Jackie's 2022 ROOTs

Den här diskussionen fortsatte här: Jackie's 2022 ROOTs Part 2

Diskutera2022 ROOT CHALLENGE

Bara medlemmar i LibraryThing kan skriva.

Jackie's 2022 ROOTs

Redigerat: jan 5, 2022, 4:17 pm

Welcome to my 2022 thread! My name is Jackie, I have lived in Scotland since 2005 (I was in London before then), and I work in the NHS – part-time for the past few years, but I’ll be back full-time in 2022, at least for several months. I am married with an 8 year old daughter. I joined this group in 2014, just after she was born, so this will be my 9th year of ROOTing (and also, how the flip do I have an 8 year old?!). I have loved the book chat here, and have even managed to make a dent into Mt TBR after many years of the book-buying being a bit out of control! I also feel like I have made some really lovely friends here in this group.

For the last few years I have tried to get Mt TBR down by acquiring fewer new books compared to TBR books that I read. I did that by (roughly) aiming to only buy 1 book for every 2 ROOTs finished, and 2021 in particular that worked really well. For the first time in some considerable time I got Mt TBR down below 400 books (current number on 1st Jan 2022 is 382). As this has worked so well for me, I’m going to carry on with the 2:1 into 2022 (I did consider making the ratio even harder, but chickened out! 2 for 1 it is). As per usual, book gifts are excluded from this ratio because I am human and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t manage it if I included them. I’m going to see if I can get Mt TBR to 360 books by the end of the year – let’s see how close I can get!

My reading happy place is narrative non-fiction (and within that, nature, place & environment writing in particular), but I do try to include a good sprinkling of fiction in my reading too. I’m continuing to write as well (I stalled on that in 2021, but hopefully will find my writing mojo again this year), and hope to self-publish a book in 2022.

Thank you for reading my thread, and I can’t wait for more book chat!

Note to self so I don't have to look everywhere - code for inserting a picture (surrounded by less than and greater than signs): img src="URL" width=200 length=150

Ticker 1 – ROOTs read:

Ticker 2 – acquisitions:

Ticker 3 – books left on Mt TBR:

dec 28, 2021, 1:01 pm

Happy New Year Jackie! Dropping a star so I can follow along with you this year. Good luck on your book!

dec 28, 2021, 1:02 pm

>2 Miss_Moneypenny: Thank you very much!

Redigerat: jun 25, 2022, 3:45 pm

ROOTs read (1st thread):

1. Julian Barnes - The Porcupine. Finished 5.1.22. 3.5/5.
2. ed. Hugh Hillyard-Parker - News of Great Joy: The Church Times Christmas Collection. Finished 7.1.22. 4/5.
3. Robert Macfarlane - Underland: A Deep Time Journey. Finished 10.1.22. 5/5.
4. Cassandra Alexander - Year of the Nurse. Finished 15.1.22. 4.5/5.
5. Sarah Wilson - First, We Make the Beast Beautiful. DNF 17.1.22. 2/5.
6. Jacob McAtear - An Engagement with Nature. Finished 19.1.22. 3.5/5.
7. Robin Wall Kimmerer - Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. Finished 31.1.22. 4.5/5.
8. Ian Carter - Human, Nature: a naturalist's thoughts on wildlife and wild places. Finished 9.2.22. 4/5.
9. Bernardine Evaristo - Girl, Woman, Other. Finished 18.2.22. 4.5/5.
10. Fredrik Backman - A Man Called Ove. Finished 18.2.22. 4.5/5.
11. Peter May - Hebrides. Finished 21.2.22. 4.5/5.
12. Lucie Fremlova - Queer Roma. Finished 2.3.22. 4.5/5.
13. Narine Abgaryan - Three Apples Fell From the Sky. Finished 3.3.22. 4.5/5.
14. Various authors - In the Garden: Essays on Nature and Growing. Finished 5.3.22. 4.5/5.
15. Goscinny & Uderzo - Asterix chez les Bretons. Finished 15.3.22. 3.5/5.
16. Kathryn Aalto - Writing Wild. Finished 24.3.22. 4/5.
17. Didier Fassin - When Bodies Remember: Experiences and Politics of AIDS in South Africa. Finished 27.3.22. 4.5/5.
18. Harriet Harman - A Woman's Work. Finished 31.3.22. 4/5.
19. Dan Richards - Outpost. Finished 9.4.22. 4.5/5.
20. Andrew Rumsey - English Grounds: A Pastoral Journal. Finished 14.4.22. 5/5.
21. Mary Austin - The Land of Little Rain. Finished 15.4.22. 4/5.
22. Nina Mingya Powles - Small Bodies of Water. Finished 17.4.22. 4/5.
23. Josephine Woolington - Where We Call Home. Finished 19.4.22. 4.5/5.
24. Pragya Agarwal - SWAY: Unravelling Unconscious Bias. Finished 29.4.22. 4.5/5.
25. Jane Bentley & Neil Paynter - Around a Thin Place. Finished 4.5.22. 3.5/5.
26. Robert Macfarlane - The Wild Places. Finished 16.5.22. 4.5/5.
27. Tim Severin - The Spice Islands Voyage. Finished 21.5.22. 4/5.
28. Monisha Rajesh - Around India in 80 Trains. Finished 23.5.22. 4/5.
29. Tom Bowser - A Sky Full of Kites. Finished 30.5.22. 4.5/5.
30. Jennifer Eremeeva - Have Personality Disorder, Will Rule Russia. Finished 3.6.22. 2.5/5.
31. Camille T. Dungy - Trophic Cascade. Finished 10.6.22. 4/5.
32. Miranda Hart - Peggy and Me. Finished 12.6.22. 3.5/5.
33. ed. Christine Homburg, Stuart Blume & Paul Greenough - The Politics of Vaccinations. Finished 19.6.22. 4.5/5.
34. David Long - A History of London in 50 Lives. Finished 20.6.22. 3/5.
35. Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietila - Notes From an Island. Finished 25.6.22. 5/5.

Redigerat: jun 23, 2022, 1:57 pm

Non-ROOTs read:

1. Bill Bryson - At Home: A Short History of Private Life. Finished 12.2.22. 4/5.
2. Nowick Gray - Flutes Jam: A Guide to Improvisation. Finished 25.4.22. 2.5/5.
3. Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Annabel Tempest - How to Change the World. Finished 19.5.22. 4/5.
4. Claire Dunn - Rewilding the Urban Soul. DNF 22.6.22. 2.5/5.

Redigerat: jun 24, 2022, 3:38 pm

Acquisitions (1st thread):

1. Cathy Rentzenbrink - Write it all Down. Acquired 6.1.22.
2. Andrew Rumsey - English Grounds: A Pastoral Journal. Acquired 7.1.22.
3. J.M. Carr - The Wonder Girls Resist. Acquired 26.1.22.
4. Maya Angelou - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Acquired 31.1.22.
5. Cal Flyn - Islands of Abandonment. Acquired 5.2.22.
6. C.K. McDonnell - This Charming Man. Acquired 17.2.22.
7. Kathleen Jamie - Findings. Acquired 21.2.22.
8. Mary Austin - The Land of Little Rain. Acquired 21.2.22.
9. Camille Dungy - Trophic Cascade. Acquired 21.2.22.
10. Robert Macfarlane - The Wild Places. Acquired 21.2.22.
11. Kathryn Aalto - Writing Wild. Acquired 16.3.22.
12. ed. Hardeep Matharu - Wokelore: The Johnson Culture Wars & Other Stories. Acquired 16.3.22.
13. Laurie Lee - As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. Acquired 3.4.22.
14. Noo Saro-Wiwa - Looking for Transwonderland. Acquired 3.4.22.
15. Garth and Vicky Waite - Island: Diary of a Year on Easdale. Acquired 3.4.22.
16. Josephine Woolington - Where we call Home: Essays from the Lands, Seas and Skies of the Pacific Northwest. Acquired 4.4.22.
17. Tom Bowser - A Sky Full of Kites. Acquired 15.4.22.
18. Tim Clare - Coward: Why we get Anxious and What we can do about it. Acquired 5.5.22.
19. ed. Una Mullally - Repeal the 8th. Acquired 6.5.22.
20. Maxim Peter Griffin - Field Notes: Walking the Territory. Acquired 20.5.22.
21. Hope Jahren - Lab Girl. Acquired May 2022.
22. Gideon Defoe - An Atlas of Extinct Countries. Acquired May 2022.
23. Matthew Green - Shadowlands: A Journey Through Lost Britain. Acquired 3.6.22.
24. Catherine Munro - The Ponies at the Edge of the World. Acquired 3.6.22.
25. Richard Fortey - The Wood for the Trees. Acquired 3.6.22.
26. Margaret Atwood - On Writers and Writing. Acquired 3.6.22.
27. Claire Walker Leslie - A Year in Nature: A Memoir of Solace. Acquired 3.6.22.
28. Pamela Petro - The Long Field. Acquired 3.6.22.
29. ed. Jessica Vincent, Levison Wood, Monisha Rajesh & Simon Willmore - The Best British Travel Writing of the 21st Century. Acquired 3.6.22.
30. Various - Why We Read: 70 Writers on Non-Fiction. Acquired 3.6.22.
31. Christy Lefteri - Songbirds. Acquired 3.6.22.
32. Dave Goulson - The Garden Jungle. Acquired 3.6.22.
33. Tete-Michel Kpomassie - Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland. Acquired 8.6.22.
34. Sophie Pinkham - Black Square. Acquired 14.6.22.
35. Tom Chivers - London Clay. Acquired 17.6.22.
36. Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietila - Notes from an Island. Acquired 23.6.22.
37. Jackie Morris - Feather, Leaf, Bark & Stone. Acquired 23.6.22. (***note to self: All titles up to and including this one in the Jar of Fate***)

Redigerat: jun 25, 2022, 3:46 pm

The Nerdy Stats post

ROOTs (total: 35)

fiction: 5
non-fiction: 29
poetry: 1

female author: 18 (%)
male author: 16 (%)
non-binary author: (%)
mixed anthology: 3 (%)

paper book: 13 (%)
ebook: 21 (%)
audiobook: 1 (%)

completed: 34
abandoned: 1

ratings (4* and above): 27

Non-ROOTs (total: 4)

non-fiction: 4

female author: 3
male author: 2

paper book:
ebook: 4

completed: 3
abandoned: 1

Acquisitions (total: 37)

fiction: 3
non-fiction: 32
poetry: 2

female author: 22
male author: 14
non-binary author:
mixed anthology: 4

paper book: 22
ebook: 14
audiobook: 1

Amount spent overall: £177.94


kobo - 12
SCM Press - 1
Kickstarter - 1
Waterstones - 1
hive.co.uk -
Unbound - 4
amazon marketplace -
birthday presents - 12
LTER - 1
Verso -
Barter Books - 3
amazon.co.uk -
Christmas presents -
Outwith -
Book Depository -
random gift - 2
University of Chicago Press -

(via Bookbub - 1)

2 for 1 progress (minus presents)

ROOTs 35
acquisitions 23

dec 28, 2021, 1:17 pm

Welcome back, Jackie! Good luck with the switch back to full-time work this year and with getting Mt TBR down to 360 :D

Redigerat: dec 29, 2021, 6:39 am

Hi Jackie, glad to see you here again! Happy ROOTing.

dec 29, 2021, 7:43 am

>8 rabbitprincess: >9 connie53: Thank you, I'm glad to be back!

dec 29, 2021, 8:03 am

great you are back. good luck!

dec 29, 2021, 1:48 pm

I understand about whittling down Mount TBR but in my case, as soon as I climb a few books, it grows higher. I will say that in 2021 I did manage to reduce my Mount TBR by 25%. But it took my best reading year ever.

At least we are not afraid to try again.

Good luck and happy reading!

dec 30, 2021, 8:39 pm

Jackie, good luck!
As for the 2 out 1 in....
You are stronger than me!! lol

dec 31, 2021, 10:13 am

>11 majkia: >12 cyderry: >13 LadyBookworth: Thank you all!

>13 LadyBookworth: Strength is relative, I reckon. I'm reading threads where people say they're not going to buy any books in 2022, and that is *way* beyond any strength or willpower I have!

dec 31, 2021, 10:19 am

>14 Jackie_K: I would not even want to not buy books.

dec 31, 2021, 10:28 am

>15 connie53: yes, exactly! Bookbuying produces a dopamine rush unlike any other :)

dec 31, 2021, 10:34 am

Happy reading in 2022. Cheers!

dec 31, 2021, 4:56 pm

Good luck with your Rooting goals in 2022, Jackie, and whittling down Mt TBR. Hope you're well and that 2022 brings good things for you - especially on the writing front!

dec 31, 2021, 5:14 pm

>17 rocketjk: >18 floremolla: Thank you both very much! Thanks Donna I'm really well, ready for 2022 now!

jan 1, 2022, 6:52 am

Happy ROOTing in 2022, Jackie!

jan 2, 2022, 9:41 am

>20 FAMeulstee: Thank you very much! I'm glad to be back.

Redigerat: jan 2, 2022, 9:57 am

I've just extracted my nerdy stats from my 2021 thread, so this post is just for the stats freaks! :)

ROOTs (total: 79)

fiction: 21 (26.6%)
non-fiction: 57 (72.2%)
poetry: 1 (1.2%)

female author: 29 (36.7%)
male author: 50 (63.3%)
(+ mixed anthology: 7 books)

paper book: 32 (40.5%)
ebook: 47 (59.5%)

completed: 79
abandoned: 0

ratings (4* and above): 55

Non-ROOTs (total: 17)

fiction: 1
non-fiction: 15
poetry: 1

female author: 9
male author: 9

paper book: 3
ebook: 14

completed: 17

Acquisitions (total: 54)

fiction: 13 (24%)
non-fiction: 41 (76%)

female author: 21 (40%)
male author: 31 (60%)
(+ mixed anthologies: 4 books)

paper book: 16 (29.6%)
ebook: 38 (70.4%)

Amount spent overall: £218.31 + $19.80

Source for new acquisitions:

kobo - 25
Unbound - 3
birthday presents - 8
LTER - 2
Verso - 1
amazon.co.uk - 4
Christmas presents - 4
Peepal Tree Press - 1
random gift - 3
University of Chicago Press - 2
Routledge - 1

2 for 1 progress (minus presents)

ROOTs 79
acquisitions 39

So my fiction/non-fiction ratios are similar (around 1:3) for both ROOTs and acquisitions in 2021. I've both read and bought more male than female authors, which I hope to make more equal in 2022. And I'm skewing more towards ebooks than paper books in both ROOTs and acquisitions, which definitely reflects my preference these days. Although one of my presents this Christmas was an Android tablet so that I could download audiobooks (I just don't want to use my phone for that, I spend too long on the phone as it is!), so let's see how I get on with those. I started my very first audiobook yesterday, I am reading along with the ebook which is quite a strange experience, I'm finding. Mostly I suspect I'll download the audiobooks of books I've already read, where I know the narrators are particularly good.

jan 2, 2022, 10:16 am

>22 Jackie_K: Mostly I suspect I'll download the audiobooks of books I've already read, where I know the narrators are particularly good.

I have a lot of audiobooks like that! For "new" audiobooks, I get the best results with Doctor Who novels or full-cast audio dramas ;)

jan 2, 2022, 10:21 am

>23 rabbitprincess: I've already got Born a Crime high up on my shortlist, as everyone has raved about Trevor Noah's narration (the book was already a 5* for me).

jan 2, 2022, 12:50 pm

Congratulations on getting below 400 last year and good luck with your target of 360!

jan 2, 2022, 1:23 pm

Happy new year, Jackie! Hope it's filled with lots of fantastic reads :D

jan 2, 2022, 2:43 pm

Happy New Year, Jackie! Good luck with your ROOTs and getting to 360! :)

jan 2, 2022, 6:55 pm

Happy New Year, Jackie! I wish I had your willpower when it comes to your ratio goal of books bought vs read off the shelves. Last year, I ended up acquiring more books than I ROOTed — not ideal!

jan 3, 2022, 1:40 am

>22 Jackie_K: Nice stats, nerdy or not.

jan 3, 2022, 3:01 am

A Happy New Year of reading, Jackie

jan 3, 2022, 1:04 pm

Happy ROOTing, Jackie! Lots of luck!

jan 3, 2022, 1:13 pm

>25 Rebeki: >26 curioussquared: >27 readingtangent: >28 rosalita: >29 connie53: >30 Robertgreaves: >31 mstrust: Thank you all so much!

>28 rosalita: Most years I acquired loads more books than I read, which I knew I was doing, but it was only when I started actually monitoring the numbers that I realised how out of control the book-buying had got! So I changed my focus from a search for a bargain to the 2:1 ratio, and so only buying books I knew I really really really wanted - the books I'd previously have bought which I just fancied vaguely and were cheap got put on my wishlist instead. It's meant that the quality of books I buy are much better, because I'm more likely to read something I'm really keen on. It's why my number of 4, 4.5 and 5 star reads has gone up the last couple of years!

jan 3, 2022, 1:15 pm

>32 Jackie_K: Inspiring! I am also a sucker for a bargain, which doesn't turn out to be much of a bargain if you never actually read the book. :-)

jan 3, 2022, 1:17 pm

>33 rosalita: Well, exactly! :D

Redigerat: jan 4, 2022, 2:27 am

>32 Jackie_K: And a wishlist certainly helps. I have one too and ever so often I find myself taking things of that list because I don't fancy them that much anymore.

jan 3, 2022, 2:31 pm

>22 Jackie_K: well done with the stats and welcome to the world of audiobooks! Highly recommended for mindless tasks and long drives. I found that my local authority library has free audiobooks available to borrow though not enough classics for me - I think I might have to chide them ;)

Agree with Connie, having a wish list - either on the LT app or online bookseller - is a good way of setting goals and channeling purchases. I edit mine every so often and delete the ones that have been ‘passing fancies’ - an extraordinary amount usually are and I’m glad I didn’t make the purchase!

jan 3, 2022, 5:01 pm

Welcome back, looking forward to many BBs. I remember how stuck your TBRs wanted to be at ~400, so big congratulations on starting at 382!

jan 3, 2022, 8:30 pm

Good luck with your goals for this year, Jackie. Reading, rooting and writing while working full time sounds very ambitious! You are a much more disciplined book buyer than I am.

jan 4, 2022, 5:20 am

Good luck with your reading goals, Jackie, especially with your Mount TBR. Mine has assumed Himalayan proportions, but I won't let it bother me. It's the only mountain I love to climb.

jan 4, 2022, 12:09 pm

>35 connie53: >36 floremolla: Yes, the wishlist has been a godsend! I'm not very good at pruning it, but I do now have a public wishlist for the things I'd most appreciate, and a further unseen wishlist for BBs that I quite fancy but could live without. That's made it a bit more manageable!

>37 detailmuse: Thank you MJ! I'm really proud of how well I've done, even though I didn't quite hit my goal of getting down to 375. And I'm definitely noticing, as mentioned above, that the quality of the books I am buying is much better than when I was just buying everything I could!

>38 Familyhistorian: I am actually a bit worried that I've bitten off more than I can chew in terms of time left available to do anything at all, but the new job is only a secondment, so it's not forever. Hopefully it will encourage me to prioritise how I spend my time, and waste less of it (we'll see...).

>39 MissWatson: It's the only mountain I love to climb. That is so beautiful and poetic, it made me smile! It's so true, too!

jan 4, 2022, 12:39 pm

Dropping by to add a star - your acquisition to reading ratio is inspiring! Looking forward to seeing what strikes your fancy this year.

jan 4, 2022, 4:49 pm

Good to see you back. I admire your 2:1 ratio but will aim modestly for a 1:1 this year. Congrats on getting below 400.

jan 5, 2022, 4:25 pm

>41 Caramellunacy: >42 Henrik_Madsen: Thank you very much! It took several years before I could manage it consistently (and honestly, I think I'm already about to blow it this early in the new year! Oh well, plenty of time to sort it out!).


The Porcupine by Julian Barnes is a novella about the trial of the former president of a nameless eastern European state shortly after the fall of Communism. It was published in 1992 and was widely known to be inspired by Bulgaria and the trial of its former president, Todor Zhivkov. Written mainly from the point of view of the Chief Prosecutor, we see the clash between the old and emerging new ideologies, and the realities of life under Communism and in the early years of the transition away from it. 3.5/5.

jan 8, 2022, 5:53 am


News of Great Joy: The Church Times Christmas Collection, edited by Hugh Hillyard-Parker, is a collection of columns and articles, poems and stories, that have appeared in the Church Times over the last 20 years or so, relating to Advent, Christmas, and Ephiphany. I read a few articles most days over the whole period, and enjoyed the collection very much. As is always the case with these things, some pieces meant more to me than others, but overall I think this is an excellent collection and I might well end up going over it every year at the same time. 4/5.

jan 9, 2022, 7:08 pm

>40 Jackie_K: It's amazing what you can do when you have a lot on your plate, Jackie. Things we tend to waste time on (like sleep) tend to go by the wayside. Shortly after I separated from my husband I worked full time and went to school part time (2 to 3 courses a semester). I used to go directly to school from my job but if I went to the computer lab at school before classes started I could use their computers to do the PR for the museum that I volunteered for. It's all a matter of using every minute efficiently.

jan 11, 2022, 11:35 am

>45 Familyhistorian: Ah, now I never think sleep is wasted time! But I'm sure quite a bit of the time I spend on the internet is :)


Robert Macfarlane's wonderful book Underland: A Deep Time Journey is my first 5* book of the year, and also (believe it or not) the first audiobook I've ever listened to! I listened to it whilst reading the ebook as well, and that turned out to be a fantastically immersive experience, once I got used to it. And it's a great book to be so immersed, dealing as it does with the land below the surface - caves, underground bunkers, sinkholes, glacier moulins, nuclear burial sites, as well as forest understorey and root systems, and city underground worlds such as the Paris catacombs.

I have to admit to being a total scaredy cat when it comes to being under ground or water, there's no way in a million years you'd get me caving or visiting pretty much any of the places he goes (apart from the forest, I could cope with that!), but his writing is so vivid and visceral that I kind of feel like I was there anyway. His writing does divide opinion - some people think his prose is particularly purple, but I honestly think there wasn't a word out of place here, and this book is a step up (in terms of depth and ambition and impact) from his previous books (which I also loved). This book deservedly won the Wainwright Prize a couple of years ago. 5/5.

jan 11, 2022, 12:16 pm

Hi Jackie! Happy first thread of 2022 to you!

>1 Jackie_K: and also, how the flip do I have an 8 year old?! That’s the way I feel, although add 20 years to it – my daughter’s 28! Good luck with your goal of getting Mt TBR down to 360.

>4 Jackie_K: Look at you, with one fiction book already under your belt.

>22 Jackie_K: And 26.6% fiction for last year.

>46 Jackie_K: First audiobook ever? You’ve got a wonderful new world opening up for you. I only listen to audiobooks in the car, and since I retired in 2016 my audiobook count has gone down seriously, but I’m just getting ready to start Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (again), and just love listening in my car.

jan 11, 2022, 12:27 pm

>46 Jackie_K: Yay for your first 5 star read of 2022 and your first audiobook ever! I started listening to books a few years ago on daily dog walks, and now I'm hooked. I can barely get myself to do any household chores if I don't have a book to listen to while I do them

jan 12, 2022, 3:55 am

>46 Jackie_K: Looking forward to read Underland : A Deep Time Journey, Jackie, I just got a paper copy from the library last week.

jan 15, 2022, 11:41 am

Stopping in to say hi and wish you good reading!

jan 15, 2022, 3:27 pm

>47 karenmarie: >48 curioussquared: Yes, my first audiobook ever! I'm not actually planning on being a full-on convert - mainly because I'm really resistant to downloading books onto my phone, and because I still prefer reading the actual words with my eyeballs! I spend enough time on the phone as it is, and I always switch it right off at night (which is when my main audiobook and podcast listening would be, other than when I'm ironing). At the moment I listen to podcasts on an mp3 player, which suits me down to the ground, but that can't take audiobooks, so Santa (aka Pete) got me an Android tablet for Christmas so I could download the kobo app and listen to audiobooks on that. My intention mostly is to buy audiobooks that I already own in paper or ebook format, but which I know have been praised as amazing in audio (so, for example, high on my list of planned buys is Born a Crime).

>47 karenmarie: I think 26% fiction is about normal for me, believe it or not! I don't think I could handle much more, but I'm not totally averse!

>48 curioussquared: I normally listen to podcasts while doing chores, so hopefully the audiobooks will expand my listening repertoire a bit :)

>49 FAMeulstee: It's quite hefty, but I thought it was amazing!

>50 enemyanniemae: Thank you EAM, the same back to you too!

jan 16, 2022, 2:01 pm


Year of the Nurse: A 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic Memoir by Cassandra Alexander is a searing account of 2020-21 on the front line of healthcare in the US. The author is an ICU nurse in California, and in this account she draws on her journal/diary entries, tweets and author newsletter entries (she has a side-hustle as an indie author of paranormal romance books), to give a powerful account of how traumatic many nurses found working during the pandemic. It has to be said that if you (a) don't like swearing; and/or (b) voted for Donald Trump; and/or (c) are particularly Evangelical, and/or (d) are anti-vax and/or anti-mask, then you will hate this book (she is very sweary and she does not hold back over who she blames). If you can get past that then this is a very personal, angry, and no-holds-barred account of the trauma faced by healthcare workers and the ways they had to deal with things to look after themselves (the author herself already had long-standing mental health issues, which you can imagine were absolutely not helped by PPE shortages, unsympathetic hospital management and the political shenanigans of 2020). Despite it all, I'd have no hesitation in wanting her as my bedside nurse if I ever found myself in ICU. 4.5/5.

jan 16, 2022, 2:30 pm

>52 Jackie_K: That looks like an interesting one, Jackie. I'll put it on the list, but I think I need for the pandemic to be a little further in the rear-view mirror before I read it — I'm already in a state of more-or-less constant rage about the anti-vaxx/anti-mask culture where I live, so I don't need more fuel for the particular fire!

jan 16, 2022, 3:07 pm

>53 rosalita: Yes, it would certainly add a lot of fuel to that particular flame!

jan 16, 2022, 3:37 pm

>46 Jackie_K: Sounds wonderful, onto the wishlist.

>52 Jackie_K: I'm very interested in these experiences, I wish the public knew more of what is happening on the inside. But I want a writer to stir my emotions, not rant their own all over me.

jan 16, 2022, 3:56 pm

>55 detailmuse: That's fair enough, MJ. I personally was moved by it, but I think given the cluster**** that is the political situation this side of the Pond right now, I also have a higher tolerance for ranting at the moment :)

Redigerat: jan 17, 2022, 2:26 pm


Sarah Wilson's First, We Make the Beast Beautiful is my first DNF for over a year. Honestly, if I'd realised when it came up on offer on Bookbub that she was the author responsible for the I Quit Sugar brand, I'd have left well alone. It's subtitled "A New Conversation about Anxiety", and as someone who's (pretty successfully, for the most part) living with anxiety I was interested to see what she had to say. But the overly chatty, familiar style, and the overwhelming bland soundbitey self-help vibe just ended up annoying me. I didn't recognise anything here that chimed with my own experience of anxiety, and I just found myself rolling my eyes more and more the further I got. I did read for 3 hours and got about 2/3 of the way through, so I think I did give it a fair chance, but it really wasn't for me. Compared to the previous book I read (Year of the Nurse) where the author writes so clearly and eloquently (and yes, swearily) about her mental health, this just didn't come anywhere close. 2/5.

jan 20, 2022, 12:56 am

>51 Jackie_K: Most public library systems also now have audiobook collections available on free loan, which you can listen to in the same way as you would a digital purchase. I've borrowed a few but only got round to listening to a few stories so far, as I already listen to a lot of Radio 4/4 Extra (including book serialisations, albeit usually heavily abridged). I enjoy listening to stuff a lot but if I like something I will then almost certainly want to read it in print.

jan 20, 2022, 2:50 pm

>58 elkiedee: Yes, I listen to a lot of podcasts too (including several from Radio 4). I'm still trying to figure out where I can fit audiobooks in my life, which is why for now I'm going to concentrate on just obtaining audiobooks of books I have already read and love. My commute is only short (and not every day), otherwise I'd totally get into audiobooks then, I think! (I used to have a 1 hour train journey twice a day, that would have been ideal!)

jan 20, 2022, 3:04 pm


An Engagement with Nature by Jacob McAtear is a selection of the author's walks in the English Lake District, describing the landscape and nature. Its subtitle is "Ideal for Bedtime Relaxation, Meditation and Mindfulness", and I think this is the key to enjoying this book. Each short chapter focuses on the landscape and one or more of the creatures he comes across, and I felt (as I read several chapters a day during my lunchbreak at my nature-poor workplace) that I would enjoy reading this with a backdrop of 'natural white noise' (birdsong, rustling leaves, tinkling water, etc). It certainly helped me to slow down and remember nature, which I appreciated very much in my sterile work environment.

I do have to say that he is very fond of complicated words where simple ones would do just fine - every step feels like it is described with multiple adjectives, and there were a few times when I was jolted out of the lushness of the imagined nature experience by reading a word I'd never come across before and not having a clue what it meant. Just occasionally I would really have appreciated a description of the sky as blue, the clouds as white, and the view as amazing - that really would have done me fine! I will read other things this author writes though, as the book was certainly very evocative of the place, and the landscape was easy to picture as I read along. I did also laugh at a very funny description of a group of three birds swapping places with each other on top of a wall to keep him always at the same distance from the group - that was really well done. 3.5/5.

jan 21, 2022, 11:43 pm

>60 Jackie_K: That seems like a more relaxing book than the one by the nurse in California, Jackie. Good change of pace even if the words were sometimes rather inaccessible.

jan 22, 2022, 8:07 am

>61 Familyhistorian: Yes, it was, although in all honesty I got more uptight about the big words than I did about the sweary covid rants. :D

jan 26, 2022, 3:02 am

>57 Jackie_K: I hope your next book will be better, Jackie! I've read two rather bad and boring books lately so I know how annoying that might be. Good to read that your last book was a good one!

jan 31, 2022, 4:35 pm

>22 Jackie_K: I remember my very first audiobook from back in 2005. Now they are a go to when I have a lot paperwork or projects to work on. (scanning old photos is so much more enjoyable while listening to a book.)

Just out of curiosity, what was your favorite book for 2021?

feb 1, 2022, 4:17 pm

>63 connie53: Thank you Connie, it was! I don't mind too much, since I've got more discerning about the books I buy/ask for, the boring books are fewer, and it's been well over a year since I last DNF'd a book, so it could have been worse!

>64 cyderry: I think my favourite books (can't whittle it down to one, sorry!) last year were Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass and James Rebanks' English Pastoral, with an honourable fiction mention to Mark Stay's The Crow Folk.

Talking of Robin Wall Kimmerer, I finished my 7th ROOT for January yesterday:


Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer was a lovely way to end the month. Much like Braiding Sweetgrass, this combines extensive scientific and botanical knowledge with indigenous wisdom, and it's a wonderful combination. Who knew mosses could be so fascinating? I loved it. 4.5/5.

feb 5, 2022, 8:37 am

Just realised I haven't done my January roundup - not that I expect anyone is hugely interested, but I have an assignment to write, so now is the perfect time! #procrastination

January was a good month for ROOTs, 7 in total. The 2 for 1 read:acquisitions is nearly on track (or at least, it was nearly on track at the end of January. I bought a birthday book gift in Waterstones earlier today and the books were buy one get one half price, so it would have been a waste not to, right?). By the end of January I'd read 7 and acquired 4. The plan was just to read one more and then I could start again, but Waterstones tripped me up a little. I've also started another online writing course, and there are 5 books we need to read for that, only 1 of which I already had on the shelves, and none of the others are on Overdrive that I can find. I think I also have some pre-orders coming in February, so all that to say the 2:1 might take a while to equalise :)

Anyway, here are January's ROOTs:

1. Julian Barnes - The Porcupine.
2. ed. Hugh Hillyard-Parker - News of Great Joy: The Church Times Christmas Collection.
3. Robert Macfarlane - Underland: A Deep Time Journey.
4. Cassandra Alexander - Year of the Nurse.
5. Sarah Wilson - First, We Make the Beast Beautiful. (DNF)
6. Jacob McAtear - An Engagement with Nature.
7. Robin Wall Kimmerer - Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses.

And the books I acquired were:

1. Cathy Rentzenbrink - Write it all Down.
2. Andrew Rumsey - English Grounds: A Pastoral Journal.
3. J.M. Carr - The Wonder Girls Resist. (no touchstone - this is a book by a friend via Kickstarter)
4. Maya Angelou - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. (Audiobook read by the author - this is one of the books for my course)

feb 6, 2022, 9:14 am

>66 Jackie_K: Well done with the ROOTing, Jackie!

feb 7, 2022, 2:38 pm

>67 rosalita: Thank you! I'm pleased too (although I feel like I've slowed right down this month already!).

Redigerat: feb 11, 2022, 1:11 pm

I've struggled to settle to reading anything this month so far, I've got several books on the go but lost the oomph to finish any of them till now!


Human, Nature: a Naturalist's Thoughts on Wildlife and Wild Places is a series of essays by Ian Carter who worked for many years at Natural England, including on the red kite reintroduction programme. I preferred the later essays, which looked at more thorny issues like what to do about non-native and invasive species (plants and animals), and human impacts on nature. He introduced very nuanced arguments around these issues, and acknowledged the very many grey areas where an obvious answer just doesn't exist. 4/5.

feb 12, 2022, 7:59 am

I did have a library book on the go, and stupidly yesterday, despite knowing that my loan was due to expire, I forgot to put my kobo onto airplane mode, and it disappeared with just one final chapter to go! Luckily though, nobody else had it on hold, so I got it out again this morning and finished it.

Non-ROOT #1

At Home: A Short History of Private Life is another fun romp through history by Bill Bryson, this time using his own home, and the rooms and passageways within it, as the inspiration to look at the history of ordinary life - building materials, sex, sewers, employment, social class, all sorts of stuff. I really enjoyed it. 4/5.

feb 12, 2022, 8:26 am

>70 Jackie_K: The same thing happened to me with Feral Creatures, and I have to wait six weeks for the book to come back :-/ I could theoretically try to get the print book, but when you re-borrow the ebook, it automatically remembers where you left off.

I should really read At Home in print! The audio edition, read by the author, was interesting but felt really long, and I don't think I retained much.

feb 12, 2022, 12:21 pm

>71 rabbitprincess: Oh, we don't have that 6 week rule at our library, thank goodness. You can take out the book again straight away as long as nobody else has requested it.

I have heard Bill Bryson speak, and think he's got a nice but quite soporific voice, I'm not sure I'd want to listen to him read the entire book (maybe one of his travel memoirs would be better, because it's more about him).

feb 12, 2022, 12:28 pm

>72 Jackie_K: Oh it's not a rule, just how long I have to wait because there are holds on it :)

feb 13, 2022, 10:16 am

>70 Jackie_K: I really liked that one too, Jackie. I'm glad you were able to retrieve it from the library fairly quickly. Having library books disappear is a hazard of reading ebooks, but on the plus side I am no longer single-handedly supporting the public library with my overdue fines!

feb 16, 2022, 9:18 am

>73 rabbitprincess: Oh, that makes more sense, it did seem like an odd rule!
>74 rosalita: Me too, Julia! A few years ago my daughter (then 3 or 4) got enough certificates for taking books out of the library that she got a small Bookbug toy (Bookbug is the Scottish Book Trust's character for encouraging reading in children), and I remember thinking at the time that I'd more than paid for it already with overdue fines! Although I must say, I never begrudged it, I'd sooner pay fines to the library than (say) to some private car park enforcer.

feb 16, 2022, 9:43 am

>75 Jackie_K: Yes, if I have to pay fines I'd much rather they go to the library.

feb 16, 2022, 6:22 pm

>75 Jackie_K: And then because I said that, the book came right back that evening! Haha.

feb 18, 2022, 11:21 am

>76 rosalita: Exactly!
>77 rabbitprincess: Haha, excellent!


I was of course aware of Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other from when it jointly won the 2019 Booker Prize, but not being the biggest fiction reader it's one of those books that I'd maybe have got to eventually but wasn't a priority. Luckily for me, my sister-in-law bought me a copy for my birthday a couple of years ago, and this month my book group read it, and I'm so glad for both, because I really enjoyed it. Portraits of mostly black mostly women and their stories and links to each other, their loves and challenges, the racism and sexism and abuse they faced, the hidden stories behind the outer appearance, I thought it was great (and I loved the Epilogue, which was a really deft tying up of a loose end from further back in the book). As a bonus, I think this is the very first Booker winner that I have ever both a) finished and b) understood what I'd just read when I got to the end (the only other Booker winner I got to the end of was Ben Okri's The Famished Road, and at the end of that I just felt like I had no idea what I had just read, but the language was so beautiful it didn't matter. All the other ones I have tried I abandoned as I just couldn't warm to them or understand them, or both). 4.5/5.

Redigerat: feb 18, 2022, 4:47 pm

I'm clearly having a good fiction day today:

ROOT #10

I started reading Fredrik Backman's A Man Called Ove in December last year, and felt myself getting quite emotionally invested in this lovable-despite-his-best-efforts grumpy old man, which is probably why it's taken me so long - I don't watch many films for the same reason, if I get emotionally invested then it's harder to stay cool and cynical :) However, I finished it today with a lump in my throat, and have to say I loved it despite taking 2 months to read it. Widower Ove mourns his wife, Sonja, gets grumpy with his neighbours, gets made redundant from work, and makes friends with pregnant Parvaneh who moves in next door, and her family, despite his best efforts not to. His years of fighting seemingly pointless battles in the local Residents' Association, along with his strong sense of integrity, come into their own when his neighbours face being separated by the council forcibly taking the husband into care. Ridiculous and moving situations ensue. I laughed and (nearly) cried at this, what a great story. 4.5/5.

feb 20, 2022, 4:30 pm

Jackie, hooray for you + fiction!

I too enjoyed Ove, and Backman's Anxious People was fun. I think this year I will re-read his very short and poignant, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer.

feb 20, 2022, 4:33 pm

>80 detailmuse: Yes, I'd like to read some more of his work too.

feb 21, 2022, 4:32 pm

ROOT #11

Sometimes when my reading has slowed down a bit and is feeling a bit of an effort, what the doctor (and the Jar of Fate) orders is a nice hefty coffee table book, and Peter May's Hebrides is a gorgeous example that I really enjoyed. The photos by David Wilson are really fantastic, and have captured the atmosphere of the islands beautifully.

The author's commentary is interesting - a bit of history, a bit of description of the landscape, and much more about how he came to get to know the Hebrides (firstly as the Director of a Gaelic-language series called Machair in the 1990s, and then returning to research for what became known as his Lewis trilogy of crime novels). For all of these - the TV series and each of the novels - he takes us through the landscapes which inspired locations and scenes in the series and the books, and the chapters on the books also include short descriptive passages from the books to accompany some of the pictures. I'm sure if I had read those books I'd be giving this 5* - this is a perfect accompaniment for anyone who's a fan of the trilogy (I'd recommend the hardback too, which I don't do very often - it's suitably hefty, and big enough that the photos reproduce some of the sense of space and isolation of the Hebrides). Although largely focused on Lewis, it does cover several of the other Outer Hebridean islands as well. Highly recommended for Scottish island-philes. 4.5/5.

feb 21, 2022, 4:44 pm

>82 Jackie_K: I loved the Lewis trilogy, and those books definitely made me want to visit the Outer Hebrides, Jackie. That book looks fantastic — I'll have to see if I can find it around here. It definitely sounds like the hardcover is the way to go.

feb 22, 2022, 8:01 am

>82 Jackie_K: Have to read this one next time I'm at my parents. I should really also finish the trilogy...

feb 22, 2022, 3:21 pm

>83 rosalita: >84 rabbitprincess: It's really good! I'm the most crime-fiction-phobic person I know, but I was almost tempted to try the trilogy :)

feb 22, 2022, 3:31 pm

>85 Jackie_K: I love crime fiction, so it's hard for me to gauge how the trilogy would land for you. But I would describe the books as being more about the relationships between characters and of course the location than a strict "whodunit" kind of plot. There's lots of harkening back to Finn's growing up on Lewis Island and then his interactions with those same people as adults. You can almost forget that there's a crime that's being solved. :-)

feb 22, 2022, 3:36 pm

>86 rosalita: Yes, that's the impression I got from this book. I think what I'm scared of in crime fiction (genuinely scared, now I think about it) are a) in case it's gruesome, and b) people being horrible, which really stresses me out. Basically I'm a complete wimp! I don't mind a whodunnit, it's the gory elements and nasty people that I am not interested having in my headspace!

feb 26, 2022, 3:11 pm

Nice ROOTing so far, Jackie! :)

mar 3, 2022, 12:08 pm

>88 readingtangent: Thank you! I've a couple more to report now!

ROOT #12

Queer Roma by Lucie Fremlova is an academic book of the author's PhD thesis, which is a qualitative study which interviewed LGBTIQ Roma from Europe and North America. It explores their various identities, and provides a fascinating and important addition to the academic fields of queer theory, intersectionality and Romani studies, amongst others. 4.5/5.

ROOT #13

Three Apples Fell From the Sky by Narine Abgaryan (translated by Lisa C. Hayden from the original Russian) is an absolute delight, a timeless story of community, family and love. In the remote Armenian village of Maran, a rapidly ageing and dwindling population live and go about their business, supporting and celebrating with each other. The book only mentions a couple of things in passing which could roughly place it in a particular time - mention of eg a grandparent fighting to overthrow the Tsar, or another relative having fought the Bolsheviks - but other than those mentions, it could be anywhere, any time. They talk about going to 'the city' (which is never named), but most of the story takes place in the village. Some people have tagged this book 'magical realism', but to be honest I found those elements so well integrated into the story that I barely noticed them as out of the ordinary. The book follows the fates of several of the village families, and I loved every single one of the characters (with the exception of Anatolia's first abusive husband, of course). Highly recommended, it's gorgeous. 4.5/5.

mar 3, 2022, 12:31 pm

I've just realised I didn't post my February stats. So here goes!

I only read 4 ROOTs, and 1 non-ROOT (I seem to remember last February being similarly slow). But they were all 4* or 4.5* reads, so I'm not complaining! They were:

1. Ian Carter - Human, Nature: a naturalist's thoughts on wildlife and wild places.
2. Bernardine Evaristo - Girl, Woman, Other.
3. Fredrik Backman - A Man Called Ove.
4. Peter May - Hebrides.

And the non-ROOT:
1. Bill Bryson - At Home: A Short History of Private Life.

Now, acquisitions. Ahem. So how's that 2:1 ratio of new books acquired:ROOTs read going, Jackie? Well, thanks for asking. At the end of February I'd read 11 ROOTs, and acquired 10 new books. So yeah, that's how it's going! (in my defence, most of my February acquisitions were for my writing course, plus a pre-order coming in, and only one impulse buy. Am planning on not buying any books in March to try and get back on track). The acquisitions for February were:

1. Cal Flyn - Islands of Abandonment.
2. C.K. McDonnell - This Charming Man.
3. Kathleen Jamie - Findings.
4. Mary Austin - The Land of Little Rain.
5. Camille Dungy - Trophic Cascade.
6. Robert Macfarlane - The Wild Places.

mar 4, 2022, 3:38 am

>90 Jackie_K: It will all come out allright at the end, Jackie. Never fear.

mar 6, 2022, 8:05 am

>91 MissWatson: Yes, it usually does :)

ROOT #14

In the Garden: Essays on Nature and Growing is a lovely anthology of essays, from well-known and lesser-known (to me) authors. There were a number of names I recognised (eg Penelope Lively, Nigel Slater), but honestly, I loved every one. Reflections on growing, belonging, nurturing, home - it was gorgeous. I think my favourite quote was from the final essay, by Victoria Adukwei Bulley, it made me laugh out loud:

"I walk back to the kitchen and joke with T that it wouldn't be so bad to be reborn as an insect in a compost bin since every time I open it up it's like a rave in there."

There are two other anthologies in the same series - In the Kitchen, and At the Pond (about the Hampstead Ladies' Pond), I'm keen to read them too (they both have gorgeous covers too, like this one). 4.5/5.

mar 10, 2022, 7:13 pm

Books for a course don't really count, do they? They're part of the educational experience and so are the ones that are recommended during the course because you know there will be those too.

mar 11, 2022, 3:22 pm

>93 Familyhistorian: If they were formal text books I'd agree, Meg, and wouldn't count them. But two out of the four were on my wishlist anyway, and I am quite happy counting them as ROOTs. As I've gone on with this challenge over the years I guess I've just 'moulded' my definition of a ROOT as being something more creative in its writing, whereas if I bought a book on (say) an aspect of writing craft, or a cookbook or whatever, I wouldn't count that. Of course, plenty of people could make an argument for a cookbook or somesuch as a piece of creativity, and I don't disagree necessarily, but those are the loose definitions that seem to work for me.

I'm actually managing fine not buying books this month. I reckon by the beginning of April I'll be back up to speed with the 2:1 and of course I already have my eye on books I'd like to buy :)

mar 16, 2022, 5:34 pm

ROOT #15

I've previously read this book in English, but now it was time to read it in the original French. Goscinny & Uderzo's Asterix chez les Bretons (Asterix in Britain) follows our heroes to help out an indomitable village in Britain which is resisting the Romans (sound familiar, Asterix fans?), and give them a barrel of their magic potion to give them superhuman strength to conquer the amassing Romans. The usual shenanigans, disasters, and beating up of entire Roman legions ensues, and the Britons discover their own magic potion. Lots of fun. 3.5/5.

mar 24, 2022, 5:41 pm

ROOT #16

Kathryn Aalto's Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers and Mavericks who shape how we see the Natural World is a lovely anthology-esque tribute to a number of female writers who've written about nature and the environment. It came out of a magazine article about nature writing which didn't feature a single woman, and so Kathryn Aalto wrote a rebuttal, which was then expanded into this book. She showcases not just modern writers such as Amy Liptrot and Elena Passarello, and poets like Camille T Dungy and Kathleen Jamie, but also scientists like Rachel Carson, and goes right back to writers such as Dorothy Wordsworth and Susan Fenimore Cooper to show that nature writing in the 19th century is more than just Henry David Thoreau. She's also a lovely writer in her own right (and a fantastic teacher; she is the tutor on the writing course I'm about to start, and I did another with her last year), and my wishlist of books I absolutely must read has just grown exponentially. Some of the modern writers she either spoke with or even managed to go for a walk with, so as well as talking about their work, she's able to put a personal spin on their lives and writing. And even with the more historical writers, she often traces their footsteps - I enjoyed her walk up to Skiddaw in the Lake District in the footsteps of Dorothy Wordsworth very much. A lovely book to dip in and out of, or read in one go. 4/5.

mar 27, 2022, 4:45 pm

ROOT #17

Didier Fassin's When Bodies Remember: Experiences and Politics of AIDS in South Africa is an academic anthropology text which very powerfully shows both the human face of the AIDS epidemic in South Africa, and the roots of the politics surrounding it. Despite being quite old now (it was published in 2007) I found a lot of parallels between the situation of AIDS then and covid now (especially around disinformation, competing narratives, and distrust of medical knowledge and authority). Most interesting I thought was his very nuanced discussions of the controversial position adopted by then-President Thabo Mbeki about AIDS - reported as him denying the link between HIV and AIDS, but of course much more subtle than that, largely embedded in the social and economic realities of medicine in Africa, and the long-standing legacies of both apartheid and colonialism. The text is quite dense at times, and some of the academic theory was a bit hard work (for me, anyway), but even still, I thought this was a masterful, subtle and compassionate account, and a call for academics, politicians and all of us to examine our attitudes and beliefs about 'the other'. 4.5/5.

Redigerat: apr 1, 2022, 8:29 am

ROOT #18

A Woman's Work is the autobiography of the Mother of the UK Parliament (ie the longest-serving female Member of Parliament), Harriet Harman, who has recently announced that she will stand down at the next election, having entered parliament in 1982. It's an account of her work throughout all her varied positions - pre-Parliament when she was a lawyer and working for the National Council for Civil Liberties, as a candidate and then MP, various Shadow Cabinet and government positions, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and twice Acting Leader when first Gordon Brown and then Ed Miliband resigned until their replacements were elected - particularly focused on what she did to increase both representation of women within and outwith parliament and political party, and laws such as the Equality Act and legislation around childcare and domestic violence. She's an MP I've long admired, even if I've not always agreed with her (eg she voted with the government on going into Iraq in 2003), and I think she'll be a super-hard act to follow. The misogyny and abuse she had to face just for daring to be a female MP and Party activist was horrific, and the fact that so much of what she faced is now deemed unacceptable is down to the work that she, and her colleagues, did over many years. I also liked that if there was someone she didn't get along with, rather than bitching about them like some autobiographies do, she just tends to mention them in passing, alludes to their disagreement, and then leaves well alone, rather than going on and on about why they were wrong. There are plenty of people in her position who would do well to do likewise. 4/5.

apr 3, 2022, 4:33 pm

I've been away this weekend (including my first trip to Barter Books since 2019 - as you can imagine I was beside myself, and frankly think that getting 3 books was pretty restrained!). We were staying with old friends of mine from London days who now live near Newcastle, so a couple of hours drive away when there aren't roadworks on the A1 (consider that a cue for a harrumph. Along with our meal stop it took us 5 hours!). They have a boy the same age as A and they get on like a house on fire, so it was great for both of them that they could entertain each other and not need us so much! We went on a lovely country walk to a fantastic pub for lunch yesterday, and today went to a coastal nature reserve before they headed home and we headed home via Barter Books. It's been such a good weekend, but I really can't get my head round going to work tomorrow morning!

Anyway, that is why I am a bit late with my March update. If it hadn't been for Barter Books this weekend, I was confident that I would have hit my 2:1 read:acquired ratio by the Easter weekend. But never mind, I've still read more than I've acquired (just), so it's all good. And those new books count for my April totals, so I've got a month where I can pretend they didn't happen.

March was a good month, overall. 7 ROOTs, and 2 acquisitions (one of which was for my course, and one was a pre-order from ages ago). So I'm pleased with how it went.

Here are my March ROOTs:

1. Lucie Fremlova - Queer Roma.
2. Narine Abgaryan - Three Apples Fell From the Sky.
3. Various authors - In the Garden: Essays on Nature and Growing.
4. Goscinny & Uderzo - Asterix chez les Bretons.
5. Kathryn Aalto - Writing Wild.
6. Didier Fassin - When Bodies Remember: Experiences and Politics of AIDS in South Africa.
7. Harriet Harman - A Woman's Work.

And my two acquisitions were:

1. Kathryn Aalto - Writing Wild.
2. ed. Hardeep Matharu - Wokelore: The Johnson Culture Wars & Other Stories. (no touchstone yet)

apr 3, 2022, 7:57 pm

>99 Jackie_K: Woo hoo, a trip to Barter Books!! Glad you were able to get away for a bit :)

apr 5, 2022, 3:13 am

>99 Jackie_K: Sounds like a wholly successful trip. Except the roadworks, of course. And I admire you immensely for buying only two books after such a long hiatus!

apr 5, 2022, 1:16 pm

>100 rabbitprincess: I was so happy to be back! And even better, I went to get a slice of cake from the franchise next door, and because it was so close to closing time and there were only a couple of slices left of the cake I'd chosen, she gave me both slices!

>101 MissWatson: It was so nice to get away! I actually got 3 books there (the 2 books listed in >99 Jackie_K: were my March acquisitions). I've just finished work today and have the rest of the week off (it's the school holidays, so I'm doing this week's child-entertaining and Pete has next week off). I'm very very glad that I have a few days off - hopefully I'll manage to get plenty of reading done too.

apr 5, 2022, 1:22 pm

>102 Jackie_K: NICE! Bonus cake is always exciting :)

apr 5, 2022, 3:03 pm

Hooray for book buying and free cake!

apr 6, 2022, 3:47 am

>102 Jackie_K: It's lovely to have a change of scenery! I'll be spending Easter at my sister's and I'm hoping for lots of book-talk. Now that many restrictions have gone I'm hoping for weekend trips to museums again. Enjoy your week at home!

apr 9, 2022, 6:08 am

>103 rabbitprincess: >104 mstrust: I'm always up for bonus cake :)
>105 MissWatson: Weekend trips and lots of book talk sounds perfect, Birgit!

ROOT #19

Outpost by Dan Richards is subtitled "A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth", and certainly delivers on that. A fascination with huts, sheds, bothies, lighthouses and other outposts leads him all over the world looking at landscape and solitude. From Scotland to Svalbard, Japan to France, USA to Iceland, he explores their appeal and considers the future of wild landscapes in the Anthropocene. If this sounds worthy and earnest, in parts it is, but it's also very funny too (his description of his hangover at the start of the Scotland chapter made me laugh out loud). He's very self-effacing, and makes a charming and perceptive travel companion. 4.5/5.

apr 9, 2022, 8:11 am

>106 Jackie_K: Sounds good, Jackie. It is available in Dutch translation and in the e-library, may be a nice read for next month.

Redigerat: apr 14, 2022, 5:04 pm

>107 FAMeulstee: I hope you enjoy it if you get it out of the library!

ROOT #20

For Lent this year I've been reading Andrew Rumsey's English Grounds: A Pastoral Journal. Andrew is now the Bishop of Ramsbury (in Wiltshire, part of Salisbury Diocese), but for my last couple of years in London (2003-2005) he was the vicar of the church I attended in south London, and I've stayed in touch with him on social media and bumped into him every now and then. This reminded me, yet again, of how much I miss his wisdom and his excellent sermons (there aren't many people of whom I can say I miss their sermons, but he's definitely one!).

The book consists of short entries charting his first year of moving to Wiltshire and getting to know the place, and contains musings on place, nature, Christianity, Englishness, and the place of the Church of England in all of that. It also features some of his lovely photos. His writing is so beautiful - short pieces containing such profundity. I absolutely loved this book, and highly recommend it. 5/5.

apr 15, 2022, 6:10 am

ROOT #21

First published in 1903, Mary Austin's The Land of Little Rain proves that powerful writing about nature and place in America isn't just the purview of Henry David Thoreau. This is a book of essays exploring the south western Californian desert, and the arid, sparse writing reflects the landscape but also reflects the colour and life in this seemingly barren land. I particularly loved the essay about scavengers (buzzards, vultures, coyotes, and others), and also her writing on water and trails. I'll definitely come back to this one again. 4/5.

apr 15, 2022, 7:20 am

>108 Jackie_K: I have at from the library now, Jackie. I might even get to it this month.

apr 17, 2022, 2:23 pm

>110 FAMeulstee: I'll look forward to hearing what you think about it, Anita!

ROOT #22

You can really tell that Nina Mingya Powles, author of Small Bodies of Water, is a poet first and foremost - this is a book of prose essays using various bodies of water (some more tenuous than others) to explore belonging, family, nature, language, identity, and home, but the language is so beautiful and poetic that there were times that it felt more like a prose poem. She is of mixed race - white European/NZ on her dad's side, and Malaysian Chinese on her mum's, and she has lived and travelled throughout the world at various points in her life, so there were lots of places and cultures to inspire her writing. She writes about bodies of water she has known from swimming pools to coastlines to monsoon rains, and yet the chapter which affected me most was more internal, about periods - it was absolutely fantastic (now there's a word I wouldn't expect to use in the same sentence as 'periods'!!!). This is really hard to categorise, although a lot of people place it in nature writing (the proposal for the book won the inaugural Nan Shepherd Prize a few years ago). It's lovely. 4/5.

apr 20, 2022, 2:31 pm

ROOT #23

I received an ARC of Josephine Woolington's Where We Call Home: Land, Seas and Skies of the Pacific Northwest as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Programme; thank you to the author and publisher for the opportunity.

Chapters cover some of the nature and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest - plants, animals, insects, birds - and all of the chapters were well-researched and thorough. The author got a good balance between fact and her own experience, and this was very well-written. I really liked that as well as presenting facts, she also interviewed experts in the field - ecologists, Native teachers, scientists - which gave it a more personal touch. She presented the impact of climate change and human activity subtly but urgently, without preaching. I learnt lots, about a part of the world I'm not at all familiar with, and it's encouraged me to look at the nature and wildlife closer to my own home. 4.5/5.

apr 20, 2022, 2:41 pm

>112 Jackie_K: Sounds like one I should pick up as a PNW native :)

apr 20, 2022, 4:04 pm

>113 curioussquared: oh for sure! It's not out till November, I don't think (at least not in the UK - might be earlier in the US).

apr 25, 2022, 1:16 pm

Non-ROOT #2

I received Flutes Jam: A Guide to Improvisation by Nowick Gray via the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Programme - thank you to the author for the opportunity to read this book.

This short book introduces basic fingering for the flute and for penny whistles, and theory based on scales and modes, designed to encourage the novice musician to be able to improvise along with other musicians. I was keen to read this, as a classically trained musician with a music degree, I'm always really aware of how self-conscious and basically clueless I am when I try to improvise. I have to be honest though, I really struggled with this book - if I didn't have a music degree I'd have been even further lost, the discussions of modes in particular soon had me more and more baffled. His system of visually representing scales and modes I think should have appealed to my nerdy side, but I found them hard to follow and visualise (they looked more like sudoku grids to me). I would have appreciated some suggestions for tunes, songs etc in the particular modes that would have worked with each of the scales and modes he was talking about, as it would have felt less abstract. I was grateful at the end that he included links to his YouTube channel, as I suspect I will get on a lot better when I see and hear the points demonstrated. On its own I found this book a bit baffling, even though there's clearly lots of thought and practice gone into it. 2.5/5.

apr 30, 2022, 7:50 am

ROOT #24

SWAY: Unravelling Unconscious Bias is popular science at its best by Pragya Agarwal. It's thorough but accessible, and I feel like I learnt absolutely loads. The first few chapters look at the brain science around bias, and then the bulk of the book is looking at different areas where we can experience or exhibit unconscious bias, and what the research says about this. Issues such as race and gender, but also less 'obvious' ones like weight, beauty, accent (the accent/language chapter was really really interesting), and finishing with a discussion of the rise of AI and the bias built in to even the supposedly neutral AI tools. It was all very interesting, well worth a read. 4.5/5.

maj 1, 2022, 1:38 pm

Hi Jackie. Thanks for visiting my thread. That reminded me to visit a few of my fellow ROOTers today.
I don't know why I don't visit the ROOTers more often. I just can't seem to concentrate for a longer time to post and read everywhere and everything. But here I am. Hope you and yours are doing fine.
Your reading is going great.

maj 1, 2022, 1:56 pm

>118 Jackie_K: Hi Connie - you've got plenty on your plate already, please don't worry about frequent visiting of threads. We'll all be here if you want to visit :)

We are all well here, thanks! Working too hard (adults) and playing hard (A). A had her first covid vaccine today, which is a relief - covid has gone round and round her school, I'm so pleased that the primary school-age children are starting to get vaccinated at last. In my work at the hospital we're still seeing plenty of covid patients - it's a long way from going away, sadly.

Redigerat: maj 3, 2022, 1:15 pm

My belated April summary: 6 ROOTs, 1 non-ROOT, 5 acquisitions. (3 of those were from Barter Books, 1 LTER, and 1 regular purchase) I'm starting to think my year-end goal of 360 books left on Mt TBR might be a bit tight!

The ROOTs I read in April were:

1. Dan Richards - Outpost.
2. Andrew Rumsey - English Grounds: A Pastoral Journal.
3. Mary Austin - The Land of Little Rain.
4. Nina Mingya Powles - Small Bodies of Water.
5. Josephine Woolington - Where We Call Home. (LTER)
6. Pragya Agarwal - SWAY: Unravelling Unconscious Bias.

The non-ROOT was:

1. Nowick Gray - Flutes Jam: A Guide to Improvisation. (LTER)

And the acquisitions were:

1. Laurie Lee - As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. (Barter Books)
2. Noo Saro-Wiwa - Looking for Transwonderland. (Barter Books)
3. Garth and Vicky Waite - Island: Diary of a Year on Easdale. (Barter Books - particularly pleased with this one, I've only seen it online available 2nd hand for over £120, so £7.60 was a bargain!)
4. Josephine Woolington - Where we call Home: Essays from the Lands, Seas and Skies of the Pacific Northwest. (LTER)
5. Tom Bowser - A Sky Full of Kites (no touchstone yet). (kobo)

For the year to date, I've read more than I acquired (I'm 7 books in the black as of today), but I've a couple of preorders coming this month that I know of, and then it's my birthday in early June, so I'd better get my reading skates on!

maj 4, 2022, 3:52 pm

ROOT #25

Around a Thin Place: An Iona Pilgrimage Guide by Jane Bentley and Neil Paynter does what it says on the tin - it is for use either as an actual guide to pilgrims on the island of Iona, or for the armchair pilgrim at home like me, and uses pictures of the island and key spots from the weekly Iona Community island pilgrimage to structure the meditations, readings and prayers. I really want to visit Iona, and also have known Jane since I moved to Scotland, so this was right up my street. I must admit though, the armchair pilgrimage was a lesser experience than I'm sure the actual on-the-island pilgrimage is. It's definitely added to my wish to visit Iona though! 3.5/5.

maj 12, 2022, 4:52 pm

Jackie things sound busy and happy! Glad A has been able to start the vaccine.

>116 Jackie_K: Some of the states here are starting to require training in implicit bias for licensure and each renewal period (all professions/occupations). The training needs to be interactive, but Sway looks interesting as an additional resource.

>115 Jackie_K: I took piano lessons for years as a kid but never thought I got much music theory. So I've finally acquired a primer -- and I don't think I got more than two pages in before I started learning new info :0 (it comes with CDs of music to illustrate the theory)

maj 13, 2022, 4:47 pm

>121 detailmuse: Thank you! Unfortunately this week, just a week after having the first dose of the vaccine, she caught covid, so has been a poor wee soul all week! She's now bouncing off the walls again, though, so clearly feeling better, although her sense of taste still isn't quite right. I'm amazed I've not caught it from her, but as a health worker I have to test regularly, and I have kept testing negative all week. I'm not complaining, just a bit bemused - normally when she has a cold we're all knocked out with it!

maj 13, 2022, 8:40 pm

>122 Jackie_K: My sister's husband and the daughter who lives with them have both had it twice yet she has come through unscathed both times.

maj 13, 2022, 9:43 pm

Oh no! Sorry to hear A has COVID. When I got it in August my husband managed to avoid it somehow, too. And it took a few months for my taste to truly come back!

maj 14, 2022, 5:02 pm

>123 Robertgreaves: >124 curioussquared: I know a few people in a similar situation, lots of exposure to covid but never caught it. As for us, Pete has gone to bed early with a sore throat, having felt low-grade not-that-brilliant for a few days but otherwise OK, so we'll see how he is tomorrow morning. We think he had covid right at the very start, in March 2020 before testing came in, although we only realised several months later when they started talking about the impact on taste - prior to that we'd just thought he had a bad cold, but he said that food tasted like diesel for several months afterwards. I'm still fine. I must have good genes, as my sister's husband and daughter both had covid recently and she managed to avoid it too.

maj 17, 2022, 3:48 pm

ROOT #26

The Wild Places is an early book by Robert Macfarlane, published 2007. In it he travels around Britain and Ireland in search of the remaining wild places here - mountains, islands, holloways, etc - expecting them to be devoid of history and human influence, but eventually finding that everywhere is intimately tied up with human history and activity too. He often travels with friends, including several trips with the late author Roger Deakin, who died during the writing of this book. As usual his prose is beautiful and poetic (some might say purple, but I personally love it), and he brings the smells, sights, sounds and feelings of the various landscapes really vividly to life. My favourite bit was early in the book when he was camping out on the island of Ynis Enlli in Wales. At night the sea is full of phosphorescence, and he swims out in the middle of it, shooting his hands out like Merlin to watch the phosphorescence appearing to shoot out of his fingertips. I laughed out loud when I read that bit, and now doing that is my new life goal. 4.5/5.

maj 18, 2022, 1:09 pm

>126 Jackie_K: Finally a book that I don't have to add to mount TBR, as I already have read it.
I have enjoyed everything by Macfarlane, and I like your new life goal.

maj 21, 2022, 9:19 am

>127 FAMeulstee: Yes, I very much enjoy his writing too. I also use him as a guide for new books - he often blurbs new books, and if he praises a book then I can be pretty confident that I will like it too.

Non-ROOT #3

How to Change the World is a lovely picture book by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Annabel Tempest. It features 15 double page spreads outlining times when groups of ordinary people have achieved extraordinary things - the campaign to ban whaling, the campaign for women's votes around the world, the beginnings of democracy in Greece, the Montgomery bus boycott, and others. It outlined each issue giving lots of information without being preachy. I liked it a lot. 4/5.

Redigerat: maj 21, 2022, 5:01 pm

Probably inevitably, I have succumbed to covid at last, and I am pretty wiped out. I have done a lot of sleeping, especially today, but between naps I have managed to finish a very good book, so I'm happy with that!

ROOT #27

In The Spice Islands Voyage, explorer and writer Tim Severin sails round the Spice Islands of Indonesia in a traditional sailing boat following the footsteps (sailsteps?) of the Victorian era explorer and self-taught naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace, who independently of Darwin came up with the explanation of evolution and natural selection at a similar time on the other side of the world. The aim of Severin's trip is to see how the area has changed since Wallace's time, in particular the environment and wildlife. He also writes a lot about Wallace's own trip, and I found this a compelling and fascinating travelogue, with signs of both environmental degradation and environmental hope. 4/5.

Redigerat: maj 21, 2022, 5:10 pm

>130 Robertgreaves: Book bullet

I hope it's only a mild case, Jackie. Look after yourself, find something to read that doesn't tax the brain, and watch some mindless telly. Get well soon.

maj 22, 2022, 3:08 pm

Oh the week you've had! So glad that A has rebounded, and hopefully Pete by now, and YOU very soon.

maj 22, 2022, 6:08 pm

Sorry to hear you've caught COVID! I hope you recover soon and that symptoms are mild.

maj 23, 2022, 3:29 pm

>130 Robertgreaves: >131 detailmuse: >132 curioussquared: Thank you all very much! I'm feeling really rough and tired, but trying not to overdo things, and already I feel a little better than I did at the weekend.

ROOT #28

More travels in southern Asia, this time by train rather than boat, with Monisha Rajesh's Around India in 80 Trains. Accompanied by a photographer friend she nicknames Passepartout (a nod to Around the World in 80 Days, of course), she travels the length and breadth of India by train over a 4 month period, exploring cities, countryside, and the peculiar subculture of train travel itself. There were times when it felt too caught up in the arguments she was having with Passepartout (they did make up eventually), but the latter 1/3rd of the book in particular I thought really gave an amazing flavour of 21st century India. I also loved Anusha, the long-suffering clerk at Delhi station. 4/5.

maj 31, 2022, 1:25 pm

ROOT #29

A Sky Full of Kites by Tom Bowser is the story of Argaty Red Kites, a centre not too far from here which has seen kites return since the kite reintroduction programme in Scotland in the early 2000s. Argaty is a farm, but the author (who runs Argaty Red Kites) did not want to follow his family footsteps into farming, and so is working to rewild large parts of the land and it now welcomes kites, ospreys, red squirrels, and most recently, beavers. I'm hoping to visit soon. He used to be a journalist, which shows in the quality of the writing. It is a tale of hope, of frustration, of figuring out our place in the natural scheme of things, and of trying to do the right thing. I found it very inspiring. 4.5/5.

jun 1, 2022, 5:07 am

>134 Jackie_K: That sounds like a wonderful reading experience. I'm adding

jun 3, 2022, 9:33 am

>135 Caramellunacy: I hope you like it as much as I did!

ROOT #30

Jennifer Eremeeva is an American expat married to a Russian and living in Moscow. She certainly knows the country well. This book, Have Personality Disorder, Will Rule Russia, is a whistlestop tour through all the leaders of Russia from the foundation of the nation through to Vladimir Putin. Most leaders just have a couple of pages, and the final 3 chapters are much longer, all covering Vladimir Putin. It doesn't claim to be a definitive history (in fact it claims the opposite, to be fair), and for most of the book (up until Boris Yeltsin) I found it mildly entertaining, and thought that it would actually be the basis of a decent standup set giving the history of Russia in an hour. The chapters on Putin - which include his invasions of eastern Ukraine and Crimea - felt different somehow. She's obviously struggling with the direction her beloved Russia is taking, and is no fan of Putin, but is frankly not complementary about Ukraine in a way that really doesn't read well right now. I also find the title of the book really distasteful - I don't think armchair diagnosis of mental disorders is very helpful, whoever it's aimed at, and the people that suffer aren't those the jibe is aimed at, but those who are genuinely diagnosed with those disorders. So I ended up lowering my rating. This is OK for a quick rundown of all the leaders that for the most part is vaguely amusing, but you'll get no more insight than if you read wikipedia. 2.5/5.

jun 3, 2022, 2:20 pm

Skippety skip skip, I'll catch up and post strangeness another time.

But, I wanted to wish you a very Happy Birthday.

jun 3, 2022, 3:36 pm

>137 karenmarie: Thank you so much, Karen! I've had a lovely day, and my new book haul has completely wiped out my ROOTs deficit, so I now have more books than I started the year with. They're such good books though that I'm still delighted :D

jun 3, 2022, 5:31 pm

Happy birthday, Jackie!!! Hope you had a great day :)

jun 4, 2022, 5:12 am

Happy birthday, Jackie! Wishing you lots of time to spend with your new books!

jun 4, 2022, 5:23 am

>139 rabbitprincess: >140 MissWatson: Thank you both, I had a lovely day - books, old lady nap, pizza for tea, perfect! Tomorrow I am off to visit the red kites (see >134 Jackie_K: ) and am very excited about that!

jun 4, 2022, 5:32 am

I realised I didn't post my May figures, so here goes: 5 ROOTs, 1 non-ROOT, 5 acquisitions. My goal of reaching 360 books on Mt TBR is looking a bit shaky! (it's even shakier now after my birthday! Never mind, I'll see how close I can get).

The ROOTs were:

1. Jane Bentley & Neil Paynter - Around a Thin Place.
2. Robert Macfarlane - The Wild Places.
3. Tim Severin - The Spice Islands Voyage.
4. Monisha Rajesh - Around India in 80 Trains.
5. Tom Bowser - A Sky Full of Kites.

The non-ROOT was:

1. Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Annabel Tempest - How to Change the World.

And the acquisitions (which included 2 pre-orders, and 2 random gifts) were:

1. Tim Clare - Coward: Why we get Anxious and What we can do about it.
2. ed. Una Mullally - Repeal the 8th.
3. Maxim Peter Griffin - Field Notes: Walking the Territory.
4. Hope Jahren - Lab Girl.
5. Gideon Defoe - An Atlas of Extinct Countries.

I'm very relieved that I didn't increase my ratio of read:acquired books to 3:1 this year, because the 2:1 (which worked so well last year) is well and truly shot (as of today it's 1.5:1, and it's only that good because I'm not counting gifts in the total). But, I'm reading some good books, and acquiring more, so that's got to be good! :)

Redigerat: jun 6, 2022, 8:09 am

Hi Jackie. I've been neglecting the ROOTers for some time again. Live, sunny days, babysitting the grandkids and doing volunteer work for the library at Lonne's school. And reading of course. Today is a rainy day with some thunderstrokes. A perfect Sunday for reading al those neglected threads.

>118 Jackie_K: Thanks for that. I know you are all still here whenever I want to visit anyone. But it feels a bit like neglecting my friends when I don't.

I'm now babysitting Marie every Wednesday since Eveline was asked to work a few more hours a week. Eveline and Marie pick me up at the trainstation and we go home, she leaves for work. Marie and I have to pick up Fiene from school at 12.15. So we walk there and back home we eat sandwiches and fruit and then we play, read books and such things. Eveline comes home at 15.00 and they bring me to the trainstation again.

I've had my second booster, so 4 shots in total. Peet has too.

You have been reading a lot of nice looking books. Great job.

jun 5, 2022, 1:57 pm

>143 connie53: Wow Connie, it sounds like those grandkids are keeping you busy! Nice to see you here :)

Redigerat: jun 12, 2022, 12:46 pm

ROOT #31

Camille T. Dungy's Trophic Cascade is a powerful collection of poetry which encompasses motherhood, bereavement, nature and ecological damage. As usual with me and poetry, I am both astounded by the poet's ability to make something so beautiful from language, and also by my absolute stupidity and inability to write anything even close! Which is quite the challenge, as this is one of the set books on my current writing course, and this week I have to write some long-form poetry, inspired by this collection! I've given this book 4 stars, I'm pretty sure I won't give my own poetry that many! (although I am kind of looking forward to the challenge) :D 4/5.

ROOT #32

In Peggy and Me, comedian Miranda Hart writes about her life with her dog, Peggy, and all she's learnt through becoming a dog person. The writing style is very much the same as her spoken style in her comedy (lots of chumminess, 'what I calls', and rambling internal monologuey asides), so if you like that then you'll like this book, and if not then it'll probably be a bit much. I can take Miranda in small doses, so only ever read a chapter at a time, but it was a nice enough diversion, and Peggy does sound lovely. 3.5/5.

jun 15, 2022, 4:25 pm

Happy belated birthday, Jackie! I think June is the most beautiful month, so lush and fresh.

jun 20, 2022, 5:02 pm

>146 detailmuse: Thank you! I'm rather fond of it myself - it's a good month for a birthday, as it's halfway between last Christmas and next Christmas! And the flowers and vegetables are growing, and birds and insects are entertaining me in the garden.

ROOT #33

The Politics of Vaccination: A Global History, edited by Christine Homberg, Stuart Blume & Paul Greenough, is an academic collection looking at the development of (or resistance to) mass vaccination projects throughout the world, with case studies from (amongst others) Pakistan, South Korea, Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, UK, Nigeria, and others. For an academic tome it was very accessible and readable, I thought, and I found the differences between the various countries fascinating. It added a lot of flesh to the bones of my knowledge - eg I knew that during the MMR controversy of the 1990s/2000s Japan had used single vaccines rather than the combined MMR, but this showed me how that mistrust of combined vaccines had historical roots in past vaccination campaigns. Likewise I knew that the Swedish response to vaccinating its population against covid was much slower than the rest of Europe (and indeed much of the world), and this book (which came out in 2018 so before the pandemic) detailed the frankly disastrous Swedish attempts to mass vaccinate the population in 2009 when the swine flu pandemic hit, prior to all study data on the vaccines being available, so all of a sudden their different approach to covid vaccination made a lot more sense. The afterword was also very interesting, highlighting (as did many of the chapters in the book) the limitations of global eradication programmes in countries where the particular illness being targeted may not actually be that country's main (or even any) priority for health improvement. Very interesting book. 4.5/5.

ROOT #34

David Long's A History of London in 50 Lives does what it says on the tin; 10 chapters each covering a particular area of London (it has to be said, 7 or 8 of those chapters are particular bits of central London), each containing 5 or 6 notable people who've lived there - artists, politicians, royalty, ne'er-do-wells, all sorts of great and good and not-so-good. There were just a few pages per person so it was pretty light and gossipy, it was a good read and pleasant undemanding diversion rather than earth-shattering. 3/5.

jun 21, 2022, 4:48 pm

>147 Jackie_K: I really like the sound of that! I will have to see if the library has it

Redigerat: jun 23, 2022, 2:06 pm

>148 Caramellunacy: It was fine as a light palate-cleanser! Hope you can find it.

Non-ROOT #4

I really wanted to like Claire Dunn's Rewilding the Urban Soul, which is my most recent library book, but I have to confess to abandoning it after 4 chapters. She's a good writer, and has interesting subject matter, but I just found this too 'woo woo' for my tastes. I am absolutely here for books about reconnecting with nature, but this one just didn't speak to my soul. Gorgeous cover though. 2.5/5.

jun 24, 2022, 4:43 am

>149 Jackie_K: This makes me think you might like Darwin comes to town, how plants and animals evolve in urban environment.

jun 24, 2022, 12:45 pm

>150 FAMeulstee: Thank you Anita, that does look right up my street! I've added it to my wishlist.

Redigerat: jun 25, 2022, 3:58 pm

ROOT #35

One of my birthday gifts this year was Notes from an Island by Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietila (known to all as Tooti). This is the account of Tove and Tooti's 26 summers spent on a tiny rocky island, Klovharun, in the Gulf of Finland, from the first trip out and building their cabin in the 1960s, to the decision to leave the island for the last time in 1991 once age finally caught up with them. Tove's writing, drawn from her diaries of the time, are perfectly complemented by Tooti's atmospheric etchings and wash drawings. There are also diary entries from Brunstrom, the gruff fisherman who helps them build the cabin. This entry from his diary really made me smile: "The ladies made pea soup; it was pretty good but didn't have any potatoes." And this from Tove made me stop in my tracks: "I was seized by a new feeling of detachment that was utterly unlike isolation, merely a sense of being an outsider, with no worry or guilt about anything at all. I don't know how it happened, but life became very simple and I just let myself be happy."

Even though the writing was sparse and beautiful throughout, the sparseness and beauty of the final chapter, when they're packing up to leave the island for the final time, took my breath away. The final image of their handmade kite caught by the wind and flying over the Gulf of Finland almost broke my heart. 5/5.

jun 27, 2022, 9:08 am

>152 Jackie_K: Wow, that sounds lovely, Jackie. I'll have to see if I can track down a copy.

jun 27, 2022, 4:50 pm

>153 rosalita: It really is, Julia. And it's short too - I devoured it in a day, probably only an hour's reading (so would be a good one for your reading slump :) ). But it's worth spending time with and savouring.

jun 27, 2022, 5:14 pm

>154 Jackie_K: My library doesn't have it, but I put in a request to purchase it, so fingers crossed. I've also put it on my bookstore shopping list, because you never want to find yourself in a bookstore with no idea what to buy. :-)

jul 1, 2022, 1:53 pm

I finished a ROOT yesterday evening, but as Cheli has already taken the numbers to work out our June figures, I will add it to my ticker once the July thread is up, and count it as my first book of July.

So June is at an end, and my lovely friends and family were extremely generous to me for my birthday, and liberally raided my wishlist. So although I did well with 6 ROOTs (and one non-ROOT, although I DNF that one), I did, er, somewhat better in the acquisitions department with a grand total of 15 (of which 12 were birthday presents, and 1 was a pre-order. So I could convince myself, if need be, that I only indulged in acquiring 2 books). It means that my TBR total is (just) more than it was at the start of the year (384 now, I started the year with 382). So I'm going to revise my aim for the end of year total, I don't think 360 is realistic, but am going to try for 370 instead. We'll see.

June's ROOTs were:

1. Jennifer Eremeeva - Have Personality Disorder, Will Rule Russia.
2. Camille T. Dungy - Trophic Cascade.
3. Miranda Hart - Peggy and Me.
4. ed. Christine Homburg, Stuart Blume & Paul Greenough - The Politics of Vaccinations.
5. David Long - A History of London in 50 Lives.
6. Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietila - Notes From an Island.

The Non-ROOT I abandoned was:

1. Claire Dunn - Rewilding the Urban Soul.

And (deep breath) the excellent acquisitions were:

1. Matthew Green - Shadowlands: A Journey Through Lost Britain.
2. Catherine Munro - The Ponies at the Edge of the World.
3. Richard Fortey - The Wood for the Trees.
4. Margaret Atwood - On Writers and Writing.
5. Claire Walker Leslie - A Year in Nature: A Memoir of Solace.
6. Pamela Petro - The Long Field.
7. ed. Jessica Vincent, Levison Wood, Monisha Rajesh & Simon Willmore - The Best British Travel Writing of the 21st Century.
8. Various - Why We Read: 70 Writers on Non-Fiction.
9. Christy Lefteri - Songbirds.
10. Dave Goulson - The Garden Jungle.
11. Tete-Michel Kpomassie - Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland.
12. Sophie Pinkham - Black Square.
13. Tom Chivers - London Clay.
14. Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietila - Notes from an Island.
15. Jackie Morris - Feather, Leaf, Bark & Stone.

jul 2, 2022, 6:34 am

I've started a new thread for the second half of the year, as my list posts were getting a bit unwieldy. Happy to see you over there! :)
Den här diskussionen fortsatte här: Jackie's 2022 ROOTs Part 2