April 2023 in Books

April 2023 in Books

Oh dear! I promise to do better! I read just one book in April. ONE! I mean, it was a very good one, but still. Life got in the way. I did, however, attend not one but two…

Book Events

I started the month with An Evening with Mike Parker at Booka Bookshop in Oswestry. The evening was all about Mike’s new book, All The Wide Border, a book about a journey through the places, amongst the people, and across the divides of the border between England and Wales. I’ve been lucky enough to see Mike talk and meet him before, so I knew I was in for a treat. Having lived all my life just a stone’s throw from the border means this book was always going to be interesting to me, especially the first part.

Mike Parker reading from his new book, All The Wide Border.
An Evening with Mike Parker at Booka Bookshop, Oswestry.
Three authors on stage - Louise Candlish, Lisa Jewell and Clare Mackintosh.
Crime on the Border with Booka Bookshop, Oswestry.

A friend and I also attended another Booka Bookshop event – Crime on the Border with Lisa Jewell, Clare Mackintosh and Louise Candlish. These three bestselling authors talked all about their new books, how they first got published, anecdotes about their writing processes and much more. It was entertaining, interesting and insightful, and, of course, I came home with three books (signed!), as well as a sampler of Clare Mackintosh’s next book!

Books Bought

Books I bought in April 2023:
Lonely Planet’s Fast Talk Finnish
Lonely Planet’s Finland
The Kiss of Death by Marcus Sedgwick
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell
The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh
The Only Suspect by Louise Candlish
All The Wide Border by Mike Parker
The Plague Letters by V. L. Valentine

I’m off to Finland in June, so I decided to be a complete tourist and get Lonely Planet’s Finland and Fast Talk Finnish. I haven’t been abroad in something like 15 years and I’ll be visiting a friend who I’ve not seen for even longer. Lonely Planet’s Finland book is being filled with page markers, so I’m already considering a return trip as I just know I won’t have time to see it all!

Of course, when I go to book/author events I always come away with at least one book. All The Wide Border was included in the ticket price for Mike Parker’s event with Booka Bookshop, and I bought all three authors’ latest books at Crime on the Border (as well as getting a sampler of Clare Mackintosh’s next book).

April’s charity shop books are The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (picked because I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time), The Kiss of Death by Marcus Sedgwick (picked because I enjoyed a couple of his books earlier in the year) and The Plaque Letters by V. L. Valentine (chosen because the synopsis sounded interesting). It cost me £3.50 for all three.

I picked up Murder Before Evensong by The Reverend Richard Coles from Tesco as part of their 2 for £9 offer. Mum picked one book and I picked this one.

Books Read

All The Wide Border by Mike Parker
(Published by HarperNorth)

All The Wide Border by Mike Parker“There is a line on the map: to one side Wales, small, rugged and stubborn; the other England, crucible of the most expansionist culture the world has ever seen. It is a line that has been dug, debated, defined and defended for twenty centuries.

All the Wide Border is a personal journey through the places, amongst the people, and across the divides of the border between England and Wales. Taking in some of our loveliest landscapes, and our darkest secrets, this is a region of immeasurable wonder and interest. It is there that the deepest roots and thorniest paradoxes of Britishness lie. The border between the countries, even as a concept, is ragged, jagged and many-layered.

Garlanded author Mike Parker has adored and explored these places his entire life. Born in England but settled in Wales, he finds himself typical of many in being pulled in both directions. His journey is divided into three legs, corresponding with the watersheds of the three great border rivers: the Dee in the north, the Severn in the centre, the Wye in the south. Neither quite England nor Wales, the furzy borderland he uncovers ― the March ― is another country. A hefty schlep from everywhere, these are A. E. Housman’s ‘blue remembered hills’ ― his ‘land of lost content’ ― and ours too.

Picking apart the many notions and clichés of Englishness, Welshness and indeed Britishness, Mike Parker plays with the very idea of borders, our fascination with them, our need for them, and our response to their power. In his hands, the England–Wales border is revealed to be a border within us all, and it is fraying, fast.”

A brilliant read! It’s a rare occasion to read about local people and places in these parts, but with All The Wide Border Mike Parker brings to life the imaginary line which separates Wales and England, its people, land, history and politics. 

This book brought back memories (I’m just old enough to remember the free festivals on Kerry Ridgeway in the 1980s!), told of places I know well and others I now want to discover. As well as more historical events, Mike also writes about recent events (covid lockdowns!) which had quite an effect on those of us living near the border (the Welsh covid rules were more restrictive and protective than the English rules), especially with the occasional village or town straddling the border.

Whether you live near the Welsh border or not, All The Wide Border is an interesting read. It’s part travelogue, part historical, part societal, part political, but more than that it’s interesting and humorous. If you want to know more about the Welsh border, you’ll find everything you need to know in All The Wide Border.

Books Listened To

Dirty Laundry by Richard Pink & Roxanne Emery

Dirty Laundry by Richard Pink & Roxanne Emery“From the husband-and-wife team behind social media phenomenon @ADHD_Love, whose viral videos have been viewed more than 200 million times, comes a fearless, often outrageously funny, account of life, learning, and growing with ADHD. They share the strategies they have used to reduce shame, improve communication, and find happiness in their neurodivergent household.

Filled with heartbreak and humour in equal measure, DIRTY LAUNDRY is an invaluable resource both for neurodivergents and the people who love them.”

I follow Richard and Roxy on Tiktok, so I knew this book would be interesting. Throughout the book, they take turns in explaining their side of things and how they both cope. Anyone who has ADHD or is neurodivergent will see themselves and their behaviours in parts of Dirty Laundry, or if you know someone with ADHD then this book may help you understand them a little better.

This isn’t the longest book and I did think they could have gone into it a little more in-depth, but Dirty Laundry is based on their experiences with ADHD. Whether you read this book or not, I’d definitely recommend following them in Tiktok.


What have you been reading?


  1. Ginnie Hart says:

    Your one book in April is more than what I read, Nikki, so BRAVA. With all your reading and interest in authors, book events/signings, etc., I wonder if you’ve ever had an inclination to write your own book(s)??? And in what genre??? I have a feeling you’d be good at it!

    While you’re in Finland, my wife and I will be driving around Denmark for 3 weeks, seeing as much as we possibly can within the limits of our endurance (at our ages, 78 and 69!). I’ll make sure I wave whenever I think of you. 🙂

    • Nikki says:

      Funnily enough, I wanted to be an author when I grew up! Sadly, my fatigue gets in the way of such things these days. I’m not sure what genre, maybe travel or non-fiction at the moment.

      I shall wave as I fly over Denmark! I always wanted to go to Denmark when I was a child (I was a big fan of Lego). I hope you have a wonderful time!

  2. I really hope you enjoy your trip to Finland, it will be great to experience somewhere new, especially after all the Covid restrictions. We were only saying the other day, that it has been twelve years since we went overseas, although being that much older than yourself, neither of us really feel a desperate urge to suffer the crowded airports and small plane seats any more. There are plenty of places in the UK we have yet to see, it would just be nice to be able to guarantee a bit of decent weather!! 🙂

    It would be rude to attend a bookish event and then come away empty handed, wouldn’t it? 🙂 I have read a Clare Mackintosh book before and thoroughly enjoyed it, however the other two ladies are authors I have yet to try.

    One of my other blogging friends has read ‘Murder Before Evensong’ and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I hope you do too!

    Me, I would add all of those new fiction titles to my wish list, if only I truly thought that I would ever get to them 🙂 🙂

    • Nikki says:

      I don’t like flying, so I’m trying not to think of that part of the trip just yet! I totally agree, I love exploring the UK, there’s so much to see here.

      I’m about a third of the way through Murder Before Evensong at the moment (which is why I forgot to add it to the photography pile!).

  3. If you continue to only read one book a month, that’s you set for a while! I’m the same, I keep buying more than I can possibly get through. Glasgow’s book festival, Aye Write, is coming up and I have booked 3 events, so inevitably three more books for me.

  4. Beverley says:

    No reading done here in April, but now I have finished my knitting project maybe I can find a cosy corner and sit down with a book.
    I hope you have a wonderful time in Finland when you go in June and it will be good to catch up with your friend- lots of catching up and memories. Happy reading.

  5. Kris P says:

    Another interesting collection of books, Nikki. I love Osman’s books and I’m eagerly waiting the next one. I enjoyed ‘The Last Party’ by Claire MacIntosh and plan to look for ‘Game of Lies’ when it becomes available in Kindle form. Your trip to Finland sounds exciting, especially as I’m of Finnish descent and have never visited the country – I look forward to the future coverage of your trip.

    I’m currently reading ‘The Wanderer’ by Michael Ridpath and ‘Losing Music’ by John Cotter. The latter is a memoir about living with Meniere’s Disease, a condition my husband has that’s changed our lives dramatically.

  6. Kelly says:

    I’ve heard great things about the Richard Osman series and have the first on my wishlist at the library. I look forward to your review of it AND your review of Murder Before Evensong!

  7. Jodie says:

    Have a wonderful trip to Finland! I’m like you in that I like to research an area I’m traveling to. Rick Steve’s books are extremely helpful.

  8. Anca says:

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday in Finland. I read a history of Italy before going to Italy last year, so I highly suggest doing this. It’s something I will do from now on.

  9. Well no wonder you only finished one book in April with all that excitement going on! I only finished two books in April so we’re in good company. I hope your new purchases will help you get your reading mojo back, especially hoping you will enjoy The Thursday Murder Club, as I thought it was great fun.

  10. Ann says:

    I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve only just finished my third book of the year, so your one and only book in April isn’t too bad.
    Those book events sound interesting, and I’m rather envious of your upcoming trip to Finland. But I’ll be in your part of the world while you’re gone! xxx

  11. I’ve read Richard the three “Thursday Murder Club” books, by Richard Osman, and both of Lisa Jewell’s “The Family Upstairs” books.
    I recommend them all.
    Books are the best, authors are cool, yet having time to read is always the toughest part.

  12. Marty says:

    I’m always impressed with those who dive into learning another language. Good luck with the Finnish! I’m not familiar with Mike Parker, so I’m adding him to my list. Thanks.

    I guess I’m in an Ian McEwan phase. I finished “Lessons” last month and now I’m reading “Atonement.” This is the year of fiction-only for me because I read too many biographies starting with lockdown.

    Travel safe!

  13. Is the friend living in Finland, Nikki, or visiting at the same time as you? Sounds like an interesting trip anyway. It often takes me a few weeks to read a book. Too much else going on, mostly, but I’m not a fast reader.

  14. Denise Bush says:

    As always, thanks for the reviews and look at books on your shelf. I listen to audio books ( thru Libby) and recently discovered William Kent Krueger. ‘This Tender Land’ was excellent and ‘Ordinary Grace’ is an award winner. Have you read any of his books?

  15. chickenruby says:

    I enjoy Lisa Jewell. I own Richard Osmond’s book but not read it yet. I had a fruitless visit to Waterstones today they didn’t stock any of the books I wanted.

  16. Kezzie says:

    I like the books you bought. I’d be interested to read the Plague letters. I really also want to read the Richard Osman one, I keep NOT buying it!

  17. I read a lot in between projects during the day and at night averaging 2-3 books per week. I’m very grateful for my local library or I’d be financially impacted. Our library system is one place our tax dollars are well used, and they are very responsive in reserving, holding, or ordering books residents are interested in. Happy reading.

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