I seem to have been on a bit of a reading binge this past month. There weren't many particularly heavyweight books in there granted, and there were several kid's books, but I think 24 in one month may still be a record for me. I have done more reading than stitching over the last few weeks, mainly due to lots of pesky migraines and the Vile Bangy Headaches. When I'm recovering from those, reading is pretty much the only thing that I can do.
Most of the books that I've read have been good ones, with several excellents and just a couple of OKs, so quite a good result. I managed to read nine books from The Big Read list so that challenge is going very well.
The Truth – Terry Pratchett
In which a character called De Worde accidentally starts a newspaper. Absolutely brilliant, and full of those those little touches that make these Discworld books so very, very good. There wasn't much to see of my favourite characters but I may have a new favourite emerging in Gaspode. The plot was wonderfully twisted, the villains were excellent and I rather liked De Worde. The younger one, of course. A great way to tick another one off The Big Read list.
Dead in the family – Charlaine Harris
I love the Southern Vampire books and have been reading them since I bought the first book back in 2004. This felt a bit weird though, watching one set of characters doing one thing on TV and then reading about a slightly different set of characters doing completely different things in the books. And I don't think it helped that I've just read this only days after the series finale of the last season of True Blood. It was a good read though. I like Sookie. Problem is, now I have to wait ages for both the next book and the next series. Sigh.
The hand of Ethelberta – Thomas Hardy
This was more light-hearted than the other Hardy's that I've read and it was extremely good. It was quite amusing in parts and ended in a somewhat tense and then a rather unexpected way. I very much enjoyed it, but Tess still remains my favourite of all of his books that I've read so far. I do love that book.
Eleven on top – Janet Evanovich
Another fast and funny adventure for Stephanie Plum. I really enjoyed this one. It was slightly different as Stephanie quit her job right at the start of the book so it wasn't quite the same formula. I'm finding myself needing to read book twelve now though to see if she stays in the same job. That could get umm, interesting.
Bodies in a bookshop – R. T. Campbell
I hunted this down on Amazon Market place after reading a quote from the book which I thought was marvellous.
"The trouble with bookshops is that they are as bad as pubs. You start with one and then you drift to another, and before you know where you are you are on a gigantic book-binge."
Isn't that brilliant? And oh so true!
The book itself wasn't bad at all. It was a detective story, as the title suggests, set just after WWII, with the detectives being an eccentric professor of botany, his assistant and a rather interesting Chief Inspector. The plot was ok and the characters and the dialogue were excellent. It was extremely amusing and as it mostly concerned bookshops and booksellers, it was also rather interesting.
The Possessed – L. J. Smith
This is part two of three in a series that I started a few months ago but then forgot to carry on with. So many books, so little time as it were. The author is the same one that wrote The Night World books, and of course The Vampire Diaries. This series is about a group of teens with psychic powers who get into all sorts of trouble due to the obligatory Evil Man. It wasn't bad for a teen read and I do quite like the author when I fancy something light and easy to digest. The way this ended it left me feeling the need to go straight into book three to see how the whole thing pans out, so next up is…
The Passion – L. J. Smith
Book three of the Dark Visions trilogy and finally we get the conclusion to the series. It was really only going to end one way but it was quite good how the author got there and I enjoyed reading it.
Point Blanc – Anthony Horowitz
From teenage girl's fiction to teenage boy's. I did read all the James Bond books when I was about twelve so why not read the young bond now that I'm (allegedly) grown up? Once you get past the simplistic style of writing it's rather a good read. It was just what I needed with enough of a headache to keep me from wanting to move or to concentrate on anything more complex.
Skeleton Key – Anthony Horowitz
The headache refused to go away so I read another of these books. They're actually quite addictive and even though I've now read all of the ones on The Big Read list, I may pick up the others in the series as I'd rather like to know what happens to Alex Rider next. They're very improbable but sometimes you just have to go with it, you know?
The Witches – Roald Dahl
I had rather a nasty, three day migraine and needed something with large print to read while I was recovering. I grabbed a few of the kid's books from The Big Read shelf and took them back to bed. They're jolly useful for a post-migraine read. You don't have to think too much, and as I said – large print. I rather enjoyed the story too.
Sleepovers – Jacqueline Wilson
Still recovering and still needing something very easy. This fitted the bill and was quite entertaining for a while. That one girl was a piece of work. I knew some just like her at school…
How I got my shrunken head – R. L. Stine
I'd graduated onto something resembling normal sized print with this book but it was still a very easy read for my poor head. It was a lot of fun too. The entry on The Big Read is just Goosebumps so I think I need to read the other book I have too before I can really claim to have crossed that one off the list. I don't plan on reading all of them though.
Side Jobs – Jim Butcher
I read this on the day it arrived, having had it on pre-order from Amazon for what seems like ages. This is a collection of short stories from The Dresden Files. With the last full book having ended on such a cliff-hanger, I was ready to read anything I could get my hands on while I waited for the next book to come out. This was excellent though and much better than just a stop-gap. Some of the stories were told from the perspective of different characters and the very last story was worth getting the book for all by itself. It takes place an hour or two after the end of Changes – that last book with the cliff-hanger ending. Oh boy, was that a bonus finding that in there!
Possession - A. S. Byatt
This is the book that I was reading before the migraine but had to put on one side until I felt able to give it my full attention again. It's not a book that you can idly flick through. I have to admit that not having a literary education, most of the criticism of the poetry contained within the book, and some of the poetry itself come to that, went straight over my head. Didn't matter. I understood why it was there and that was enough. The main story, or stories I should say, were enthralling enough to make this a superb read. I guess that all the other stuff is partly why it's such a literary masterpiece, yada yada yada, but I read for enjoyment and not for the sake of it. And I did enjoy this, especially the very last chapter. Which I read twice. Just because.
Schooling - Heather McGowan
I've been putting off reading this after reading on the back that it was written in the style of stream of consciousness. The last one I read like that was The Waves by Virginia Woolf and I thought that was pretty dire. So, I wasn't keen to make a start on this one. It was a bookring however, so a start had to be made and actually, once I'd got going on it, it wasn't that bad. You could at least tell what was going on and once I'd got used to it, I started to almost enjoy it. The bit in the middle was rather odd and I wasn't keen on that but then it settled down again. When it got to the end though, I was left with not much idea what was going on. It just got a bit too incoherent. So, the verdict is just about readable but I'm certainly not planning on looking out any more by the author.
Pereira maintains – Antonio Tabucchi
Set in Portugal during the 1930s it gives you a background of the troubled politics of the time while the main story is an odd short piece that is partly a sad tale about a man who mourns his wife and partly one where he discovers the courage to act on his convictions. I really, really liked it.
The color purple – Alice Walker
I've been meaning to read this for years so after the bookring I was in stalled, I got it out of the library. It starts off with a real kick and is very different to most of the other novels that I've read recently. While I enjoyed it, and appreciated the message behind it, I don't think I got as much from it as I expected. Perhaps it was one of those books that was hyped up so much that I expected more than the book could deliver. A good book though, and one that was worth reading.
Divine Misdemeanors – Laurell K. Hamilton
I fancied something a bit more supernatural this morning so grabbed this from the TBR pile, where it has been waiting patiently for me to notice it. I like this series and thought this one was one of the better books as it concentrated more on the storyline and characters than some of the previous books have.
Sunset song – Lewis Grassic Gibbon
Another book from The Big Read list and another one that was surprisingly good. I thought this might be one that would take several sessions to get through but it was so enjoyable that I almost read it in one sitting. Set in rural Scotland, just before WWI, it was the tale of Christine Guthrie, and her friends and neighbours, and tells of the way of life there.
No nest for the wicket – Donna Andrews
I loved this. Central to the plot was an extreme croquet tournament. Yes, I did say croquet. The neighbour's sheep keep escaping and they try to get Spike the dog to round them up, but Duck, the pet duck, proves to be much better at that. Unfortunately she keeps sending them in the wrong direction. Then there's the mystery of the Battle of Pruitt's ridge. Oh yes, and a body in the croquet field, with more suspects than you can shake a croquet mallet at. It's mad and funny and I'm having to restrain myself from diving straight into the next one in the series.
The penguin who knew too much – Donna Andrews
And my restraint lasted for less than 24 hours before I dived into the next book in the series. Sigh. No willpower at all. It's not my fault you know. They put the first chapter of the next book at the end of the book to tempt you. I can't help it if my eyes just happen to stray over to that chapter and start reading, and once they do it'd be cruel not to carry on with the chapter. You can't stop mid-chapter. It's illegal. And then once you've read that first chapter and whetted your appetite you have to go and pluck that next book from the shelf in order to carry on with chapter two. How could you not? There's this need to know what happens next. And as I said. No willpower.
This one starts off with a body in the basement. With the penguins that Meg's dad has stashed there. A bit later on some Llamas arrive. It gets progressively more hilarious from that point on. Brilliant!
Cockatiels at seven – Donna Andrews
I didn't even try to resist this time. There was a preview chapter in the back of Penguins. I read it. I picked up the next book. Much easier not to fight it.
This time Meg gets a toddler dumped on her and has to try and track down the mother amidst a crime wave and yes, she finds another body. Lots of humour and mayhem especially with assorted animals plus the toddler running amok. The funniest moment had to be the bit with Rob and Spike in the barn though. Priceless.
61 hours – Lee Child
I've had this on my TBR pile since the day it came out, which is rather surprising as Lee Child is one of my favourite authors and normally I'd read one of his books the moment it fell into my hands. I'm not sure why this one has been just sitting there. Yesterday it leapt off the shelves at me though so I sat and read it. It was excellent as his books usually are. Right up until the very frustrating end where the reader is left dangling – not knowing what has happened. Oh it was a good ending, there's no doubt about it, but the books usually have a very satisfying end with all the loose ends all tied up. This one didn't and it's thrown me a bit. I'm a 'need to know' kind of person and it's driving me a bit nuts not knowing. I guess the next book won't even make it to the bookshelf once I bring it home then.
May contain traces of magic – Tom Holt
The great thing about having a couple of hundred books on my TBR shelves is that there's always something that I fancy reading. Last night I was scanning the shelves and nothing was leaping out at me until I came to this. It was just what I wanted although I hadn't realised it until I spotted it. I haven't read one of Holt's books in ages. What I find really amusing about his books is that there's a touch of magic or some supernatural stuff going on, but quite often it's happening in the West Midlands, which is where I live. It's just the concept of demons roaming in Walsall that tickles me somehow. And having lived there for a few years once, it actually makes a scary kind of sense *grin*