Friday 3 March 2017

Monthly Muse

Monthy Muse

I know February is a shorter month, but that went past in a flash! This is what I had managed to read:

Four were outstanding; Good Omens, The Apple Orchard A Tale of Trees and The Rule of the Land. All very different books that show how rich and varied our publishing industry is. Pete Brown writes with such wit and aplomb about these little parcels of land that have such an autumn bounty. Garret Carr teases out the stories from a troubled border, and Good Omens is an insane romp at the possible end of the world. I really enjoyed Hidden Histories too; it is a guide on the lumps and bumps that appear in fields all-around the country, and how to interpret what they mean.

Wellcome Prize
This is a prize that focuses on a common theme centred on medicine or health issues. But rather than just a non-fiction remit, it encompasses a wide range of fiction genres too, including science fiction. This year’s longlist was:

How to Survive a Plague by David France
Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal trans. Jessica Moore
The Golden Age by Joan London
Cure by Jo Marchant
The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford
Miss Jane by Brad Watson
I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong

I had agreed to read and review for nb Magazine the seven non-fiction books on the list; thankfully I had already read two of them and had others at home. The library came up trumps once again, and I managed to get hold of the three missing books very quickly. So far they have all been good. I am halfway through the penultimate one, but so far my favourite is I Contain Multitudes.

World From My Armchair Challenge
So far I have read eight books towards this, helped by some of the books from the Stanford Dolman shortlists. Countries ‘visited’ so far are Bhutan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Iran, Ireland, Peru and the USA and I have crossed the Pacific Ocean in the company of Sarah Outen. It is good to see another people’s perspective. I am currently reading the new book by Reza Pakravan, Kapp to Cape which will add another country in this month. On target to do my 45 or so this year.

I have been trying to catch up on the review copies that publishers have kindly sent me, and failing mostly. So I am aiming to make serious roads into my backlog in March. Oh, and I am off to the London Book Fair on the 16th. Looking forward to it; it is going to be good to meet some people that I have corresponded with over the past year.

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