Friday 28 February 2014

February 2014.....

 It's nearly the end of the week, and of the busy month of February, so I feel it is time I stop neglecting my duties here and say hello. There has been quite a bit going on this month; two birthdays (mine and my other half's) a bit of skiing, a fair old bit of work and seeing my brother off on his travels to China, all of this has had an impact on my reading success for the month. After getting off to an impressive start, in both quantity and quality imho, in January I have slowed down a tad, and not quite managed a book a day.... I know it's sad  only 18 books read this month, but some absolute corkers in there.

It seems as though February has been the month for bookshop based books, there have been three of these this month. Of these Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore stands out as my absolute favourite. The blend of Dan Brownesque secret societies with the high v low tech argument won my heart, and I loved every moment I spent reading this wonderful little novel. The Collected Works of AJ Fikry takes a more emotional and, sadly, realistic look at life in a bookshop, and I defy anyone to read through to the end without feeling at least a little choked up. Next to these two Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase couldn't really complete, it had a lovely premise but the combo of hidden letters and forbidden wartime love affair came across as just a little too twee for my tastes. I am sure that it will prove to be very popular with many readers but it failed to strike the right note for me.
My two favourites from translated works this month have to be the adorable story of Sprout The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, and the frankly disgusting, but brilliant, Eat Him if You Like. Two totally different books but both simply marvellous. Both have been sympathetically translated and the resulting books are perfect each in their own way. Sprout in particular is a delightful character, reminiscent of the best of Beatrix Potter, but a little more feisty.
The other standout books for the month have ranged from the darkly comic crime heist Three Graves Full, through to the entertaining and informative The Almost Nearly Perfect People. Each of these five books come highly recommended. Strangely each seems to deal with some aspect of a creepy or downright alien culture or mode of behaviour, so maybe the fact that these are some of the books I have enjoyed most of all this month says something about me. I choose to assume that the bleak, twisted and darkly comic nature of several of these books simply fits my mood throughout the month of February rather than in general. Maybe I really do need to consider a move to one of the fascinating Nordic countries explored by Michael Booth. It's an interesting thought.
One book which I haven't quite managed to complete just yet is Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre, if I had then I think this would probably been listed amongst my favourite books for the month. It took me a while to get to grips with a historical novel that kept inserting quotes from contemporary individuals such as Naomi Campbell, but once I got further into the story I began to see this clash of periods as the stroke of genius it is. In any case, I've not quite completed the novel as yet so fear it must wait to see how it compares with other things I read in March. Sorry Venetia!
As always I have been sent a large number of wonderful looking titles by the lovely publishing people I am in contact with, and I will get round to reading them as soon as I possibly can. I should have a good amount of reading time available over the next month so watch this space for a good number of reviews and whatnot coming up on this page. A handful of the ones I have pulled out of my heap for immediate reading include books like The Echo by James Smythe and The Abduction by Jonathan Holt. These along with a good number of others will be being read over the next few days. As I've also had my birthday this month I have been lucky enough to have been given a good stack of lovely things to read by my friends and family so I'm sure that some of these will be being read over the next couple of weeks. All rather exciting if like me you are rarely seen without a book in your hand.
Anyway it's probably time that I wrapped this post up and knuckled down to some reading proper.... back to the coal face and all that. I know, I know it is a hard old life hehe....

Throughout the month I have purchased, been given or been sent an impressive 91 books, of the books I read during February 10 were acquired during the month, with 5 coming from my January stash. Roll on a busy month of reading for March.

Books acquired throughout February.....
The Slaves of Solitude Patrick Hamilton The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August Claire North
A Spy in the House of Love Anais Nin Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookshop Robin Sloan
Henry and June Anais Nin Brewster Mark Slouka
Sexus Henry Miller Gypsy Goddess Meena Kandasamy
A Talent to Annoy Nancy Mitford Viper Wine Hermione Eyre
Banished Liz de Jager The May Bride Suzannah Dunn
Mother Mother Koren Zailckas The Madness of July James Naughtie
Sally Heathcote Suffragette Mary Talbot Quiet Dell Jayne Anne Phillips
The Hanged Man of Saint Pholien Georges Simenon The Queen of the Tearling Erika Johansen
The Echo James Smythe Bittersweet Colleen McCullough
Americanah Chimamanda Adichie Cat Out of Hell Lynne Truss
A Natural History of Dragons Marie Brennan A Wolf in Hindelheim Jenny Mayhew
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly Sun-Mi Hwang Three Graves Full Jamie Mason
We are our Brains Dick Swaab The Letter Bearer Robert Allison
Trouble in Mind Jeffery Deaver Spirit House Mark Dapin
Authority Jeff VanderMeer Eat Him If You Like Jean Teule
Annihilation Jeff VanderMeer The Front Seat Passenger Pascal Garnier
Miss Buncle's Book D E Stevenson Fifty Years in Time and Space Frank Danes
Memory of Water Emmi Itaranta The Land Where Lemons Grow Helena Attlee
Orphan Train Christina Baker Kline The First Book of Calamity Leek Paula Lichtarowicz
This is The Life Alex Shearer The Shadow of the Crescent Moon Fatima Bhutto
Ghostwritten Isabel Wolff Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths Harry Bingham
The Girl Who Came Home Hazel Gaynor The Ruby Slippers Keir Alexander
The Investigation Jung-Myung Lee Paris Requiem Lisa Appignanesi
Chop Chop Simon Wroe Lettice and Victoria Susanna Johnston
The Last Boat Home Dea Brovig Under the Sun Justin Kerr-Smiley
Cruel Crossing Edward Stourton The Breath of Night Michael Arditti
The Bees Laline Paull They Were Counted Miklos Banffy
Bird Box Josh Malerman They Were Found Wanting Miklos Banffy
The Heroes' Welcome Louisa Young The Celibate Michael Arditti
Paris Edward Rutherford Yours Until Death Gunnar Staalesen
The Boy With The Porcelain Blade Den Patrick A Pleasure and a Calling Hogan
Northanger Abbey Val McDermid Treachery  Parris
The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman The Lemon Grove Helen Walsh
& Sons David Gilbert Unravelling Oliver Liz Nugent
The Serpent of Venice Christopher Moore
The House Girl Tara Conklin Good Soldier Svejk Jaroslav Hasek
Someone to Watch Over Me Yrsa Siguardardottir The Son Philipp Meyer
Blackout Connie Willis We Are Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
The Museum of Extraordinary Things Alice Hoffman Be Safe I Love You Cara Hoffman
A Burnable Book Bruce Holsinger The Almost Nearly Perfect People Michael Booth
The Abduction Jonathan Holt Irene Pierre Lemaitre
Freaky Deaky Elmore Leonard Dancing Bear James Crumley
Dune Frank Herbert Dune Messiah Frank Herbert
The Collection James Crumley The Cardiff Trilogy John Williams
Healing Relaxation Edie Irwin

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