Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

In common with most book lovers I have stacks of unread books awaiting my attention. Judith at Reader in the Wilderness has decided to start her Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times MEME – talk about three of the books in your TBR stacks. For me anyway this might be a way of reacquainting myself with books that I was keen to buy at the time, but for some reason have languished in the piles. I’ve been having trouble concentrating on reading, in common with loads of readers so I might find something to pique my interest here.

Niccolo Rising by Dorothy Dunnett – I started collecting this series while I was reading the author’s Lymond series which was a few years ago. I think it’s the thickness of the book that has put me off beginning it, but having finished reading The Mirror and the Light at over 800 pages, this book now seems quite slim.


Flowers on the Grass by Monica Dickens. I have no idea how long I’ve had this one which according to the blurb is: perhaps the gayest and most entertaining novel yet written by an author whose work has always been unfailingly entertaining. The setting ranges from a country cottage to a holiday camp in Northern England, a Bayswater hotel to a modern ‘do-as-you-like’ school, and has a fascinating gallery of characters – apparently. I’m now wondering why I haven’t thought of reading it before now.


Over the Mountains by Pamela Frankau has a World War 2 setting. It’s May 1940 and the British armies are retreating from Dunkirk. Reading the blurb I’ve just realised that this one is the last book of a trilogy, but I think it can be read as a stand alone book, and it seems like it might be right up my street.


I’m going to read one of these books soon – if I can concentrate on one, I might have to dip into all three before I find one I can concentrate on!

10 thoughts on “Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

  1. I have read the first two. The Dunnett I liked but not as well as the Lymond books. I haven’t read the rest in the series. I think I liked the Monica Dickens too but can’t remember much about it. Maybe it would come back to me if I started reading it again. The last one I have never heard of and it sounds exactly like something I would like. I’m going to see if I can find a copy online.

    I am having a lot of trouble settling on a book to read. I keep starting them and putting them down. Oh well.

    • Jennifer,
      That’s interesting. I enjoyed the Lymond series so much and I think that is what is putting me off starting this new series, I feel it can’t be as good. I don’t know if it’s because of this horrible worldwide situation or the books that I’ve been picking up or what, but I’m having trouble concentrating on reading.

  2. It is amazing how many books I am excited to buy and then they sit on my shelves unread.

    I want to read something by Dorothy Dunnett someday. The other two authors are entirely new to me. I think Over the Mountains would appeal the most because of the World War 2 setting.

  3. Hi Katrina,
    It’s very annoying to me when I go through a spell when I find it difficult to concentrate on reading. I do hope that this passes. The UK is dealing with a lot–Brexit coming on and this stupid pandemic. No wonder you have trouble concentrating at the moment. But it’s temporary.
    Because wasn’t it just over a week ago that you finished the Hilary Mantel 800 plus page door stop? I’ve got it in the house now.
    I’ll be very intrigued to hear what you think of the Monica Dickens and the Pamela Frankau WWII novel, which has a tortuous, yet very interesting book cover.
    Wishing you well with your reading, and of course to Jack with his.
    Is he having trouble concentrating?

    • Judith,
      When I was reading The Mirror and the Light there seemed to be a lot of hope that Covid-19 would stay more or less where it was, but Boris Johnson’s dithering put paid to that! It’s just weird not being able to see anyone, go anywhere apart from a walk for the Guardian. We are so lucky to have the garden and the land out the back that we can walk in and rarely ever see anyone else.
      Jack has a couple of books to review for Interzone so he has to read them but it doesn’t seem to be a problem for him.

  4. The first two sound appealing. I still haven’t read any Dunnett, though, and have the first of the Lymond series on my TBR, hopefully for later this year when I can cope with books that require concentration again. I’ve only ever read Monica Dickens’ autobiographical One Pair of Hands and One Pair of Feet, both of which I enjoyed, especially Hands, so I’m intrigued to hear whether her fiction is as good.Hope you manage to find a book that lets you get lost in it soon!

    • FictionFan,
      I read those two Monica Dickens books way back in the 1970s and enjoyed them, I’ve only read one of her fiction books, The Winds of Love I think and liked that – so I’m hopeful this one will be good.

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