Reading Bingo 2018


Seeing the posts by FictionFan and by Susan at A Life in Books, reminded me how much I look forward to the annual ritual of Reading Bingo.  I never pick books in order to fit the squares – I’m not that organised in my reading – but it’s fun to look back at the books I’ve read in the year and try to match them with the categories.

I’m happy to say, I’ve managed it again this year – how about you? Click on the book titles to read my review.

A Book With More Than 500 PagesMacbeth by Jo Nesbo

A Forgotten ClassicThe Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby

A Book That Became A MovieHeat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

A Book Published This YearEntanglement by Katy Mahood

A Book With A Number In The TitleSix Stories by Matt Wesolowski

A Book Written By Someone Under ThirtyThe Dark Tide by Vera Brittain

A Book With Non-Human CharactersThe Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

A Funny BookDear Mrs. Bird by A. J. Pearce

A Science Fiction or Fantasy BookThe Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw

A Book With A MysteryThe Power-House by John Buchan

A Book With A One-Word TitleHold by Michael Donkor

A Book Of Short StoriesThe Word for Freedom by Amanda Saint & Rose McGinty (eds.)

Free Square: A Literary Prize Winner The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers (The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction)

A Book Set On A Different ContinentThe Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise

A Book Of Non-FictionThe Long and Winding Road by Alan Johnson

The First Book By A Favourite AuthorThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

A Book You Heard About OnlineThree Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

A Best-Selling BookThe Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (#75 in W H Smith fiction Chart)

A Book Based On A True StoryThe Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford

A Book At The Bottom Of Your To Be Read PileThe Good Father by S. R. Wilsher

A Book Your Friend LovesMiss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye and Rebecca Mascull

A Book That Scares YouGothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell

A Book That Is More Than 10 Years OldCarol by Patricia Highsmith

The Second Book In A SeriesI Will Find You (Seal Island #2) by Daniela Sacerdoti

A Book With A Blue CoverThe Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

My 5 Favourite March Reads


I was a reading machine in March managing to get through 17 books, with a number of five-star reads and a lot of other great books vying for a place on this list. Click on the book title to read my full review.

You can find a complete list of all the books I’ve read so far this year here, with links to my reviews.  If we’re not already friends on Goodreads, send me a friend request or follow my reviews.

EntanglementFirst up we have Entanglement by Katy Mahood, published on 22nd March by The Borough Press.  Using as inspiration the concept of quantum entanglement – the idea that entangled particles remain connected and that actions performed on one affect the other even when separated by great distances – Entanglement tells the story of two couples whose life journeys overlap, mirror and just occasionally come into brief contact with each other.

It’s an emotional journey  – of ups and downs – that is beautifully described and feels absolutely true to life and authentic.

WaltScott_The Gallows PoleNext is one of the books on the long list for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2018The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myerspublished by Bluemoose Books in May 2017.  Set in 1760s Yorkshire, the book is a fictionalised account of the real life exploits of a gang known as the ‘Cragg Vale Coiners’.  (‘Coining’ was the illegal practice of removing shavings of gold from the edges of genuine coins, milling the edges of those coins smooth again and then using the shavings to produce counterfeit coins.)

As well as a compelling story, the book is remarkable for its creative use of language.  Definitely worthy of its place on the long list.

TightropeMore historical fiction, this time set in the 1940s and 1950s.  Published by Little, Brown in June 2015, Tightrope by Simon Mawer, tells the story of undercover operative, Marian Sutro, returned to England following her release from Ravensbrück concentration camp.  The book powerfully portrays the difficulty of readjustment following her terrible ordeal at the hands of the Nazis and her growing sense of concern at the development of atomic weapons.

Part enthralling Cold War spy story, part compelling examination of the impact of war, Tightrope was the deserved winner of The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction in 2016.

Dear Mrs BirdMy fourth choice is also set in World War 2 – Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce, published by Picador on 5th April.  Employed as assistant to the formidable Mrs. Bird, agony aunt of a women’s magazine, Emmy is dismayed to find many letters are discarded because they involve what Mrs. Bird calls ‘unpleasantness’.  However, Emmy sees in the letters women struggling to cope with lives disrupted by war.

Dear Mrs. Bird is funny, charming and heart-warming but also gives a real sense of the courage and resilience of those who lived through the Blitz.

We Were the Salt of the SeaFinally there is We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard, published by Orenda Books in February.

Set in a fishing community on the Gaspé peninsula in eastern Quebec, the book is a crime novel as well as a beautifully written story about an isolated community, a search for answers and about those people who are drawn to the sea.

‘You go to sea because you’re a drifter among others and you only feel at home in the silence of the wind.’  

Something for everyone, I think, in this month’s selection. 

What were your favourite reads last month? Did any of those above make your list or have a place on your reading list for April?