On the Bookshelf – July

Okay, it’s time for my monthly book round-up. Without any faffing about, here goes:

Can’t Stop The Feeling and Can’t Buy Me Love, by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Henderson, a Kiwi author, writes classic romcom set mostly in Scotland. Her novels are always a fun read, and these were no exception to that particular rule.

The Museum of Forgotten Memories by Anstey Harris

I adored Harris’ previous book, The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton – in fact, it was one of my top reads of 2019 – and had been looking forward to this one.

To be honest, while I can tell you what this story is about, I don’t really know that I can say what it’s really about – a fine but important difference. Harris says that it’s about the human condition, and I suppose that it is.

While I’m not one for literary novels or unnecessary words, this is really quite beautiful and understated, gentle almost. It’s bleak and hopeful and light and dark all at the same time, and I really loved it. 

The Museum of Forgotten Memories was my favourite read for the month.

Eating Eternity – Food, Art and Literature in France, by John Baxter

A series of short chapters written in Baxter’s usual storytelling style – he has this ability to make you feel as though you’re sharing a wine or a walk with him and he’s sharing gossip. It’s what brings me back to his books every time. Anyways, in this one Baxter ties art, culture, and history into the story of French cuisine and the evolution of French restaurants.

I inhaled this on the flight to Cairns.

Letters From The Past, by Erica James

Okay, I was a tad confused by this one at first – I hadn’t realised it was a sequel – but soon settled in for the tale. Erica James is an auto-buy author for me and this was reliably good, completely enjoyable, and I demolished it over a flight.

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

This was an accidental purchase in Port Douglas the other week. Sarah had to do a zoom call for a briefing for uni and the café we found to sit in just happened to be out the front of a bookshop. Naturally I didn’t feel right about sitting there for an hour and only ordering tea (me) and an iced latte (Sarah) so I bought a book.

The premise of this is a good one. Seventy-five year-old artist Julian is lonely – something he admits in a green notebook entitled The Authenticity Project. He leaves it in Monica’s café. She too is putting a smile over her biggest secret – she desperately wants a family. She writes in the green notebook and leaves it where someone else will find it. And so on. The notebook brings all these strangers together.

A cozy redemption read.

Maggie’s Going Nowhere by Rose Hartley

An airport buy from a debut novelist. Really unique concept and well written.


The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlebben, read by Mike Grady.

This one has been languishing in the “to be read” pile on my kindle for so long that I can’t remember why I bought it in the first place. I suspect that I heard a podcast, or something. Anyways, because I already had the kindle version, I got the Audible version for something like $1.

Anyways, this is fascinating, really fascinating. I had no idea that trees have such a complex familial and support structure (no pun intended) and method of communication – especially when grown wild in a wood. It’s something that trees which are farmed or on their own don’t have.

The idea that trees have a sort of social interaction, a way of warning each other, and a forest etiquette of sorts – and yes, there is science to back this up – is (again no pun intended) ground-breaking stuff.

As interesting as the subject was, I found the narration to be a tad, shall we say, soporific. While my eyes might have glazed over from time to time, I’ll never look at a tree or trees in a forest in the same way again. Wood wide web indeed.

Bonkers by Jennifer Saunders, read by Jennifer Saunders

This is, quite simply, absolutely fabulous. Did you see what I did there?

Seriously though, this is laugh out loud funny. I think I would have loved it even if I wasn’t a fan of Absolutely Fabulous or the work she did with Dawn French, or any of the hilarious stuff she’s done with Comic Relief in the UK. 

This book made me annoyed when the rain set in last week and I didn’t get my afternoon walks in – it made me want to go out anyway. I loved it…(I already said that, didn’t I?)

What have you been reading this month?