I seem to have been on more of a reading binge than a blogging binge in October with fifteen books read verses three posts blogged. Or maybe I was just so busy reading that I had nothing interesting to blog about. That and the fact that I've been busy sorting things out for my holidays which are now very close indeed. Whoo hoo!
But, back to the books, and last month's stats:
1 library book
3 1001 library books
6 Big Read books
8 1001 books
3 of the books were kid's books – they were for The Big read – honest
2 were lovely comfort-reading vampire books
1 was a sci-fi time-travel type book loaned to me by a friend at work.
Fifteen in total, a very nice mixture, and not forgetting that I've also been reading a few chapters of War and Peace most nights as well. The print is excruciatingly tiny, which is slowing me down more than the style of writing which I'm actually liking a great deal.
The Shell Seekers – Rosamunde Pilcher (The Big Read, Library book)
This was huge, over 650 pages and not something I'd normally have chosen to have read. I do say that I'll try anything though and it's in the top 50 of The Big Read so I got a copy from the library and started reading. And, was surprised when not only was it tolerably readable, but I found myself actually enjoying it. So yes, grudgingly I'll admit that it was ok. Not a bad book. Sniff.
The inheritance of loss – Kiran Desai (1001 list, bookring, Booker prize winner)
I really expected to like this one more than I did. It was really three stories, two set in the present, in India and in the US, and one set in the past in England and India. Two of the stories did engage me but the present day story in India, which was the part intended to draw everything else together, I just didn't enjoy as much. In fact, I wanted to give the characters a good shake as I found them so annoying. Not an author I'd seek out again.
Rites of passage – William Golding (1001 list, Booker prize winner)
This was the second book by Golding that I'd read, the first being Lord of the Flies, which I'd really enjoyed. Rites of passage was something completely different, but I actually enjoyed it far more. It had the same darkness to it as Lord of the Flies, but was much more subtle about it. I liked the way it was written as a journal, so that you were dependant on what Edmund Talbot saw and heard and the condition he was in at the time of seeing and recording it. Also I liked the deepening mystery of what actually happened to the parson.
Dead and gone – Charlaine Harris
This is the latest in the Southern Vampire series and is out in hardback. I don't buy hardbacks. I have almost two hundred books on my 'to be read' pile. I cannot justify buying hardbacks or trade paperbacks. Actually I can't justify buying any more books at all but we won't talk about that. So, why did I buy Dead and gone? Simple really. I was about to pre-order the paperback at a cost of £5.79 for when it comes out in spring next year, when Amazon sent me an email offering me the hardback for £4. To have now. With free postage. Not a difficult decision really.
And the book? I got home from work and the book was there, I had it out of the packet and half read before I'd even got my coat off. Read it straight through. Loved it! Just a shame I've got to wait so long before the next one now.
Persuasion – Jane Austen (1001 list, The Big Read)
I needed to read this for the top fifty of The Big Read which is one of my challenges for this year. No hardship really, I love reading Austen when I'm in the right mood for her and I really enjoyed Persuasion.
The drowned world – J. G. Ballard (1001 list, bookring)
Sometimes a book just grabs you straight away and makes you need to keep on reading. This was one of those books. Set in a future when the ice caps have melted and the earth is flooded, it tells a tale of three people who choose to stay behind when the rest have gone for high ground, but they have their solitude rudely interrupted. There are wonderful descriptions of the flora and fauna, you feel the danger they're in, and the whole concept of the book just enthralls you. This was another book that didn't last the day.
Vernon God Little – DBC Pierre (1001 list, bookring, Booker prize winner)
I'd been thinking about reading this for a while but wasn't sure if I'd like it or not. It was, however, part of two of my challenges so when it popped up on a bookring I signed up. I'm really glad that I did as it was an absolute gem of a book. Just like The drowned world the day before, I got completely sucked into this and read it straight through in one go. It's the story of a teenage boy who gets caught up in events, through no fault of his own and they just spiral out of control. It's sad and funny, the characters are brilliant. The ending is superb. Everyone should read this book. I've read some corkers this month but I nominate this one as the best one of them all.
The Successor – Ismail Kadare (1001 list, 1001 library)
I'd been looking forward to getting my hands on this one. One of my friends on BookCrossing had reserved it for me and sent it to me. I'd read the author's Broken April earlier this year and was completely blown away by it so I was very keen to read more by him. This wasn't, in my opinion, as good as Broken April, but I did enjoy it very much. I loved the black humour, the intrigues, and the insights into Albanian politics. Now I'll continue my quest for more books by Kadare.
The Harlequin – Laurell K Hamilton
My second dose of vampires for the month. I realised that I'd got behind on the Anita Blake books so remedied that with a quick visit to Amazon. (remember we don't talk about the book mountain in the living room). I couldn't resist reading one of them straight away when they arrived (yes there were two of them) and as usual, thoroughly enjoyed it. What can I say, it's got vampires, it's got weres, it's got supernatural high jinks going on – what's not to love?
The story of Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson (The Big Read)
Yes, yes, I know it's a kid's book, but why should the kids get all the fun. I needed to read it for The Big Read. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl (The Big Read)
Yup, another kid's book. Enjoyed this one too.
George's Marvellous Medicine – Roald Dahl (The Big Read)
And another kid's book, and yes Big Read again. Excuse wearing a bit thin yet? They never had these books when I was a kid you know.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark (1001 list, 1001 library)
This was a very short quick read, but quite enjoyable.
The old man and the sea - Ernest Hemingway (1001 list, 1001 library, The Big Read)
Another quick short read but this one I really loved. I don't think I've read any Hemingway before but after reading this I really need to do something about that. This was absolutely gripping from start to finish.
Thrice upon a time – James Hogan
I hadn't heard of this author until a friend at work mentioned him. We both seem to like books that deal with time travel or time paradox so he thought I might enjoy this one, and I did. The premise is that a machine is invented that allows messages to be sent back into the past. A global disaster threatens and a message is sent back that will allow the disaster to be averted but will also reset the present so that anything after the message is received will be altered. You then follow the main characters altered life from the receipt of the message until a second message needs to be sent, allowing a chance for things to be put right.
What I always like about these type of books is how they highlight how a chance event can completely alter a persons life. A turn to the left instead of the right. Going into that shop instead of that one, asking this person directions or that person for the correct time. Tiny things but they have the potential of making a huge impact.
So, plenty of books read last month and mostly good ones. I anticipate quite a long list for this month too as the holiday pile has grown slightly since my post about it. Of course, I still have to sneak them all into the cases, but as I do the packing, I don't anticipate too much of a problem. If the cases are too heavy I'll just take out some of Stephen's clothes…