Despite the sunshine and high temperatures, I find January a long, bleak month after the excitement and socializing of the Festive Season.  Seeing we’ve just struggled through nearly a year of Covid-1 lockdowns, and a somewhat un-festive Christmas, I needed some cheering up. And because I received a book voucher as a Christmas gift, I consulted my Wish List and finally chose :

Nine Letters by John Webb is a local novel, and I’m keen to support those. Plus, as a lifelong letter writer, it sounded like a book I’d enjoy.  Additionally, the book was favourably reviewed, so that was easy.

My second choice: a Japanese novel. Huh? After the debacle over Earthlings …. What was I thinking?  For some while, Japanese novels  no longer appeal. After reading – and buying – many of Murakami’s books, and reading other Japanese writers, I find their dreamy opacity irritating. Last year  I reserved Hideo Yokoyama’s Seventeen from the Library, and abandoned it around page 25. Enough already. The intricacies of the male orientated Japanese business world held no appeal whatsoever.

However: I’d read good reviews of Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (translated by Geoffrey Trousselot),  and the price was good, so I took the plunge. Lets hope it was money well spent. Time will tell.

Perhaps you found some January Sale bargains? Or spent your Christmas Book Vouchers? Share the good news!



Nothing very dramatic to report here.

Pretty much a repeat of last year’s Bookish Promise list, i.e. to abandon boring books without hesitation, and to read for enjoyment. And if I need to read umpteen Cozy Mysteries on my Kindle, to maintain my sanity, I will and to hell with tackling Virginia Wolf. That boat has sailed, I have to report; ditto many other literary aspirations. 

I remain determined not to fall into any goal orientated activities, Reading Challenges and the like. At this point in a grim period, my biggest challenge is to remain alive and not fall prey to the dreaded virus.

I do have a new bookish idea floating around in my scattered brain and that is to re-read some of the favourites on my shelves.  After all, that’s why I kept the books in the first place, to re-read at some point.

I have finally admitted to myself that its impossible to keep up with new publications and reviews, no matter how many book bloggers I follow. And since my Library Book Club looks unlikely to reconvene any time soon, if ever, does it really matter?

But, that said,  I do  rely on a few Book Bloggers who I faithfully follows: The Book Jotter , at  https://bookjotter.com/. Paula Bardell-Hedley  provides a weekly digest across a wide range of  (mainly) British publishers and writer, plus op-ed articles from newspapers and magazines. I find it invaluable and thank her for her labours. Week in and week out, she publishes. Hats off to her!

Another blogger with a prodigious output is Rebecca Foster at Bookish Beck: https://bookishbeck.wordpress.com/ . She loves lists which makes for quick, easy reading but also writes good reviews across a wide spectrum of books.

Thirdly I must mention  Karen Heenan-Davies  https://bookertalk.com/tag/wordpress/. I’ve followed her blog for years. Her initial theme was reviewing and discussing the annual  Booker Prize nominations, but more recently she has been a fountain of knowledge on the  arcane workings of WordPress.com and how to get the most out of their blogging platform.

So these speed readers and industrious bloggers keep me informed. And my lovely Indie book shop, The Book Lounge https://booklounge.co.za/  is prepared to research and  order my quirky requests, AND  deliver them to my front door. Where would I be without them?

I’m sure my reading in 2021 will reveal some new treasures, and reacquaint me with old favourites. I hope yours does too!