I am all too aware that this past year of curtailed freedoms has revealed in me a seam of negativity I am not proud of. I am one of the lucky ones, living as I do in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside with my little family around me, in a home that has space for us to mingle or enjoy privacy as desired.
With the welcome arrival of Spring I have been working this month on keeping up spirits. This has been helped by my ability to return to a greater level of outdoor activity as my foot injuries continue to heal. I have cycled hundreds of kilometers around our local network of lanes. I have returned to running regularly albeit slowly and over shorter distances as I rebuild muscle and stamina. I cannot yet walk far and miss my wanders across fields but remain hopeful this will return eventually.
I marked the first anniversary of lockdown by writing about the weekend it all kicked off. My musings on a year of plague were posted as A Year Ago This Weekend. Given that I have taken to using my monthly roundups as a sort of diary update, this post had little new to offer regular readers but it helped me to write about what happened and then put it behind me.
The toll on mental health is now being more widely acknowledged. Dan Coxon, editor at Unsung Stories, provided me with a guest post – Darkness and Light – in which he wrote about a new short story anthology the press will publish later this year in collaboration with the charity, Together for Mental Wellbeing. Funds have been raised via Kickstarter, with stretch targets going towards additional stories from some fine writers. If interested, do check this out.
I reviewed 15 books this month – a good mix of genres and form including a few translated works. Robyn added a further 9 reviews.
As ever in these monthly posts, click on the title below to read the review and on the cover to learn more about the book.
Common Ground by Naomi Ishiguru, published by Tinder Press
Butterfly Wings by Rosa Aneiros (translated by Jonathan Dunne), published by Small Stations Press
Interlinked Short Stories
The Last Resort by Jan Carson, published by Doubleday Ireland
The Last Bear by Hannah Gold, published by Harper Collins
Long Form Poetry
Spring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs, published by CBeditions
The Silent Letter by Jaume Subriana (translated by Christopher Whyte), published by d’estampa press
The Future of You by Tracey Follows, published by Elliott & Thompson
Translated Non Fiction
Fragments of Infinite Memory by Maël Renouard (translated by Peter Behrman de Sinéty), published by New York Review Books
Simple Passion by Annie Ernaux (translated by Tanya Leslie), published by Fitzcarraldo Editions
The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox, published by Penguin Random House
Sourcing the books
Robyn is on Netgalley and is grateful for all approvals of titles requested. She also purchased or received quite a number of hard copies this month, including several special editions from her Illumicrate and Goldsboro Books subscriptions.
I had a bumper book post month, including new releases from favourite authors and small presses.
As ever I wish to thank all 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.
And to everyone reading this, I wish you and yours good health and as much mental stability as can be mustered in these challenging times. May we strive, at all times, to be kind xx