April summary and plans for May

April has been an amazing reading month for me. I don’t think I’ve ever read so many great books in one month before!

Three  books!!!



In total I managed to read 9 books, and completed one audio book. This is slightly down on previous months, but you’ll have to let me off as one of the books was the 1000+ page Gone with the Wind.

Offshore – Penelope Fitzgerald   stars1

The Giver – Lois Lowry  

Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell  

Little Face – Sophie Hannah  

The Secret River – Kate Grenville  

The Road Home – Rose Tremain  

Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout  

Scottsboro – Ellen Feldman  

The Thing Around Your Neck– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie  


 Audio Book

Delicate Edible Birds – Lauren Groff  


Plans for May

May is going to be a very Orange month for me, as I continue to read all the books shortlisted for the Orange Prize this year.

I’m also joining Simon in reading Midnight’s Children and Sea of Poppies.

Remember my Half of a Yellow Sun Read-along starts tomorrow.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to squeeze much more into May, but I’ll try!

Are you planning to read any of the same books as me?

Did you enjoy all the books you read in April?

Thank you for reading my blog – I look forward to sharing more book related thoughts with you in the coming months!



Booking Through Thursday: Which is Worse?

Booking Through ThursdayCheck Spelling

Which is worse?

Finding a book you love and then hating everything else you try by that author, or Reading a completely disappointing book by an author that you love?

Both situations are annoying, but luckily they haven’t happened very frequently to me. In fact, I can only think of one example for each.

Product Details

One great book…..

The Other Boleyn Girl was the first Phillipa Gregory book that I read. I loved it! Straight away I went out to buy the rest of the series, and every single one was a disappointment.  None of them managed to capture the magic of that first book. It wasn’t that they were terrible books, they were OK, but the disappointment of not having found the consistent talent I had hoped for was a big let down.


One disappointing book….

Amy Tan is one of the few authors for which I have read every single book she has written. I loved all of them, until her latest one, Saving Fish From Drowning appeared. Amy Tan writes lovely books, packed with rich detail, showing how the lives of Chinese people has changed through the generations. Her latest book is a departure from her normal writing, and I think this is why I was disappointed. I love the insight that Amy Tan gives into the Chinese culture, and so although her writing is consistently good Saving Fish from Drowning lacked the special spark found in her previous books. The book deviated from her rich story telling, to concentrate on political satire, which regular readers of my blog know that I do not like. This was a big disappointment for me, but I know that she has the consistent writing talent within her, and so will continue to buy each new book she produces.

So, which is worse? I think the first, as you are continually hoping to recapture the brilliance of that first book. Reading lots of books by an author who managed to capture your heart once, but failing to find the magic again, is very disappointing.

Which do you think is worse?

Which authors have disappointed you with a single book?

2009 Recommended books Short Story

The Thing Around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is the best selection of short stories I have ever read! Chimamanda’s ability to draw you into each of the characters in such a small space of time is phenomenal. The short stories are focused upon Nigerian life, but many of them are based in the west. The balance between tragedy and happiness is perfect, leading to a book which does not dwell on hardship, but shows vivid glimpses of it, making the messages come across far more powerfully than continual horrific scenes.

Each story is unique, and although they all contain Nigerian characters, none have the same atmosphere or feel like repetitions of the same idea. The book is very easy to read, and is the perfect introduction to her writing style, as Half of a Yellow Sun, although I’m sure it will be amazing, is very long. 

The only flaw in this book is that I was left yearning to know more about each character. I could easily have read whole novels based on each short story, in fact I’d be happy to read a book written by her once a month for the rest of my life! She gets my vote for a Nobel Prize – how many books do you have to have written to qualify as a ‘body of work?’  Sorry for gushing, but talent like this needs to be read by everyone!

Highly recommended to everyone!!


I’m really looking forward to reading Half of a Yellow Sun next week, and hope it will have the character depth and plot complexity to become my third, five star read of the year.

Is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie one of your favourite authors?

Which of her books do you like the best?

Will you be rushing out to buy a copy of this one as soon as  it is released?

If you can’t wait until June then you could order a copy from the UK – just click on the book cover above!

Have you ever ordered a copy of a book from another country, just to get it a few weeks earlier?

I’ve ordered a copy of Sarah Water’s new book, The Little Stranger from America, just so I can read it a few weeks before it is released here in the UK!!

I look forward to hearing all your thoughts!

Orange Prize

Scottsboro – Ellen Feldman

  Shortlisted for the Orange Prize 2009
Scottsboro is a novel about the shocking injustice recieved by nine black youths, falsely accused of raping two white girls, on a train in Alabama, in 1931. All the details of the alleged crime, and the trial are included. This book reads like a non-fictional account, but many of the characters are fictional. This meant that the book failed to live in either camp. I’m not a big fan of non-fiction books, as I like to feel the emotion of the characters, but this book can’t really work as a reference aid, as it is unclear exactly which bits are factually accurate, and which are added to improve the flow of the book.

Unfortunately the book is too factual to appeal to fans of historical fiction. We never see beneath the surface of any of the people; events rush along without dwelling on how the characters involved are feeling. I think that this story would work really well on film; the court room drama would work much better on screen than it does on paper.

As an aside, I thought that the cover for this book was terrible. My copy has a picture of a blurred train on the front, and it looks really cheap, and poorly displayed. I would never have picked this up in a bookshop, as it just looks as though no thought has gone into it, therefore implying that the book’s contents are not worth the effort. It needs some embossing, foiling or some other embellishment, and the font on the back is too large and clunky – am I just being a bit fussy?!

I had never heard of this case before, so I am really glad that I now know all the details, but I’d only recommend this book to people who are directly interested in this trial. Everyone else should wait until the film is made and released!





What did you think of this book?
Are you surprised to see it on the Orange shortlist?
Do you think it has a chance of winning?


Should we continue to pass blogging awards on?

I have been fortunate enough to have received lots of lovely blogging awards recently, but after writing the summary below I had the dilemma of who to pass them on to.  I have noticed that an increasing number of people are no longer blogging about the awards they have received, and so wonder if people don’t appreciate receiving them. I’d hate to annoy someone by giving them something which is intended to please them, and honour the hard work they put into their blog.

I love recieving awards. It is a lovely feeling to have been singled out by another blogger, but I sometimes wonder if displaying the awards you have received is a bit like showing off, the equivalent of showing your blog stats to the world.

Suey  recently asked a similar question – she had seen someone describe awards as being the blog equivalent of chain mail. I often feel that the number of people nominated for each award is too high. The chain letter effect begins to take place when 10+ people are awarded each time.  The specialness of the award is reduced if everyone gets one eventually.

So my question is: Should we continue to pass these blogging awards on? Do you think that most people who you give an award to already know that you appreciate their blog, as you visit and comment on their blog regularly, or are blogging awards that extra special treat which they deserve from time to time? 

Do you feel jealous when other people get lots of awards? Do you think it is impolite to wave them around in front of people who may not have as many?

I’d love to know what you think on this subject, as the more I think about it, the more confused I get!


Lots of Awards!

I have received lots of lovely awards recently, and I’d like to thank each of the kind bloggers below for thinking of me!


Suey from It’s All About Books and Jane from Fleur Fisher Reads both honoured me with the Zombie Chicken Award.


 Sandy from You’ve Gotta Read This! awarded me this Super Comments Award.



  Dorte H from  DJs Krimiblog gave me this Friendly Blogger Award

 Kathrin from The Secret Dream World of a Bookaholic gave me this One Lovely Blog Award 


and finally Carrie from Books and Movies passed on this Spash! Award to me, although she has since moved to a lovely new blogging home here. 


I am so happy to have received so many awards, but now I have the difficult task of deciding who, if anyone, I should pass them on to. This is such a difficult question for me to answer, so I have created a whole post in which to do so! Please read my Should we continue to pass blogging awards on? post, and let me know what you think.