Seventeen books read this month and a large proportion of those were from the 1001 list due to the bookrings that kept appearing on my doorstep, one after the other. Rings that I signed up for ages ago are still ambling slowly round the other side of the world but the newer ones seem to be whizzing round the UK at a rate of knots.
None of the bookrings really wowed me this month. My favourite of the 1001 books was David Copperfield which I borrowed from our local library. I read the next book in the Stephanie Plum series, also borrowed from the local library and I'm looking forward to the library getting more of those for me. I polished off the Harry Dresden books that Tree had loaned me, but she has two more to send me so I have that to look forward to. I am missing Harry slightly after reading so many books in fairly quick succession.
I easily met my target on the 1001 list and read the one book that I needed to for The Big Read. Due to my mishap in The Works, however, I once again failed miserably with my target to reduce my TBR pile. Ah well, maybe I should just admit defeat on that one and buy more bookcases instead…
8 x bookrings
7 x from TBR
2 x local library
9 x 1001 list
1 x Big Read
Felicia's journey – William Trevor (bookring, 1001) A short-ish one to start off the month. Mr Hilditch seemed such a nice chap but I felt there was something not quite right there and I loved the subtle way the sense of menace crept in. Great plot twist, interesting ending.
Portnoy's complaint – Philip Roth (bookring, 1001) Ok, umm, that was interesting. I hadn't read anything by Roth before this and I'm a little lost for words. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but I'm really struggling to come up with anything to say about it. I think perhaps I need to read something else by him to see if they're all like that…
Dead beat – Jim Butcher (tbr) Having found a gap in the bookrings, I've managed to dive back into The Dresden Files. The later books are chunkier and poor Harry gets into an awful lot of bother. Nothing he can't get out of though, and there's lots of action and adventure along the way. I really enjoyed this one, there were some brilliant moments in it.
Proven Guilty – Jim Butcher (tbr) Another lovely chunky Dresden Files book and this one was even better than the last. It starts off with quite an emotional bang for Harry and then starts rolling towards a potentially even worse ending. Just one book left of the box full that Tree sent me and I might just start that in a moment…
White Night – Jim Butcher (tbr) Last in the pile of Dresden Files so I'll have to wait a while before reading any more. This was yet another really enjoyable story and has distracted me nicely from housework all morning.
Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton (1001, bookring) At less than 100 pages this was a very quick read and was very good indeed. It was my first encounter with Edith Wharton and it's always good to discover another author that you like. This was a sad story and you knew from the start that it wasn't going to end well but you weren't sure just how it did end right up till the last few pages. A good story and beautifully told.
Absolute beginners – Colin MacInnes (1001, bookring) Sigh. I really thought I was going to like this. I'd been looking forward to it arriving for ages. Then it arrived and I started reading and straight away I thought I'm not going to enjoy this one bit. I tried though, I really did. Problem was it was one of those books written in the first person and I just didn't like the narrator. He was annoying. And so, that made it difficult to enjoy the book. The last segment picked up a little but otherwise not one I'd recommend.
Even if I did get David Bowie singing in my head for most of it…
About Face – Donna Leon (tbr) Donna Leon is one of my favourite crime writers. I love the Venetian settings of the books, as well as the characters who I've come to know well over the years. This one didn't have anything particularly exciting happening in it, but then that's not why I read these. They're more like real life than larger than life. A good absorbing read with a bit of a twist at the end.
Nights at the circus – Angela Carter (bookring, 1001) I liked this but didn't love it. It wasn't quite quirky enough to capture my interest but definitely wasn't what you'd call mainstream. I'm not sure why it was on the 1001 list as I just couldn't see anything that special about it. An ok book.
Three to get deadly – Janet Evanovich (local library) Marvellous! I'm getting quite addicted to these. Loved the takedown of the chicken! The mix of hilarity, gun-waving scary stuff and the occasional sexy moment is just brilliant. Now, I just need the library to hurry up and get me the fourth book, which I've had the foresight to order before I even started book three…
Hideous Kinky – Esther Freud (bookring, 1001) A nice short, easy read. A mother takes her two young daughters to live in Morocco for a while, and lives the life of a hippy. Set in the sixties, it's full of local colour and reminds you of a life gone by. I really enjoyed it.
If on a winter's night a traveler – Italo Calvino (bookring, 1001) Not so sure about this one. The main story is interspersed with ten stories that end just at a moment of suspense. The reader in the main story is on a quest to find the remainder of the books, which starts out ok but gets increasingly more odd. It was umm, interesting, but not necessarily in a good way. Just as I got into each segment of story, it cut off and went into the main storyline. That got quite frustrating. I want to know what happened next darn it!
The Sea – John Banville (1001, bookring) Hmm, I thought I'd like this one more than I actually did. I enjoyed the way it was written with it partly being set in the present and partly being in the main characters memories of the past. I liked the way the tension built as it led up to the 'big reveal' at the end. I did, however, find it slightly tedious in parts and it just didn't grip me.
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens (1001, Big Read, local library) Absolutely marvellous. 950 pages of sheer brilliance. For something written so long ago, it's so easy to read. The story grips you and keeps your nose glued to the page. I'm really glad I got a paperback copy from the library though, and didn't try to read my own small print and rather fragile old hardback edition. It smells lovely but I think it's better for looking at these days than for reading.
Undead and Unwelcome – MaryJanice Davidson (tbr) This is the latest in the Undead series about Betsy – Queen of the Vampires and her consort, Sinclair. These are very light and humorous books that are more about shopping and designer shoes than dark and mystic goings on. The characters include ghouls, werewolves, the Devil's daughter and Baby Jon. Great fun.
Burned – P. C. and Kristin Cast (tbr) Book seven in The House of Night series, which is one of the many teen Vampire series that popped up after the success of the Twilight books. This series isn't half bad and is gradually getting darker as it progresses. I like to read different versions of the Vampire mythology and this one is bringing in some quite interesting themes. Plus you have all the teen angst which makes it a nice light read, but with some bite if you'll excuse the pun.
Glass houses – Rachel Caine (tbr) I've been meaning to try this Vampire series for a while and was chuffed to bits to get almost the entire set for a bargain price from The Works. Glass houses is book one, and I couldn't resist reading it straight away. I wasn't disappointed. I was hooked from pretty much the first paragraph and I'm going to have to exercise some restraint to stop myself from reading the entire series straight through. This is a very different piece of Vampire fiction to any that I've read before, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it develops over the next eight books.