My usual reviews of world culture resume later this week.

Meanwhile, this month seems to be a month of reading challenges. Luckily (in this one very small sense at least), we have a month of lockdown in the UK, and I’m also on holiday from work for some of it, with nowhere to go.


Peak book nerdery: Books sorted into vague categories, with overlapping ones applicable to more than one 🙂

For Novella November (#novnov), hosted by @bookishbeck and @cathy746books, I’ve selected:

  • Weather by Jennifer Offill – I loved the Debt of Speculation and am looking forward to this. ☑
  • A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar (non-fiction, so I guess not technically a novella, but it is short! – on Kindle so not pictured in my photo) – a memoir by the prize-winning author, ostensibly about looking at paintings in Italy. ☑
  • A Life of One’s Own by Marion Miller – a bit of a random find, mentioned in an art book I read, published in the first part of the 20th century, it’s an account of a seven-year personal journey to discover what it is that makes her (and maybe us!) happy.
  • The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera – dystopian/speculative fic from Mexico. ☑
  • Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys – the classic tale of drifting and drinking in Paris. ☑
  • A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen – recommended by my daughter who’s doing this for A level. ☑

For Nonfiction November (#NonfictionNovember, #Nonficnov), hosted by a few people, I think @shelfaware, @abookolive, @julzreads, @doingdewey, and @what’snonfiction, I’ve selected:

  • Lost Art edited by Jennifer Mundy – discusses many works of art that have disappeared, been destroyed or simply been intended to be transient, predominantly over the 20th century, with a couple of pages dedicated to each work or artist. ☑
  • A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar (doubling up!) ☑
  • The Five by Hallie Baillie – buzzy social history about the victims of Jack the Ripper.
  • A Life of One’s Own by Marion Miller (also doubling up)
  • Modern Nature by Derek Jarman.

For Reading Australia month (#AusReadingMonth) hosted by @Brona’sbooks I have:

  • Flames by Robbie Arnott, described as “a mad, wild debut novel, roughhewn from the Tasmanian landscape and imbued with the folkloric magic of the oldest fireside storytellers”. ☑
  • Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill (recommended by my friend David), described as “a satirical, funny alternative history to Australian literature” (which could also work for Nonfiction November).

For German Lit Month (#germanlitmonth) hosted by @lizziesiddal I have:

  • You Should have Left by Daniel Tyll (not pictured, as it’s in the post!) which sounds like a psychological/gothic horror with a touch of The Shining about it.

For Margaret Atwood Month (#MARM) I have:

  • Hagseed by erm Margaret Atwood, a retelling of The Tempest.

And additionally I have:

  • The Women by T C Boyle, a fictionalised account of the personal life and colourful love life of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley (for my RL book club, not that we can meet up, and zoom just reminds of bloody work meetings) – described as the “feel good read of 2020”.

plus two audio books:

  • Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers: a light novel, about an apparent virgin birth. ☑
  • Ramble Book by Adam Buxton “Musings on childhood, friendship, family and ’80s pop culture” by the very funny if faintly narcissistic Buxton, who’s also a massive Bowie fan like me.

If I get through all these it’ll be a miracle, but we’ll see!

Filmwise, I’m absorbed in the Africa in Motion Film Festival 2020, and in terms of art I’m making a last-minute pre-lockdown trip to Tate Modern, and flicking through photography books. I also have a shiny new bike that I’ll be taking to the park, if my bad shoulder permits.

Also watching telly with my tween and/or two teens (currently on the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost vehicle Truth Seekers, after whipping through a couple of series of Misifts from around 2010 – but we’ve lost conviction now we know the fabulous Nathan, played by Robert Sheehan, leaves in season 3 – and also loving Bake Off and Taskmaster for cosiness and laughs).

Join the Conversation


  1. I saw it recommended by Daisy Johnson in the Guardian at the weekend, it sounded interesting, though my delivery is due to take a while so hope it arrives in time… I don’t read much German fiction, your challenge has got me reading more.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: