books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: July 6 – July 12

Having lost what felt like pounds of hair, I am feeling a lot lighter in spirit as well. A lot of genres in this week’s reading – romance, non-fiction, horror, Girls Own, Literary fiction, mystery – aka pretty much the whole spectrum of what I read. Still got a lot of ongoing stuff though, but I’m working on it.

Read:

Hope Flames by Jaci Burton

On the Rocks by Sawyer Bennett

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Hello World by Hannah Fry

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

The Chalet School and the Lintons by Elinor M Brent-Dyer

First Time in Forever by Sarah Morgan

The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde*

Started:

Not a Creature was Stirring by Christina Freeburn

Still reading:

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward*

Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

The Chiffon Trenches by André Leon Talley

Still not counting…

Bonus photo: As the most important thing that happened last week was getting my hair cut, here is an in-progress picture. This is a lot of hair coming off (for me!!) after nearly 4 months without a cut!

Evidence of haircut!

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: June 29 – July 5

A much better week in reading – mostly because I used my days off at the start of the week to chill out and read. My next target is to try and clear the still reading list.

Read:

The Ultimate Pi Day Party by Jackie Lau

The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch

Sisters by Raina Telgemaier

Welcome to Ballet School by Ashley Bouder*

Murder on a Mississippi Steamboat by Leighann Dobbs

The Margot Affair by Sanaë Lemoine*

Harbor by Rebekah Weatherspoon**

Guts by Raina Telgemaier

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Started:

The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde*

Hope Flames by Jaci Burton

Still reading:

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

Hello World by Hannah Fry

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward*

Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

The Chiffon Trenches by André Leon Talley

Still not counting. I ordered a few things this week, but I was much better behaved than I had been.

Bonus photo: Never have I regretted having short hair so much as since the hairdressers cut. I have an appointment booked for tomorrow and I cannot wait. It’s been 15 weeks since it was cut (instead of 5!) so it hasn’t been this long in probably a decade. People keep telling me that it looks fine (some even say it looks great!) but living with it is not so much fun – if a gust of wind catches it one way I have early 90s boyband curtains, another and I look like a budget Justin Bieber look alike.

Me in a facemask with out of control hair!

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: June 22 – June 28

So. I think this might have been the week that broke me. I mean I worked the weekend but I had days off during the week, but this list is shorter than usual. I feel like I read quite a lot, but I found it hard to keep my concentration going. And then there was the heat. I mean it wasn’t Nevada, but 30+ degrees is a lot for the UK – where we don’t have air-conditioning and really aren’t used to it. Still there’s a good mix of books on here, and there are more that are nearly finished.

Read:

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler

On the Corner of Hope and Main by Beverly Jenkins

Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu*

Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad

Started:

The Chiffon Trenches by André Leon Talley

The Ultimate Pi Day Party by Jackie Lau

Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee

Still reading:

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

Hello World by Hannah Fry

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward*

The Margot Affair by Sanaë Lemoine*

Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Still not counting, still unable to stop myself from buying books at the first sign of any trouble or stress.

Bonus photo: Spotted in the office this weekend, and making me smile. I present: the Goat Cupboard.

A cupboard labelled Goat Cupboard

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: June 14 – June 21

Another weird week in Verity-world, with a newly chipped tooth and more problems concentrating the main causes. But it could be so much worse. And as with all the other weeks in this month so far, I’m concentrating on black and other non-white authors for my reading – except when library books are coming up to the end of their loans and aren’t renewable.

Read:

Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri*

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

sugar, butter, flour, love by Nicole Falls

Take A Hint Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert*

Crystal Clear by Beverly Jenkins

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett*

A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones

Started:

The Margot Affair by Sanaë Lemoine*

Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu*

Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler

Still reading:

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

Hello World by Hannah Fry

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward*

I’m still not counting, but among my purchases were pre-orders for the new books from Tracey Livesay and Kwana Jackson, and the Beverly Jenkins on the read list and Alyssa Cole’s The AI Who Loved Me

Bonus photo: Some nice calming leaves and sky. Because nature and calming is good right now.

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: June 8 – June 14

Another slump-y week in my Lockdown experience. The Still Reading list continues to grow, but I have actually read quite a lot of pages of various books on that list, although that’s not showing up in finishing stuff. I’m still focusing on reading non-white authors too, except where library books are about to be due (and I can’t renew them).

Read:

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

One Bed for Christmas by Jackie Lau

Let Me Love You by Alexandria House

A Big Surprise for Valentine’s Day by Jackie Lau

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Started:

Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Still reading:

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

Hello World by Hannah Fry

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett*

Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri*

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward*

Still not counting, but I have bought a few…

Bonus photo: I was aiming for Artistic with my photo of my peonies, but I’m not sure I managed it!

Peonies

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: June 1 – June 7

I work in a newsroom, so I see a lot of what is going on in the world but last week, well the last two weeks really have been extraordinary even by the standards of what has been a news-dense and upsetting year. On Tuesday, I set aside my planned reading for the week and aside from library books that were due back and which I couldn’t renew, have spent the rest of the week focussing on books written by black authors. I am listening and I am learning. I’m trying to work out how best to use my privilege for good, but in the mean time the best thing I can do is try to amplify and uplift black voices.

Read:

He’d Rather be Dead by George Bellairs*

The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren

This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell*

On Her Own Ground by A’Leila Perry Bundles

First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn

A Fake Girlfriend for Chines New Year by Jackie Lau

Finding Langston by Lesa Kline-Ransome

Started:

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett*

Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri*

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward*

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad

Still reading:

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

Hello World by Hannah Fry

Still not counting, but this week all my purchases bar two have been books by BIPOC.

Bonus photo: the covers of some of the books I’ve bought, borrowed or got from NetGalley this week.

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: May 25 – May 31

Lovely weather last week meant time to lay in the hammock and read. And there was some really good stuff in there. I’ll certainly be talking about a few of them. Slight rearrangment to the posts this week because of the start of the month falling on a Monday – I’ve decided to do things as usual with a Book of the Week tomorrow and #Recommendsday mini reviews on Wednesday – and so you won’t be getting May stats until Thursday. I think that makes most sense.

Read:

Owl be Home for Christmas by Donna Andrews

Set My Heart to Five by Simon Stevenson*

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell

Taking Up Space by Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi*

The Birds: Short stories by Daphne Du Maurier

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood*

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

She-Merchants, Buchaneers and Gentlewomen by Katie Hickman

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

Started:

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

He’d Rather be Dead by George Bellairs*

Hello World by Hannah Fry

Still reading:

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

Still not counting…

Bonus photo: I treated myself to some flowers to cheer me up – and it worked. Lovely peonies.

Some peonies

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley.

Book of the Week, non-fiction

Book of the Week: First in Line

I didn’t read many books last week, but I did read a lot of pages of various non-fiction books and this was my favourite of them.

Cover of First in Line

First in Line is Kate Andersen Brower’s book about the American vice presidents of the modern era. Part group biography, part examination of the shifting nature of the role, it also takes a look at the early days of the Trump White House and the role of Mike Pence in the administration.  Looking at 13 vice-presidents as well as the responsibilities of the job and how a presidential running mate is selected, Brower has spoken to all six of the living vice presidents – and the insight this gives the book is great. Brower’s writing style is breezy and accessible and the book is peppered with anecdotes and personal stories.

The first six chapters cover the broad strokes of the role – the vetting process, where the VP lives, what the VP does and the basics of the various different types of relationships that there can be between the President and his second in command. The final seven chapters then take a more in depth look at the different partnerships in the second half of the twentieth century – from Eisenhower and Nixon onwards. I don’t think you need much background knowledge going into this – if you know the vague outlines of what happened in America post World War 2 you should be fine.

I found this fascinating. I knew the vague outlines of the process by which the vice president is selected and what the role of the job is, but I hadn’t really realised that the VP’s official residence was such a recent development – or how widely the relationships between the Commander in Chief and his deputy had varied. All the relationships are interesting, but I found the contrast between Nixon and Bush really fascinating – both were Republican vice presidents who became presidents but they had very different experiences.

 

Brower is somewhat of a specialist in writing about the occupants of the White House – her first book (which I haven’t read yet), The Residence, is about the house itself, her second (which I have) was about the modern First Ladies, and her latest book – which came out as an ebook last week and will be out in hardback next month – is called The Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the age of Trump, and looks at what it is like to be one of the living former presidents at the moment. She’s spoken to President Trump as part of the process – she’s written a teaser article in the current edition of Vanity Fair – if you want a taste you can read it here.

And finally – you know how sometimes you read a bit in a book and it really resonates with your experience? Well at the bottom of page 288, Brower says:

Unlike [Dick] Cheney, who had no interest in the presidency, when he was vice president, when Pence goes to the Hill to “touch gloves’ as he says, on a weekly basis, he insists on walking through the Capitol Rotunda so that tourists can get their photos taken with him.

And here is my photo of Mike Pence doing exactly that on the day that I toured the Capitol right at the end of my posting in Washington a couple of years ago.
Vice President Mike PenceIf you want to read First in Line it’s available as an ebook on Kindle or Kobo as well as in hardback. I suspect you might have to order it in though rather than find it in stock when you call your local indie. I’d also recommend First Ladies and having read both (albeit some time apart) I don’t think there was a lot of repetition.

 

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: May 18 – May 24

So lots of nonfiction reading this week, but also lots of problems with concentrating. And it’s been super busy – including my turn to work the weekend. So a short list. But I’m hoping for some quality bank holiday Monday reading time in the hammock.

Read:

Crossed Skis by Carol Carnac

The Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt

First in Line by Kate Andersen Brower

Terns of Endearment by Donna Andrews

Started:

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

Owl be Home for Christmas by Donna Andrews

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

Still reading:

She-Merchants, Buchaneers and Gentlewomen by Katie Hickman

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Set My Heart to Five by Simon Stevenson*

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood*

Still not counting.

Bonus photo: unexpected peonies in my garden! We haven’t been here quite a year yet, so this is the first time we’ve seen them. And yes. I know there are weeds in the pavers. It’s on the list…

Three pink peony flowers on a plant in a garden

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: May 11 – May 17

Another week where I found it really hard to concentrate on a book – although you may not thing that’s the case from the list! Mostly new (to me) books from old favourite authors this week, becaause that’s all my brain could cope with, although I am making progress on She-Merchants… but it requires proper concentration!

Read:

Yellow Thread Street by William Marshall

A Dangerous Relation by Deanna Raybourn

Slippery Creatures by K J Charles

A Merry Little Murder by Beth Byers

Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery

Yours for Christmas by Susan Mallery

Writers as Readers by Various

Started:

Set My Heart to Five by Simon Stevenson*

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood*

Still reading:

She-Merchants, Buchaneers and Gentlewomen by Katie Hickman

The Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt

First in Line by Kate Andersen Brower

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Still not counting books incoming, although I think the number was slightly down last week. Maybe.

Bonus photo: current bedside table status…. basically it’s books and things to help my hands not look drier than a desert!

Bedside table from above, featuring hand cream, a copy of the Eyre Affair and a pile of books

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley.