As December begins to draw to a close – I have been rushing to get everything I read in December reviewed before the end of the year – and I’m not going to manage it. I published my top books of 2015 post a few days earlier than usual to try and fit everything in, but it hasn’t made any difference. I’m pretty sure of just about finishing my final read of 2015 before midnight tonight (it might be close) but I certainly won’t get it reviewed as well. At the time of writing (or at least starting this post) – there is the book read before that still to be written about too. I suppose I liked the idea of having everything neat and tidy before the New Year, but never mind.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas – I had a nice, quiet family Christmas – with some reading time and some great telly. I did receive a few books for Christmas, and two lots of book tokens – always very welcome. I am particularly excited at the prospect of Parson Austen’s Daughter by Helen Ashton and Britannia Mews by Margery Sharp. Mrs Dalloway will be read in the upcoming #Woolfalong. I provided my family with some instructions as to what to look for on Abebooks – and they did me proud. Troy Chimneys was sent to me by Kaggsy – and Telling the Bees was my Birmingham bookcrossing secret Santa gift. A friend bought me We have Always Lived in the Castle – which I have wanted to read for ages.
Actually December has turned out to be a pretty good reading month for me. I indulged in a little Christmassy themed reading, read a couple of review copies, and a book group read made it on to my top 12 books list.
December began with me reading that book group choice – Nora Webster – such a wonderful novel. A novel depicting grief and the re-building of a life following bereavement has made me want to read more by Colm Toíbín. The Old Man’s Birthday by Richmal Crompton, from Bello books was a joy of a different sort – 1930’s comfort reading, with fabulously drawn characters. From Netgalley I read, Trouble on the Thames by Victor Bridges is one of the British Library thrillers, it was an enjoyable read – though possibly not quite as tense and atmospheric as I had expected. Over the River, again read on my kindle – was the ninth and final of my Forsyte Saga Chronicles, it was a thoroughly enjoyable conclusion to what has been a brilliant series. I will miss all those Forsyte Saga characters. A Snow Garden and other Stories by Rachel Joyce was the first of this month’s Christmassy reads, a lovely little collection from the acclaimed author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. The Visiting Moon by Celia Furse was not a book I had been planning on reading until I saw it reviewed on Leaves and Pages blog and quickly went in search of a copy. It is the lovely story of a nineteenth child’s Christmas visit to her aristocratic grandparents’ country estate. I then found time to finally finish a large collection of Shirley Jackson writings; Let Me Tell You that I have been dipping in and out of since September. A fantastic collection of essays and short stories it would make for a really good introduction to Jackson’s work. Having only read a small amount of Shirley Jackson I am now eagerly anticipating reading more. Another Christmassy collection of stories from Anthony Trollope, Christmas at Thompson Hall & other Christmas stories was next, one of the Penguin Christmas Classics which have been calling to me from afar. Having read enough Christmas books I pulled down a lovely green Virago; The Curate’s Wife by E H Young a fantastic sequel to the earlier novel Jenny Wren. My final book of 2015 was a review copy from Renaissance Books, My Shanghai 1942-1946, a novel – though one based upon the life of the author’s mother’s experiences as a Japanese woman living in occupied China.
January of course sees not only a new year – but the start of #Woolfalong – I have already invested in a few Virginia Woolf books and I’m all ready to get going. To the Lighthouse will be my first read of 2016. I’m not yet making any other definite plans for January – but that Helen Ashton book I received for Christmas is calling loudly to me from the bookcase.
I hope you all have a very happy and healthy New Year – and plenty of great reading ahead of you.