Happy Wednesday! I usually share books and knitting on Wednesdays, but I’ve made so little progress on my stitching that it’s not worthwhile to share this week. Let’s talk books instead. Today’s post is about what I’ve recently finished, the Women’s Prize shortlist that was announced this morning, and my May reading plans. My morning coffee just finished brewing and a steaming cup is sitting at my side, so I can’t wait to chat with you!
FINISHED READING THIS WEEK:
Coming Home was my first novel by Rosamunde Pilcher! I picked it up thanks to a Fiction Matters buddy read and couldn’t put it down. I have tried to write a summary but am finding that difficult because it was such a sweeping story – following fourteen year old Judith from pre-war Cornwall through WWII and the release of the prisoners held in internment camps in the East Indies by the Japanese. So many people came into Judith’s life to help her through some difficult times and I loved meeting each and every one of them (except one or two horrible people).
Pilcher’s writing is top-notch. I loved her descriptions and highlighted so many beautiful passages. Her settings made me want to take a dip in the sea, nurture my flowers and gardens, and bake steaming loaves of bread. Every scene felt intentional and carefully drawn. The homes she described fit the characters well and were so cozy. I loved how she told this story, moving from character to character, allowing us to understand their states of mind and intentions. I laughed, cried, and read furiously to find out what was going to happen. My edition is 930+ pages long and it was a strange juxtaposition: I wanted to know the resolution but I absolutely didn’t want it to end. I can’t wait to pick up another book by Rosamunde Pilcher in a few months.
If anyone has any interest in a buddy read: I’m planning to read The Shell Seekers in August and Winter Solstice in November. It’s so much fun to read books together, with no pressure or timeline, and to chat along the way!
You didn’t think you’d have to miss a week without reading about our Captain Underpants adventures, did you? I’d hate for you to feel like something was missing in your life. Yes, we finished another Captain Underpants last week. Yes, we’ve started another and are nearly halfway through. The one we finished was The Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds. In this one, aliens from outer space start working in the cafeteria and turn all the students into zombies. It’s up to George, Harold, and Captain Underpants to save the day. Now we’re reading The Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People. Much easier to say in one breath!
WOMEN’S PRIZE SHORTLIST:
The shortlist was announced this morning! I spent yesterday evening on pins and needles waiting for this and leapt out of bed when my alarm went off. I knew the Fiction Matters group was going to be chatting about it on Discord first thing, so I did my best to ignore my phone while I took care of the kitties, poured my coffee, and got my morning started. I have to say that I’m quite pleased with the five books they chose. I have two left to read and am planning to reread a third before the announcement of the winner in June. Here’s who they chose:
🔲 Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead – I’ve tried reading this several times in print and on audio and have struggled with getting going. I’ve been assured by multiple sources that it’s amazing and that it all comes together. I still have it out from the library – I will keep trying! TBR
🔲 Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason – TBR.
✔️ The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki – read and adored. This is my top pick so far and I’m planning to reread in June. I wrote a One Little Word post about it in December and it made its way into my 2021 Bookish Highlights.
PLANS FOR MAY:
After this morning’s Women’s Prize announcement, I’ve shifted my plans for May just a bit. This week I’m focusing on The Books of Jacob and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Next week I’ll be shifting gears and getting to The Last Report on the Miracles of Little No Horse for the Erdrich-Along hosted by Mary. After that, my ambitious TBR is:
- Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason – shortlisted for the Women’s Prize.
- Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead – shortlisted for the Women’s Prize.
- Excellent Women by Barbara Pym – my long-term plan is to read a Barbara Pym every other month to complete all of her novels.
- Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney – recommended by Laila.
- A God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson – a sequel to Life After Life. Also working towards becoming a Kate Atkinson completist and aiming to read one of her books every other month.
- This One Sky Day by Leone Ross – on the Women’s Prize Longlist.
- Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin – recommended on Fiction Matters.
- The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel – and then I’ll be a completist!
- The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier – recommended after reading Sea of Tranquility.
- Heartwood: The Art of Living with the End in Mind by Barbara Becker – recommended by a friend.
- The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien – my annual spring reread.
- French Braid by Anne Tyler – just because!
If any of these strike your fancy, then please read along with me so that we can chat about it throughout the month!
Okay – there’s a lot of books in this post! Tell me – what are your thoughts about the shortlist? Did one of your favorites make it? Were you hoping for another to make the list? Have you read any of the books I’m planning to read in May? Or would you like to join me? Have you ever read a Rosamunde Pilcher book?? Will you read The Shell Seekers or Winter Solstice with me later this year? And most importantly – which Captain Underpants is your favorite? Inquiring minds want to know. Let’s chat!
Enjoy the rest of your week. I hope to be back on Friday with some flowers!