There have been several reading challenges doing the rounds on blogosphere and social media during November – which I always find difficult to keep up with. The one I did best at was #novellaNovember hosted by Poppypeacockpens – I was reminded how much I love novellas and read a couple of really good examples myself. Unfortunately I failed again to read anything for German Lit month – and I had actually managed to put one book aside for it, just not enough time, maybe next year. Earlier in the month I was alerted to #Nonfictionnovemeber on Twitter – I’m afraid I have no idea who that was hosted by – and so it seems I accidently managed to read one book for that too.
So November began for me with a lovely Persephone book – Vain Shadow by Jane Hervey – it tells the story of a family following the death of the family patriarch over a period of four days. The only novel the author ever published, it is a story of great insight and got my reading month off to a really good start.
Murder at the Manor is a collection of golden age type stories edited by Martin Edwards, my copy courtesy of Netgalley, and the first of two books from the British Library this month.
Bad Feminist, a collection of essays from American writer and academic Roxane Gay, my only non-fiction work in November was chosen by one of my book groups. I was surprised at how readable it was, referencing modern popular culture, it is highly recommended if you want something other than the more academic earnest offerings.
Lolly Willowes had been on my radar for a long time, having already read three other Sylvia Townsend Warner novels. With this novel I was particularly captivated by the character of Lolly Willowes.
Another review copy came next; My Mother is a River by Donatella Di Pietrantonio from independent publisher Calisi Press, a novella that explores that complex mother daughter relationship with tender honesty.
On my trusty kindle I read Flowering Wilderness by John Galsworthy, the eighth book of the Forsyte Saga Chronicles that I have been reading this year – Galsworthy is always such a good storyteller I found it compelling reading.
As Strangers Here, by Janet McNeill was kindly sent to me by Turnpike books – who have now re-issued three of her novels. As strangers Here is set in 1950’s Belfast in the years before the troubles with the underlying tensions of that society replicated in clergyman Edward Ballater’s family.
They Came Like Swallows, another gorgeous novella was my first ever book by William Maxwell, a writer who I know has a lot of fans. I certainly now intend to read more by him soon.
The Santa Klaus Murder, another Netgalley acquisition from the British Library (review to come) a great choice for the season was also my first mystery by Mavis Doriel Hay.
I finished the month reading The King of a Rainy Country by Brigid Brophy – another new to me author- at the time of writing I am coming close to the end of the book, and very much enjoying it. Brigid Brophy may well turn out to be a writer for me to get excited about.
My three stand out reads for the month; Lolly willowes, Vain Shadow and They Came Like Swallows.
As ever I have more books that I want to read in December than I can fit in – but I do have a few that I am intending to read. Near the top of my list has to be that last Forsyte book Over the River which I am looking forward to and I have been itching to read the lovely Richmal Crompton books that Bello sent me. One of my book groups has chosen The lives of Others by Neel Mukerjee as a longer read to see us over December and January. My other book group will be reading Nora Webster by Colm Toibin – in fact I think I need to read that next. Rachel Joyce’s A Snow Garden a collection of Christmas themed linked stories seem absolutely perfect for this time of year. I still have several review copies waiting to be read as well, I can only do my best.
What will you be reading this December? Have you any Christmassy themed books lined up?