books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: December 23 – December 29

I do hope everyone had a good Christmas.  I got a stack of books (see picture) and ate a lot of lovely food.  But as well as Christmas, this was the week that the RWA (Romance Writers of America) set itself on fire (if you missed it, here’s a good timeline of what went down from Clare Ryan – but suffice to say it was such a big deal that the AP wrote an article about it) – so now seems like a good time to remind you about my Diverse Romances, from back in March, which was written because of the RITA nominations drama but has loads of recommendations for good stuff written by interesting people that it seems the RWA doesn’t really care about. Sigh. In actual reading terms, this week I have mostly been reading books from the TBR bookshelf because I have a spread in my bullet journal that I want to complete before the end of the year.

Read:

Ghosts of Painting Past by Sybil Johnson

The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas

I Go by Sea, I Go by Land by PL Travers

Design for Living by Noel Coward

The Rat-Catcher’s Daughter by KJ Charles

Trivial Pursuits by Frank Vickery

Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn

Binny for Short by Hillary McKay

Waiting in the Wings by Noel Coward

Year of the Fat Knight by Antony Sher

Started:

The Angel with Two Faces by Nicola Upson

The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro

Still reading:

The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths

I bought a few books this week – mostly ebooks and preorders supporting various authors caught up in the aforementioned RWA debacle. And obviously there was some incoming from Christmas…

Bonus photo: The Christmas book arrivals (the the tbr bookshelf in the background).

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: December 16 – December 22

Lots of bonus posts last week – you can catch up  here, here and here. But I can also confirm, I have the lurgy. This is not a drill. A week of earlies on top of the end of the election campaign and I got to my day off and got ill. So unfair. But I’m not the only one. My only hope is that it’ll be gone in time for Christmas. It’s feeling a bit forlorn at the moment though I have to say.

Read:

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

Upon the Midnight Clear by Tasha Alexander

Look Alive, Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich

Christmas Secrets by the Sea by Jane Lovering

The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham

Equal by Carrie Gracie

Started:

The Blood Card by Ellie Griffiths

Ghosts of Painting Past by Sybil Johnson

The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas

Still reading:

N/a

Bonus photos: some filming in Fitzroy Square on Thursday afternoon.

 

Book of the Week, new releases

Book of the Week: The Starless Sea

I read some really good stuff last week and I actually started writing this week’s BotW about a different book – because the Starless Sea has already had a lot of hype about it and I had a couple of reservations. And then I went out and bought myself a copy because I just kept thinking about it – and I realised that probably meant I should be writing about it instead. So the good news is you get another post from me tomorrow, but I figure spending full price on a hardback that I’ve already read means that this should be my Book of the Week.

Cover of the Starless Sea

The Starless Sea is the much anticipated second novel from Erin Morganstern.  At first when Zachary Rawlings finds a mysterious book in the university, he’s just a mildly intrigued. But then he reads it and finds part of his own childhood among the stories and he needs to know where it came from. The trail leads him to a masquerade ball in New York and then through a doorway to a mysterious ancient library, way underground that is the gateway to a hidden world. Time moves differently there and there are some who have sacrificed a lot to protect it – but there are also forces trying to destroy it. Along with one of the people who seems belong there – Mirabel – and Dorian, the man who brought him there, Zachary soon finds himself in the middle of a battle for the future of the Starless Sea.

Zachary’s story is interspersed with stories from the people who have lived in the Starless Sea. I actually found this a little discombobulating at first because it was hard to work out what was real and how it fitted in with Zachary’s story. But I think that that’s the point.  It did mean that it took me a little while to get into the book – because it was really easy to read a little bit and then stop. But once I did get into it, I ended up reading the last 300 pages (if you can have a final 300 pages of a nearly 500 page novel, but you know what I mean) in less that 24 hours because I was so totally caught up in Zachary’s adventure.  But then when I finished it, I wasn’t sure about the ending because I wanted it to be more definitive.  So off I went for the rest of the week’s reading and read something else that I really liked and was going to pick instead because of that slow start and my feelings about the ending. But then I found myself thinking about the book – the world, the adventure and what might have happened next. And I realised that I wanted to read it again. Now when I read it, I had borrowed it from the library – and as it was a skip the line loan it was a short borrowing period that had already run out. So really I had no choice other than to buy myself a copy. And what a lovely copy it is – it’s even signed.  And the endpapers are really pretty too. So now I get to read it again. And I suspect if/when my mum reads this post (*waves* hi mum) she’s going to want to borrow it too. And it’ll look lovely on my bookshelf.

Hardback edition of the Starless Sea

It’s eight years since Morganstern’s first book The Night Circus came out, and it was a mega hit.  I didn’t read it until 2016, but when I did it was a BotW. And it is one of those books that people love but is nearly impossible to find anything like.  It’s magical realism but there’s nothing really quite like it, which is why people have been so desperate to read another book from Morganstern. I honestly thought it would be hard for this to live up to the expectation, but it actually pretty much did.  It’s a completely different world, but it’s as beguiling and unique as the circus was. I think this is going to be *the* book club pick of 2020 – but there’s so much to talk about and to explore.  I hope it doesn’t take another eight years for Morganstern’s next book (even if I only had to wait three this time) because it really is in a little corner of the bookish world by itself.

Endpapers showing a library

As previously mentioned, I read this as an ebook from the Library, but have now bought my own. My copy came from Foyles yesterday (Monday), it’s signed and I got a nice bee pin page with it, but I can’t find the link that I did the click and collect from  – just the normal one, which is a couple of quid cheaper, but doesn’t have the badge or the signature so they may have sold out. Waterstones also have a special edition (they seem to be out of their signed ones though). And of course it’s also available on Kindle and Kobo and as an audiobook from Audible and Kobo.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: December 9 – December 15

What. A. Week. It has been so busy.  So much going on with the election and an overnight shift for results and just being exhausted. So tired. Still, it’s the run in to Christmas now, so that’s good. Can it please calm down a little bit?

Read:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgerstern

Death Beside the Seaside by TE Kinsey

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Katie Racculia

A Delicate Deception by Cat Sebastian

25 Days ’til Christmas by Poppy Alexander

Lumberjanes Vol 13 by Shannon Waters et al

Death on a Quiet Day by Michael Innes

Started:

Look Alive, Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich

Still reading:

Christmas Secrets by the Sea by Jane Lovering

No books bought, but one pre-order arrived (the Cat Sebastian).

Bonus photo: I went to the panto on Tuesday night and it was a real trip!

 

Panto programme

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: December 2 – December 8

We’re into the final stretch of the election campaign, and I had three glorious days off to recover from my weekend at work.  And of course I spent some of them reading.  I’m quite annoyed that I still haven’t managed to post my Christmas-themed book posts yet – why is that I hear you ask, because you’ve seen Christmas books on thes lists for weeks, nay months now. Well it’s because I haven’t liked enough of them so I’ve had to keep on going and finding more to read in the hopes of being able to recommend them.  It has undone all my good work of starting reading the festive stuff early.  But they are coming.  Soon.  I promise.

Read:

St Ann’s on the Anvil by Winifred Norling

Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction by Richard L Bushman

Christmas Calamity at the Vicarage by Emily Organ

All I Want for Christmas by Jennifer Gracen

War on Peace by Ronan Farrow

Love Lies Bleeding by Edmund Crispin

The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

Shirley Flight, Air Hostess in The Rajah’s Daughter

Started:

Christmas Secrets by the Sea by Jane Lovering

Death on a Quiet Day by Michael Innes

Still reading:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgerstern

Death Beside the Seaside by TE Kinsey

So I bought some stuff, but they mostly don’t count.  Let me explain: One for ebook for my sister’s book club (she has a kindle hooked up to my account), one ebook as part of her Christmas present from my parents (she’s in China, so posting a book isn’t really an option). And another girls own book (to add to the Shirley Flight’s from last week) but it’s the unabridged version of a Chalet School book I already own, so that doesn’t count either right? And a preorder of the paperback version of the latest Custard Protocol, so that sort of doesn’t count either right?!

And on a completely different note, you may remember how much I loved the Jim Henson biography back in September, so I wanted to mark the passing of Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who was the original Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch who appeared in that book as a supporting role and who died over the weekend at the age of 85. And another loss on Sunday was the actor Rene Auberjonois – who played Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space 9. I don’t think I’ve talked much about my love of Star Trek as a child and teen, but I feel like I grew up watching the three Next Generation-era series and he was one of the best things about DS9.

Bonus photo: Quality winter comfort food (and my slipper) as the cold weather starts to make me want to eat nothing but casseroles.

 

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: November 25 – December 1

This year really just won’t quit. It keeps on being insanely busy even when it should be getting into Christmas mode.  And this week has been stressful too, so check out the result of a string of late night train journeys, a weekend at work and the need to destress through reading. Impressive no?

Read:

The Likeability Trap by Alicia Menendez

The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue by Karina Yan Glaser

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

Love, Parisienne by Florence Besson, Eva Amour and Claire Steinlen

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Competence by Gail Carriger

A Kiss for Mid-winter by Courtney Milan

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Started:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgerstern

Death Beside the Seaside by TE Kinsey

Still reading:

War on Peace by Ronan Farrow

A couple of books bought – but mostly as Christmas presents.  There may have been a few Girls Own in there too though..

Bonus photo: Will there ever be a satisfactory way to shelf my Gail Carriger books? Probably not.

Shelf of Gail Carriger books of varying sizes

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: November 18 – November 24

I used my three days off to read books. Can you tell? And I needed the relaxation because my days at work were Very Busy. But then it’s still election season isn’t it. Only three weeks to go…

Read:

Shirley Flight, Air Hostess and the Congo Rescue by Judith Dale

Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal

Maid of the Abbey by Elsie J Oxenham

Bad to the Bone by Katy Munger

Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries and Mary-Jo Putney

It Happened on Christmas Eve by Kirsty Greenwood

Hither, Page by Cat Sebastian

The Banks by Roxane Gay and Ming Doyle

Meant to be Yours by Susan Mallery

A Very Merry Princess by Susan Mallery

Started:

Competence by Gail Carriger

The Likeability Trap by Alicia Menendez

War on Peace by Ronan Farrow

Still reading:

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue by Karina Yan Glaser

A couple of ebooks bought. And some Christmas presents. But they don’t count because they’re not for me.

Bonus photo: the winter soup cauldron. Now back out for the season and in heavy rotation.