Annabel's House of Books

Noli domo egredi, nisi librum habes – Never leave home without a book.

Legi, Lego, Legam – May into June reading

I thought it was time I started writing monthly round-up posts. In the spirit of my blog’s Latin motto (Noli domo egredi, nisi librum habes – Never leave home without a book), I’ve called this post – Legi, Lego, Legam – I read, I am reading, I will read – sounds so much clunkier in the English translation.

This month, I’ve been so absorbed in the on-going problems of dealing with my too large collection of mostly unread books, that reviews have tended to get submerged in the navel-gazing – although all your comments on that have been extremely helpful to me – Thank you.

So back to the books, of which I finished seven. My monthly average is slightly down this year – as I’ve been rather busy and preoccupied with other things lately. Title and ‘Buy’ links, where appropriate, click through to Amazon UK…


  • Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (7.5/10) Review Buy
  • Exegesis by Astro Teller (5.5/10) Review Buy
  • Salmon fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday Buy Review coming soon
  • The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt (10/10) Review Buy
  • The Dark Tower Bk 1: The Gunslinger by Stephen King (8.5/10) Review Buy
  • Tomorrow Pamplona by Jan van Mersbergen Buy Review coming soon
  • The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato Buy Review coming soon

Book Group:  Salmon fishing in the Yemen will be discussed at Book Group next week, so review to follow. Last month’s choice was The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, which I reviewed this month here.

Book of the Month: I read one standout book in May. In fact I’d go so far as to say that it’s the best thing I’ve read this year.  The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt, is a wonderfully witty, yet emotional rollercoaster of a Western set during the San Francisco goldrush era. I likened it to The Blues Brothers meets Deadwood, and hope that it might appeal to some of you too – It was mighty fine!

Readalongs: I am currently engaged in just one – The Dark Tower readalong hosted by Jenny & Teresa at Shelf Love. I enjoyed the first installment, The Gunslinger, very much and hope to be along for the whole ride…


I am currently reading the latest James Bond novel – Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver whom I saw talk about it here.  So far, it’s jolly good fun!  Deaver may have skipped some decades but his Bond, although modelled strictly on Fleming’s books, is definitely in the Sean Connery mould which ain’t no bad thing at all! :)


Definite June reading plans include:

Then some of the following from the top of my TBR pile perhaps:

  • Lasting Damage
  • Something Borrowed, the second Brenda and Effie novel by Paul Magrs – been meaning to read this for ages.
  • The Novel in the Viola by Natasha Solomons – this has gone straight up the pile after reading Simon Savidge’s grilling of the author (click here).
  • Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid two novellas by Robert Coover given a new Penguin Modern Classics edition.  After discovering Coover’s brilliant short story The Babysitter in a Penguin Mini Modern I am looking forward to these very much, and Just William’s Luck reviews them here
  • Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett – a very novel novel for older children that looked so much fun that I have to read it before audition it for my daughter.

I’ve also been debating whether to join in with Jackie’s Gormenghast readalong.  I have been planning to re-read the books for years, but rather than read a few chapters per week, I’ll go full immersion and join in at the end of each month if I can fit it in. I’ve also acquired the DVD of the BBC’s rather good TV adaption from 2000.

I’d better go and get reading!  What are your plans?


  1. Very impressive Latin, Annabel!
    The Patrick DeWitt book is intriguing but I think June for me will be spent trying to get through the pile of library books that I have managed to acquire and keeping my fingers crossed that I manage to get through them before they have to go back!

  2. I plan to read as much as I did in may hopefully have a few russian novels piling up that need reading ,all the best stu

  3. I’m afraid I thieved your Latin theme, although my Latin language is not as impressive as yours. Looking forward to seeing what you think of Little Stranger – and familiar with the idea of auditioning books!

  4. gaskella

    June 2, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Yvann – like your use of Janus! Considering I only did Latin to O-Level, I’ve been moderately obsessed by it and ancient Rome ever since – maybe because I enjoyed it so much at the right time in my life, not that I’m good at it (I needed help with the motto).

  5. I can’t wait to read The Novel in the Viola as well, I wasn’t to bothered about it until I read Simon’s amazing interview. Can’t wait to start reading the book!

  6. I really like the sound of those two novellas by R. Coover and your post reminds me that I must read a Sarah Waters book in the near future.

    My List?
    Legi: The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber. It was on my shelves for 2 years and I only picked it up because my husband threatened to watch the BBC tv serialisation before I read the book (a no-no in my head).

    Lego: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells for a Classics Reading Club I have with friends on Facebook
    War & Peace by Tolstoy for the year-long read-along (though I’m horribly behind schedule)

    The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories by Theodore W. Goossen (ed.)
    Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth (a friend recently recommended it as THE Roth book to read after the recent Callil furore when I complained that the one Roth I’d read was dead boring).

    • gaskella

      June 4, 2011 at 8:40 am

      I was going to join in a W&P readalong, but got distracted and didn’t start – hope you do better in the end K. Do let me know what you make of P Roth – I’ve had Portnoy’s complaint in the TBR pile for so long (along with several others of his).

  7. Sorry for delay in replying – I’ve been away for half term and only just catching up on blogs. Just wanted to try to persuade you to read Gormenghast – I don’t mind if you read it at your own pace but would be nice to have you to discuss it with too.

    You’ve persuaded me to push Sister Brothers uo my TBR pile – I hope that I enjoy it as much as you did.

    I’m looking forward to your Salmon Fishing in the Yemen review – I had very mixed feelings on it so would like to compare notes.

    Have a great June!

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