What’s on your bookshelf #7

Welcome to this month’s what’s on your shelf 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.

Well, you can tell I am back at work and have less time to read! Still, I managed to get a mix of things off my to be read pile and from my summer reading list. I have one left to go on that, but as it is another non-fiction book, and I have just read two in row, I’m going to swap it out for something else. Anyway….let’s start with Ann Patchett’s wonderful collection of essays These Precious Days. There is a wonderful piece about her three fathers (biological and two step in case you are wondering!), and her developing friendship with a casual acquaintance who has clearly made a deep impact on Patchett’s life. The story of the cover picture of the dog is also included. The collection could be read as one, which I did, as there is a connection between each piece, or you could dip in and out, but I think you might lose some continuity. If you have read it, do let me know what you think.

In complete contrast is Richard Osman’s latest book The Man Who Died Twice. A fun summer read, it features the same cast of characters as in The Thursday Murder Club as they come up against murder, diamond theft and mobsters. If you enjoyed the first book, you will like this one too I think. I listened to the first one as a serial on BBC Radio 4, so it was good to read the second in print.

Next up is Mary Li’s Mary’s Last Dance. No doubt many of you are familiar with the book and film Mao’s Last Dancer which told the tale of ballet dancer Li Cunxin, and his career from ballet school in China to dancing with Houston Ballet. This book is by his wife, and tells her story of her dancing career and caring for her profoundly deaf oldest child. It is an interesting book, and of course a great companion piece to Mao’s Last Dancer. However, it isn’t that well written, which is fine on one level – it is her story – but it could have been edited a bit better perhaps? Still, if you are interested in dance history it is worth reading (and for me it was fun to see her write about one of her partners who started his training at the same ballet school in Scotland I went to many moons ago!).

In contrast, Nina Mingya Powles Small Bodies of Water is a wonderful collection of her beautiful writing. She has an ability to use words to really paint a picture of where she is and what she is describing. The essays are interconnected, and use the metaphor of water and how it separated and connects us. A lovely little gem of a book.

And so to food…of course! I found A Cook’s Tour of France by Gabriel Gaté, who might be familiar to Australian bloggers in a second hand It is a collection of regional French recipes from the chef and television presenter’s “annual gastronomic journey along of the course of the Tour de France”. I can’t imagine I will ever cook from it (but who knows?) but it was a fun book to dip into while watching The Chase of an evening! Underneath is the magazine Table, with lots of reading about food and art, that I have only just dipped into (but wanted something else in the picture!).

So that is my reading for this month. Have you read anything good, or any of the books I have read?

Also entered into Natalie the Explorer’s Weekend Coffee Share

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 loved The Man Who Died Twice and can’t wait frothier next adventure. I always look forward to see what foodie book you’ve been reading and Gabriel Gate’s sounds like a great choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for joining us at What’s On Your Bookshelf. This is an impressive pile of books especially since you are back at work — and have kept up such a wonderful garden. Although I am not usually much of a cookbook reader (shhhh, don’t tell Jo), I do like the sounds of A Cook’s Tour of France. Great food and travel – what could be better?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah Yes I remember Gabriel who used to have a television cooking show some years ago – not a bad cook. I am not usually one to cook French dishes unless it is something simple like Ratatouille.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another wonderful list of books! I really enjoyed both Richard Osman books and suggested them to my mother who also liked them, and she is in the right age group to join the ‘gang’. Thanks for joining us 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved “The Thursday Murder Club” and his second book is on reserve at the library. I am loving
    Nina Mingya Powles, “Small Bodies of Water”. It is due back at the library in a few days and I will reluctantly return it. It has provided me with a restful place away from Omicron and Convoy tensions. I plan to re-read it and seek out her other writing.
    Have you read Ingrid Horrock’s book “Where we swim”? More writing by a woman linking so much to water….and she lives in Wellington so the landscape in many of the chapters/essays is familiar.
    Another Wellington based writer Sue Orr had me captivated with “Loop Tracks”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I so agree re “Small Bodies of Water” – it is so peaceful and just a lovely work. I read her book ‘Tiny Moons’ about eating in Shanghai which was also good. I haven’t read the Ingrid Horrock so will look out for it. “Loop Tracks” is in my to be read pile.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t read any of these! But I too recently read a memoir type of book and thought it should have been edited better as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I just finished These Precious Days, and you’re right: they are best read continuously if possible. I had many favorites and, when I returned to the first few sentences, I realized that death AND LIVING was the through-line. Patchett provided so many fresh ordinary ways to reflect on that.

    Thanks for mentioning Richard Osman. I read your post while sitting in the adult fiction section of the library. So I trotted over to the “O” section. Now I have The Thursday Murder Club right beside me! And there’s a comfy chair in the corner. And . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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