The BFR Round Up June 2021

A view through foliage to John Ruskin's former home Brantwood with Coniston Water and the fells in the distance

The only way I can keep track of everything these days is through the Instagram stories archive so all thanks to this little app for our monthly catch-up! One more month of Festival madness and then hopefully we’ll have a few calmer weeks to spend on bookish stuff.

For us, June was a tale of two halves. The first was mostly taken up with seeing family and friends, and the second was spent sorting out the house, work and admin. We can’t wait for the summer holidays.


It was great to get through some non-fiction this month even though it took me ages to read it. As I’m challenging myself to read 80 books this year (currently at 39), I’ve made a decision to mostly stick to non-fiction via audio for the rest of 2021. Mr Loverman was my favourite book followed by Parable of the Talents, which was an improvement on Parable of the Sower. Although Sower had its merits, the pacing of Talents was more measured and the characters better developed. It was such a blow that Octavia E. Butler died before she could write the third installment. I’m hoping that Ibi Zoboi will share her information about the intended story in her biography of Octavia (due to publish Jan 2022).

  • The Cabaret of Plants by Richard Mabey (4/5)
  • Mr Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo (4.75/5)
  • Parable of the Talents by Octavia E.Butler (4.25/5)
  • Paper Girls 3 by Brian K.Vaughan (4/5)
  • The Lamp of Memory by John Ruskin (4/5


One extreme to the other for Al in June. He really enjoyed King’s autobiographical guide to writing, but gave up on the Borges after a valiant attempt. Now into Beowulf’s Children by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes.

Books Read

  • On Writing by Stephen King (4.75/5)
  • Doctor Brodie’s Report by Jorge Luis Borges (DNF)

Little M

Little M chopped and changed her reading during June – picking up little chunks of longer books at bedtime, and reading picture books, guides and comics during the day. As long as she’s enjoying the process, that’s fine by us!

Books Read

  • The Bookshop Cat by Cindy Wume (5/5)
  • Seriously Spooky Fun by Marion Haslam (5/5)

Film and TV

We didn’t watch anything standout in June – July is looking more promising…

Days Out

Our biggest trip in June was to the Lake District where we spent a day at John Ruskin’s house, Brantwood (featured photo). The weather was amazing so we spent hours exploring the gardens and eating at their Terrace Restaurant overlooking Coniston Water. I would definitely recommend this destination to book lovers. Ruskin had a major influence on British art, conservation and architecture and many famous authors visited the estate including Charles Dickens. The house is also slightly off the main tourist trail, which means that you can avoid the crowds.

Later in the month we drove to Holmfirth and paid a visit to Read Bookshop – a lovely shop selling new books. It’s great to see that new businesses seem to be opening in the town (it used to trade on its connection with an old TV programme Last of the Summer Wine, but younger visitors won’t have a clue about that!).

I’ll be working for most of July so will be mainly off the blog, but can’t wait to write posts again from August. Have a brilliant month!

Mel, Al & Little M


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