What’s on your bookshelf?

Hello and welcome to the first What’s on your bookshelf? challenge hosted by fellow bloggers DebSueDonna and Jo. The idea is to share what you’re reading, what you’ve enjoyed lately share – why they resonated with you, how they made you feel, who are your favourite authors and what you recommend. Sounds like a fun monthly challenge! As Deb says “The simple purpose of this challenge is to share our love of reading”.

So for my first post for #Whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge, I’m just going to do a round up of what I have read this month, which was a bit of a mixed bag really. I’ll start with the bad, and that is Camilla Lackberg’s latest book Silver Tears. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good beach or sofa book that you can read in a couple of days which is the norm for Lackberg. But this is awful – a totally unbelievable main female character, a ridiculous plot and a feeling that this hadn’t been properly edited. If you normally like her books, don’t bother with this one.

In contrast, The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman, is a real feel-good book about a young boy’s ambition to become a stand-up comedian. Norman and his friend Jax have a five-year plan to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe by the time they’re fifteen, but Jax dies before they turn twelve. Norman, his mother and their elderly friend Leonard set off for from their home in Cornwall to go to Edinburgh, to honour the short life of Jax and also to try to find Norman’s father. It is a charming book which can be read in a couple of days if you have the time. A good book for lockdown!

Moving on, the theme of our work book club this month was ‘a place you want to travel to in 2022’ (since we won’t be going anywhere outside New Zealand in 2021 by the look of things). One place I hope we get to next year is Sweden, so since the Lackberg was so bad, I picked up an old Liza Marklund book Lifetime. Set in Stockholm, it features Annika Bengtzon, the journalist who appears in most of her books. This is another book you can just rip through at a fast pace, with a great story and well-drawn characters.

I also read a book of essays about gardens, a charming little book with very mixed pieces from diverse authors. The piece by food writer Nigel Slater was probably my favourite. I’m about half way through Susanna Moore’s autobiography Miss Aluminum, which I am really enjoying. I confess to having never ready any of her books, but this account of her life is lively and interesting regardless.

Finally, I am one of those people who like reading or browsing recipe books. This new book from Zuza Zak, Amber and Rye, is a lovely exploration of the food of the Baltic lands. Beautiful photographs, some interesting ideas, the book is a delight. I’ve already made her take on a celeriac slaw, and once lockdown is over and I get to spend a bit of time in the supermarket, think I would like to try this fish soup. The other recipe book I have had fun with this month is this 1959 Recipe Book and Home Science Note Book which I found in a second hand bookshop in town. I love the illustrations, though am not sure about the salad dressing recipes, and am very intrigued by the note that there is not a mistake in the recipe for ginger snaps! These books are always so much fun to browse.

So that is me for my first What’s on your bookshelf? Why not join in?

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


  1. The garden essays sound delightful. I’m a massive fan of anything written by Nigel Slater. I’m also a sucker for a foodie book and Amber & Rye sounds right up my alley – as does the old recipe book. Thanks for joining in!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Since this Covid-19 pandemic raised its head and confined us in so many ways, my reading habits have changed from ‘complete choice’ to ‘read whatever I can get hold of’, which has resulted in me reading a lot more non-fiction than usual as well as meeting new authors. Reading is a wonderful pastime that keeps us all sanely entertained.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Reading can open up all sorts of new worlds, or keep us cosy with the familiar. I find that if I read a ‘difficult’ book I then need something light and vice versa. I think this weekend I’ll be looking for cosy and comforting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is always room for the ‘light’ read that takes one up in a journey that requires no heavy contemplation along the way – a good balance to the more ‘meaty’ ones.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks so much for joining us!! Isn’t it funny that I was recommended to read Camilla Lackberg just last week from a friend, not having heard of her before. I think there’s a series she writes and I haven’t got around to checking it out yet. The Norman Foreman sounds great and i’ll definitely add that to my list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is a series of books by Camilla Lackberg with the same detective that are fine. The Norman Foreman book is fun – and the author must have been to Edinburgh as she got the bus routes correct!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this challenge and seeing what blogging friends are reading. Hope to join the challenge next month. I’m a long-time fan of Jamaica Kincaid, and I remember reading her pieces in the New Yorker. Way back when.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m just rediscovering my reading mojo. I just finished Everyone in this Room Will Someday Be Dead: A Novel which I really enjoyed. I’m currently reading Phosphorescence by Julia Baird which is a good antidote to all the rubbish going on in the world right now. That said, my brain is very busy these days so I’m also re-reading the Harry Potter books (still on the first one) as a bit of a light relief alongside. Will add Norman Foreman to my list!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I love reading cookbooks too. I enjoy daydreaming all the things I would love to make. I’d be open to play with some recipes from Amber and Rye.

        Liked by 1 person

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