I was supposed to finish getting through The Yacoubian Building by Alaa al Aswany this week, but because I went to book club before I’d finished reading it, I know the terrible thing that is about to happen and I haven’t the strength for it. So I’m reading it page by page. Apart from the harrowing, it is a wonderful book and if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

Last night, I read Susan Johnson‘s A Better Woman which, again, you probably read years ago. It’s beautiful, but it’s got harrowing bits too, so do not read it if you are pregnant or have recently been pregnant. It’s been eight years since I gave birth and I still had to hold my breath through parts of it. I read it in one big gulp before I went to bed. I had to stop about one third of the way into it, and skip to the final third just to make sure she was all right. Even though it’s pretty obvious she survived to tell the tale (and others since).

I also started to read a Nanny Piggins, but everytime I put it down, someone else picked it up. The bits I’ve read are excellent fun.

I’ve also been working my way through The Baker, a book I bought at a greatly inflated price from Jones the Grocer (also known around these parts as Jones the Robber for, while their coffee is, without doubt, the best in Abu Dhabi their prices are astronomical – not for coffee, the coffee is well-priced). Many things in Abu Dhabi and Dubai cost a lot more than I’d pay if I were living in another country or bought them on the internet, but I let myself buy this, because I do love to bake and it had a lot of recipes I thought I’d use. We have found a new lunchbox staple in the wonderfully-named crackle cookies, but I’ve also found two recipes with not insignificant errors. The errors would not be so frustrating if, whenever I found one, it did not make me think, with a pang, of the over-inflated price for the book.