What’s on your bookshelf #2

It is another month of the What’s On Your Bookshelf Challenge, hosted by SueDonnaJo and Deb. Unfortunately for me it’s been a pretty poor month, reading wise. I started a book and decided I was not in the mood for it, and then found myself quite distracted by other things. This may or may not have been due to Lockdown Level 4 – I remember the same thing last year during our first lockdown. I’ll blame it on that anyway!

Anyway, a bit of an odd mix since last we met on What’s on your bookshelf. There was the strange murder mystery, The Only Good Secretary by Jean Potts, published in 1966. I normally like these old detective novels, but this was a bit odd. When Louise gets to magazine office on Monday morning, she discovers that someone has murdered Fern Villard, the only good secretary that editor High Dudgeon has ever had. The characters are all a bit strange and like caricatures, and the plot a little strange. I did finish it, but put it straight in the charity shop pile. I also tried reading some short stories by Dornford Yates, a now dated author who was very popular in their day, and enjoyed by my mother when young. I managed two…and had to put the book down. The cover though is gorgeous! The collection was first published in 1924, this edition is from 1942.

I had to find something to enjoy after those two, so picked up Kiwi author Stephanie Johnson Everything Changes. It took a bit of time to get into, but once I did, I really enjoyed it. The story is told through the eyes of various protagonists, including a dog, and is both moving and funny. A couple buy a rundown motel and move in with their pregnant daughter. The first guests prove to be interesting, and indeed life changing for all. A quirky and interesting read!

I also read R. W. R. McDonald’s Nancy Business, the follow up to The Nancys. If you enjoyed the first book, you will enjoy the second, that picks up from where the first book ended. Funny, rude and also some poignant moments.

At the moment I am reading Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel, first published in 1957. I’m finding it hard to get into (seems to be a problem at the moment!) but this could also be because I haven’t had a good run at it. I’m also reading one of Brené Brown’s works. I don’t normally read this type of book, but I have heard a couple of her podcasts and thought I would read something by her.

I am also dipping in and out of The Art & Science of Foodpairing, a complete guide to flavours and what goes with what. It is a book to savour and study and hopefully pick up ideas from. Finally, yes folks, another cookbook by US writer, Alison Roman, Nothing Fancy. I’ve been working my way through with post it notes, so let’s see what happens in the kitchen. I really do need to put a stop to purchasing more, or at least have a clear out, but I have seen two books I really want to get coming out soon…

So a rather incomplete month of reading, with a lot of browsing and dipping. I have the new Sally Rooney in my pile, so hopefully that can feature next month.

What have you been reading?

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. I totally get the dipping in and out, it seems to be a common thing and being in lockdown doesn’t help. I tend to read more in lockdown but I’ve heard from many people how they can’t concentrate at all and lose their reading mojo for a while, I get it! It’s so good to have you join us for #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge and I really can’t wait to get the second Nancy book to read, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. You’ve certainly got an eclectic selection in your post, I like that! I hope the new Sally Rooney lives up to the hype. Thanks again for joining us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I an interested in Alison Roman’s cookbook. I love her cooking on YouTube. I’ve made a few things from there. Plus I’ve printed a few of her recipes when she worked at NYTimes Cooking.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I collect books featuring Tasmanian photography. Recently at a market stall I found a copy of “Green Nomads” by Bob Brown. After retiring from 16 years in politics, he and partner Paul traveled some 19,000 km around Australia visiting land owned by Bush Heritage Australia – which was initiated by Bob in 1990 to purchase and protect threatened habitat. While it’s light on written words, the beautiful images tell a wonderful story of their fascinating journey. A great addition to the shelf.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Everything Changes sounds like my kind of book, as do your other selections. Always looking for new books to read! Thanks for this post!


    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your choice of books. There is one thing I love when op shopping is checking out the book section. Just the other day I purchased 5 of the Enid Blyton famous five novels published 1959, so they have that material like binding & smell amazing, lol, $1 each. My splurge was a cook book by Samin Nosrat, Salt fat acid heat. I saw her series on Netflix & just had to order the book its just brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m just as bad with cookbooks. I checked Nothing Fancy out at the library (rather than buy it) but am waiting (not so) patiently for the new Ottolenghi and Nigel Slater’s new tome. Thanks for playing along this month.

    Liked by 1 person

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