books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: February 15 – February 21

Well it’s been another rollercoaster week of 2021. But then I don’t know why I’m even surprised by that any more because it’s been nearly a year of it now. I’m hoping that the worst is behind us now, and that soon I’ll have more to do than just working, reading and running around the local park. But I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, because 2021 just keeps kicking. Anyway, a fun week of reading, including the latest Chalet School reissue – Jo Returns, in which Elinor M Brent Dyer, notorious for mixing characters up and changing people’s names (sometimes even in the same book) makes Jo confuse some characters in her first school story and tells us about the importance of making list. Truly, a gem.

Read:

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Sweet Danger by Margery Allingham

A Wedding in the Country by Katie Fforde*

You’ve Got Mail by Kate G Smith*

Jo Returns to the Chalet School by Elinor M Brent Dyer

Teach Me by Olivia Dade

Sanctuary by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Started:

We are Bellingcat by Eliot Higgins*

Hare Sitting Up by Michael Innes*

The Sugared Game by K J Charles

Still reading:

Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D E Stevenson

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R King

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: collected from the framers this week, the Theatres of London print I was given for my birthday. I miss the theatre so very much, any given day one of my Facebook memories will probably be about going to the theatre or buying tickets or thinking about a show. My last show in the West End was a year ago last week (the 18th) when I went to see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, but after that before everything shut down I also did a fringe show about The Navy Lark, a talk at the National Theatre marking Michael Billington’s retirement as chief critic with readings from Simon Russell Beale, Oliver Ford Davis and Penelope Wilton, and some comedy. I miss sitting in a room with people watching other people perform. As the pandemic went on, shows have been bumped, cancelled or rearranged and my ticket box has been far far emptier than I would like. The next thing is due to be Hairspray at the Coliseum in early June (rearranged, twice, from last Easter) and I’m really hoping it will go ahead.

An illustrated map of London Theatres.

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: February 8 – February 14

Another busy week – and a working weekend. I’ve been saying for months that my brain can’t cope with anything complicated, but never has that been more true than at the moment. A few pages of Mrs Tim at bedtime, some romance, a mystery to solve, that’s about all my brain can cope with. This is the first week in a few that there hasn’t been an Amelia Peabody book on the finished list – but they’re still there in the background too.

Read:

The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R King

Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras

Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite

Death in the Beginning by Beth Byers

My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh*

Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon

A Taste of Honey by Rose Lerner

Started:

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R King

A Wedding in the Country by Katie Fforde*

Still reading:

Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D E Stevenson

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: A snowy morning in Fitzroy Square last week. This is the row of houses that you see in all sorts of films and costume dramas – there’s a really good shot of it at the start of Phantom Thread – and I walk through it on my way to work (and back to the station) every day I’m in the office. It’s not the first time I’ve had a photo from the square on the blog – it’s also the location of Maisie Dobb’s office so it has a bookish connection too. I keep meaning to go back through the Maisie books and see if it mentions which number Maisie’s office was meant to be in, but I only ever remember while I’m walking through the square – and then I forget again!

Snowy railings and the fancy houses behind them

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: February 1 – February 7

Actually quite a productive week in reading. The New Year self improvement kick has extended into February, the Elizabeth Peters re-read continues (and we finished the audiobook of He Shall Thunder in the Sky on Sunday, so technically that could go on the list again, but twice in three weeks seems a little much), and there’s a relisten of the audiobook of the Unknown Ajax on there too. And I’m making progress on the list of lingerers.

Read:

The Sweetest Fix by Tessa Bailey

Joe Biden by Evan Osnos

Caught Looking by Adriana Herrera

The Art of Saying No by Damon Zahariades

The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer

The Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters

The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

Well Played by Jen De Luca

Wicked Deeds on a Winter Night by Stacy Reid

Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden

Started:

Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras

Death in the Beginning by Beth Byers

Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite

Still reading:

The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R King

My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh*

Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D E Stevenson

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: After the death of Christopher Plummer on Friday, I went on a bit of a Captain von Trapp gif fest on Twitter, and happened to see my Frequently used gif list, which I thought was actually a pretty good summary of my currently life and interest, so I post it here for your amusement.

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

books, stats

January Stats

Books read this month: 31*

New books: 27

Re-reads: 4

Books from the to-read pile: 6

NetGalley books read: 4

Kindle Unlimited read: 3

Ebooks: 12

Library books: 6  (all ebooks except 1 borrowed at a hotel)

Non-fiction books: 4

Favourite book this month: I mean I read He Shall Thunder in the Sky twice. And the Falcon at the Portal too, but of the stuff I hadn’t read before, it’s hard. Maybe The House in the Cerulean Sea.

Most read author: Elizabeth Peters by a country mile. 3000+ pages, plus more than a dozen hours of audiobook time…

Books bought: I mean I think 8 new ones, plus ebooks of a couple of Amelia Peabody books that I borrowed from the library first time out

Books read in 2020: 31

Books on the Goodreads to-read shelf (I don’t have copies of all of these!): 595

I mean basically lets just call it the month of the Peabody-Emersons. Because so much of my reading this month was from that series – and it was all I wanted to read for long periods. And I’m not even sorry about it.

Bonus picture: The bonus picture this month is another snowy picture from the start of last week, and was taken by my dad. Some people would say that it’s Christmassy and Not Right for January, but I just think it looks so quintessentially British countryside in winter that I just had to use it.

A snowy church steeple

*Includes some short stories/novellas/comics/graphic novels ( 4this month)

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: January 25 – January 31

Another busy week in reading. I’m at the point in Amelia Peabody where the books are really long, but I also got a bit of my normal reading mojo back too. January is also over, so coming up this week we’ll have some minireviews on Wednesday and the January stats on Thursday because the week starts on a Monday. Aside from the reading, it was a busy week, with some grim weather – from icy and treacherous underfoot through torrential rain. Perfect weather to sit and read a book. If only there weren’t other things that I have to do too!

Read:

Sweetest in the Gale by Olivia Dade

Death Drops the Pilot by George Bellairs

The Golden One by Elizabeth Peters

Vixen Ecology by G L Carriger

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

Rex Lee, Gypsy Flyer by Thomson Burtis

The Enforcer Enigma by G L Carriger

Continental Riff by Isabel Rogers

Started:

Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D E Stevenson

Still reading:

Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden

The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R King

My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh*

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: The Amelia Peabody re-read continues, and as I was out on my lunchtime walk at work one day this week I walked past the front of the Royal Institute of British Architecture which has some pylons – although they’re art deco rather than Egyptian!

Front of RIBA headquarters on Portland Place in London

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: January 18 – January 24

Given that I’ve read 2000 pages plus of the adventures of the Emerson family in the last week and a bit, and that Goodreads lets you now count rereads (which it didn’t when I started these weekly posts a few years back, I’ve decided as an experiment to start including completed rereads in this list. I’m only adding them on to the Read list, not the in progress because I don’t need any more pressure and I often only read my favourite bits of books, and I’m still trying to figure out what to do about the first couple of weeks of the year, but I’ll work that out when we see what my rereading levels are actually like…

Read:

Falcon at the Portal by Elizabeth Peters

He Shall Thunder in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters

Lord of the Silent by Elizabeth Peters

Misadventures with the Duke by Stacy Reid

Grave Expectations by Anna Celeste Burke

Bag Man by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Started:

My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh*

Still reading:

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden

The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R King

Continental Riff by Isabel Rogers

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: Snow season in my local park – you’ve seen it in pretty much all other weathers, so of course you’re getting a picture from yesterday!

Snowmen in the park

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: January 11 – January 17

So a strange week. It was my birthday – and we usually go away for my birthday, but this year, like everyone else, we were at home. 2021 is also messing with my brain in the same way that 2020 did, and I’ve been finding it really hard to concentrate on new books. When I’m in a mood like that, it’s almost a waste to read anything new – even stuff I’ve been looking forward to – like the new Stockwell Park Orchestra book – because I’m probably not going to appreciate it the way that I should/would normally. So instead I retreated to my happy place – and re-read some old favourite comfort reads – in this case the Amelia Peabody series, which I first read way back in the days before this blog and have come back to – in books and audiobook – ever since.

Read:

The House on Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams*

Shirley Flight, Air Hostess in Pacific Castaways by Judith Dale

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Slay Ride by Diane Vallere

The Palace Guard by Charlotte McLeod

Lumberjanes FCB 2020 by Various

A Slip of the Keyboard by Terry Pratchett

Started:

Continental Riff by Isabel Rogers

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden

The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R King

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: As I mentioned, it was my birthday last week and so this week’s photo is one of my presents – a stationery subscription box! Exciting times.

Contents of a stationery box

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: January 4 – January 10

Well I think we can all agree that last week was something else. And that extreme something else-ness is the reason why my reading list is heavy on the light and fluffy and Asterix. My brain can’t cope with Black Narcissus at the moment. Or anything complicated to be honest. 2021 carrying on where 2020 left off…

Read:

The Power Hour by Adrienne Herbert*

The Art of Showing Up by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

How Nell Scored by Bessie Marchant

If the Boot Fits by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Christmas Pudding by Nancy Mitford

Asterix and Cleopatra by Goscinny and Uderzo

Asterix and the Big Fight by Goscinny and Uderzo

Started:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R King

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden

The House on Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams*

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: the latest iteration of my Beat the To-Read Shelf spread in my journal. Last year was *a lot* on so many levels, and I didn’t fill the bookshelf up, but hopefully 2021 will be different…

Drawing of a bookshelf full of lots of blank books

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: December 28 – January 3

Welcome to the first week in books post of 2021. As is traditional at this time of year, I’ve started on the productivity and self-help books as I try to make (and keep) some New Year Resolutions. I’ll let you know how that goes, but here’s how it went at the start of last year, before the world changed.

Read:

You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

The Button Box by Lynn Knight

Black Hills by Nora Roberts

Gone with the Ghost by Erin McCarthy

The House on the Lagoon by Rosario Ferré

When She Was Naughty by Tessa Dare

The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant*

The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency by Minna Lindgren

Started:

The Art of Showing Up by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

The House on Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams*

Christmas Pudding by Nancy Mitford

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: New Year’s Day in the park near my house. This explains a lot about the fireworks the night before – and was by no means the only pile of empty fireworks boxes…

empty boxes of fireworks in the middle of a parl

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

books, stats

December Stats

New books read this month: 38*

Books from the to-read pile: 13

Ebooks read: 10

NetGalley books read: 2

Library books: 13 (all ebooks)

Non-fiction books: 6

Favourite book this month: In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren and The Gift of the Magpie by Donna Andrews

Most read author: hard to tell because I spent most of the month reading books for my missing US states and I had a no repeats rule and the only author with more than one book on the list was Rainbow Rowell (a novella for Nebraska and a novella in a fairytale retellings series) and neither were long. On pages probably Nora Roberts because Black Hills was loooooooong

Books bought: still not counting

Books read in 2020: 393

Books on the Goodreads to-read shelf (I don’t have copies of all of these!): 589

So here we are. The end of another year. My books total is ever so slightly down on last year (393 to 402) which considering I didn’t have my usual summer holiday sunlounger reading time (and I’ve been commuting around 50% less since March) is actually quite impressive. As usual I’ll probably tweak the format of my stats when I get to the end of January, but I haven’t figured out how yet, so that can be a suprise in a month’s time. And  I’ve got a few more look back/lookahead posts coming, but in the meantime, Happy New Year and may 2021 be a better year.

Bonus picture: Here’s the view from our attic at midnight, as seemingly people all over town unloaded a tonne of fireworks into the sky to celebrate the end of 2020.

Fireworks seen from roof height

*Includes some short stories/novellas/comics/graphic novels (4 this month)