Rediscovering reading

For the past couple of months, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. I can only put this down to one thing, and that’s studying.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy studying, because I do. I love it. I am perennial student, currently doing an English Literature degree with the Open University. Each module that I study comes with a long reading list. I’ve just completed a module on the nineteenth century novel, which involved reading these books.

19th century novel books

I’m now studying a module on twentieth century literature, which involves reading these books.



And while I love reading and studying, it doesn’t really leave much time for my own reading. It’s a long time since I read book after book just for pleasure, without having to analyse or write an essay on it.

I’ve missed it.

I’ve missed the freedom of being able to discover new writers. I’ve missed Continue reading


Friday read

My book room is getting out of control. It’s not a big room at all. There are three bookcases, a desk, and piles and piles of books. Last night, I heard a crash. One of the piles of books had taken a tumble.

I raced in to rescue my beloved books. I wouldn’t want them getting creased, or dog-eared or worse still, torn. I piled them back up, and while I was rearranging them, I spotted this.


Ours are the Streets is Sunjeev Sahota’s first novel. I met him last year at Sheffield’s Off the Shelf Festival. I loved his writing so much I bought both his books. He signed them for me, and I returned home and placed them on one of my many ‘to read’ piles. Between then and now they have both been lost. I knew they were somewhere in the deep, dark, depths of my reading room, but I couldn’t say exactly where.

What a shame to have forgotten about this book. I read the blurb. I read the first page. I decided to make this my Friday read.

“Imtiaz Raina leaves England for the first time ever when he buries his father on family land near Lahore. It is the beginning of a journey that takes him far from his young wife and daughter in Sheffield and deep into the mountains of Kashmir and Afghanistan. He returns a changed man. This is his story.”

My next challenge will be to tidy my reading room and locate Sahota’s second novel.


The Outrun

I’ve just started reading Amy Liptrot’s The Outrun, which seems to be everywhere at the moment. It’s in all the local bookshops. It’s the Mumsnet book of the month. Friends keep recommending it.

I first heard about this book back in January. I was driving to teach a class, and it was on Radio 4’s Book of the Week. I liked it immediately. So much so, that I took the time to scribble down the name of the writer and the book, even though I was running a few minutes late.


I added it to my books to buy list, but didn’t actually buy it. Until last week, that is, when I was passing by the bookshop. Please note: I was passing by the bookshop. I did not intend to step into the bookshop and buy books. But when I glanced into the store, there it was, The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, on a huge display. ‘There’s that book!’ I thought, and before I knew what I was doing I’d walked in and bought it, along with another book because Waterstone’s had its buy one get one half price offer on, which I can’t seem to resist.

I started reading The Outrun last night. The prologue and chapter one are very well written. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the book. Here’s the blurb…

“At the age of thirty, Amy Liptrot finds herself washed up back home on Orkney. Standing unstable on the island, she tries to come to terms with the addiction that has swallowed the last decade of her life. As she spends her mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, her days tracking Orkney’s wildlife, and her nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy discovers how the wild can restore life and renew hope.”



A time of change

It’s a beautiful sunny morning here in my corner of Yorkshire, but there is a definite chill in the air. The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, otherwise known as autumn, will soon be here. I love this time of year and the feeling of change that comes with it.

When I was younger I loved returning to school after a long summer. I loved buying new notebooks and pens, but more than anything I loved the idea of a new start. It’s twenty-two years since I left school but I still get that feeling.

I no longer have the luxury of being a full-time student, but I do have the excitement of Continue reading


Saturday short story: Foster by Claire Keegan

In Claire Keegan’s Foster a girl is sent to live with foster parents on a farm in County Wicklow, rural Ireland, around the time of the IRA hunger strikes.


In her new home she finds kindness and warmth, something she’s not known in her own home. Under the care of her foster parents, the Kinsellas, she thrives, learning to read and run.

There is a constant warning that Continue reading


The week in books (6-12 June 2016)

Now that my exams are over I’m looking forward to a summer of reading. I’ve got lots of novels, memoirs and short stories on my to read pile. Before I start blogging about these books, I wanted to update you on last week.

What a good week it was!

On Tuesday I finished my exam on the nineteenth century novel, part of my English Literature degree. I’m pleased to say it went really well. We celebrated by having a meal out and booking a holiday in the sun. Chris and I have been very busy lately, so we’re looking forward to a week’s holiday. Chris is also a keen reader, so there will be lots of reading.

The first book I picked up after my exam was Continue reading


Exam over – let the summer reading begin

I did it! I survived a three-hour exam on the nineteenth century novel. I even enjoyed it, just a little.

The exam was yesterday morning. I woke early feeling a bit nervous but, thankfully, the adrenalin kicked in. Before going into the exam, I got a tea and sat outside in the sunshine doing a bit of last-minute revising. It helped me to focus. I felt ready.

Three hours seems a long time but when you’re Continue reading