What’s on my bookshelf #19

Another month, another look at what has been on my, and other’s bookshelves.  The what’s on your bookshelf challenge is 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.

I have a couple of ‘dipping in and out of’ books on the go which I hope to have finished for next month’s post – or at least one of them – which have taken up some of my ‘reading minutes’ this month. I also listened to two audio books: Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair At Styles, the first Poirot book, which I enjoyed, and Faith Martin’s 1960s set crime novel featuring a police woman and a pathologist A Fatal Mistake which started well but went ‘off’ about half way through when it got just a bit ridiculous.

On paper I read She and her cat by Makoto Shinkai, the tale of cats and their female owners in Tokyo. It can best be described as a charming book for cat lovers. The interlinking stories are thought provoking, and the sections where the cats ‘talk’ are just the thing for us cat people. A lovely little book for a wet afternoon.

Anthony Veasna So’s collection of short stories Afterparties, is a very different read. These beautifully written short stories by this Cambodian American may not be to everyone’s taste, but they are little gems of the struggle of identity and ‘fitting in’. The author died at the age of 28 in 2020, so this collection (and another one about to be published I believe) is all we have of his writing.

The other two books for this month are in contrast to the two above. The Question of Max by Amanda Cross was published in 1976 and is the third of the Kate Fansler novels I have read and probably the one I have enjoyed the most. A pleasant trip to the coast of Maine ends with Kate discovering a body on a rocky shore which turns out to be the body of one of her students. Kate decides to find out what really happened. This was the least dated of Cross’s books I have read, and certainly kept me guessing.

If you know the story of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, then you will pick up a couple of references here – from the main character’s name – Becky Sharp – to the rise and fall of someone who knows what she is after and gets it. There are definite hints of references to British journalist Rebekah Brooks, who some of you will know of, and some plot lines that if you are familiar with UK tabloid news of the 1990s (James Hewitt anyone?) will make you smile. I haven’t read any of the author’s other books, so can’t comment fully on The Guardian’s review you can read here. This book would be a perfect beach or by the pool read.

Finally, this month’s food book is Cook This Book by ex Bon Appetit YouTube host Molly Baz. I like this book for the emphasis on technique and there are certainly a lot of accessible recipes here. Her voice really comes shines throughout, so if you are not fond of her style, it might not be your thing. Some of the recipes are also on her YouTube channel. I need to get marking up some things to try.

And so the ratings..out of three, with a symbol relevant to the book as per the book club I am part of (we have moved to grades out of 5 instead of 3 for 2023).

  • Makoto Shinkai She And Her Cat 4 cats
  • Anthony Veasna So Afterparties 4 doughnuts
  • Amanda Cross The Question of Max 4 paintings
  • Sarah May Becky 5 British tabloid newspapers 😀
  • Molly Baz Cook This Book 5 bowls of pasta

That is me for this month – what have you been reading? #whatsonyourbookshelf

Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.

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. You introduced me to Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series. I happened to get hold of the second one first and have since read the first and am about to read the third – they are all great fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love how you read such a range of genres – there’s always something a little different. I’ve seen Cook This Book at the library and wondered…now I’ll need to take it out for a good look. Thanks for linking up.

    Liked by 1 person

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