Sofa reading, January 2017

For me, and I’m sure most other readers, settling down on the sofa to read a good book is one of life’s best, simple pleasures. I’m a lifelong book buff and I’m always reading at least two books at any one time.  I’m hoping to do a regular Sofa reading post towards the end of each month mentioning one or two books that I’ve read during that month.

I’m happy to say that Liz, who has been guest posting Tree following posts the past couple of years,  will also be contributing with her book(s) of the month.  Here’s what she says…On occasion Mike and I have emailed emailed each other about the books that we’re reading so when he invited me to join him with my take on one or two good reads I accepted with pleasure.  I do love a good book in which to lose myself for an hour or two at a time.  Sometimes I get so caught up in a story line that it’s a straight read from start to finish.

Today we’re looking back at our top reads for 2016, starting with Liz’s.

From last year there are two books, both published earlier, that remain with me (Liz).


All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr was published in 2014, and won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. It is a beautifully crafted story of a blind French girl fleeing as the Nazis advance on Paris in WW2 and of a young German man with a talent for science and mechanics and is recruited into the German occupation in France.

We follow these two main characters through harrowing circumstances, both separately and then as their lives intersect.


old-filthAnything written by Jane Gardam is welcome news to me.  When Old Filth came out in 2004 I read it as soon as I could get my hands on a copy.  Filth is an acronym for Failed in London try Hong Kong, and the nickname given to Sir  Edward Feathers, QC. The sun is setting on the British Empire and his story is one of an a Raj orphan.  We learn of his lonely childhood, distinguished life as a barrister in Hong Kong then his retirement to Dorset.  Gardam captures her character  with wit and pathos in equal measure.

Reading, and rereading this book was a sheer delight.  It is fortunate that this story is followed by two more to make a magnificent trilogy.



The most enjoyable book that I (Flighty) read last year was  The Ballroom by Anna Hope, and was an unlikely choice given what I usually read.

The story is set in 1911 in an asylum on the edge of the Yorkshire moors where men and women are kept apart by high walls and barred windows.  The ballroom is where they are allowed to come together to dance every Friday evening.  It’s an enduring story of love, madness and sanity, and I have to admit that the last few pages had me tearing up.



Happy reading, have a good weekend and don’t forget it’s the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch.

About Flighty

...allotmenteer, armchair gardener, blogger and sofa flying book buff.
This entry was posted in Sofa flying and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Sofa reading, January 2017

  1. Chloris says:

    Great that you are going to have a regular book spot. Like you , I am an avid reader and I suspect many of us in the garden blogging community are. After all we like to write and read too. I have toyed with the idea of having a book blog as well as a gardening blog but I suppose it would be a bit time consuming. Your idea is great.

    • Flighty says:

      Choris thanks. Good for you, and I’m sure you’re right. We do indeed. I have had a second active blog in the past but found impossible to keep both going on a regular basis. That’s good to know. xx

  2. menhir1 says:

    That’s quite a collection of pathos, Mr F.

    I’ve just finished a Le Carré book, the first I’ve read. I’m not in a hurry to obtain another in the series. My current book, just started, is by Robert Harris. It is based on the Dreyfus case. xx

    • Flighty says:

      Menhir sorry about that. I enjoyed Le Carre’s early books, such as the Smiley trilogy but haven’t been keen on his later ones. I hope you enjoy the Robert Harris book. xx

  3. Anonymous says:

    Agree, Old Filth is a good read and as you liked it I’ll try The Ballroom. Many years ago worked in a psychiatric hospital with a ballroom so it should be nostalgic.

  4. CJ says:

    Oh yes, I love curling up with a good book. I saw Old Filth at the library the other day, but already have a big pile of books waiting so I didn’t pick it up at the time. I’ve heard so many good things about All The Light We Cannot See, I shall definitely read that one. CJ xx

  5. Liz says:

    CJ, that pile of books! Where to start? That’s my problem, unfortunately. But then there’s the gem that’s gone unnoticed and it’s all worthwhile. Liz

  6. nikkipolani says:

    Liz, you’re at least the third person I know to highly recommend All The Light and I even have it as an audiobook — just haven’t gotten to it. I’m three books into Laurie King’s Holmes/Russell series at the moment. I’d not heard of Jane Gardam — but the series you mention are all available in my local library system!

    Flighty, The Ballroom sounds intriguing — and also locally available. You two are not helping with my growing reading list.

    • Flighty says:

      Nikki enjoy All The Light…. I’ve read some of those Laurie King books. As Liz says Jane Gardam books are worth reading.
      The Ballroom intrigued me when I picked it off the library shelf. I’m smiling at the last sentence of your comment. xx

    • Liz says:

      Nikki, I just said “yum” to your shortbread! Sometimes — a lot, actually — I find myself with a pile of recommended books from the local library and have a hard time knowing where to start. Laurie King, I have not read, yet! Liz

  7. Good idea Flighty, new reviews welcome!

  8. I’m delighted that you’re doing a regular book spot. All three look like my kind of reads. I’ll take a look at them over the weekend as I’ve just finished ‘Keeping On, Keeping On’ which has been occupying my free time since Christmas. Thanks!

  9. Jo says:

    I put The Ballroom on my books to read list when you mentioned it previously, it sounds like something I’d enjoy so I’m pleased to hear that you enjoyed it. I’m sure there’ll be lots more books making their way to that same list if you’re going to be doing a regular book feature.

    • Flighty says:

      Jo good for you, I look forward to seeing what you think of it. I hope there will be. It was your regular monthly book post that prompted me to do one too. xx

  10. Me too! An avid reader I mean. I have an upstairs book and a downstairs book. Looking forward to reading about a few books amongst the plants. x

  11. Great post. Love Jane Gardam. “The man in the wooden hat” is a brilliant follow up to “Old Filth” Rereading P G Wodehouse to keep the politics from the door at the moment.

  12. Barbara H. says:

    I’m visiting from a link at nikkipolani’s. When I saw “book recommendations,” I had to some see. 🙂 I’ve seen All the Light recommended by so many people, I need to look into it. These all sound intriguing.

  13. plot34 says:

    I read All the Light last year and thoroughly recommend it. The Ballroom sounds interesting and is now in my kindle queue!

  14. Emma says:

    What a coincidence, I’m reading All the Light at the moment. Only a short way into it but enjoying it so far and it seems very relevant in today’s times.

  15. annie_h says:

    Really enjoyed this post Flighty, I love getting ideas for new books to read and they all sound good reads. Will look forward to your monthly posts

  16. karen says:

    I’m reading a book callled Winter – an anthology by Melissa Harrison, published in conjunction with the wildlife trust. It’s wonderful just to be able to dip in and out of. I’m looking up your books now. I hadn’t heard of any of them. I’m glad you are going to do a regular book review feature. I love reading and often run out of ideas. Have a great weekend . Karen. x

    • Flighty says:

      Karen I’ve made a note of that book as It’s one as I like anthologies.
      It’s nice to read such a positive comment as this. Me too.
      Thanks, and you. xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.