Don’t worry, these books aren’t being mistreated – as always my garden provided the perfect backdrop to the photos.

For one reason or another I read mostly on Kindle these days, so it’s a perfect excuse to share my recent unusual paperback and hardback purchases. A spending splurge in the past weeks has seen me with a pile of seven pristine books. Don’t they all look so tempting!?

Although I must admit, I’ve delved into a couple, most are unread and I thought I’d write a bit about the reason for the purchase as well as including the blurb from each. Enjoy!

Three acquisitions followed encounters with the authors and it was an honour and delight to meet them all. Furthermore, who doesn’t love autographed books with a personal slant!

Elisabeth’s Lists by Lulah Ellender        Still to Read

4DA92A22-4DC9-414A-941D-9039485E257FIt was a pleasure to chat briefly to Lulah after her talk along with her agent and publisher during the Essex Book Festival. There is an increasing trend for fictional biographies and this book slots neatly into that genre. Reading about Elisabeth’s Lists I just had to listen to Lulah’s talk about her journey to publication. A journey that became increasingly fraught and heartfelt as she faced the loss of her mother.

On the face of it, Elisabeth’s lists seemed rather ordinary – shopping lists, items to be packed for a foreign trip, a tally of the eggs laid by her hens. But from these everyday fragments, Lulah began to weave together the extraordinary life of the grandmother she never knew – a life lived in the most rarefied and glamorous of circles, from Elisabeth’s early years as an ambassador’s daughter in 1930s China, to her marriage to a British diplomat and postings in Madrid under Franco’s regime, post-war Beirut, Rio de Janeiro and Paris. But it was also a life of stark contrasts – between the opulent excess of embassy banquets and the deprivations of wartime rationing in England, between the unfailing charm she displayed in public and the dark depressions that blanketed her in private, between her great appetite for life and her sudden, early death.

Disposal by David Evans     Still to Read

462462BC-095D-4FD9-B199-C55F255F92CFMy writing group was lucky to have David Evans come and chat to us about his writing and to listen to our work. Following an interesting and productive morning, I  bought one of his books but was warned NOT to read on a plane if I was a nervous flyer! (I am!)

August 1976 and it seems as though the long hot summer will never end. Early morning at Clacton on the north Essex coast, a light aircraft takes off from the airstrip but struggles for height and crashes into the sea. First on the scene, Sgt Cyril Claydon pulls the pilot’s body from the wreckage. But something else catches his eye. A bulky package wrapped in black plastic is on the passenger seat. Returning to investigate, he makes a grim discovery – another body. And so begins a series of events that puts him and others in danger as he is drawn into the investigation, having to work alongside DI ‘Dick’ Barton, a man with totally alien attitudes. Can they work together?

Sleeping Through War  Jackie Carreira     Still to Read

6BEBB457-8C0A-4320-82C5-5C69FBC35966Being advised by a fellow writer in the UK to do a book signing event in a bookshop I decided to visit one first. Having read about Jackie’s Carriera’s book I couldn’t wait to meet the author. We had a lovely long chat, discussing at length the events in 1968, glancing through a folder of newspaper front pages from the year (great tip!) and discussing her thoughts behind the book. A chap from Holland joined our conversation and I feel this was a meeting that could have lasted for hours.

Set against the backdrop of real, world-changing events, these are the stories that are forgotten in the history books.

The year is 1968 and the world is changing forever. During the month of May, students are rioting and workers are striking across the globe, civil rights are being fought and died for, nuclear bombs are being tested, there are major conflicts on every continent, and war is raging in Vietnam. Against this volatile background, three women strive to keep everything together.

Rose must keep her dignity and compassion as a West Indian nurse in East London. Amalia must keep hoping that her son can escape their seedy life in Lisbon. And Mrs Johnson in Washington DC must keep writing to her son in Vietnam. She has no-one else to talk to. Three different women, three different countries, but all striving to survive – a courageous attitude that everybody can relate to.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman    Read

4219620A-4FEE-4BF3-906B-D934EAA28E95I’d seen but steered clear of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine for months. The title and hype alone made me unsure and I was not enamoured by the blurb. Then I read yet one more glowing review and I succumbed! During the first couple of chapters I nearly gave up but I’m glad I persevered as I’d have missed out on a terrific novel.

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live.

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

The Old Man and the Sea
by  Ernest Hemingway        Read

F139C29B-2652-42DB-B628-FDF4FAEE2B7BI was intrigued by this book after reading a review by Robbie (which can be seen here). The very same day I found myself  in a book shop. I wholeheartedly concur with Robbie’s passionate review and must agree that ‘The Old Man and the Sea is one of the most amazing books I have ever read.’ I can’t wait to reread it soon!

The last novel Ernest Hemingway saw published, The Old Man and the Sea has proved itself to be one of the enduring works of American fiction. It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.

86490ABE-6ED6-40D7-AE9A-788BCE46B62BThe Scandal by Fredrik Backman     Read

Wow! Double and triple Wow! This is a masterpiece. I have just finished the book and am blown away by the writing, the concept, the story, the characters. It is a literary tour de force and a huge step up from his other books. I was hooked, in awe, shocked, moved. A brilliant study of human psyche.

My only bugbear is how the title has been changed! Sold in America as Beartown (which is the direct translation from the original Swedish), it is currently being marketed in the UK as The Scandal. The change seems totally unnecessary!

As an aside, the other day I noticed NetGalley were offering pre-release copies of his latest book out in June entitled Us Against You, also set in Beartown. Not having much hope, I applied to read and review it – imagine my yelp of joy when I was notified I’d been accepted. This is now my next read!

In a large Swedish forest Beartown hides a dark secret . . .

Cut-off from everywhere else it experiences the kind of isolation that tears people apart.

And each year more and more of the town is swallowed by the forest.

Then the town is offered a bright new future.

But it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act.

It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who’ll risk the future to see justice done.

Who will speak up?

Could you stand by and stay silent?

Or would you risk everything for justice?

Which side would you be on?

The Joy of Mindful Writing by
Joy Keyword     Still to finish 

7DD660EF-989A-4729-9AB0-39AAB217662EMy head seems to be spinning with the everyday at the moment and at times I feel as if my creativity is being swamped with ‘things’. This book title spoke directly to me with not only promising to find the joy of writing once again, but also inspire creative awareness. Its dreamy idyllic image on the textured hardback cover, with the old-time single-colour spine proved irresistible . I still have to try any of the exercises but have found the ideas and questions poised thought-provoking … I just had’t realised I needed to set time aside to write! I will get to it, I’m sure!

Embrace the process of writing and the rich potential of conscious creativity and mindfulness with this enlightening insight into mindful writing. Exploring how writing mindfully can create deeper connections with your words, your characters, and yourself, this carefully crafted manual invites you to embrace the writing process as much as the completed work; plotting out sparkling stories with a Zen-like awareness. Through meditative exercises, engaging anecdotes, and astute notes on perception, imagination, and focus, author helps you to flow, flourish and lose yourself in writing. Containing 20 mindful writing exercises, this unique guide explores how conscious writing creates mindful awareness, offering a fresh angle on shifting writer’s block.

Havey you read any of these, and if so, what are your thoughts on them? Are you enticed by the descriptions to buy any of these books? Have you had an opportunity to splash out on books recently? What tempted you? And why? I look forward to all your comments; it’s a brilliant excuse to chat all about books!

148 thoughts on “BOOKS IN THE SHINGLE

  1. Pingback: Elisabeth’s Lists: A Book Review – Annika Perry's Writing Blog

    1. Hemmingway’s book is a classic and I’m ashamed I haven’t read it until now! I haven’t read any of Mankell’s books but saw a fantastic interview with him … fascinating. Great that the title remained the same!

  2. These all look wonderful; I’m eyeing the mindful writer one myself 😀 There’s nothing quite like coming home with brand-new books, is there? And I love being able to talk to the authors and find out what inspired them to write their book(s).

    Still playing catch up! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Julie, you’re all caught up with me!! 😀 It still feels so speical for me to return home with new books, taking them carefully out of the bag, reading through them a bit! To talk to the actual writers is a real treat – and very inspiring! It’s been a wonderfully warm and summery weekend here – hope you’ve had a lovely couple of days break! xx

  3. Quite a collection of books, Annika! They sound intriguing. I have so many books on my TBR list right now that it will be a year before I finish them all. I receive a few free books a week from authors. It’s difficult to keep up. I’ll do my best! Thanks for sharing all your reads. 😘🤗

    1. Janice, it is lovely having books waiting to be read but it can also be a bit stressful! 😀 I wish you luck and fun with your TBR list … I look at my collection here and it is a treat to see them, glance through them… some read, other waiting patiently! Happy Reading, my friend! xx

  4. I loved the way you described the books and the way that you’ve come to encounter them Annika. I haven’t read any, but some sound very interesting. I haven’t read the Art of Mindful Writing but I have recently read the Art of Mindful Birdwatching – they must be a series as the binding and design is exactly the same!

    1. Andrea, what a lovely surprise to see that there is a series of these books and thank you so much for mentioning the Art of Mindful Birdwatching. I have a friend who enjoys watching birds in their garden and this would make a perfect gift!!

      I’ve always written where, why and when I bought books inside them since young and if gifted any, asked the sender to do likewise … this post is a fun extension of that habit! So happy you enjoyed reading about my book buying spree! 😀

  5. How lovely to splurge on print books! I’ve been tempted to pick up Eleanor Oliphant and haven’t yet. Your review convinced me to give it a shot. Enjoy your reading time, Annika, and thanks for sharing your book haul!

    1. Diana, I almost feel guilty writing about my book haul; is it too self-indulgent I fear! So glad you enjoyed the post and I’ve given you the impetus to give Eleanor Oliphant a go! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and find it a rewarding read! I wonder what is part of your book haul? Happy Reading and writing! Xx

  6. I can see dear Annika that your Summer reading material is all sorted, And when the Sun decides to shine through the clouds again that garden seat will we filled with Sun umbrella for shade, feet up, a soft drink as into oblivion you will go..

    Nothing like a good book, thank you for sharing these Annika.. And happy to be out of the weeds and back into my own world of words again for a short time and lovely to be here.. xxx ❤

    1. Sue, you know me too well!! 😀😀 That bench is particularly favoured for my breakfasts when reading a book, with my tea I will swing my legs up to the other arm and cosy up, disappearing into other worlds!

      I do like to be sorted with things and this includes my books … a treat to have all these waiting for me!

      It’s lovely to see you back here Sue and so happy your writing is going well. In between there is nothing quite so relaxing and therapeutic as reaching out for those weeds, clearing for flowers! Happy Gardening and Creating! ❤️

      1. I could picture you in my mind sitting there.. I have a two-seater swing, and often take up the same position.. 🙂
        And as you can guess, today its raining, so time to create a post I think for my garden blog today..
        I enjoyed time in the garden yesterday just BEing.. And thank you… So much.. Love and Hugs xx ❤

        1. Snap!! 😀. I have a two seater swing as well … a wooden one and it is effectively reserved for me as my husband gets the ‘swing’ part all wrong! I’m so happy about your day of BEing yesterday. Off to see an illustrator friend at a book signing today … trying to calm her nerves by saying us members of the public are equally nervous!

  7. What a great and diverse selection of books, Annika! There are several I’m intrigued by after reading your post. I must confess that Backman’s two books would be high on my list, but maybe I’ll buy them in Swedish when I’ll be in Stockholm later this summer.

    1. Helen, I’m impressed you can read just as easily in Swedish as in English! Maybe you left Sweden later than I did as a young child. I bet his books are great in the original … I’ve just started ‘Us Against You’ and want to be floored by it. Feel slightly ambivalent so far, it still refers to much of the story of Beartown … but this is just the start so I’ll happily continue! Have a brilliant time in Stockholm this summer – I’m looking forward to my usual long holiday in Sweden. Hopefully the super sunny and hot weather will last till then! Happy Weekend! Xx

      1. Hi Annika! Yes, I was over 30 when I left Stockholm. I’ll be there for the month of July and hope both of us will have nice weather – it’s 33C in Stockholm today, warmer than here 🙂 XXX

  8. I haven’t read any of these books yet but they sound fascinating! Though I never know if I should be happy or desperate to have to add new books to my TBR. 😂

    1. Sarah, I know the feeling … just keep adding new ones on and pick some from the list when you have a chance!! Sometimes a book will stand out and require immediate reading! 😀 📖

          1. This happens to me more often lately! It´s quite embarrassing for me actually as I used to be so punctual with the return! 😀 But I read so many books, I couldn’t possibly buy them all, and the fines are a small price to pay for that. 🙂

  9. “Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine” and “Beartown” are two of my favourite reads. So glad you got the chance to enjoy them. I’m reading “Us against you” in early June and I’m SO looking forward to it. ♥

    1. Snap! 😀 Lynne, I feel we very much like similar books and those two are terrific reads. I’m starting ‘Us Against You’ tonight … can’t wait. I look forward to your review about it – do let me know if I miss your post!

  10. Oh, that’s a lovely collection of books Annika. 🙂
    Reading on kindle is good but then once in a while (or a long while) I too, need the touch of paper flipping through my fingers. It just feels real. 😀
    However, kindle has helped me to read some of those books which are way to expensive to buy.
    Enjoy reading! 🙂

    1. Norma, there are pros and cons to both … mixing the two reading formats works best for me too! Happy Reading, my friend and thank you so much for your lovely comment! 😀🌻

  11. Annika, you never disappoint! Love the list. The Old Man and the Sea, an American classic, is assigned in school English classes and in college as well. Hemingway is the master as evident in his story. I was just thinking last evening, I need a few good books to read after having finished the pile at home. Have a wonderful weekend and week ahead.

    1. Mary Ann, I had no idea this Hemingway story was taught at school until this post … it is aan amazing book. Better late than never for me! I’m now eager to read some of his other books!😀 Maybe you were tempted by some of the books to make these your next reads? Wishing you a wonderful week filled with creativity! 🌺🌻

      1. I have ordered and read some of the books from time to time. Another batch slated to arrive in a couple days. Another classic taught is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Perhaps you have read that one. Several movies made too. Today is the Memorial Day holiday so I sat on the front porch trying to practice Balleikka for the Chorale concert on June 3. Sung in Tamil from a Bollywood movie. It goes at a whirlwind pace too. Sometimes without me. 🙂 We are rehearsing patriotic songs for the upcoming July concerts with the Pops chorus and orchestra. Thanks for the lovely comment and enjoy your week as well. Creativity reigns! 🙂

  12. ‘Sleeping through war’ appeals, Annika, and your last choice sounds interesting. I have read the Hemingway many years ago but think I should probably read it again. I’d probably appreciate it more now. 🙂 🙂

    1. Jo, it was special to meet the author and we ‘connected’ straightaway and had so many similar interests. I can’t wait to read Sleeping Through War either. The Joy of Mindful Writing on my desk and one I dip into when taking a pause from writing/editing! Enjoy Hemingway again – and I’m sure you’re right, you will appreciate it on a new level. I think I tried to read it years ago but gave up. Now I can’t wait to read more of his other books! Happy Reading! 😀📖

  13. All of these books sound interesting…I emailed your post link to myself (my way of stacking books of interest) I might take a look at the Joy Kenward book as I can borrow an ebook from the library. 🙂

    1. Janice, I have heard a few mentioning borrowing ebooks from the library and think this is a superb idea! They are trying it here in the UK but it has never taken off and the choice is limited. Do enjoy Kenward’s book – will you be more diligent than me and follow the exercises?! 😀

      Good idea about emailing yourself links – I started recently to safe them on ‘note’ app – many posts and other information websites stored there! Happy Writing! 🌸

      1. Just in the last year I have been enjoying two apps affiliated with our county library….they offer music, movies, and audiobooks as well as ebooks….I have a stash of lists in my Notes as well 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Clare! 😃 I”m glad you liked the inclusion of the blurbs as at one stage I was concerned it made the post overlong – but without it the books made no sense! Hope you’re having a beautiful sunny Sunday! 😀🌸

  14. Khaya Ronkainen

    Love this post, Annika! Thank you for sharing your reading experience and giving me a heads up that you’ll be posting about your reads. I’m impressed that you even thought of giving reasons for your purchases. It makes reading more personal, and not just ticking through the reading list. I’ll sure copy this when writing about my own reads. 🙂

    I agree with you, “The Old Man and the Sea has proved itself to be one of the enduring works of American fiction.” It’s one of the classics on my bookshelf. Your selection is fascinating, and all the ones you’ve read sound really good. But I’m more interesting in Fredrik Backman’s Beartown / The Scandal, for obvious reasons – Swedish setting.

    I enjoyed this chat about books, I’m hoping to keep up with the conversation on my blog during my reading months. 🙂 And oh, NetGallery sounds interesting too. Good for you!

    1. Khaya, thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I know you are busy and might not have seen my book post but since our posts were so similar I wanted to let you know. I do hope your book is on TBR list soon!

      Ever since I was young I’ve written my name, the reason for the purchase,where and when I bought a book, inside the actual book! My post here was an extension of this!

      I would love to know what you make of Beartown/The Scandal (oh, the latter irks me so!)? Would you read the English version? I think the isolated location is something you could identify with in Finland. I learnt a lot in this book and it is so compelling and brilliantly written.

      Happy Reading … and NetGalley is something I can recommend if you enjoy reviewing. I don’t do as many as most but they still seem happy! 😀

  15. i read and loved the Eleanor Oliphant book – right from the beginning. a great read. The Joy of Mindful Writing sounds interesting. i’m putting together a post for this week about pausing between big writing projects. like you, i often read on Kindle. it’s so quick and easy, although i much prefer a real book. thanks for the list. food for thought/reading.

    1. Libby, I’ve just come from you intersting post on taking a writing break – maybe The Joy of Mindful Writing would be a good pause between bigger projects! Good for you for enjoying Eleanor Oliphant’s book straightaway … I had no idea what to expect and realise now it is intentionally written in a flat blank manner … the author was brave and right to stick to it! Hope you’re having a chance to relax and refocus before your next project – and time to catch up on reading! xx

      1. good to hear from you, Annika. while having a break between big writing projects, i am working on small pieces also known as prose poems, micro fictions, flash, or sudden fiction. have had one accepted so far for publication in a literary journal in June/July. am thinking about putting together a book length collection, as have written others before, but that project doesn’t feel as worthwhile as another conventional narrative book. hard to know. the difference between the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘would like to’. anyway, good luck on your writing journey as always. xx

  16. Jeez, Annika, I want to add all of these to my TBR, but it’s so obese, I could only squeeze in two: Oliphant and Scandal. Thank goodness I’ve read and reread The Old Man and the Sea, because there’s no way I’d pass up a Hemingway. Isn’t it wonderful to have an actual pile of books waiting to be read? You can glance at them throughout the day, pick them up and flip through them, smell their newness… If I could afford it, I’d always buy paper instead eBooks ❤️

    1. Tina, how true that I do savour seeing these books piled up in the bedroom, pause to glance through one or another. It is very special indeed. My eyes are the main reason I read so much on Kindle – and ease of travelling with LOTS of books … but seeing the physical copies is always a joy! I hope you have a chance to read your favourites from my list soon. Maybe you can borrow the ebooks from the library? Happy Reading, my friend! ❤️ xx

  17. Love your reading list, and you’ve hooked me with 2 in particular – Scandal and Oliphant. I’m adding them to my next purchase list. Hope I get to them before I’m 80 LOLLLLLLLLLL 🙂 xx

    1. 😃😀 Debby, you have me chuckling … it’s an odd world when we become stressed about having so many great books to read!! I’m sure you’ll get to them … see if you can take very long break away with no writing or blogging! Wishing you a lovely Sunday! xx

  18. Hi Annika! Happy Friday!😊Very interesting and intriguing pile of books. I need to go to more of these book festivals. Thank you for the blurbs! Great post!

    1. Thank you, Vashti and a very Happy Friday to you too! 😃 This was the first time I’ve ever attended a book festival and it was very interesting and useful … I felt all grown-up! 😊 So glad you liked the blurbs – I dithered about this in case it became overlong but the books would not make sense otherwise, I felt. Have a lovely weekend. xx

  19. What a great list. I’m going to be on a train without Wifi for three days (unbelievable, innit?) so I’m looking for a big supply of reading material. These sound wonderful, Annika.

    1. My first reaction, was how will you survive?! 😃 Only kidding … as a techy person I imagine you depend on it quite a lot. That is a long train journey and sounds very exciting and a real adventure! Have a blissful time doing non-computer stuff and yes, pack lots of books!! I’m glad if the post gave you some pointers on new reading material. Happy Travels, Jacqui! 😃

  20. Thanks for sharing these fabulous books with us, Annika. A few more additions to my TBR list. It’s wonderful that you were able to meet so many of the authors. That’s awesome! 🙂

    1. Natalie, I’ve never done anything like this before but I really felt I had to go out and meet other writers at events! Hiding away is no good, I thought … then spent ages procrastinating before booking tickets! I’ve had a lot of fun chatting away, learning much in the process. It is hugely interesting and rewarding experience and my fear level will drop each time – I’m sure! Have you met any authors whilst out and about? Did you find it scary to start with? Happy Reading and wishing you a great weekend! 😃🌻

  21. A lovely selection of books Annika. There are just so many to read. I have stopped buying print books and read through our local library or on Kindle. I have LOTs lined up to read and review. I am well ahead with 29 out of 50 read for my Goodreads Challenge.

    1. Congratulations on being so ahead on your Goodreads Challenge – I just went and checked mine and saw I too was ahead with 24 out of 52. The first year I was super ambitious and had no idea what I read and set over a 100 books – I think I met it but it became more of a chore!

      Good idea about the library – if they have good books it’s an excellent resource. I kept forgetting to return my books and ended up with fines! Kindle is a lifesaver and I still read mostly there – this was an unusual spending spree on physical books and they just looked so attractive and interesting I wanted to share them here. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Brigid … with some free time for reading! xx

      1. Thank you Annika. I seem to have a reading spurt on this year. I just managed 50 at the end of December last year. It would be nice to read 100. Some people read even more!
        Enjoy those lovely new books. I am not sure what to read next…xx

  22. Davy D

    Thanks for these recommendations Annika, I have been struggling to find a decent book recently and there a few here that seem to fit the bill for a Summer’s read. The Scandal looks a great starter.

    1. The Scandal/Beartown should definitely feature, Davy – and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! There is always something special about researching and preparing a summer reading list – I wonder what else will make it to your list?! I’m glad the recommendations have helped. I could name so many more books…but fear I’d lose everyone in a long soporific post! Happy Book Browsing and Reading! 😃📖

      1. Davy D

        Thank you Annika. We are to the Baltic in July so a couple of your recommendations may be coming with. Have a good weekend 🙂

  23. Oh what a yummy post! I’m intrigued with each and every one of these offerings. Elisabeth’s Lists by Lulah Ellender rings especially true as I am a list person. These past few years I’ve been putting together interesting bits of my folks’ life through all the papers and such I’ve had to sort through so I relate to the premise of this on both counts.

    The book I’ve been purposely reading s-l-o-w-l-y to savor each bit is “the magic strings of Frankie Presto” by Mitch Albom – my treat for you to explore, Annika.

    1. Laura, you’re a Lulah!! 😀 Your work with your family sounds very similar to her efforts, putting together the lists, making sense of them, researching. No wonder you can identify with her work – I wonder if this is a book that would interest you to read? It went through three massive edits once it was taken on with the agent – and it was helpful to learn the processes involved.

      Thank you so much for your recommendation of Frankie Presto – wow, is sounds amazing and very special. I have noted this down for the summer. Have you read his Tuesdays with Morrie? I am tempted to buy this but wanted to ask you first. I have never heard of Mitch Albom but feel he should have entered into my book world! I love exploring books … thanks for mentioning his books. Happy Reading and book exploring, Laura! xxx

      1. I’m happy to have my very own copy of this book. I actually bought my copy on clearance in a brick and morter ‘Barnes and Noble’ bookstore.

        So I say, do consider adding it on your bookshelf!

        The Lulah is the first one I plan to read out of your excellent ‘list’ of suggestions…are you a lister, too?

        1. Laura, thank you for coming back to me – I will definitely go ahead and buy the book!

          Oh yes, I love lists -the premise of Lulah’s book sold me straightaway! I dispose of most lists but keep those of books, travels and presents! I’m quite proud to have instilled the list habit to my son … is that wrong?! 😀

  24. Love your collection of books Annika! I agree that a book seems real only when you can turn the pages, smell its ink and touch the words, even peek ahead if the author’s style doesn’t suit our curiosity. I had a little library at my home, a collection I had fondly made over the years and loved it before I moved to California but had to donate all those books when I saw them withering away in my absence. There was a time when I scoffed at the idea of Kindle many years ago when my daughter wanted to buy it for me. Now I feel Kindle is my lifeline! I have got so much used to it that reading a real book seems tedious, with print and poor light being the main issues.
    I haven’t read a single book you have mentioned but I am sure you would say the same if I mention my list 🙂 At present I am reading ‘Born Survivors’ by Wendy Holden, a true historical account of how three women managed to survive the Holocaust and how many miseries they had to undergo at the hands of Nazis…incredible horrors!!
    I would like to read ‘The Scandal’ as your words of appreciation about it would keep ringing in my ears. Thank you for book talk, I love it especially if the book is different from the usual frivolous romance talks…all similar! 🙂

    1. Balroop, thank you so much for your bookish and chatty comment … just what I had in mind!! 😀 To the last first, whereas is earlier books are a bit quirky, unusual and deep on a lighter level, Beartown is as far removed as possible – I had to check it was the same author. I was blown away by the writing, the story, insight into human beings. I think you will love it, the psychological element is huge. Born Survivors sounds an incredible book – I looked it up. I recently read The Tattooist of Auschwitz, based on a true story, and yes, the horrors left me with sleepless nights, even if I’ve read about them before – it is easy to enter a dark place.

      It must have been tough for you to leave your library – I hope it found a good new home! You almost feel responsible for the books and their well-being! An eye disease was the reason I started with a Kindle – under protest and only when gifted to me by my father in law who insisted I needed one! How right he was! This book buying spree was from sheer joy of bookshops, the love of the books and also checking the size of print! With good light I’m okay but agree with you that it is more laborious. Still, there is nothing like turning pages! Wishing you many peaceful reading moments … the best way to travel places, emotions and in the mind! 😀 xxx

  25. How wonderful of you to find these books and give them a loving home.. with you. And I think it’s kind and fearless of you to talk to these first few authors and learn more about them and their writing. I’m too shy! Lastly, great introductions to these books. I read Eleanor Oliphant and, like you, didn’t much like the beginning BUT I stuck with Eleanor and grew to ❤️ The book.

    1. Hehe…fearless…. I wish!! 😀😃 Pam, I am shy too but blogging has helped a lot – I feel I talk to authors everyday here and I imagined it was one of you! However at the book signing I chickened out at my first visit, hovered around like a lost soul, went out for a tea and retail therapy by which time my courage had returned!

      How kind and sweet of you to write that I give the books a loving home – I do hope so. I think that’s why I hate giving away books to charity or such – I feel I’ve let them down! Interesting that you felt the same about Eleanor Oliphant … I wondered at the time if it was deliberate or if it could be improved at the start to ensure potential readers weren’t lost! Happy Reading, my friend … have a lovely weekend! ❤️📖

      1. Much to ponder here. First, I thought you were describing ME as I attempt to approach someone I admire/respect/want to meet. A local gift store that sells crafts/jewelry/original ‘things’ would be a perfect place to display my book Birds of Paradise. I’ve hovered outside to talk to them about it. I’ve even gone in and bought a gift for a friend. But have I gained enough courage to suggest my book to the store? Nope. That’s just the way some of us creatives are. We’re courageous with our characters, not so much with ourselves. :–0
        RE Eleanor Oliphant. My guess is the author needed us to feel as black and blank and empty as Eleanor does in the beginning, to appreciate what happens to her in the middle and the end. xo

        1. 😀😃 Pam, what are we to do?! Maybe we need each other for moral support? I’m smiling at your going in and out of the gift store, coming out with increasing amount of gifts! You are so sweet! Whilst at the bookshop I tried to ask about setting up a book signing but the words just would not emerge out loud! One day…I’m sure… I do hope you have a chance to put your Birds of Paradise into the shop – they will fall for it immediately and it is a brilliant location to promote it. Good luck on building up the courage. big hugs xxxx

          ps/ Wise words about the beginning of Eleanor … and think you’re right. A brave move though!

      2. Hi Annika. I’ve only just discovered your blog – and thank you so much for including Sleeping Through War in your pile! It was lovely to meet you in Colchester too and you’re right, the conversation I had with you and the Dutch gentleman could have gone on for hours. And just so you know, it’s pretty terrifying for us authors to do these signings too. You never know who will want to come and speak to you, or worse: if anyone will speak to you at all! Luckily I had some extraordinary conversations that rainy day in Colchester and it made the book signing totally worthwhile. It was lovely to meet you, and I really hope you enjoy Sleeping Through War when it gets to the top of your pile. x

        1. Jackie, it’s lovely to hear from you and thank you so much for finding my blog!! 😀 I think the biggest fear at book signing is that nobody would talk to you at all – I am so glad you had an wonderful busy day in Colchester! Having chatted away with you for ages I am not at all surprised – it was so interesting and felt I knew you already! I am sure I will love your book and with a deep interest in the 1960s, can’t wait to read it! Great to meet up here again and thank you so much for your follow. Best of luck with your book and book signings – I saw on your website that you had a heap of them here in East Anglia! Happy Selling and Signing! 😀

  26. All these books sound great. Especially Elizabeth’s Lists and The Scandal – or Beartown. I wonder why they changed the name??? Beartown sounds better. I love my print books and I love my Kindle because it has opened up a whole new world of Indy books to me. My little local bookstore couldn’t stock that much variety.

    1. You make a great point about the variety of books available through Kindle … no book store could stock so much! Not only a great opportunity for readers but also writers … opening up a whole new world!

      Publishers changing book title names is a pet gripe of mine … and I started a post once on the topic. The famous The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was originally Men who Hate Women … it sounds better in Swedish I guess? The Scandal name is wrong on so many levels!

  27. Lots of great book suggestions Annika. I have my winning token to spend from Amazon so will no doubt be buying some books! The kids are already attempting to wrestle it off me and buy dvds and the like!

    1. Kids?! Does that mean your eldest is back, Marje? If so, it must be wonderful to see her after a whole year away and I’m so happy for you all. Even so … the token is all yours!! Congratulations on your win and treat yourself to books and then some more!

      1. No, she’s not back (not until September, earliest,) but she still skypes me and makes suggestions how to spend my money! Her advice is often quite good though as we enjoy similar taste in books!

  28. I love bookshops, Annika. I just can’t resist. And I can’t go in a bookshop without buying a book. There is a reason why there are 3,000 or so occupying our house. 🙂 I’ll be carrying my Kindle on my backpacking trip this summer, however. It is the most weight-efficient option I have. I now have the delicious task of selecting my summer reading list.
    The only book I have read from your list is Hemingway. Maybe one of his books will make it onto my Kindle. –Curt

    1. Curt, it’s almost a sacrilege to leave a bookshop without a book!! And yep, I think this could explain your library of a home – 3,000 is a LOT of books – Wow! I remember as a student spending hours in bookshops and not able to afford to buy anything and I promised myself the day I could afford to be more free with spending I wouldn’t hold back – – space has been a restriction though! Kindle must be a lifesaver for you on your adventures (I still remember your rucksack post and all the miniature everyday items!) How did you manage before?! Enjoy choosing your Summer Reading List – a delightful task!😀

      1. I feel particularly obligated to buy in local, independently owned bookstores, Annika— to help them survive in today’s world of Internet giants. We have run out of room here. 🙂
        Books used to add considerable weight to my pack. Laughing. When I was leading groups we would sometimes take large books and tear them apart when a section was finished so another person could start reading it! I remember doing that with “Shogun.”
        Tonight, may be the night when I select my Kindle books. I’ll make a list at some time. –Curt

        1. Curt, I’m cringing after reading about the poor Shogun book, gradually torn to shreds! I have my original copy still, all intact and the book made a huge impression on me as young! An original way to share a book between you all!

          It’s good you still have independent bookstores and you do right to visit them and keep them in business … there were several brilliant ones in local towns and every single one closed in the last ten years. It’s so sad.

          1. Shogun went for a good cause. 🙂 I am sure that several people read it who might not have otherwise.
            I know several good bookstores that are hanging in there, eking out a living, Annika. There is something special about browsing through a book store, or a library, that still can’t be matched in the digital world. –Curt

    1. My pleasure, Robbie … I’m going to read more of Hemingway’s books now I’ve got into his style of writing. It’s lovely to share books and recommendations here on WP and I’m a lot more diverse in my reading selection! Happy Reading and I’ll keep an eye out for your reviews!

  29. These books all look and sound fantastic, Annika. 🙂 I’ve already got Hemmingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” on my TBR and must add a few of the others. Thanks for sharing. xo

    1. I must admit it wasn’t at all what I’d expected and I was totally hooked by the book – I felt exhausted by the end, as if I’d gone through the days and nights – the description is incredible and so vivid. Do you have any recommendation of a Hemingway book to try next? Glad you found a few new books to tempt you … I know, there are just so many good books out there!😀

      1. I’ve read For Whom the Bells Toll and a collection of Hemingway’s short stories many years ago. I’m planning to add The Old Man and the Sea to our local Book Club list when we review our current read–Nomadland, Surviving America in the Twenty-first Century next week. I have book shelves and desktops overflowing and a kindle with books enough to last several lifetimes. Needless to say, I’ll never get bored, Annika… 🙂 Happy Reading & Writing, my friend. xo

        1. Bette, I agree -it’s impossible to get bored when surrounded by books! I love the sound of your overflowing bookcases, and books galore. I would be a very rude guest, leaving the conversation to browse all the books! Oh my, I read about Nomadland and what an eye-opener. I first wondered if it was fiction, but no, that this is the case today. Sounds well-written but also tackles a hidden subject of today’s world. I’ve put this on my list to read and hope I do … thank you for mentioning it. My mother has For Whom the Bell Tolls so I’ll be asking to borrow that soon! Enjoy your book club reading! 😀 📖

  30. Mike

    Wow you have been buying a lot of books lately Annika. Can’t say I blame you though. Although I have a kindle, to me the experience of actually making the effort of going into a bookshop and browsing before deciding which book (or books) to chose is all part of the book buying/owning experience. While buying a book on kindle means it’s cheaper and with you quicker than you can say “downloaded from the cloud” it is definitely a poor substitute to actually holding a book in your hand and physically turning the pages with your fingers. Mind you I have been told I take an old fashioned outlook on life – but so be it!

    While I have heard of only some of the books on your list I am ashamed to say that I haven’t read any of these. However I had heard of the “The Scandal” and it’s now next on my list thanks to your summary.


    1. Mike, thank you so much for you lovely comment, which had me smiling in places! I doubt you’re as old-fashioned as you make out and sound quite at home with both a kindle and paperback! 😀 A mixture of the two seems to be the norm these day! I hasten to add this was a rare shopping spree over a few weeks, hence the backlog still to read … can’t wait to get to them all!

      I’m glad to be able to share my recent purchases here and I hope you enjoy (is that the word?) Beartown/The Scandal as much as I did! Do let me know what you think of it! Happy Reading … ebooks and paperbacks! 😀

  31. Looks like a great selection. I haven’t read any of them. I’m so behind on my reading, I’ll never be able to get through all the books on my Kindle. But it’s a good problem to have.

    1. Definitely a good problem, Carrie! 😀 I too have a stack of books on my Kindle – the physical books look so pretty in real life! Hope you have a chance to start on those unread books … a long holiday sounds in order!

  32. What a great collection, Annika, and I admit to not venturing into Kindle yet. Honestly, I probably never will because I love the feel of a physical book, whether paperback or hardcover. I love the smell, the cover art work, the idea of turning the pages, wondering what’s coming next, not to mention the many special bookmarks I’ve been given, one from my son when he was in Tokyo.
    Anyway, they all sound intriguing, but Elizabeth Lists, Disposal, Eleanor Oliphant, and Beartown stood out for me. I also like The Joy of Mindful Writing and its dreamy cover image, as you said. By the way, I love book stores or book aisles and have to make a concerted effort to not go or stroll by if I’m already on book overload at home. It’s as though my book shelves are bowed because of the weight they’ve endured. 🙂 Happy reading, my friend! ❤📚

    1. Lauren, I think my bowed (literally) bookshelves are in empathy with yours – but I’m sure they don’t mind the weight of all these words!😃 Books are a necessity of life – that I realised as young and when I struggled a bit with smaller print as an eye disease worsened ebooks were suggested as a solution. I just could not imagine not holding a book – which I still love to do, and yes, adore the artwork, the smell of pristine pages – however my father-in-law in the end bought one for me and of course I had to try! It’s been a lifesaver! Ahh…bookmarks are so special and no wonder you treasure the one from you son from Tokyo. I have a collection of bookmarks from young – a way to remember all my travels! Oh yes, that is a good way not to be lured into a bookshop – try to avoid strolling past them! I’ll have to keep that in mind, espcecially in the near future! 😃Happy Book Browsing and Reading, Lauren! 📖🤗

      1. I completely understand about the font and forgot to mention that benefit. I’m sorry about your eye disease too, Annika. My sister loves her kindle for the font reason also, so maybe I will try one someday. Never say never, right? And what a gift to receive from your father-in-law, especially knowing your passion for reading and writing. Btw, I emailed you back. 🙂 hugs 🤗

        1. It was actually quite funny with my father in law as he was usually not so insistent on things but was adament about the Kindle! I since upgraded to a new one but had to save the old one! I hope you never need to use one though … good eyesight is precious, wish I’d appreciated it more as young! Many thanks for your email … I just replied to you! ❤️

  33. Wow, what a book haul! I read mostly on my Kindle too, but I can’t resist buying paperbacks and hardbacks at book fairs and sometimes even brick-and-mortar stores. I’m intrigued by the ideal of a fictional biography. That was a new term for me.
    The Scandal/Beartown sounds intriguing. I’m going to look that one up!

    1. Mae, I’m smiling at your references to book shops as the ‘brick-and-mortar stores’ – there was a time this was the only place to buy books! They are so readily available – maybe that is why we have such long TBR and unread books! 😀 I’ve come across a few fictional biographies and one I read over Easter was by fellow blogger Noelle Clark called ‘Stone of Heaven and Earth’. It was brilliant, again based on her grandmother, and a super book. Enjoy Beartown (see what I did there!) if you read it – I would love to know your thoughts on it! (BTW. these books were acquired over a couple of months … so not quite as mad as it seems!) Happy Reading! 📖

  34. Although I do most of my reading on my Kindle, there’s nothing better than holding a paper book, is there? My piles of books are a constant reminder that I need to stay out of the bookstores for a bit…but I can’t! xo

    1. Physical books are special and even more so if, like me, you read them rarely! Oh yes, the lure of bookshops it strong indeed. Just succumb and enter with joy … that’s going to be my motto. How about trying to limit the purchases to one book? Ha, I know, as if! 😀 Happy Reading, my friend! xx

    1. Me too, Staci!! 😀 I almost took it to read on the plane as I felt the comment was a bit of a challenge! Sanity won over and the flight flew by whilst reading Days of Wonder!

  35. My children just gave me a gift certificate to our local bookstore for my birthday. So, now, I have some titles to buy thanks to this post. I had been considering Beartown but now it is a definite. Everyone keeps recommending The Woman in the Window. Have you read?

    1. Yeah! One of the best presents must be book vouchers – it’s always special to browse at pleasure, selecting the perfect books! I hope you find Beartown as incredible as I did.

      The Woman in the Window is a new one to me, although it seems to be a bestseller. It sounds like a great thriller, endorsed by Stephen King no less and even being made into a movie! Not bad for a debut book! Thank you for mentioning this and looks like one for the summer! Happy Book Browsing, Buying and Reading, Bernadette – and a very Happy (belated) Birthday! 😀🌷

  36. I think it’s wonderful to have a pile of books. I alo have a shelf of unread books too to remind me. I still need to read yours but am doing quite a bit of audible novels at the moment. I am beginning to find it easier but at first, late at night, I would fall asleep. It’s then not so easy to browse back over. The Signature of All Things was brilliant but definitely a long read/listen to.
    Am enjoying some ‘indie’ authors too as a friend bought me his books and he was very positive about his publishing experiences. Hope you find some sunny garden time to read.

    1. I think book cases should not only have books neatly lines up but also ones piled on top – the sign of an avid reader! I’m honoured mine is amongst your unread selection and hope you enjoy it when you have a chance. So far I haven’t tried audible books although I know many who enjoy them. Wow! The Signature of All Things was amazing but yes, a long haul and to me felt like two books! I nearly felt exhausted whlist reading it, it was so intense! Great that your friend had a positive publishing experience and you’re enjoying his books. Happy reading to you too, Georgina … beautiful sunny days here at the moment so I grab a few moments here and there out in the garden!

    1. Thank you, Shey! I love books – quite a few of these will be saved for holidays when I have a chance to do nothing for an hour or so at a time and just read. Heavenly! Hope you have a chance to relax with a book now and then. hugs xxx

  37. I haven’t read any of these but I am interested to read them especially the one about the three women, the everything fine and of course the last one. Thanks so much for sharing. Nahla

    1. Nahla, The Joy of Writing does concentrate the mind (and heart) on actual writing – something which can get lost in our hectic world. I can highly recommend Eleanor Oliphant … it’s a book that grows on you. I have yet to read Sleeping Through War but the premise sounds terrific and unique. I hope you have a chance to read some of these soon. Are you reading a speical book at the moment? I’m always nosey about anything to do with books! Lovely to hear from you. xx

          1. The story is different to Jane Eyre and Villette. It was boring at the beginning but once Shirley joins in ( which won’t be until chapter 12) the story started to be different. But you may have a different view. Thanks Annika and best wishes

  38. I love hardback books, Annika. Sadly I donated most of my collection about a year ago when I thought I was going to relocate (at my own expense)… Didn’t get to move after all and now I miss those hardbacks. Oh well.
    This is a great post for Get Caught Reading Month. I enjoyed seeing what you’re reading. Hugs.

    1. Teagan, I feel so for you and the loss of your hardback books. I am so sorry the move didn’t happen – a hugely stressful and upsetting time. Actual physical books are precious- some don’t understand this and wonder why there are bookcases/ shelves everywhere in my house – I don’t care – I love books!

      How did I miss Get Caught Reading Month?! I’ve just checked it out and it’s everywhere. I had to smile at Neil Gamain in suitably dramatic setting.

      Many thanks for your terrific comment and great to chat about books! hugs xx

  39. Ahh…Annika, what a wonderful and novel way to introduce the books you read. In your garden, among the beauty you created. I love it.
    I have read ‘Eleanor Oliphant’ , ‘ Beartown’ and ‘ The Old man and the Sea’. All three are up there for me, among the stars. Your introduction and evaluation of each one rings so true to me. Wonderful work Annika.

    I also love hearing about you meeting and discussing with some of the authours. Did you share your book with any of them?
    Thank you for this knowledgeable and delightful post

    1. Yeah, Miriam, I love how you’ve read so many of these books – they are all very special. I felt rather bad as I’ve never read any Hemingway before – a unique style of writing – once in I was hooked!

      It was a lot of fun to chat to all the writers: at the talk I learnt a lot about approaching agents – some luck, some on who you know, a lot about one’s work and passion for it, research vital! Oh yes, I was very cheeky at one stage and talked about my book to one agent and handed her a copy! I was shaking like mad afterwards … nothing to lose though, I reckon!

      1. Good for you Annika to take courage and give them your book. Nothing dared, nothing gained. Etc. So many sayings on this theme. So set forth again with courage and faith.

  40. You’ve been very busy reading, Annika. I always have a book to read but unfortunately, I’m a slow reader.

    I’ve read two other books by Fredrik Backman. He has an endearing approach to story telling, his characters not only growing within the book, but also growing on me as reader.

    Being American, Heminway’s Old Man and the Sea is required reading for middle or high school kids. It’s usually the introduction to other Hemingway books. I’ve read that Old Man is parallel to the story of Jesus but not being Christian, I couldn’t make that analogy when I was young. I’ve read the book again a few times, and knowing more about Christianity, I see how the comparison holds up. Hemingway also has a very distinctive voice, one that everyone finds fun to mimic but almost no one does well.

    BTW, I read Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife and found the story to be so well written. I felt very sympathetic toward Hadley Richardson.

    1. Shari, I so enjoy reading your book thoughts! I’ve also recently finished reading The Paris Wife and wow, Hadley’s patience was incredible … the five years of them together seemed to last forever I felt! She put up with so much but then I almost screamed as she left his writings in the bag on the train which were stolen! How could she! An innocent mistake but Hemingway must have felt destroyed — although I wonder if this wasn’t a saviour in disguise for him as he started afresh.

      I had no idea about the religious connotations of The Old Man and the Sea … hmm, I’ll think about that on rereading it. It stands wonderfully on its own merits!

      Backman is a dark horse. Endearing is definitely the word to use for his earlier books – this is nothing like them! In a different league altogether and he will lose some readers for this but win a lot more too I think. It’s a long book but well worth visiting.

      1. I felt the manuscript left behind – a true incident – was parallel to the way Hemingway left Hadley behind. Her error was unintentional. His dismissal of her was loaded with malice. Looked at that way, he deserved it.

        1. Shari, I felt more sorry for her than anything when she lost his work. He seemed to have behaved abominably most of their time together … but I’m not sure this justifies her losing his writings?? I feel we could have an interesting discussion… Happy Sunday, my friend! xx

  41. A great selection. I usually read on my e-reader too but did pick up a copy of Ernest Hemmingway´s The Sun Also Rises in Paris at Shakespeare and Company recently.

    1. Darlene, I haven’t been in bookshops for years and now my son is older and out with his friends my husband and I can indulge in the joy of book browsing! I recently read a fictional book about Hemingway’s life in Paris – so I must seek out this one. Did you enjoy it? Shakespeare and Company? – is that a famous bookstore? I love the name!

        1. Wow! Darlene, this rings a bell but thank you so much for posting the link. What an amazing bookshop, support network. George Whitman had a singular vision and one that lasted his lifetime and onwards. I love the quote at the start! I can’t believe I’ve been to Paris and never been here … another visit beckons. I can’t wait to read your post about it.

          Yes, I recently read The Paris Wife and enjoyed it so much, suffering with Hadley and there at the bull running and fighting. A superlative book! Did you go and visit the area he lived in whilst in Paris?

          1. No, I didn´t but certainly walked the streets he walked and sat in cafe´s he most likely visited. If you do go back to Paris, Shakespeare and Company is very near Notre Dam Cathedral. We had a coffee in a cafe called Odette´s where we a had a great view of the cathedral from the third floor. Heaven.

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