We’ve been graced with beautiful sunny weather over the past few days which is guaranteed to lighten my mood, but last week didn’t start that way. On Monday 12th we woke up to sleet, of all things.
Anyway, despite that the signs of spring are increasingly evident, and the photo here shows the view as I walk out onto my front step 😀
I’ve got a few books that have been on my currently reading list for some time, but I have been absorbed in The Children of Red Peak by Craig DiLouie because of a long-held and continuing fascination with cults, whether real or fictional. Hoping to finish this soon.
One by One, my next read in the Robert Hunter detective series by Chris Carter; I think it’s #5 but I’m far too lazy to check. Oh wait, yes it is. Deeply gruesome, I sat up until 02:30 to finish it, and have already added #6 to my TBR
New books (excluding pre-orders):
An Evil Mind by Chris Carter – as mentioned above
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – planning to read this following the original publication schedule
Antiquities by Cynthia Ozick – In 1949, Lloyd Wilkinson Petrie has returned as a Trustee to live in the long-defunct boarding school that he had attended as a child. There he is preparing a memoir.
Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer – A speculative thriller about the end of all things, set in the Pacific Northwest. A harrowing descent into a secret world.
Made to Order: Robots and Revolution, edited by Jonathan Strahan – This collection of stories is where robots stand in for us, where both we and they are disadvantaged, and where hope and optimism shines through.
Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman – Francine is a luminary in her field of evolutionary science. She joins the Foundation to study a colony of bonobo apes: remarkable animals, and the perfect creatures to certify her revolutionary feminist theory of reproduction.
The Best Horror of the Year, edited by Ellen Datlow – volume 12 of this long-running series, a good source of new authors in the horror field
We’ve been trying to finish off a number of series we had recorded, and have succeeded with ZeroZeroZero (awesome) and Briarpatch (very enjoyable), and we will soon come to the end of the very last series of Elementary, which will make me very, very sad.
Hope you are all doing well and staying safe. Some short movie reviews will be coming up soon, so watch this space.
I struggled a bit during March so didn’t feel very much like writing (or reading for that matter) but have no fear, I didn’t abandon books altogether. April promised to be marginally better, though as I write this a simple repair to our central heating system has led to a complete failure, and I’m having difficulty adjusting to new medication, so we’ll see how all of that goes…..
Enough of the moaning I hear you cry, what about the books?
Books read = 5
Pages read = 1299
Progress against Goodreads challenge = 2 books ahead, 28% of my target
I was going to list all of my pre-orders for the next month but that was starting to make me feel overwhelmed, sp let’s not and say we did 🙂
If you are interested there are 13 books on pre-order, 6 of which have already been delivered onto my Kindle app. All of them look really interesting as of course they would be otherwise why would I be ordering them (I can imagine you asking this question), and if I had to pick one then the only physical book I’m buying this month is the Illustrated HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy anniversary edition – with art by Chris Riddell. I still have the original LP of the radio show somewhere in a cupboard from back in the day, and as a long-time fan I’m inordinately excited about this new edition!
I’m currently reading quite a few books as you will see from the sidebar but finding it difficult to settle on anything so I’m dipping in and out as the mood takes me, which can be quite fun.
So that’s where I am at the moment. Keep your fingers crossed that the banging I can hear above my head is denoting progress on my heating issue, and that the sun might come out later today.
Hope you are well and staying safe – see you next time 😀
Plus a better late than never January 2021 round-up!
So (at the risk of offending those people who don’t like those of us unable to start a sentence without using SO) it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post which wasn’t an intentional gap but I think we can all allow ourselves some grace during the Great Quar (as coined by the Bananas podcast). When I last left you I had had a pretty bad week, but things have really improved since then.
So let’s start with a look back at January
Books read = 5
Pages read = 1636
Goodreads challenge (2021 = 60 books) = on target!
It was my birthday at the end of January – which helped with the improvement in mood – which means that I have more new books than it’s sensible to mention here. I’m probably going to do a separate book haul post. That seems like a good idea, doesn’t it? But it’s worth mentioning here the pre-orders heading my way in February.
Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford (already delivered) – November 1944. A German rocket strikes London, and five young lives are atomised in an instant. November 1944. That rocket never lands. A single second in time is altered, and five young lives go on – to experience all the unimaginable changes of the twentieth century. Because maybe there are always other futures. Other chances.
The Library of the Dead by TL Huchu (already delivered) – Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.
The Disappearing Act by Florence de Changy (not only already delivered but currently reading) – subtitled The Impossible Case of MH370 – writing for Le Monde in the days and months after the plane’s disappearance, journalist Florence de Changy closely documented the chaotic international investigation that followed, uncovering more questions than answers. Riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions and a lack of basic communication between authorities, the mystery surrounding flight MH370 only deepened.Now, de Changy offers her own explanation.
Princess Mary: The First Modern Princess by Elisabeth Basford (already delivered) – Princess Mary was born in 1897. Despite her Victorian beginnings, she strove to make a princess’s life meaningful, using her position to help those less fortunate and defying gender conventions in the process. As the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, she would live to see not only two of her brothers ascend the throne but also her niece Queen Elizabeth II. Another entry in my collection of biographies of very posh women.
The (Other) You by Joyce Carol Oates – In this stirring, reflective collection of short stories, Joyce Carol Oates ponders alternate destinies: the other lives we might have led if we’d made different choices.
The Requisite Courage by Tracy Cooper-Posey (Adelaide Becket Book 1) – In Edwardian England, Lady Adelaide Azalea Margaret de Morville, Mrs. Hugh Becket, lately of the Cape Colony, was born the daughter of an Earl, but is now the widow of a commoner. She straddles two worlds, speaks fluent German, and can ride, hunt and shoot. Her talents draws the eye of spymaster William Melville, who recruits her to help him fight a shadow game with German agents both at home and aboard.
The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers Book 4) – when a freak technological failure halts traffic to and from the planet Gora, three strangers are thrown together unexpectedly, with seemingly nothing to do but wait.
The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War – A Tragedy in Three Acts by Scott Anderson – At the end of World War II, the United States dominated the world militarily, economically, and in moral standing – seen as the victor over tyranny and a champion of freedom. But it was clear – to some – that the Soviet Union was already executing a plan to expand and foment revolution around the world. The American government’s strategy in response relied on the secret efforts of a newly-formed CIA. The Quiet Americans chronicles the exploits of four spies.
The Edge by James Smythe (The Explorer Book 3) – Years ago, a vast and mysterious object known as the Anomaly was discovered in deep space. All missions to explore and explain it failed.Now, the Anomaly has almost reached Earth, threatening to swallow the planet whole. On an orbital research station, a team of scientists desperately search for a way to stop it or destroy it.
On This Day She: Putting Women Back Into History, One Day At A Time by Tania Hershman et al – On This Day She sets out to redress this imbalance and give voice to both those already deemed female icons, alongside others whom the history books have failed to include: the good, the bad and everything in between – this is a record of human existence at its most authentic.
The Divines by Ellie Eaton – The girls of elite English boarding school, St. John the Divine, were notorious for flipping their hair, harassing teachers, chasing boys and chain-smoking cigarettes. They were fiercely loyal, sharp-tongued, and cutting in the way that only teenage girls can be. But for Josephine, now in her thirties, her time at St. John feels like a lifetime ago. She hasn’t spoken to another Divine in fifteen years, not since the day the school shut its doors in disgrace . . .
I’m hoping to get back to properly posting on books read soon, but there are a couple that I’ve finished recently but won’t review fully:
Death in the City of Lights by David King explores the case of Marcel Petiot, a doctor in Paris during WWII who was exposed as a serial killer responsible for the murders of at least 27 people, most of whom were Jews who had come to him for assistance in escaping the Nazis. Deeply appalling. The description of his trial is quite astonishing – his arrogance and claims that he was a member of the Resistance killing people who were collaborating with the Germans were just so awful, but the investigation itself was messy, not least because the Parisian police had to contend with potential interference by the Gestapo.
Shards by Ian Rogers – a very effective horror story with a Cabin in the Woods vibe. I probably shouldn’t have read it at bedtime as it lingered with me. Loved it. Creepily nasty.
The first week of February has brought me fascinating non-fiction and a really excellent crime novel which already feels like it’s going to be a favourite read of 2021. Also my dishwasher died so purchasing a replacement was my focus for the week, but, you know, I used to buy things for a living so that was OK.
And it’s sort of snowing at the moment, so that’s cool. Literally and figuratively.
Hope you all have a great week. See you next time 🙂
So this week we finally took down our Christmas tree. We normally do this around Twelfth Night (as is both traditional and difficult to spell) but self-care demanded that twinkling lights were required for a bit longer. Sad to see it go, but it did dominate the room and it is nice to be able to fully see out of our living room window again, even if it was only to look at rain bucketing down. But I’m from the west of Scotland and rain is a way of life.
I did a lot of reading this week but only finished one book – Savage Spring by Mons Kallentoft; I’ve immediately started the next book in the series as Scandi noir is my thing at the moment, though after this one I might take a break and head off into other realms. In terms of what else I’m currently reading, no change from my last post. You can always see my Goodreads currently list in the side bar —>
The Poet by Michael Connelly – Mr B and I have been slowly working our way through the various Bosch series on Amazon Prime and on his recommendation I decided to expand into the wider Bosch universe; we recently watched The Lincoln Lawyer and I bought this book which is number 1 in the Jack McEvoy series.
Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar – my inner X-Files fan picked up this, apparently the untold story of the Dyatlov Pass incident, which is the kind of thing you will have heard of if this is the kind of thing you find fascinating.
Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan – “The devil’s daughter rows to Edinburgh in a coffin, to work as maid for the Minister of Culture, a man who lives a dual life. But the real reason she’s there is to bear him and his barren wife a child, the consequences of which curse the tenement building that is their home for a hundred years.” A new author to me and I’m intrigued by her previous novels.
The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch – The Silence of the Lambs meets Interstellar say the blurb so how could I resist?
And then there was WandaVision – so weird but such fun and a good replacement for our previous ideal Friday night’s watching (The Mandalorian and Star Trek: Discovery – welcome to nerd-central)
Coming this week – several pre-orders, my blog’s anniversary and a trip to the dentist, a bit stressful during Current Times. Hope you guys have a great week and stay safe!
Here we are almost at the end of the first full week of January and given the events of the past week I’m not hopeful that this year will be much better than the one we’ve just endured, but I can be a bit of an Eeyore so let’s hope I’m wrong.
I often am 😀
This is the first post I’ve uploaded since early October. I just wasn’t in a blogging frame of mind for the last few months and I decided that I really wanted to start with a fresh slate, so I won’t be looking back at books read and movies watched in the last quarter if I haven’t already reviewed them.
A wee look back
Having said that, I thought I would share the results of my Goodreads challenge for 2020 – I had a target of 60 books and managed to reach 66, representing 21,320 pages. I’m really pleased by the result given that I had a couple of slumps; just goes to show what being stuck at home can lead to.
Where I am now
Savage Spring by Mons Kallentoft – this is the fourth in the Malin Fors series; I read and thoroughly enjoyed but did not review the first three novels. Scandinavian noir still looms large in my TBR;
The Collected Ghost Stories of MR James – no new ghost story for Christmas on the BBC (sadly) but Mr B and I dipped into our DVD collection to watch some of the old adaptations, which led me to start a major re-read and I’m very glad that I did;
Death in the City of Light by David King – the story of the serial killer Marcel Petiot who was active in Paris during WWII and how he was caught. The guillotine might be involved….
Bought since the beginning of the year:
Marion Lane & the Midnight Murder by TA Willberg – “plunges readers into the heart of London, to the secret tunnels that exist far beneath the city streets. There, a mysterious group of detectives recruited for Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries use their cunning and gadgets to solve crimes that have stumped Scotland Yard.” [Pre-order]
Seven of Infinities by Aliette de Bodard – “When a mysterious corpse is found in the quarters of Vân’s student, Vân and Sunless Woods find themselves following a trail of greed and murder that will lead them from teahouses and ascetic havens to the wreck of a mindship“
The Man Who Didn’t Fly by Margot Bennett – “Four men had arranged to fly to Dublin. When their aeroplane descended as a fireball into the Irish Sea, only three of them were on board. [..] Who was the man who didn’t fly?“
Wintering by Katherine May – “a poignant and comforting meditation on the fallow periods of life, times when we must retreat to care for and repair ourselves.”
Cardiff by the Sea by Joyce Carol Oates – “a bold, haunting collection of four previously unpublished novellas.”
Hopefully I’ll be posting back here soon on my first completed book of the year. Hope you have a great week, stay safe!
A week late, but what a week it’s been! So many distractions, but I did still want to come on here and register my reading progress for October.
Books read = 4
Number of pages = 1401
Drum roll, please………
I have hit my reading goal for this year – 60 out of 60 books with two full months to go. To early to say how many more I will read before the end of the year, but I will be reading more that’s for sure.
Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood – New York, 1946. Lillian Pentecost is the most successful private detective in the city, but her health is failing. She hires an assistant to help with the investigative legwork. Willowjean Parker is a circus runaway. Quick-witted and street-smart, she’s a jack-of-all-trades with a unique skill-set – and together they investigate the murder of a wealthy young widow. First in a anew series, couldn’t resist.
One by One by Ruth Ware – Snowbound thriller full of tense corporate shenanigans plus avalanche. I haven’t read any Ruth Ware before, so very much looking forward to trying her out.
The Children of Red Peak by Craig DiLouie – survivors of a cult digging into their past, releasing memories and trauma that they have repressed for years. The answers will no doubt be found at Red Peak.
Last Stand in Lychford by Paul Cornell – Exploding fairies, the architect of the universe and a celestial bureaucratic blunder make this a satisfying conclusion to the ever-popular Witches of Lychford series.
That’s it from me! Hope you all have a great reading week.
Forget that you ever, ever saw me mention a no-spend policy because as you will see, I blew that plan completely out of the water. And as I have absolutely no shame, I thought I would share my purchases from mid-September to date.
The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier – “War brought the Harvest. Willa Mae Wallace is a Reaper.” Society is split along blood type lines as a result of mandatory drawing to support the war effort. There is of course a Big Secret and Willa will try to get to the bottom of it.
Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden – first published in 1939 and made into a remarkable film starring Deborah Kerr, as soon as I realised the BBC was producing an adaptation for Christmas I knew I should read the original.
That led me down a rabbit hole of classics…..
Effie Briest by Theodor Fontane – first published in 1894, this is the story of Effie, married off to a man twice her age, gets bored, has an affair with someone unsuitable which later comes back to haunt her. The consequences are fatal, of course. I will try not to think of Madame Bovary.
The Artificial Silk Girl by Irmgard Kelin – first published in 1932, this tale of Doris who runs off to 1920s Berlin to make it big in the movies but sinks into the city’s lower echelons was a huge bestseller in Weimar Germany until it was, of course, banned by the Nazis. I will try not to think of Cabaret.
The Grand Babylon Hotel by Arnold Bennett – a long time since I read Bennett’s famous Old Wives Tale, this sounds like a very different kettle of fish. Nella is refused service in the Grand Babylon Hotel, but her father is a millionaire so buys the thing for her. Shenanigans ensue. I will try not to get this confused with the Grand Budapest Hotel.
Now back to the present/near future…..
Adaptation by Malinda Lo – vast global conspiracy ahoy, involving birds, because of course it does. Reese is involved in an accident and is in a coma or similar for about a month. When she wakes up she remembers nothing but knows one thing – she’s different now……. I believe this is the first in a series. Any similarities to The Birds is coincidental, I’m sure.
Everything Under by Daisy Johnston – nominated for the 2018 Booker Prize, this is, according to the blurb, “an electrifying reinterpretation of a classical myth” and unsettling. I like unsettling.
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik – here is a confession – I haven’t read any Naomi Novik. Yet. There is a sorceress who doesn’t want to be one but has a destiny which involves changing the rules of magic. This sounds a good place to start.
Fashion on the Ration by Julie Summers – last week I was able to watch/listen to a lecture by Julie Summers via my V&A membership, talking about her latest book (which I bought earlier this year, it’s the life of the editor of British Vogue during the war years) but I was diverted by one of her anecdotes to look up this book about style in World War II and the difficulties of finding silk for your camiknickers.
Alice Diamond and the Forty Elephants by Brian McDonald – the history of Britain’s first female crime syndicate, who made shoplifting kind of glamorous, hiding the stuff they stole (fashion, jewels, furs) in specially adapted clothing and blowing the proceeds on the high life.
A Wash of Black by Chris McDonald – the first in the DI Erika Piper series, a famous actress is found dead and mutilated on an ice rink in Manchester, a copy of a scene from one of her big movies. Our heroine is now hunting the Blood Ice Killer, because of course there is a nickname; there is always a nickname.
And the first few books of October……
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton – it’s 1634 and the world’s greatest detective is being shipped to Amsterdam to be executed, but once the boat sets sail nasty things start to happen. Death, yes. Destruction, undoubtedly. But demons?
The SS Officer’s Armchair by Daniel Lee – subtitled In Search of a Hidden Life. You buy an armchair and then find a bundle of documents sewn into the chair’s cushion. They are covered in swastikas, so of course you need to set off on a quest to find out who owned the chair and presumably the documents.
Mr Cadmus by Peter Ackroyd – a stranger arrives in Little Camborne and in his wake comes mystery, revenge, murder, greed and jealousy. Everyday life in an English village. Where is Miss Marple when you need her?
Mantel Pieces by Hilary Mantel – even if she wasn’t already one of my very favourite literary people, the pun in the title would have been enough to make me want to read this collection of her essays, mostly (I think) from the London Review of Books.
Witness X by SE Moorehead – Neuropsycholgist hunts serial killer in the near future. Silence of the Lambs meets Blade Runner with a tinge of Stranger Things. Apparently.
The Girls of Brackenhill by Kate Moretti – Newly engaged. Dead aunt. Seriously ill uncle with not long to go. A mansion in the Catskills, and a sister who disappeared years ago. Nothing to see here. Move along.
I’m currently reading a second novel by Mons Kallentoft and that’s all for the moment, which is unusual for me as I almost always have more than one book on the go, and I’m sure that practice will start up again soon.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – I tried to read Jonathan Strange twice, and gave the TV series a shot (gave up on that too), but Piranesi sounds fascinating and less hyped and hopefully that will help
It has been a very quiet reading week. I’ve been spending my Me Time binge listening to True Crime Bullsh** – an excellent podcast focussing (at least in the first two seasons) on serial killer Israel Keyes.
I’m currently reading the third Robert Hunter thriller by Chris Carter, and I’m about a quarter of the way through. If you’ve been paying attention, you will know that I turn to true crime when I’m stuck with fiction, and that’s where I am at the moment. Hoping to move on this soon.
I failed at my no spend this week but I’ve kept it limited to a couple of new books:
The Quickening by Rhiannon Ward – Feminist gothic fiction set between the late 19th century and the early 20th century – an era of burgeoning spiritualism and the suffragette movement
Indecent Advances by James Polchin – A skillful hybrid of true crime and social history that examines the relationship between the media and popular culture in the portrayal of crimes against gay men in the decades before Stonewall.
It’s going to get very warm again in south west London this week so I may be hiding indoors with the aircon switched on – ideal conditions for reading.
It’s the first Sunday Salon post of the autumn and a chance to round up what I’ve been up to since my end of summer post which was only a few days ago but, you know, I have Notes.
Books finished in September so far:
Only one, The Executioner by Chris Carter, the second in his somewhat addictive Robert Hunter series. I read the first one just at the end of August and have already started the third. What can I say, if you’ve been around here for any length of time you know about me and serial killers 🙂
As well as the two I’m currently reading or about to start, the following arrived chez Bride this week:
Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling – I enjoyed The Luminous Dead which I read while on holiday in Scotland last October, and this looks like its going to be equally interesting
Written in Bone by Sue Black – Drawing upon her years of research and a wealth of remarkable experience, the world-renowned forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black takes us on a journey of revelation. From skull to feet, via the face, spine, chest, arms, hands, pelvis and legs, she shows that each part of us has a tale to tell. I admire her deeply so was always going to get this.
Mr Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal – the first of her Maggie Hope novels, recommended by a commenter on a GFY post as aoething those who like Maisie Dobbs would enjyoy.
We’ve been watching quite a bit of TV (who hasn’t) and this week said good-bye to Penny Dreadful: City of Angels which was flawed but had enough good stuff that I would have liked to have seen how the story would have developed in a second series. Sadly its been cancelled.