This has been a productive reading month with 12 books read and many more half finished. Subsequently, this monthly review is going to be a long post, I may well revert back to weekly next week.
I have also had a spur of the moment decision to do Blogmas this year, I am not sure if I will manage every day but ill try my best.
Most of this months reading has been a mad scramble to fulfil all the prompts for the basic version of the Popsugar Reading Challenge, I have also started the Around the Year in 52 books and only have a few more to read to complete this (although I didn’t start it till this month and fitted the books I had read around the prompts, which was surprisingly easy)
The weather has turned wintery, that’s for sure. At the moment we are being buffeted by very strong winds and rain. Plenty of time to stay inside and read.
Starting with the best:
Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers #3) by Becky Chambers
I loved this book. It follows the lives of five people who all live in space aboard the fleet, the crafts built to carry the remaining humans away from their dying planet. This character-driven and a fairly plotless book is charming and warm nonetheless. I was planning on not finishing it this year to count as the book set in space prompt for next years Popsugar challenge but I just couldn’t do it. My review will be published soon.
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
A fascinating historical novel from the great Margaret Atwood. Grace marks is an infamous figure from Canadian history where she was convicted, at the age of 16 for her part in the murder of her employer and his housekeeper. Her accomplice was hanged but she was spared due to her young age. Is she an innocent victim? or an evil woman? I “read” it as an audiobook and really enjoyed it. I counted this as a novel based on a real person for the Popsugar challenge.
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
This is the story of a family who lives in a prosperous American university town. Howard the father is British and is married to a strong black woman and they have three kids. It is a story of infidelity, family and race. All the men in this book seem to be either womanising assholes or confused youths. The women are more three dimensional and that is what makes this book so interesting. I really enjoyed it.
The Complete Talking Heads by Alan Bennett
So very darkly humorous. These short stories were originally written as monologues for the BBC. I had them as an audiobook where they were adapted for radio. With some fabulous actors, the likes of Julie Walters, Thora Herd and Bennett himself bringing life to the words. Overall I found them a little depressing especially when you listen to more than one at a sitting. I counted this as a problem facing society today for the Popsugar challenge.
The Days of Anna Madrigal (Tales of the City #9) by Armistead Maupin
I have been meaning to read this book for a long time as I loved the first batch of the tales of the city books, all set in SF in the eighties. I also have the predecessor to read but chose to read this out of order as it would fit with the A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist prompt and so it did, many times over.
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
I picked this up to use as the children’s classic I had never read for the popsugar challenge. It is a really sweet story of a boy, sent to stay with relations whilst his brother has the measles. Frustrated with not being able to go outside he cannot sleep and discovers a garden behind the converted townhouse which is only there at midnight.
When the Snow Fell (Joel Gustafsson #3) by Henning Mankell
This is a fairly odd little book. Joel Gusafsson is a 14-year-old boy whose mother packed a bag and left several years ago. Joel and his father Samuel live a frugal existence in a small Swedish town in the late 1950s. When I borrowed this e-audiobook from the library I didn’t realise that it was the third one in a series, and I don’t think it really mattered. The plot is fairly pointless and meandering but overall I liked this book, but I am not sure why.
Hot Six (Stephanie Plum #6) by Janet Evanovich
This was funny but ultimately very trashy. I have been bingeing on the Stephanie Plum books but I think I have had enough for a while. Stephanie is a young woman who works a bail bond enforcer aka a bounty hunter in New Jersey. what is most likeable is that she is not very good as her job, and 100% human, the other characters are a little OTT but Stephanie is somebody most of us can relate to.
Mr Nice by Howard Marks
I read this to fulfil the true crime prompt for the Popsugar challenge this year as I couldn’t face anything too scary and I never got round to reading this when the rest of the world was a decade ago. It was ok, he does come across as very smug and I was pleased when he ended up getting caught. I had to put it down for a month or so in the middle as it became a little monotonous.
Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie
A good Agatha Christie and it have probably been read more this year due to the book set at Haloween prompt for the popsugar challenge. I did figure out who had done it before the reveal but I didn’t figure out why.
The Redbreast (Harry Hole #3) by Jo Nesbø
I found this book fairly chaotic and ok, it almost all came together in the end, but I was just glad to finish it. Not a bad book but not one I would recommend. Far too grim for my liking. I only persisted till the end to count it as Nordic Noir for the popsugar reading challenge, otherwise, I would have DFN’d it at 100 pages or so.
Sea of Poppies (Ibis Trilogy, #1) by Amitav Ghosh
Chosen for the book taking place at see prompt and I have enjoyed other books by this author. This book is a slow read, but very worth it. It concentrates on the crew and owners of the Ibis, a ship sailing from India during the time of the opium wars. Very Indian and very good.
Secret Passages in a Hillside Town by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
This is a book I got from netgalley before the summer, it is another fairly slow book and I ended up putting it aside a few months when life got hectic. I had got nearly halfway through and have picked it up again. It’s a fairly strange story of a middle-aged man in a minor Finnish city. He joins a film club and this acts as a catalyst for his life to change.
Relic (Pendergast, #1) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
A series of brutal murders happen in the vast Museum of Natural History in New York. All seemingly connected with a relic that was brought back from the Amazon in the 80’s. Fast paced and fairly gripping. I chose this book to fulfil the book written by two authors prompt, from the popsugar challenge.
Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton
I have only just started this historical novel that I got from Netgalley. It is all based around Spitalfields market in London in the 1700’s, told in alternated first-person accounts from Sara, a young woman tricked into prostitution and Esther, the wife of a silk weaver. Very well written, especially for a debut.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
I saw the movie several years ago and thought it would be a good fit for the prompt of a Narrative Non-Fiction in the Around the Year challenge. It’s about an intelligent, well educated and idealistic young man who went off the grid and ended up starving to death in the Alaskan bush. Very interesting so far.
If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura
This is an overdue ARC from netgalley that I put down before the summer holidays and have only just picked up again. It is an interesting book about a dying man making a deal with the devil that he can have a one day of life for each thing that disappears from the world.
Her Next Chapter by Lori Day
This is a book that has been on my TBR for the longest for the Around the Year challenge. It is all about using mother and daughter book clubs to facilitate discussion around various issues in a child’s or teenagers’ life. I probably won’t get round to actually setting up a book club but its an interesting read so far.
I haven’t had the most active month this month, but I am trying to break myself back into the flow of blogging, gradually, and sustainably (that’s the plan anyway)
My fellow bloggers have been producing some wonderful work recently and I just want to share my favourite’s with you.
Kaleena over at the Voracious Reader has shared her 2019 Book Blogger Spreadsheet Template and it is amazing, especially as she is kindly letting us copy it for our own blog planning.
Two posts from Inside my Library Mind stand out, firstly a bloggers choice award, like the Goodreads choice, but for bloggers. Go and cast your vote. Secondly a wonderful discussion post on Is Bookstagram really just looks over substance?
I don’t write anything other than this blog but I love reading about the writing process. I found a really interesting post about Plot Holes over at elegeewrites.com definitely worth a read.
The DNF debate. (short for Did Not Finish)
This is a topic that everybody is talking about. Personally, I DNF too many books too soon, then go on to finish ones that I should have dumped before 10%.