What’s on your bookshelf #3

Hello and welcome to the third 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. As Deb said “The simple purpose of this challenge is to share our love of reading”.

I did much better with reading this month than with last month. This was partly due to reading more enjoyable books, and partly making sure I carved out time to do so. First up was Sally Rooney’s latest and much anticipated book Beautiful World, Where Are You? If you are a Rooney fan, you have probably already read it, if not, well, in my opinion this was the best of her three books so far. Maybe she is maturing as a writer, maybe I just felt more empathy for the characters, I don’t know. The premise of the plot is Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a distribution warehouse. She asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. Meanwhile, in Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up, and starts a relationship Simon, a man she has known since childhood. If you’ve read it, let me know what you think.

Next up is Ann Patchett’s Run which was first published in 2007. Like the other books by her I have read, I could not put this down. The characters came alive on the page, and their development as people and who they are, came across strongly. I can highly recommend it if you haven’t read it.

I also enjoyed Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Again, in fact much more than the original Olive Kitteridge. Olive was much more sympathetic in this book to my mind at least, and once again the characters she interacts with or come into contact with are almost more interesting.

For the book club I am a member of, we were to read a book written by someone under a pseudonym, My choice was The Daughter of Tine by Josephine Tey, real name Elizabeth MacKintosh. My copy is from the 1970s, with pages falling out, and may well have been my mother’s copy. I think this was my fourth time of reading, and this time I found it rather dull for some reason. It is the story of a bored police detective who is in hospital who tries to solve the mystery of Richard III and the Princes in the Tower. Maybe it was my mood and that I had to finish it at a rush before book club, I am not sure.

Meanwhile, I throughly enjoyed At the Pond Swimming at the Hampstead Ladies’ Pond, a collection of some wonderful essays about the outdoor swimming pool on Hampstead Heath in London. Grouped around the seasons, each essay is a little gem. I have never been there, but by the end of the book felt I had.

Finally, Laurence Fearnley’s 2003 novel Delphine’s Run, which I am about to finish, reading in the sun with a cold drink. I have read her most recent books, and am now going to her back catalogue. This is another book that is hard to put down, with a tale of a young woman who works on a train, selling coffees from a trolley in northern France. It is written in a deliberately naive style to capture the essence of Delphine, and it works.

Finally, my October cook book is the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Shelf Love. So far I have picked out Za’atar salmon and tahini and a herby cabbage and potato gratin to try. I like the way the book is laid out, with even pages for notes at the back, and of course there are lots of gorgeous photographs.

That is my reading this month. What have you read recently?

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. In contrast to you, October is proving to be a not-so-good month for reading for me. I agree with your assessment of Josephine Tey’s novel, which I probably read in the 1970s. Olive, Again was a marvellous read! I must look out for Laurence Fearnley. I always enjoy your assessments of the books you have read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m about 3/4 of the way through an old book about a man named Judge Maning who was in charge of the first Native Land Court of NZ. Historical stuff makes my brain think.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the character of Olive. How can anyone show flashes of brilliant insight while also being completely dense? Oh wait, she reminds me of ME…LOL!


    Liked by 2 people

  4. The thing I love most about these challenges is the array and variety of books we see others reading and your post is a perfect example! Would you believe I’ve not read any of Sally Rooney’s books?? I’ll have to fix that :). The Hampstead Swimming pond sounds delightful, many thanks for the recommendations! Thanks for joining in with us for our #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for joining in #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge. I love the diversity of your book selection. I haven’t (yet) read any of these titles. But, I have read Eliabeth Strout’s Burgess Boys. Even though I read that several years ago, the story has stayed with me.
    BTW – Za’atar salmon and tahini sounds AMAZING! I’d love to hear what you think of it once you tried it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s was fun to join in! I think Elisabeth Strout has a great writing style – I should look out Burgess Boys. I’m doing a different Ottolenghi salmon dish tonight, but will definitely report on the za’atar and tahini dish when I try it.


  6. I’m a bit late posting a comment … but I have enjoyed most of Elizabeth Strout’s books… so I’ll get Olive Again too and I like anything by Ann Patchett .. so will look for Run as well. Happy reading.. it is getting warmer here at last!

    Liked by 1 person

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