What’s on your bookshelf #4

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 – maybe why they resonated with you, how they made you feel, who are your favourite authors and what you recommend. As Deb says “The simple purpose of this challenge is to share our love of reading“. I’m publishing this on Thursday evening, NZ time, as will be at work on Friday and going to the theatre in the evening, so I’m a little early.

Four books this month, plus a cook book and an audio book. First up, Olivia Potts A Half Baked Idea, a reflection or memoir about how the author came to terms with her mother’s death and changed career from fledgling barrister to pastry chef. Potts was 25 when her mother died, and it hit her hard, and it is clear the book is a sort of cathartic release. She leaves the world of law, and enrols at Le Cordon Bleu, and finds her new path in life. It is a good book, complete with a few recipes, but just a little repetitive at times.

Greta & Valdin by New Zealand author Rebecca K Reilly is definitely on my short list of book of the year. It is funny, with some great characters, and sends a strong message (to me at least) about our identities and where we feel we belong. I loved it – it is the author’s first book so I look forward to more.

So to another set of memoirs, but a very different book to the one above, and that is Guarded by Dragons by Rick Gekosi. Gekosi has been a dealer in rare books and manuscripts for over 50 years, and this book delves into the ups and downs of the business, with lots of name dropping and self-effacing humour. It is a nice series of essays to dip in and out of when you have a spare moment to read.

The other novel this month is Elizabeth Strout’s 2006 Abide With Me. Set in a small town in Maine in the late 1950s, the book tells the story of the Reverend Tyler Caskey, who struggles to care for his two small daughters after the death of his wife. The older daughter, Katherine, stops speaking. The book conjures up small town life really well, and the emotions that come with bereavement. As of writing this post on Thursday evening, I still have a couple of chapters to read, but have enjoyed the book so far.

I’m about half way through listening to Liane Moriarty’s latest book Apples Never Fall and quite enjoying this tale of the disappearance of the matriarch of a ‘tennis family’ (the parents were coaches, the 4 now adult children all played). I agree with Deb that it isn’t quite as good as some of her earlier books, but still a good story.

And so to this month’s cook book, Kylee Newton’s follow up to The Modern Preserver, The Modern Preserver’s Kitchen. Full of recipes for pickles, preserves and ideas on how to use them, this is a lovely book full of lots of interesting recipes and food combinations. Charlie decided that smoked mackerel pate with pickled blackberries sounded good.

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

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 like the sound of Greta & Valdin, I’ll look out for that book. I did read Abide with Me some time ago, but I had so enjoyed (if that is the right word) Olive Kitteridge that not much could compare, at that time! I’ve got Oh William on my Xmas list.
    Thanks for the list, I always enjoying reading reviews from other bloggers, and Charlie looks very cute and comfortable there!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous to read your post! Mine will go love tomorrow morning (as will the others). I did enjoy the story in Apples Never Fall and it was interesting to read your thoughts on it too. Another good selection of books 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Always enjoy reading about what you are reading. “Greta & Valdin,” especially appeals to me, a fifth-generation Mainer, a Franco-American who still isn’t sure how she fits into the culture.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Guarded By Dragons sounds like my kind of book. Adding it to my list. I recently finished reading Less by Andrew Sean Greer and loved it, just the right amount of absurdity to make it a fun read. Another blogger suggested it to me, which seems to be how I find books now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for joining us at #WOYBS. The reads that you have shared all sound quite diverse and extremely interesting. I haven’t read any of them yet. But I have read other books by Elizabeth Strout. Funny, her name keeps being mentioned to me this week. That must be a sign!
    Happy 14th birthday to Charlie!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m eager to find “Greta & Valdin.” Thanks for calling it to our attention! I just read — for the first time — a classic American children’s book called “Misty of Chincoteague.” And now, to complement a jigsaw puzzle I’m doing based on the book, I’m listening to an audio version of “Dracula.” It’s surprisingly entertaining!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Greta & Valdin may end up being my favourite book of the year, but let’s see! I bet an audio version of Dracula is good! I have just asked my husband for a jigsaw for Christmas – thanks for the reminder!


  7. I’ve got 5 on the go at the moment, just finished one by Kate Grenville called “a room with leaves” about the mcarthur family who emigrated to Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

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