Gaskella’s Midweek Miscellany #11

With the nice weather we’ve been having, I was musing about taking some cushions and a book out into the garden, but then thought again.  I just can’t concentrate on reading a book outside.  I’d be too distracted, listening to the birds, admiring the flowers, being hay-fevery, being on bug patrol, thinking ‘I need to mow the lawn/do more weeding/scoop the duckweed from the pond/insert your own gardening task here’.   I could go to the park, but then I’d be people, dog and cloud-watching.  

Ironically, indoors, as long as I’m snug on the sofa or in bed, I can read through anything – the radio or telly is often/usually on in the background.   I also can’t read in cars, buses or coaches due to car-sickness headaches (get’s me out of navigating duties!), but trains and planes are fine, I can turn off surrounding stimuli there and read too. 

Do you have places or situations where you just can’t read?

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I haven’t told you about any new books that have arrived at Gaskell Towers this month, here are some of them. If you persevere to the bottom, I also have a giveaway for you!   So, from the top …

Seeking Whom he may Devour by Fred Vargas. I’ve yet to read any of her off-beat existentialist French crime novels – but looking forward to getting started.
Genesis by Bernard Beckett – a YA novel about philosophy and artificial intelligence (has a great cover with a robot apple too).
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa – sounds brilliant and DGR loved it.
Love and Summer – now out in paperback, this will be my first William Trevor read.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson. Another YA novel – girl wakes from a coma …
Peace by Richard Bausch. I’ve heard good things about this wartime story.
The Book of Disquiet (Serpent’s Tail Classics) by Fernando Pessoa. Looks intriguing but I’ve Paperback Reader has described it as ‘a Portuguese Ulysses’ – but it’s nowhere near as long.
Botticelli Secret, The by Marina Fiorato. A comfort read historical author of mine – her latest. Based on Botticelli’s wonderful painting ‘Primavera’.
Affair of the Mutilated Mink, The (Burford Family Mysteries 2) by James Anderson. Billed as Christie meets Sayers with a dash of Wodehouse. Could be fun.
The Middle Mind: Why Consumer Culture is Turning Us into the Living Dead by Curtis White. Charity shop find – I couldn’t resist given the title, and cover full of zombies, but it is a halfway serious look at the dumbing down of culture apparently.
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. One of Nymeth’s all-time faves I gather, which has been on my wishlist for some time too.
Tony and Susan by Austin Wright – just looked totally intriguing!
The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O’Hagan. A comedy set in the 1960s as told by Maf – the dog that Frank Sinatra gave to Marilyn Monro. I enjoyed Me Cheeta: The Autobiography so this could be fun too.
The Great Perhaps by Joe Meno. Jackie loved this one – I’m sure I will too.

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Which brings me to my giveaway

For no sooner had I received a copy of The Great Perhaps
for my birthday, than an ARC arrived. So I will give the ARC away – I’ll send anywhere, but will have to send surface outside Europe due to weight/cost.  Just leave your name in the comments and I’ll make the draw on Sunday evening.


23 thoughts on “Gaskella’s Midweek Miscellany #11

  1. Gosh what a lot of books! You’ll be spoilt for choice – which one to read first. I’d start with The Botticelli Secret, but Tony and Susan does look good too.

    I can read outside so long as the light isn’t too bright. I can read with the TV or radio on when I’m inside, but if I can hear it when I’m outside it’s too distracting. As for reading in buses and cars, forget it – immediate nausea. Trains and planes are OK.

  2. Hayfever does mess with the pleasures of reading outside!

    I don’t think I have many places where I can’t read; I’m quite good at shutting the world out. I’ve been known to whip out a book on a busy central London street because I’m waiting for someone and I’m early. I can’t read in cars, though – like you, I just get horrible motion sickness if I do. Such a shame! Doesn’t seem to apply to maps, though, so I still get to do navigation duties… Just doesn’t seem fair, to me.

    That’s a pretty impressive reading pile you’ve got yourself, there. Quite nice and varied, too! Really enjoyed DGR’s review of the Yoko Ogawa and have half a mind to pick up a copy myself at some point. Look forward to seeing your thoughts!

  3. I’ve already had books from your competitions, so I feel I shouldn’t be greedy and enter another…

    And I find it very difficult to read in the heat, whether indoors or outdoors! Have hardly read anything this week. Also, while I used to be fine to read in cars etc., I now can’t – trains and coaches ok for now, but I anticipate that changing eventually…

  4. Oh go on, stick my name into the hat!

    Weirdly, I have trouble reading with the television on, but I have little problem with the radio. It appears to be the pictures that distract me rather than the sound. I also can’t read much on buses because it makes me feel sick, but trains and planes are fine.

  5. I actually read The Great Perhaps recently (I’ll be reviewing it soon) after Jackie’s review pinged my radar… I wish I had enjoyed it more than I ultimately did. It was one of those books where the longer I thought about it, the less I liked it! I hope you have better success with it!

    • I’ve heard about its high quirk quotient – which is normally something I like, I am looking forward to reading this one.

  6. Thankfully I can read anywhere. You have a good selection of books there! I would probably go for the crime of which you have two different ones from your notes – the Vargas and the
    James Anderson. Otherwise, the Fiorato would be my choice as I recently read The Glassblower of Murano and enjoyed. I now have The Madonna of the Almonds on my library loot pile whilst I’m actually devouring the rather creepy The Darkest Room – Johan Theorin at the moment. I look forward to reading your reviews on some of your latest TBR.

  7. Dying to find out what some more people think of Tender Morsels. I’ve wanted to read it for a long time but just haven’t gotten around to it yet!
    I can read anywhere, and I especially love reading in parks, on the beach, on roadtrips…ah, summer reading. Actually, outdoor or public reading is sometimes better for me because it takes away the distraction of the internet, my biggest weakness.

    • I’ve heard a lot about Tender Morsels, so I’m glad I’ve finally got a copy. For a YA novel it does look challenging in content though…

      • Yeah, it sounds like it will make me question what the genre YA even means, anyway. Looking forward to it!

  8. I am currently coveting The Housekeeper and the Professor and Tony and Susan. I loved Love and Summer. Have you read any other William Trevor – I love the slow pace of his novels but some folk find them boring – it takes all sorts! I have The Glassblower of Murano TBR and really must get round to reading it soon as I love all things Italian and have a particular penchant for Sarah Dunant’s historical fiction set in Italy so this should be equally enjoyable.

    My “best” reading is done in bed (I retire very early!) I “can” read elsewhere but am too easily distracted to totally absorb what I’m reading.

    What a lovely crop of books..happy reading! 🙂

    • Books set in Italy (especially Venice) are as moths to a candleflame to me too. The Glassblower of Murano was brilliant. I’ve not read William Trevor, so this will be my first one.

  9. Dear all,
    Re my giveaway – I’m sort of assuming that if you’re included unless you say you don’t want/need to be. I wasn’t very clear in the post.

  10. I have no problem reading anywhere since I think I am greedy to read – as time is always the problem! I also read when someone is driving and that is really lucky as I do a lot of travelling around. Thanks for the list of books – a couple of them totally unknown to me so thanks for the highlights. Would appreciate if you could include my name in the giveaway. Thank you for hosting.

  11. Don’t include me in the draw Annabel as you know I’ve already read The Great Perhaps (and suffered the same fate as Steph). I just wanted to say that Tony and Susan is quite, quite brilliant and I can’t wait to read what you make of it. I have already passed it on to a friend who has devoured it and passed it on to someone else. It’s a real find. Enjoy

    • I saw your review this time! I’ll definitely be reading both The Great Perhaps and Tony & Susan soon – watch this space as they say. Thanks for the recommendation.

  12. I can read anywhere apart from in cars or on buses although for some reason, like Jenny, that doesn’t apply to maps although sometimes I wish it did! I love reading outside too and am just grateful that I haven’t inherited my mother’s hay fever!
    The Fred Vargas is very good – it was the first of hers that I read and it got me hooked, and the William Trevor is also very enjoyable although I don’t think it’s one of his best.
    I can certainly also recommend the Johan Theorin mentioned in comments – very creepy but definitely compelling.

  13. Lots of lovely books! I can read anywhere except in bed. For some reason I end up asleep within a few pages whether I’m tired or not! No problems with motion sickness though. I can and do read on all forms of transport. Although I have watched my son reading as he walks tp school. Not sure I coud do that!

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