What’s On My Bookshelf: April

In book club we’ve completed our first Jane Austen novel – Persuasion and have moved on to Pride and Prejudice (or P&P as we’re referring to it – we’re such cool kids). Before you very helpfully point out that perhaps we should have begun with the first novel rather than the last, there is a reason for our madness – but it’s a long story and seriously you probably don’t need to know. In any case, we’ve started with Persuasion which happens to be one of my favourites. Lucky.

If you haven’t read it, Persuasion is one of those novels whose beauty is in its quietness. It doesn’t have the liveliness of a P&P, but that reflects both the age and character of the lead character – Anne Elliot. It is, however, a clever book – and one in which Austen’s wit is the star of the show. As we found with our journey through Bronte-land, Austen in 1817 had a lot to say that is still relevant today. And that’s why this was my favourite read of the month.

Anyways, we’ve now moved on to P&P – but not before we complete our end of book bake later this morning. Because Persuasion is set largely in Somerset, but partly in Dorset, we’ll be baking a Dorset Apple Cake. The recipe is here.

What I’ve been reading – April

The Summer That Changed Us, by Cathy Bramley

At first I thought this read was about friendship. Then I realised that each of the three protagonists has something in their life that they’re grieving and each are doing so in their own way. Emotional, uplifting, delightful and all the adjectives one looks for in a read at times like these. 

Should I Tell You? by Jill Mansell

Note to self – don’t stay up until after midnight to finish a book when the alarm is set to go off at 4.30am. Loved it love it loved it. 

The Clanlands Almanac, by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish

I listened to this on Audible (mostly because I can listen to the two of them speak forever – Heughan could read an election ad and I’d be entranced) and often found myself laughing out loud as I walked. A great combo of travelogue, history, memoir and even whisky. Loved it so much that I bought the hardback so I can re-read some of the clan and battle segments. A must for fans of all things Scotland.

The Jane Austen Remedy, by Ruth Wilson

You’ll be seeing plenty of Jane Austen themed reads over the next months #youhavebeenwarned – and this was the first of them. A delightful memoir written by a fascinating woman. I enjoyed it and wanted so much to love it…but not quite. I do, however, suspect that was more about me and my mood at the time.

Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England, by Roy and Lesley Adkins

One of the things I most love about book club (other than my stunning book club buddies, of course) is the rabbit holes we all go down to find out more – about the book, the author, the times they lived and wrote in. Following our curiosity in the way we do truly brings the book alive.

A Curious Guide To London, by Simon Leyland

Yes, it has been an eclectic collection of books this month. I chose this one because we’re in the process of planning our visit to London in October and I’m researching a new pub crawl self-guided self-created walking tour. (You might recall that when we were there in December 2019 we did a 12 pubs of Christmas monopoly board themed walk. Part 1 is here and part 2 here.) And, aside from pubs, every walking tour and visited pub must be accompanied with a fun fact to Amaze and Astound – oh how I love a fun fact – and there are fun facts aplenty in this little gem.

The Heron’s Cry, by Ann Cleeves

A long-time fan of her Shetland and Vera series, I’m really enjoying getting to know DI Matthew Venn and his team – and exploring the coast of Devon.

Cookbook of the Month

This month’s featured cookbook was Around The Kitchen Table, by Sophie Hansen and Annie Herron. You can read the full review (and find the recipe for the Milo cake) here.

Your turn…

DebDonnaSue and I would love you to share what you’ve been reading. If you have a favourite classic, I’d love to hear about that too. The linky is below – and it’s open until Monday evening (AEST).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

36 thoughts

  1. Hi, Jo – I liked Persuassion and am OVER. THE. MOON. reading Pride and Prejudice. How have I never read this before?! That is one of life’s mysteries that I will never quite understand. 😀
    BTW – Just how much does The Adventure Spaniel want a piece of that cake?! I absolutely LOVE this photo!

  2. Just added a few of these to my reading list! While I have enjoyed the movies Pride and Prejudice I have never attempted to read the book. It sounds like a fun endeavor.

  3. I always sit with a pad and pencil next to me when I read these monthly posts and note down any books that take my fancy and yours just coming and coming Jo! I will be adding quite a few to my want to read list and love how we can gain more about a book when a friend reviews it than just by reading a blurb somewhere. Thanks for being an exceptional co-host and baking leader 🙂

    1. I do the same Deb! It’s why I read After Story this month. So many books so little time.

  4. I have taken quite a liking to old England and the books that came out of that era! Maybe I’ll read “Persuasion” soon. The apple cake looks delicious!

  5. That London book looks quite interesting, the Leyland. (And your cake looks yummy!!) Ann cleeves seems to be on everyone’s list this month…might check her out too.

    1. I really enjoy each of her characters…although if pushed I’d say that the Shetland series is my favourite.

  6. ohh already I sense the excitement of travel and the UK beckoning again. I like how you can share the love of literature with us. I am “not” a fan of any of the Brontes…ignorant, maybe? But I did was the version of P&P with Colin Firth and Jennifer (forget her surname) back in 1990s and again in lockdown. Your baking of something like that loaf made me want to get the butter out and reach for a slice! Denyse.

  7. I agree, Persuasion is the best Jane Austen book, although I love them all and have read them all a number of times. I was a member of The Jane Austen Society of North America and attended their meetings and conferences. You can never get too much of Jane Austen. Enjoy P&P! Wait until you get to Emma.

    1. I’ve read them all over the years too – re-reading them with book club is an entirely different experience. How lovely to be part of the Jane Austen Society… you really can’t have too muchJane.

  8. Hi Jo – thank you for sharing such a bountiful range of books this month. I’m intrigued by the Jill Mansell book and you have reminded me I have a stash of Ann Cleeves books somewhere that I haven’t read yet.
    So many books, so little time!

  9. Adventure Spaniel is obviously a fan of Milo cake! Glad you’re enjoying your next foray into the classics – P&P is our daughter’s all time favourite novel – I think she’s read it a dozen times. I’m more of a fan of the movies myself…

    1. I reckon I’m the same. I studied it and school and have read it several times since. I had to download a copy this time as my poor old paperback was falling apart.

  10. You’ve captured Persuasion and why I loved it in one word, Jo – quietness. It was rather ‘gentle’ compared to the Bronte Sisters and as I hadn’t it before, a lovely surprise. I’m currently reading the Ann Cleeves, Vera series as I’ve just devoured the Shetland series which I adored. Thanks for some great ideas this month and I do like the look of ‘Around the Kitchen Table’ – you are inspiring me to get back to collecting (and using) cookbooks. Thanks for being a fab co-host for What’s On Your Bookshelf? and happy reading for May xx

    1. May’s featured cookbook is one that combines food with literary references…now, that’s one you’ll be wanting to read!

      1. Not exactly a spin-off….it’s a delightful fictionalized account of the first JA society meetings! Quirky characters!

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