I had a great reading month for the last month of the year. I've read some cracking books and only one disappointment. I've just looked through them to pick out a couple of winners and there were so many good ones that I don't think I can. What does stand out is that I managed to read 12 books off my TBR pile but only add one to it. Best result on that all year I should think…
Total books read – 16
1 x bookring
12 x from TBR
5 x 1001 list
7 x Big Read
The Snowman – Jo Nesbo (tbr) I've been meaning to read this for a while but the size of it at 550 pages has been putting me off. It fitted the December Plum-Crazy challenge on BookCrossing perfectly though so I made it my first read of the month and I'm very glad I did. Although the style took a few chapters to get used to, as it felt slightly wordy, I enjoyed it from the start. It was nicely paced, the characters were interesting and it had a great storyline. This was the first book I've read by this author but I'd quite like to read more of his now.
Love in the time of cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (tbr, 1001, big read) This has taken me ages to read. It's only 350 pages but small print and it's one of those books that needs to be read slowly. I'll admit to some impatience with it as I don't do slow but it was worth it. Just. There were some fascinating characters in the book and I loved the setting. It all felt very richly described. It wasn't quite as bizarre as the other book by the author that I've read, but still a bit odd. So overall, I'd say it wasn't bad.
Reaper man – Terry Pratchett (local library, big read) I think the Death series are some of my favourite Discworld books. I love them! Death is just brilliant. There were some really funny moments and as usual I've been sitting there giggling while I was reading. There was one bit about the trolleys at malls and young men hunting them/ herding them. So funny!
The music of chance – Paul Auster (bookring, 1001) I loved this one. It was a fast and tense read where the suspense built up slowly towards the end. I was reading obsessively as I HAD to know what was going to happen to the two main characters. The book foiled me though with an ending that shocked – leaving me in the dark as to the fate of one of the characters and stunned at the fate of the other. What a superb read that was!
Men at arms – Terry Pratchett (local library, big read) One of my favourite characters in the Discworld is Lord Vetinari and there's a wonderful conversation between him and the head of the Assassin's guild, Dr. Cruces, which had me in stitches. Another of my favourite characters is Carrot and there's lots of Carrot in this book. I particularly liked the encounter between Carrot and Vetinari at the end. Marvellous. I do love the Night Watch books – there's even a touch of Death in there and you know how much I like Him. Excellent book. I've just ordered two more Discworld books from the library and with a bit of luck will have them for January.
Holes – Louis Sachar (local library, big read) I do think that The Big Read is a splendid excuse for reading kid's books. I really enjoyed this and there is absolutely no way that I'd have read it if it wasn't for this reading challenge.
The secret history – Donna Tartt (tbr, 1001, big read) At 659 pages, I thought this one would be sure to last me several days at least. Especially as I'd assumed it would be a fairly slow read. I glanced at the first page on Saturday when I got it off the shelf, and accidentally read the first two chapters before tearing myself away from it. I managed to leave it alone until bed time when I read it until I could barely keep my eyes open but as soon as the alarm went off, I fetched coffee and started reading again. I put it down briefly to get up at 7am but then carried on reading, and reading and reading. By noon the same day it was finished. It was what you might call compulsive reading. And it was very, very good.
Kim – Rudyard Kipling (tbr, 1001, big read) I wasn't sure if I'd like this or not but I rather enjoyed it. Kim was a really likeable character and I loved the way he interacted with his surroundings and the other people in the book.
A Christmas carol – Charles Dickens (tbr, 1001, big read) This was an excellent read, as well as being very appropriate to the time of year. I'll admit to being slightly teary-eyed by the last few paragraphs. Splendid!
The Black Ice – Michael Connelly (tbr) I wasn't particularly impressed with this. I found some of it a bit predictable and some of it quite tedious. This was disappointing as I know he's a popular author so I was expecting an exciting and thrilling read. I have two more by him on my TBR pile so I'm hoping they'll be more to my taste.
Murder with Puffins – Donna Andrews (tbr) This was excellent and I loved it just as much as the previous book. The recurring characters were as wonderful as I'd remembered, and the new ones were fun too. I loved the setting for this book. I must go onto Amazon and see about getting a couple more in the series. It's the 20th as I write this and I've yet to buy a book this month, so I think I deserve a reward (or three).
Icy Sparks – Gwyn Hyman Rubio (tbr) This was really good. It was the fictional story of a young girl growing up with undiagnosed Tourette's syndrome. She had to face being an outcast in her rural community in Kentucky in the 1950s. It was well told and kept me interested the whole way through. Excellent ending too.
Ill Wind – Rachel Caine (tbr) By the same author as the Morganville Vampire series, and a very interesting concept. The weather is only kept under control by the weather wardens. Otherwise it would tear the world apart. This book deals with one particular weather warden and the trouble she's got herself into. It also serves to introduce the world of the wardens. It gave just enough detail about the weather to make it interesting and the ending was unexpected, and very good. I think I'm going to like this series.
Heat Stroke – Rachel Caine (tbr) C'mon, you don't think I'd have bought just the one book in the series, do you? Nah, I got two of them. I already knew I liked the author so it was a fair bet I'd like this series as well. And they were on offer in The Works. This one picked up more or less where the first one left off, was full of excitement and action and again had a surprising ending. And this time – a cliffhanger. Pah! Now I need to get book three, and maybe book four. Darn it…
The death of grass – John Christopher (tbr) Whoa! This was excellent. Only a short book at 195 pages but so very, very chilling. It may have been written in the 1950s but it didn't feel particularly dated and the subject matter felt quite relevant. This was one of those books that I wanted to read slowly to savour and make it last, but at the same time, I couldn't help but read quickly as I was so fascinated by the breakdown of society that I needed to know what was going to happen next. Highly recommended.
The girl who played with fire – Stieg Larsson (tbr) And a corker to finish the year with. The revelations about Lisbeth's past kept coming thick and fast throughout this, along with the action and intrigue. I'd enjoyed the first book when I read that a few months ago but this was even better. I'm almost tempted to dive straight into book three but I have library books and bookrings waiting. Can't wait to see how the trilogy pans out though.