November has sped by somehow, and in terms of the number of books read it hasn’t been particularly good. It seems I have been saying that each month this year, and I am quite concerned with how the amount I read has plummeted over the past two or three years. Thankfully though, the quality of books I read this month was high – which I know is far more important than mere numbers. I have determined however that next year I won’t allow myself to get bogged down with review copies and reading challenges and instead read the books I really want to. I have found increasingly, that I let myself get a bit overwhelmed with books/blogging/reviewing, I need to take the pressure off – which only comes from myself. I do have a couple of review copies which I am overdue reading, and I do really want to read them, and I will get to them soon. There are three others which I don’t think I will be reading, and I have some guilt about those – but I’m afraid I just need to move on.
I started the month reading The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter for my very small book group, I loved it – we all did – and I am keen now to read more Angela Carter.
For phase 6 of #Woolfalong I read Jacob’s Room, a novel which wowed me less than some of the others, though I did like it overall, especially the beginning and the end which are quite perfect. The prose is beautiful, and it was interesting to read Woolf’s first really experimental novel. I can see how I would get even more out of it with a second reading one day.
I had intended to join #GermanLit month with Danger from Deer by Vicki Baum, though when I found out that the novel – which is a brilliant read, was in fact written in English I wasn’t sure that it counted. Reminiscent of those old 1950s films, Danger from Deer while very different to Baum’s famous Grand Hotel, would fit in the ‘thumping good read’ category.
Bella Mia is recently published English translation of an Italian novel which was shortlisted for Italy’s most prestigious literary prize. Published in English by independent publisher Calisi Press, who kindly provided me with a review copy.
I have loved Willa Cather’s writing for years, though I have been trying not to read the books too quickly. Death Comes for the Archbishop is quite simply outstanding, definitely one of Cather’s best novels, and in my personal top three.
In need of some comfort reading I turned to Agatha Christie and Murder at the Vicarage, the first Miss Marple novel, which I first read about thirty years ago, when as a teenager, I would devour the Agatha Christie shelf at my local library.
I always love picking up a Persephone book, it always seems like a treat – even having read so many. The Victorian Chaise-Longue was a novel I hadn’t thought I wanted to read, but had taken a chance on it because of liking other Marghanita Laski novels so much. While it is very different to those other novels, I did like it very much. It’s clever, subtle and restrained – all good things in my book.
The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rügen my final book of November – is the third book in the series which starts with Elizabeth von Arnim’s Elizabeth and her German Garden. Now I usually prefer to read trilogies in the correct order, but I haven’t read A Solitary Summer, the second book, but I decided it probably didn’t matter. I adore Elizabeth von Arnim’s voice, her humour and observations. This book takes the reader on a wonderfully picturesque journey, in the company of some extraordinary characters. I hope to review it fully, in a few days.
December is here – and yes, I still have lots of Christmas shopping to do, and my first Christmas meal out is tomorrow! I always love to read a Christmas book or two leading up to the big day to get me in the mood – this year I only have one – so far at least. The Christmassy book I treated myself to is Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson, a collection of twelve stories and twelve feasts for the season. I must say it looks brilliant.
Speaking of re-reading my first book of the month will be for my very small book group – I persuaded them to read A Game of Hide and Seek by the divine Elizabeth Taylor – I am a bit nervous, because I want them all to love it as much as I do. Fingers crossed.
Whatever you’re reading in this final month of 2016 I hope you love it. If you have any special plans I would love to hear them.