Thursday, 16 June 2016

On the Stack #4

It's been a while since I've shared anything here, so I thought I'd kick off again with a look at what I'm reading at the moment.

I currently have two stacks by my bed. One is a fairly average sized pile of books I want to get to in the next few weeks, but the other is a rather ominous pile, close to toppling, which is made up of the books I've read recently and intend to review. I'll get to that at some point.

This last couple of weeks I've been reading a lot about the Somme. The centenary of the first day of this infamous battle is coming up on 1st July (which also happens to be my birthday, what timing), and I've been busy getting reviews ready for the books page on Centenary News. I finished Sisters on the Somme by Penny Starns the week before last and now I'm reading Elegy by Andrew Roberts. My final Somme book of the month will be Forgotten Voices of the Somme by Joshua Levine. I've read books from the Forgotten Voices series before so I'm sure this one will not disappoint.

My interest in the First World War is mostly cultural rather than military so I've never really retained much knowledge about the battles or why and how they were fought. Over the last few months though I have been reading a lot more military history and I think it's giving me a much more rounded picture of the war. The Somme has only existed in my head as some hazy awful bloodbath and my knowledge has been influenced heavily by literature as opposed to non-fiction. Now, though, I feel like I understand a lot more about the thought processes behind the Somme, what happened on the first day, how it unfolded and the conditions the soldiers faced. I'm a long way from being a military historian, but I'm thoroughly enjoying the learning process.

I've been plowing through books recently and I think I've finally made a slight dent in my TBR (must not celebrate by buying more books). I've been enjoying discovering books I'd bought months or even years back and have read some corkers, including: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, Beside the Sea by Veronique Olmi and Mrs Dalloway's Party by Virginia Woolf.

I want to delve a bit deeper into my TBR pile over the next few weeks and I've got Excellent Women by Barbara Pym lined up for my next read. I think I need something a bit lighter and jollier after burying myself in the Somme and I think this will be the perfect antidote.

Finally, I have fished out my copy of Susan Cain's Quiet from the deep recesses of my bookshelf. I have dipped in and out of this, but never actually finished it. My organisation put a lot of emphasis on MBTI profiles and knowing your personality type and I've just been on a course to find out more about what makes me tick and how I work. I am 100% introvert and it causes some problems for me in the workplace so I'm hoping Cain's book will give me a boost of confidence and a few ideas about making my introversion help rather than hinder.

What are you currently reading?

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