I’ve always loved reading – when I was younger, I used to walk along with my nose stuck in a book (which is a generally unsafe way of walking and not one I would recommend). There was also an incident on the school bus where I was so busy reading I didn’t notice how quickly the driver was taking corners, so subsequently fell out of my seat. Twice.
Our bookshelves are stuffed with an eclectic selection, and when I find a book I like, I tend to read it over and over again, but I’m also trying to branch out with new and new-to-me authors. With a teeny child to look after, getting enough time to myself to read can be hard, so I’m also working my way through some audiobooks.
What I’ve been reading recently
The Kate Shackleton mysteries by Frances Brody – set in Yorkshire in the 1920s, Kate Shackleton is a private detective who solves a series of complex murders. A bit like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries in book form, these are inventive, comforting and easy to read.
The Daisy Dalrymple mysteries by Carola Dunn – similar to the Kate Shackleton series in that they both feature women in the 1920s, Daisy lives in London and stumbles onto mysteries and murder on a worryingly regular basis. Again, a bit like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, this series is inventive and easy to read.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Atkinson – different to a lot of other Kate Atkinson books I’ve read, this jumps backwards and forwards in time and
The Sutton series (I’ll Bring you Buttercups, Daisychain Summer, Where Bluebells Chime, Windflower Wedding and The Linden Walk) by Elizabeth Elgin – a comforting series that my gran introduced me to more than 20 years ago, I bought most of these on eBay and am in the middle of re-reading them. I know exactly what happens and there are no surprises, but (most of) the characters are the sort of people I’d like to be friends with, and on bad days I want to climb in through the pages and live in these books.
Circe by Madeline Miller – I didn’t know a lot about Circe from Greek mythology before I read this book, but once I’d read it I wanted to find out everything I could. Have you ever read a book that you couldn’t stop thinking about at work, and read while eating your dinner, getting sauce and crumbs everywhere? Yeah, that.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – I went about this in a completely odd way, listening to the radio adaptation first, then watching the TV show, then reading the book. Oh it’s good. Feauturing an angel, a demon (well, a few of those actually), the antichrist and armageddon, it’s sharp and funny, and it’s another book that I basically inhaled.
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes – a retelling of the Trojan War from women’s perspective, this is brilliant. It’s clever, powerful and heartbreaking, and it’s a story that stayed with me long after I finished the book.
The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan – this book is beautiful, heartbreaking and life-affirming. I didn’t know the subject matter when I picked it up (I’m a huge fan of The Keeper of Lost Things, Ruth’s earlier book), but it came into my life at exactly the right time, and helped me deal with Dorothy’s death.
What I’m listening to
Mythos by Stephen Fry and Heroes by Stephen Fry – I go through stages of things I’m obsessed with, and at the moment it appears to be Greek mythology. Mythos is the story of Greek gods and goddesses and Heroes is, as you’d expect, the story of heroes. The stories are compelling and Stephen Fry’s voice is the most soothing of things.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams – I’ve wanted to read this for SO long, but was worried I wouldn’t be able to give it the attention it deserved. I was so pleased to see it on the BBC Sounds app yesterday; I’ve already listened to three episodes and it’s funny, smart and surprisingly moving. (I already want to give Queenie a hug and punch her ex-boyfriend on the nose, very hard).
Natalie Haynes Stands up for the Classics by Natalie Haynes – this is cheating a bit, as it’s actually a Radio 4 comedy, but I’ve got it on Audible, so I’m counting it. Natalie Haynes uses her extensive knowledge of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece to take you on a 30-minute, whistle-stop tour of their lives (each episode is dedicated to one person). It’s ace.
Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian – another book that I’ve read many, many times (I think at least once a year since I was 10), I’ve currently got the audiobook version to listen to on walks with Teddy. A story of an evacuee called William who moves in with Mr Tom, I’ve read this book so many times I can say the lines along with the narrator, and on sleep-deprived days that’s just what I need.
What are you reading/listening to right now?