On My Bookshelf – September

I didn’t read quite as much as usual in September. This is partly because I was writing more (I know, it’s about time…) but also because I’ve had a calf injury (or is it the knee? Who can tell…) for the last couple of weeks and have put my leg up in the afternoons when I knock off work rather than walk and listen to books. And yes, it’s really doing my head in. Hey ho, it is what it is. Anyways, onto my September reads…

The Life She Wants, by Maggie Christensen

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My first visit to Granite Springs but not my last.

Maggie writes romance with mid-life characters and she does it well. Really well. Engaging and real protagonists.

The Man Who Got Away, by Lynne Truss

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I told you about the first book in this series last month (if you missed it, you’ll find it here). I’m really enjoying this series and can picture it in my head as if it’s a movie or TV show. I think that’s probably a good thing.

The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith

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This one was my read of the month.

Okay, the entire world knows that Robert Galbraith and JK Rowling are the same person, but reading this, it absolutely doesn’t matter. I loved Harry Potter and I think I have a bit of a crush on Cormoran Strike.

I watched the TV series, C.B Strike, earlier this year but hadn’t actually read the books. When this one appeared on the shelf at my local op shop, I snapped it up – and am glad I did. Now I can’t wait to read the rest.

Okay, there are differences between the books and the series, of course there are, but I’m okay with that. 

This book took me ages to read – even though at 450 odd pages it’s not especially long – and is only half the length of the latest release in this series. That absolutely isn’t a reflection on the page-turnability of the book (is that even a word?) but more on the time I had available for reading last month.

Nothing But Trouble by Amy Andrews

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Every time that I think I might have a go at writing a real romance – the sort that has fabulous characters, all the feels and is sizzling with heat – I read something by Amy Andrews and know that I’m simply not worthy. She does it so well – which, after 70 something books (yes, 70 something!) isn’t, I suppose, surprising. Actually, it’s probably 80 something by now. I. Am. Not. Worthy.

This one was a finalist for RWA’s RUBY (Romantic Book of the Year) awards and deservedly so.

Singapore Sapphire by A.M. Stuart

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This one is book no. 1 in the Harriet Gordon mystery series. Set in Singapore in 1910 Stuart has done a fantastic job of building the world the story takes place in. 

There’s so much to like about this one: set in Singapore (tick), historical (tick), engaging strong female lead (tick), and a great mystery (tick).

My only wish is that there was more of Singapore’s fabulous food between the pages, but hey, that’s just me and I really did love the rather contrary cook – and hope to see more of them in the next outing. It’s the cook who provides some fabulous, yet very subtle comedy – whenever Harriet’s brother, a reverend and headmaster in a boy’s school, requests English food the cook responds with stodgily cooked vegetables as punishment. That’s my kind of cook.

The Final Siren by Nicki Edwards

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A disclaimer before I talk about this book – even though we’ve never met in real life (yet) I’ve got to know Nicki through social media and am sure that I’d like her just as much if we sat down for a cuppa as I do through her Instagram. She’s a go-to Aussie author for me.

In this one we’re taken to Glengarrick, a town I’m sure that I’d love, in the Victorian high country. (As an aside, I’ve never yet met a town that I didn’t love in the Victorian High Country…) The story focuses on Jed Delaney, an AFL (that’s Australian Rules football for non-Aussie readers) superstar who has recently retired before he would have liked to have retired. 

A Geelong supporter (which we’ll forgive her for), Nicki captures really well the very Victorian (the state not the period) adulation for its AFL stars – especially in the country – and also takes a good look at the struggles they have when the game is done. I love too how through Jed she turns that adulation into something really positive and giving – rather than the footballers behaving badly stereotype we see.

I enjoyed this read and look forward to book 2 in this series (which I’ve already pre-ordered) – where the protagonist is an ex-player with the women’s AFL. Yay Nicki!


On Eating Meat, by Matthew Evans, read by Matthew Evans

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Okay, this wasn’t an enjoyable read/listen but it was an important one and one I’m glad that I picked up. It’s compelling, confronting, controversial and unapologetically honest. 

The premise of this is about the responsibility of choosing to eat meat.  No, it’s not about veganism, but it did look at the impact of industrial farming, the role of animal rights and welfare groups and the idea of reducing suffering for all animals, the role of wildlife conservation (in this country), management of landscapes, and other amazingly complex discussions. As the front cover says: the truth about the production of meat and the ethics of eating it.

It definitely raised questions for me – particularly in relation to the source of the meat we eat, the frequency of meat on our table, and the way in which that animal has been raised and also despatched in our name. It’s also opened my eyes to the environmental and animal cost of everything we eat – even non-meat products. Some of the data literally blew my mind.

I’ve read a lot that Matthew Evans has written over the years – as a food writer, he’s a good one – and his Fat Pig Farm cookbooks are among the favourites on my shelf. Yes, that’s right, he’s a farmer, he’s also a chef, an omnivore, and a proponent for a different, kinder, mode of animal husbandry.

This was, without doubt, a difficult listen and, I suspect, would have been an even more difficult read. It was, however, an important and, at times, surprising read – at least it was for me.

What about you? What was on your bookshelf in September