Thus my event hiatus continues.

It has been a mixed month in terms of reading. I posted reviews of twelve books – eight fiction and four non fiction (one translated) – of which two were originally written for Bookmunch. If you wish to check out my November reviews click on the title below. Click on a cover to learn more about the book.



These two books did not work for me. Beautiful Place is set in Sri Lanka and The Frequency of Magic in Trinidad. Neither place is written about in a way that would encourage me to visit. Too many of the characters were unremittingly unpleasant. I found the second book so unpalatable I DNF’d it after getting a third of the way through.

Beautiful Place by Amanthi Harris, published by Salt
The Frequency of Magic by Anthony Joseph, published by Peepal Tree Press

These next two books provided much good reading but were not entirely satisfactory – interesting concepts that weren’t always presented in a compelling enough way.

The Faculty of Indifference by Guy Ware, published by Salt
Mud by Chris McCabe, published by Henningham Family Press

Two very different books and I enjoyed both. The first is a picture book exploring how to deal with unhappiness. The second is an imaginative and chilling horror story with an underlying exploration of what horror is in reality.

She Ran Away From Love by Mawson, published by Odyssey Books
Judderman by D.A. Northwood, published by Dead Ink Press

I reviewed The Starless Sea for Bookmunch – fabulous storytelling. The Lighthouse is a much shorter book, which for me is always a plus, and was excellent. These are two of my three contenders for Book of the Month.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, published by Harvill Secker
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore, published by Salt

Non Fiction

In these two books the author explores a place and what it means to them. The first was interesting if perplexing – why would anyone choose to put themselves through such an experience? The second book I adored – the writing and the artwork. Highly recommended.

A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter (translated by Jane Degras), published by Pushkin Press
The White Heron Beneath the Reactor by Gary Budden, with artwork by Maxim Griffin

I enjoyed both of these final two titles. The first is a beautifully illustrated memoir that I reviewed for Bookmunch. The second details fifty important mathematical breakthroughs in an accessible and entertaining format. Do check them out.

Time for Lights Out by Raymond Briggs, published by Jonathan Cape
Fibonacci’s Rabbits by Adam Hart-Davies, published by Modern Books


As ever I wish to thank the publishers who send me their titles to review – the arrival of a book parcel remains a cheering event in my day.

My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your continuing support is always appreciated.

2 comments on “Monthly Roundup – November 2019

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    I love your modesty – so rare and refreshing. But, as you know, your words, your reading and reviewing, do not go unnoticed!

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