Here are the books on Kate’s radar in this last week of February. Here in the UK the blossom is out, the sun is shining, Spring has arrived. Here’s what she has been reading
I just recently discovered Kate Young’s Little Library cookbooks. They’re written in a way that inspires you to make a little more of each moment, whether that’s cooking something delicious to eat, or choosing the perfect book to read. How about Rhubarb and Rose frozen yoghurt and a copy of Brideshead Revisited as you plan the first picnic of the year. I got to talk to Kate in person about these books the other day, and can’t wait to get that interview up on the pod. Coming soon.
We just discussed this with my book club and I can’t wait to talk about it on the pod. For now, I’ll just say it made a brilliant book club read, and in particular my group recommend The Mermaid of Black Conch audio book, loving the way the Caribbean voices transported them to the island of Black Conch.
I was curious to read this book about a devastating fire that destroyed the LA Central Library in 1986. Susan Orlean, like many Americans, had been unaware of the fire. The reason, she discovered, is that it happened at the same time as the Chernobyl disaster, which dominated the news throughout that period. And so she delves into the story, uncovering details of the fire, of the man suspected of having started it, and the rebuilding process that followed. I’m absolutely loving this because, as with all the best books, it’s about so much more than its subject. It’s about books, and readers, and about the community experience that libraries bring to that. It’s about how they can be a force for public good and at a time when libraries here in the UK are increasingly marginalised and under-funded it feels like a call to arms. It’s one of those books I want to steal off and read all the time. For everyone who ever read their way through their local library, from picture books to teen reads, this one is for you.
The first book by the author of one of my most favourite recent reads The Moth and The Mountain (and listen in to our bookshelf episode 88 to hear more about why I loved that one), it tells the story of the quest to break the two-hour marathon barrier. As with The Moth it’s a compulsive read. I think it’s fair to say it will appeal most to those who have an interest in running or sport in general, but Caesar is the sort of writer who really knows how to bring his subject to life. If you’re someone who thinks a book about marathon running is not for you, this is the book to convert you, I promise. And for running aficionados, it’s a treat.
I have been editing our Shuggie Bain episode all this week and so this book has been on my mind. I saw someone online saying they felt pressure to read it, but really didn’t want to. We cover why plunging into Douglas Stuart’s gritty recreation of poverty-stricken Glasgow, broken families and alcoholism can be a rewarding experience, despite all the misery. I’ve read it twice now, and enjoyed it both times. But for those who are still holding out, Laura is on your side, having only managed to read bits of it. In book club we’ve got the full range of views because every reader’s experience is different. And that’s what we love.
What have you been reading lately? Comment below and let us know.