Happy March to you all. Here’s a roundup of what I read last month, because excitingly it was ‘some stuff’! I hope you’ve experienced similar joy.

Reading Life

I read 4 books in February, so I’m off to a pretty good start this year given I thought I might not get through anything. That’s 13 overall! Whether I will remember much in the way of detail from these in the future is another point, in fairness. I am not necessarily reading in depth when I’m squinting at the kindle app over the top of my baby’s head in the middle of the night. Nevertheless, here is a bit of a breakdown…

  • 2 were autobiographical, 1 was a novel for adults and 1 a novel for children.
  • All 4 were by women. 1 Black (Nigerian) and 3 caucasian (1 Scottish, 2 English).
  • 1 was by an LGBT writer.
  • 1 was by a disabled writer.

Books I listened to on Audible

Spectacles – Sue Perkins

I’ve had a soft spot for Mel and Sue out of Bake Off since the days of Light/Late Lunch, a TV programme that was broadcast when I was 11 or 12. I’ve seen Sue Perkins do stand up at Dundee Rep which was ace, but I’m not so in love with her that I’ve stretched to watching her work with Giles Coren. Her autobiography is funny and brilliantly narrated by Perkins herself, but for me the interesting thing about this book is she comes across as a bit of a flawed hero. She’s very honest about the fact that sometimes she’s a bit of an arsehole, which is quite unusual for women in books (real and fictitious). I’m pro.

Books I read with my eyes

Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This book tells the story of a young Nigerian couple who part ways just before college and what their lives are like in America and the UK as against what they dreamed they’d be like. It’s framed as a series of vignettes, with the central character Ifemelu’s blog posts on the differences between being African American and non American Black in the US and it’s just a really clever, engaging social critique. As with all of Adichie’s writing I found this very compelling and would heartily recommend you give it a look.

The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth – Cerrie Burnell

This was an impulse buy via a Twitter recommendation. The tweet included words like ‘magical’ and ‘adventure’ I think, and although I read it on kindle I must say the cover is gorgeous. The story follows Minnow, a fantastic swimmer who lives on a boat with a pet husky and a piratical mother, as she sails the sea to Reykjavik and beyond on a journey of self discovery. The prose is rather beautiful and the imagery delightful. If you’re looking for a middle grade adventure full of myths and legends this is a good bet for you.

The Outrun – Amy Liptrot

I’ve been meaning to read Amy Liptrot’s memoir of alcoholism and Orkney for a while now and it really is good. One of those books that people describe as ‘unflinching’ and ‘honest’ which is true, but it will probably also make you want to move to Orkney.

Writing Life

I didn’t write much new stuff in February, just the one short story and a blog post on my January reads – but I did do some edits and manage to get two submissions in. Might sound like a slow start to the year but you’d better believe I’m pleading the old ‘I have a 5 month old baby who has been pretty ill for the past week and a half’.

Writer Life

I went on lots of walks with my offspring in February. We visited a castle, botanic gardens and a country park, saw thick frost and snowdrops and 900 year old trees, met up with friends I’d not seen for ages, and discovered the existence of (and immediately ordered) a macaroni cheese toastie.

The baby also learned to roll over and prop himself up on his tummy for a few seconds, caught his second cold, and sat through The Land Before Time (or Littlefoot as I knew it when I was small) without complaint. He sang a lot, chewed many fingers, figured out how to hang onto both his feet at the same time, and was generally the centre of my world as I suppose is usual for this point in proceedings.

His current favourite reads are Goodnight World by Debi Gliori, Katie the Kitten by Axel Scheffler, and On the Move by Mojca Dolinar. And when I say favourite, I mean none of them cause tears and in the case of Katie the Kitten it is nice to chew. Delicious.