May reading – and *where* is the year going????


I’m finding it hard to accept that we’re almost halfway through the year – where *does* the time go? – but at least I can report another great month of reading! May was full of bookish joy and here’s the pile of books which I’ve read:

That’s a lovely chunky pile, and I think the fact that there were so many Bank Holidays in May *did* help with the reading. But even taking that into account, it was a really, really good month; I loved every book on the pile (no duds, hurrah!) and am very happy with the variety. Interestingly, seven of the books have a connection with France, either being by French authors or about French creatives; this wasn’t planned, it just turned out this way! I never like to pick out just one favourite, but of course M. John Harrison’s “Wish I Was Here” (which I covered for Shiny New Books) was particularly marvellous; “Brian” was a stunning read; and the Camus was very special. They’re all great books though, so I’m very happy with my May reading! 😊😊📚

So, what plans do I have for June reading? TBH, minimal ones, which is the way I like it! Literary PotPourri is hosting a ‘Reading the Meow‘ event which takes place from 12th June onwards and I have been trawling the shelves to see if I have something suitable; I’m seriously tempted by a re-read of “The Master and Margarita” in a different translation, but I don’t know how the time will go for that. I though I might be luck with Beverley Nichols though; he was such a cat-lover that I was sure there must be something of his on the stacks which would fit, though so far I haven’t found anything. However, what I *did* find, perhaps expectedly, was this:

You might not expect a book about cats from the rather fearsome William S.  Burroughs! However, I’m awfully tempted and this may be what I go for.

Another likely read is for June’s #calvinobookclub, hosted on Twitter by the A Plunge Into Calvino podcast; this month’s book is “The Castle of Crossed Destinies”, a title I’ve not read in decades, so I’m very keen to see what I make of it nowadays.

Apart from these two events, the only actual commitment I have is taking part in a blog tour for a new book from Melville House Press, “Relentless Melt”, which sounds rather intriguing, so look out for that mid month. But apart from that, it’ll be mood reading again I suspect… There are a few possibles sitting patiently waiting in a box at the moment and one of them might catch my eye:

All look very tempting – is there anything there which takes your fancy? And do you have any plans for June reading?

Plunging into Calvino – the second part of my podcast guest appearance!!!! 😀 @calvinopodcast


Following on from last week’s arrival of the first part of my podcast guest appearance, part two is now up and live! So you can hear me rambling away with podcaster Philip Marsh about ‘Cosmicomics’, a favourite of Calvino book, ‘Invisible Cities’ and much more.

As Philip explained, it may be that the two parts don’t marry up completely as the original recording of the first part went mysteriously AWOL and so we had to re-record it. But hopefully you’ll enjoy listening to us conversing about Calvino (and plenty of other topics) so do go and have a listen – you can find part two here. And, of course, as I said before, try to read some Calvino in his centenary year – there are rich reading rewards awaiting you!!

Plunging into Calvino – in which I make a rare podcast guest appearance!!!! 😀 @calvinopodcast


Regular Ramblings readers will no doubt have noticed the focus so far this year on Italo Calvino, one of my favourite authors whose centenary year 2023 just happens to be! I’ve been following the A Plunge Into Calvino podcast, and also the #CalvinoBookclub which podcaster Philip Marsh has been hosting on Twitter. So when Philip asked if I would like to be a guest on the Plunge podcast, I was keen to get involved!

Now, I’m not a regular podcaster – in fact, I’ve only ever taken part in one before, when I was a guest on Simon at Stuck in a Book’s ‘Tea or Books’, all the way back in 2018 – so I was a little bit uncertain as how it would go, as no-one really likes the sound of their own voice, do they! However, all went well and the podcast was recorded in two parts – well, actually in three, as there was a slight mishap as Philip explains at the beginning of part one!! 🤣🤣

So the first part of the podcast is now available here and if you fancy listening to us rambling on about Calvino (and plenty of other topics) do go and have a listen. And, of course, try to read some Calvino in his centenary year!

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