I’m useless at reviewing books. There, I’ve said it. I love to read them, I love to talk about them, I love to recommend them, but reviewing them is … not a chore, exactly, because it’s writing about books, and what’s not to like with that? (Apart from actually doing it, obviously.)

I think it’s more that when I’ve read a book it’s gone, and I want to move on to the next one, and if I’ve taken on a duty to review a book it hangs around and becomes a bit like the friend you invited over for coffee, and who you enjoyed seeing but now they’re still sitting in your living room chatting about nothing, and they won’t leave, and you’ve got somewhere else to be but they WON’T GO, dammit.

Also, the title of this post might be slightly incorrect – I haven’t quite loved all the books I’ve listed below, but they have affected me in different ways. So in lieu of reviews, here’s a list of stuff I’ve read recently. Not reviews, honestly.

  1. The Shetland series by Ann Cleeves. I’m a little in love with Jimmy Perez, but the one in the books, not the one in the tv series. Just finished Raven Black and White Nights, got Red Bones on order; the prose is clean and spare, the islands are as much a part of the narrative as any of the characters, and I want to go there.
  2. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. Bonkers, and I’m not sure in a good way, but I’ve tidied some drawers in my kitchen. So there’s a start.
  3. Successful Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn. A useful basic introduction to the business of publishing one’s own words, by way of preparation for a possible venture I might or might not be considering – some way to go, and people to consult, and stuff to learn, but watch this space. Maybe.
  4. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Didn’t want this one to finish – I genuinely did love it. Read it.
  5. Perfume by Patrick Suskind. A little late to this party, but I also loved this, although it was deeply unsettling. Perhaps because.

I’ll do this again when I’ve read some more stuff. In the meantime, re item 3 on the list, if you can offer any thoughts or experiences of self-publishing, do get in touch. I have some ideas.