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2012: My Year In Books

No comment or reflection, just a list of the 70 books I’ve found time to read this year. Marks are given out of 5. RG = Reading Group book; K = read on Kindle. As you’ll see, I wasn’t very strict with my themed reading; will try harder next year.

January

  1. Requiem for a Mezzo    – Carola Dunn (4)
  2. Secrets – Jaqueline Wilson (5)
  3. The Boy In the Dress – David Walliams (5)
  4. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict  – Laurie Rigler (3)
  5. Don’t You Want Me? – India Knight (3)
  6. More Than Love Letters  – Rosie Thornton (3)
  7. Snowdrops – A D MIller  (3) (K, RG)
  8. Mistress of Mellyn – Victoria Holt (4)
  9. There But For The – Ali Smith (5)
  10. Emily Goes to Exeter – M C Beaton (4) (K)
  11. This Charming Man – Marian Keyes (3)

February

  1. The Winter King – Bernard Cornwall (3)
  2. Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? – Jeanette Winterson (5)
  3. The Wives of Henry Oades – Johanna Moran (4) (RG)
  4. Before I Go To  Sleep – S J Watson (5) (K)
  5. The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett (4)
  6. The Library Book – Various (5)

March

  1. Dark Matter: A Ghost Story – Michelle Paver (3) (RG)
  2. Stop What You’re Doing And Read This! – Various (5)

April

  1. The Rules of Civility – Amor Towles (3)
  2. The Paris Wife – Paula McLaine (4) (RG)
  3. Minerva – M C Beaton (4)
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey – E L James (2)
  5. And Now The Shipping Forecast – Peter Jefferson (3)
  6. Half of the Human Race – Anthony Quinn (4)
  7. The Taming of Annabelle – M C Beaton (4)

May

  1. The White Queen – Philippa Gregory (4)
  2. The Daughter of Time – Josephine Tey (4)
  3. Sweet Danger  – Margery Allingham (3)

June

  1. The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop – Gladys Mitchell (4)
  2. The Chinese Shawl – Patricia Wentworth (4)
  3. Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? – Agatha Christie (4)
  4. The Case of the Guilded Fly – Edmund Crispin (4)
  5. She – H. Rider Haggard (4) (K)
  6. The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes (2) (RG)
  7. A Gathering Storm – Rachel Hoare (3)
  8. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger – Stephen King (3)
  9. The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three – Stephen King (3)

July

  1. The Song of Achillies – Madeline Miller (5) (K)
  2. Into the Darkest Corner  – Elizabeth Haynes (5)
  3. Cameron on Cameron – Dylan Jones (3)
  4. The Revelations – Alex Preston (2) (K)
  5. Death At Pemberley – P D James (5) (K)

August

  1. A Perfectly Good Man – Patrick Gale (5)
  2. One of Our Thursdays Is Missing – Jasper Fforde (5)
  3. Daughters in Law – Joanna Trollope (4)
  4. Sleepyhead – Mark Billingham (4)
  5. Jubilee – Shelly Harris (3) (RG)
  6. The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency  – Alexander McCall Smith (4)
  7. Pure – Andrew Miller  (4) (RG)
  8. Winter In Madrid – C J Sansom (5) (K)

September

  1. The Weirdstone of Brisingamon – Alan Garder (5)
  2. The Night Circus – Erin Mortgenstern (4) (RG)
  3. Burnt Shadows – Kamila Shamsie (5)
  4. Poetry: Fierie – Jackie Kay (5) / Family Album – Sheree Mack (5)/ Out of the Blue – Simon Armitage (5)

October

  1. The War of the Worlds – H G Wells (5) (K)
  2. Then – Julie Myerson (5)
  3. Zoo Time – Howard Jacobson (4)
  4. The Moon of Gomrath – Alan Garner (4)
  5. The Greatcoat – Helen Dunmore (5)

November

  1. The Last Weekend – Blake Morrison (5)
  2. Shirley – Charlotte Bronte (4)
  3. Lady Audley’s Secret – Mary Elizabeth Braddon (5) (K)
  4. Emma Brown – Clare Boylan (3)
  5. The Betrayal of Trust – Susan Hill (5)

December

  1. One Night Of Love – Mary Balough (4)
  2. A Weekend With Mr Darcy – Victoria Connolley (4) (K)
  3. The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals – Wendy Jones (4)  (RG)
  4. The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year – Sue Townsend (4)
  5. Crocodile on the Sandbanks – Elizabeth Peters (4) (K)

So, that was my year. Not a particuarly large number, but respectable for a mum of 2. More comment to follow, along with plans for more themed reading in 2013…

 
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Posted by on 31/12/2012 in End of month review

 

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Murder in my library

Although it’s more than half way through the month of May (although you’d not be able to tell that by the weather we’ve been having in the North East!), I’m only now starting to settle into this month’s ‘classic British Crime Fiction’ theme.

Instead, I’ve been battling alongside Edward IV and his wife, Elizabeth Woodville, at the end of the Wars of the Roses in the 1470s and ’80s. Phillipa Gregory’s excellent The White Queen has absorbed me.

And the small matter of planning, preparing and producing my son’s London-themed 7th birthday party last week has gobbled up much potential reading time.

I now have time to look at my bookshelves again and indulge in the great pleasure of piling up the next  books to read.

Following on from The White Queen, I naturally seguewayed into Josephine Tey’s ‘classic’ The Daughter of Time, reappraising the character of Richard III.

I love detective fiction, prefering the ‘cosy’ British sort rather than the rather overblown, somewhat sensationalist recent offerings from over the Atlantic. Despite being constructed around murder, these novelists don’t dwell on the more gory aspects of it. I like the puzzle aspect, although rarely deduce the murderer before the detective reveals it.

The detectives or sleuths are also appealing characters. All misfits, with unusual characteristics or an unexpected context, they hold the novel together; guiding us through the maze, introducing us to suspects and interrogating them within our earshot, uncovering the corpse (and their relationships), and then neatly wrapping up the puzzle by the end.

And they’re often short. (the novels not the detectives)

Perhaps this ‘genre’ is comparable to a good game of Cluedo which can be enjoyed over a few enjoyable, solitary hours.

And so, awaiting me is: an almost complete collection of Agatha Christies, a good stock of Patricia Wentworth, all of GK Chesterton (on Kindle), some Margery Allingham and Dorothy L Sayers, one Frances Iles. Of the contemporary reworkings I have a few Carola Dunns (Daisy Darymple adventures), Alan Hunters (George Gently) and Jaqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs).

I also succumbed to a few paperback offers which were too good to miss: a large selection of Gladys Mitchell, Josephine Tey and Edmund Crispin. I also have the complete Anna Katherine Greene on my Kindle (although I know she’s not British).

Anyone got any other suggestions or recommendations?

Just how much murder, sleuthing and ‘cosy’ detecting will I realistically be able to fit into the next fortnight? Charge your cup (of tea); off we go….

 
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Posted by on 19/05/2012 in End of month review

 

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