The Year in Books | March 2016


First a few words about February’s book The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. Laura @circleofpines wanted to try something different for #theyearinbooks for one month and suggested that anyone who was interested could read the same book. I was thrilled to win a copy in the giveaway Laura organised and came over all child-like when the parcel arrived with the beautiful, blue tome inside.

Goats and Sheep is set in the sweltering summer of 1976. Mrs Creasey has gone missing and the residents on The Avenue fear the worst so ten-year-old friends Grace and Tilly decide to investigate. Goats and Sheep was everything I could ask for in a book – intelligent, sympathetic, funny, keenly observed and oh-so-beautifully written. So many times I was transported to that street, I could see the neighbours milling and colluding and I could feel that uncomfortable heat. Oddly enough after my choice for January, this too was a book about secrets. But it was also about friendships, relationships, parents, how people can be quick to judge others, and how those judgements can influence others and ruin lives. And I fell in love with Tilly who was patient, sweet, innocent yet wiser than her years.

Laura organised a one-off #theyearinbooks twitter chat to discuss the book and it was such a treat to have the author join in. Joanna was funny and thoughtful and I could totally imagine sitting in a pub chatting with her (as I often do my fellow #ytheyearinbooks tweeters!). I look forward to reading her follow up but for now I hope she’s just enjoying the excellent reaction her debut is so deservedly getting.

And so to March. Although I’m in total denial, I’ll be turning the big four-oh this year (eeep!). To ease the pain a bit I’m re-visiting songs, albums, films, books from my formative years. I was a massive fan of the Brat Pack and John Hughes films so I was interested to see that both Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy (who I had the most mahoosive crush on) have added another string to their bow, that of published writer. I read Molly’s novel last year and loved it so much so that I’m hoping to re-read it this year. But I have chosen Andrew McCarthy’s, The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down for my March read. Part travel journal, part memoir, the reviews promise a personal exploration of Andrew’s commitment phobia, his life in showbiz and his relationships via his love of travel. I’m really looking forward to this one.


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