the year in books :: February 2016


Firstly, a look back at my January choice, Carlo Rovelli’s Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. Having taken physics no further than GCSE (and, if I’m honest, it was one of my least favourite subjects), I was impressed by the clarity with which Rovelli explains deeply complex theories and developments. More than that, though, I was blown away by the poetry of his words. This slim and lovely volume reveals the beauty and wonder of the world around us, both its truths and its mysteries. There were inumerable passages that I read over and over again. This, on the nature of particles, was just one of these:

“A handful of types of elementary particles, which vibrate and fluctuate constantly between existence and non-existence and swarm in space even when it seems that there is nothing there, combine together to infinity like the letters of a cosmic alphabet to tell the immense history of galaxies, of the innumerable stars, of sunlight, of mountains, woods and fields of grain, of the smiling faces of the young at parties, and of the night sky studded with stars.” – Carlo Rovelli

Moving on to February’s book: this month, for one month only, I proposed that those of us who want to all read the same book, Joanna Cannon’s debut novel, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. The plan is for us all to read the novel and then discuss it via a one off #theyearinbooks Twitter chat on Monday 14th March at 9pm. Author Joanna Cannon will be taking part in this special chat, giving us a unique opportunity to find out more about her, and about the novel. For this of you who are reading along, but aren’t on Twitter, I’ll post the questions that we’ll be discussing here on the blog so that you can respond with your thoughts if you would like to: in a blog post, Instagram post, or in my blog comments. I know that there are several folk joining in with this- do let me know here in the comments if you are one. I’m already a couple of chapters in to the novel, and I’m enjoying it hugely. I can’t wait to chat to you about it.

If you’re not reading The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, please do of course join in with the project as usual, and share whatever you’re reading this month….

The usual #theyearinbooks Twitter chat will be at 9pm on the last Monday of the month (in this case, Monday 29th). It is always an absolute treat, so do come along and join us if Twitter’s your thing; we’re a very welcoming crowd, and you’re sure to come away with a to-read list as long as your arm, and some bookish new friends to boot. (I’m @circleofpines on Twitter.) If you’d like me to tweet you a reminder nearer the time, give me a shout and I’ll add you to the list.

You can find all the details about the Year in Books project on the YIB information page. Here’s a quick reminder of how it works: The aim of the project is to read (at least) a book a month during 2016. It’s not a conventional book club, so we don’t usually all read the same book. At the start of the month, I blog about the book that I am intending to read and write a few words (thoughts, comments, a review of sorts) about the previous month’s book. If you would like to do the same on your own blog, or over on Instagram, please do join me! Posts can be shared via #theyearinbooks on Twitter or Instagram, or can be pinned to the Year in Books Pinterest board (let me know in the blog comments if you would like to be added as a pinner- I’ll just need your email address to send you an invitation.) Do also feel free to share a link to your post in my blog post comments. I’d appreciate it if you could link back here from any blog posts. You can read about why I started the project here, and find the most recent #theyearinbooks posts here.

You don’t have to blog about your books- you can participate purely via social media and can share as many books as you like- it doesn’t have to be restricted to one a month. I am @circleofpines on Instagram and on Twitter : please do tag me so that I can see your posts.

There’s a Goodreads group for this project, and all are very welcome to join. Finally, if you are on Pinterest, do follow  and peruse the Year in Books Pinterest Board for all manner of bookish inspiration. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have taken part before- everyone is welcome and it’s never too late to get involved. 

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  • I’m really looking forward to reading Seven Brief Lessons at some point. I like physics, I love science and I know I’m going to love this book!

    I have about 30% of War and Peace (plus another book I’ve been reading!) to finish this week, then I’ll start reading Goats and Sheep. It’s not one I’d have chosen ordinarily so I’m quite looking forward to reading something different.

    Just to clarify, are we twittering a week early in Feb? The last Monday is the 29th?

    Here’s the link to my latest YIB post (I’m bending the rules this year and posting the January post at the end of Jan, and so on!)

  • Looking forward to starting this later this evening. I have just got the last few pages of my previous novel to read and will then make a start. It is going to seem strange for me to read a hardback book as usually these days I read using my Kindle or pick up a paperback. xx

  • I’m loving this so far! Will hopefully get started on The Trouble with Goats and Sheep in the next few days…had it delivered to my Mum’s by mistake! x

  • I am so intrigued by your January book – it sounds well-put and fascinating, not to mention completely out of my comfort zone. Thank you for choosing to read something so different!

    My January post on The Bridges of Madison County is here:

    I look forward to seeing you on Twitter later this month… is it open to everyone??… unfortunately I won’t be joining you with The Trouble with Goats and Sheep.


  • I have just ordered a copy so I can read along – I am really looking forward to starting this one as I keep seeing it mentioned on social media. I am currently reading A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman and Paris Letters by Janice MacLead – I like to have a kindle book and a ‘real’ book on the go at the same time.

  • I didn’t realise, when I decided to join in again, that the format had changed. I shall miss the thumbnails leading to blog posts. I don’t have Instagram, Twitter or belong to any social media sites. I just have my blog, so if people are interested enough to find out what I’ve been reading, that’s where they’ll find out!

  • I have decided for various reasons, to stop blogging now, and in particular joining in with the YIB project, because of the changes to using other methods of posting what one has been reading. As I said in my earlier post, I don’t belong to any other social media sites nor do I have any interest in doing so so I cannot join in as before.
    I have read the book for February – ‘The Trouble with GOats and Sheep’ by Joanna Cannon? A very different kind of story, brilliant for a debut novel, enjoyable to read, but I’d probably only give it three stars out of five if asked to rate it, just not really my taste. Ten year old Grace and her friend TIlly decide to find God, and missing neighbour Mrs Creasy. Convinced that God can be found in one of the homes on their avenue, they have to get into each one of them, and this is where the humour can be found. It is a feel-good book as other reviewers have said. With regard to the disappearance of Mrs Creasy, we are given the children’s ideas but also the adults version of events and their speculation. A satisfying ending but not a book I will keep to read a second time.
    By far the best book I have read in a very long time, that rare book that when I’d finished it I wanted to read it again almost immediately, was ‘Spill Simmer FAlter Wither’ by Sara Baume. The opening chapter grabbed me, you are inside the head of the one-eyed dog who has just escaped from a brutal existence, and you feel the panic as he runs and runs. The man in this ‘one man and his dog’ story is an outcast, a loner who lives in his late fathers house which holds a dark secret. He rescues the dog from an animal shelter and the two of them form a bind, and happily,live together until one incident occurs which sees them going on the run, living in a car until food no money run out. The ending was as emotional as the opening, but In a different way.

    • I’m sorry to hear that you were so disappointed by the change in format. I’m afraid that the number of people using the Inlinkz link up was steadily declining, and as I have to pay a fee to use In Linkz (whereas The Year in Books does not earn me anything), I made the decision to change to other sharing methods. Thank you for taking part, and I hope that you return to your blog soon. Best wishes, Laura

  • I was looking forward to reading the February selection. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a copy to purchase that would arrive in the states in time to read by the end of the month 🙁
    Will listen to the comments and read later!

  • Great choice although I already have a million books on my shelf to read so won’t be joining in with the reading this month. Thanks for this as it is making me make time to read.