What’s on my bookshelf #8

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.

The first two books this month are likely to appear on my favourite books of the year. Sue Orr’s Loop Tracks is a wonderful story of coming to terms with who we are, our past and decisions we make. There is a really good summary here, but what I loved about the book were the characters who you felt you knew – flawed, yes, but human and connecting to each other in various ways. Most of the book is set in Wellington, with many familiar places popping up (and the fact that the house our lead character lives in is up a lot of steps…just like ours and many other houses in this city) and what it was like in New Zealand’s lock down in 2020. Do look out for it – I know it is available in Australia at least, and it was featured in a recent The Bookshelf podcast.

Things I Learned At Art School by Kiwi Megan Dunn is part memoir, part essay collection, it is also about the past, the things we do when young, and is both very funny, yet also very poignant when dealing with the death of her mother. It deals with growing up (love the details about her Smurf collection), experiences (receptionist at a massage parlour) and being a student at art school. I just loved this book.

After reading about Baking with Fortitude by Dee Rettali (you can read the publisher’s notes here), I thought it was a book I should have on my shelf. The recipes are just a bit different, with recipes divided into herbs & botanicals, fruit & berries, dairy, spices & aromatics, bread-ish (soda breads) and sourdough and fermented cakes. I tried the thyme and apricot butter loaf cake, but it was very disappointing, with not a lot of flavour. However, I should give another recipe a try: this Ras el Hanout and Black Treacle Loaf Cake sounds interesting.

Footnote and question: I learned to bake from the old BeRo books back in the day. The quantities of finished products is much smaller than a lot of modern baking books, which, with only 2 adults in the house, is much more appropriate. Anyone else notice this? The recipes in this new book make big cakes and loaves.

So to the other two books I managed to read this month, namely the instantly forgettable ‘cosy detective novel’ Perfect Poison by Joyce and Jim Lavene. It started out with a good premise, dead bodies in water with plants used to trace the story of what happened, but it went on a bit too long and there were too many side stories.

I read Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton after the two wonderful books above, and found it a bit hard to get into at first as a result. Once I did, however, I couldn’t put it down. This is the fourth book of hers I have read, and have enjoyed them all in different ways.

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

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

Also entered in the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Natalie, because, after all, who doesn’t enjoy a cup of tea – or coffee – and a good book?

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

26 Comments

  1. It’s so good to have you join us for another edition of #whatsonyourbookshelfblogchallenge. I’ve heard good things about Elizabeth Strout’s books so must get into them. Happy reading ahead 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Recommendations that I will watch out for bar the detective novel. I just finished Dregs by Jorn Lier Horst, the author of the Norwegian series Wisting.It is hard to beat the Scandi authors for crime fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is the first time I’ve visited your blog and I’m pleased I did to see the books you’ve been reading. It’s looks an interesting pile of books. I haven’t read any of them, so will add them to my tbr list. The Elizabeth Strout book will be close to the top, as I’ve read other books of hers and enjoyed them. I know you said you’re not on Twitter these days, but I will share it there.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for linking up. Sue Orr’s book is one I’ll keep an eye out for – and I’m keen to hear about what else you bake from baking with fortitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have enjoyed Elizabeth Strout’s books and hope that Sue Orr’s one becomes available here soon for it looks the kind of book I would like to get into.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t heard of any of these! Though I have noticed that portion sizes do seem much larger in current cookbooks; just like those servings we are served when we eat out that seem to have doubled.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like books that leave you pondering about the characters and the story after you’ve finished reading them. One I’ve just started is called “the tattooist of Auschwitz” seems good so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A cup of tea or coffee and a good book are life’s simple pleasures not to be missed. I noticed the bigger quantities of finished products in newer cookbooks, too. Thank you for sharing your recent reads with #weekendcoffeeshare.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi T&K. I don’t know which I like better; curling up with a good book and a big mug of tea or sitting more upright with my laptop and that same big mug of tea to write or just blog.
    When in such doubt – I just give in and spend time on all three. . .
    Thanks for the visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have just finished reading “Oh William” by Elizabeth Strout and reading some reviews of her books generally I wondered if I should have read ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’ first?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ras el Hanout and Black Treacle sounds great. I have a friend who puts a whole bunch of different spices into a carrot cake. I’ve never got round to trying it, as it’s a sourdough based recipe and my pet dough departed some time a go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is a whole section on sour dough baking in he book, but I don’t have a a starter either. I must try some more things from the book and just half the recipes I think.

      Like

  12. The book that caught my attention was Baking with Fortitude by Dee Rettali, and glad to hear you are going to give it another go. I enjoy collecting cookbooks and a considerable amount of others. I might have to join you all in a similar post.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I haven’t read any of those. Our book club is getting ready to pick a new book. We’re going to choose a memoir. It will be interesting to see what options we have to choose from

    Like

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