Books I Read in January
- Convenience Store Woman - Suyaka Murata (Kindle)
- Nightbird - Alice Hoffman (Kindle)
- Girl Missing - Sophia Mckensie (Kindle)
- Heroes and Villains - Angela Carter
- Venivamo tutte per mare (Italian translation) - Julie Otsuka
- Circe - Madeline Miller
I started off the year in a flurry of kindle books, and I just realised that all 6 books I read were written by women. Woo hoo! Now I feel a lot of people would have expected Circe to be my favourite book, and whilst I did like it a lot, I preferred her previous book, Song of Achilles. Just my humble opinion. But taking the coveted best book of the month was my first Italian novel of the year, which was translated from Japanese, and was a beautiful yet devastating account of Japanese women that were essentially sold into marriage and shipped off to America, to be married to Japanese men over there, after the war. It was brutal and savage and written in such a poetic and dreamy way, that I couldn't stop reading. Also, my partner's 89 year old (now 90 year old) Great Auntie lent it to me from her vast collection of books. She likes that I can read in Italian now.
Books I Read in February
- Those who Leave and Those who Stay Behind (Neopolitan Novels #3) - Elena Ferrante
- The Unremembered Girl: A Novel - Eliza Maxwell (Kindle)
- After the Fire - Will Hill (Kindle)
- Inferior: How Science got Women Wrong - Angela Saini
A mixture of books here; the continuation of a saga, a mystery novel, a YA based upon real events and a non fiction book researching the science behind the genders and whether women really are hard wired to cook and nurture the young, spoiler alert, no we're not. It was tough to pick a top choice, but in the end it went to Elena, whoever she may be, because to keep up the level and quality of the writing across so many books and to make you care so much about the characters is simply mind blowing.
Books I Read in March
- The Yellow Room - Jess Vallance
- Unbecoming - Jenny Downham
- The Secret Life of Bletchley Park - Sinclair McKay
As you can probably tell, house hunting was taking over my life and diminishing my time for books, but I still managed a couple of quality YA offerings that I had found in my local bookshop: the Owl Bookshop, Kentish Town, and a non fiction book all about Bletchley Park, which we actually managed to visit later in the year. This book wins best book because of the true tales and the research that went into it, and also because they didn't sweep under foot the true nature and impact of the work done by women there, they celebrated it!
Books I Read in April
- NOS4R2 - Joe Hill (Kindle)
- Becoming - Michelle Obama
- Desperation - Stephen King
I just realised poor Michelle ended up in a horror sandwich, this month, the month that we went to see her at the O2. Wow! What a woman. But also, what a horror sandwich. Joe Hill's epic novel really hit all the right buttons for me. There were scares, but there was also a lot of heart and emotion. You became so attached to the characters and whilst it felt in a similar style to some of his dad's earlier horror work, it was still a stand alone novel, spanning years, and it was so intense and wildly epic. I loved it! Mr King himself didn't do a bad job of Desperation, but I'm afraid there were a few too many spider descriptions for my liking.
Books I Read in May
- Spontaneous - Aaron Starmer
- Have you Eaten Grandma? - Giles Brandreth
- The Great Passage - Shion Miura (Kindle)
- Roar - Celia Ahern
- Emma (Italian Translation) - Jan Austen (Kindle) Started but carried over to June...
A YA novel about spontaneous combustion, a grammar book, another book translated from Japanese - this one about creating the perfect dictionary - and a book of short stories all about women and their internal and external struggles, and how they overcome them. It was a strange month for reading, but interesting all the same. I also started reading an English classic, translated into Italian, which was a slight mistake as it was too dialogue driven and half the time I couldn't figure out who was talking and it was all very confusing and slightly irritating, but Roar gets the top dog award for its thirty stories all about women. You might not identify with all thirty, but I found a lot of them that were so relevant to me, and it is a great book. Thanks Celia.
Books I Read in June
- Emma (Italian Translation) - Jane Austen (Kindle) Finally finished. It took a while!
- Slay on Tour - Kim Curran
No contest here for top book of the month - sorry Jane but it doesn't translate well, and I'm also no where near fluent, so there was a lot of looking up words and general confusion - Kim Curran's second installment of Slay is just as good as the first and left me wanting more. So come on Kim, when are we having Slay 3?
Books I Read in July
- Qualcuno sta uccidendo i piu grandi cuochi di Torino - Luca Iaccarina
- Indigo Donut - Patrice Lawrence
- Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain - Oliver Sacks
- You - Caroline Kepnes (Kindle)
My friend lent me another book in Italian, which translates as, Someone is killing all the cooks in Turin. It was fairly easy to read and like a lot of Italian books had various murders in it, and was a little bit bonkers at the end, but still, good practise, and way easier than Jane Austen. After watching the Netflix series, You, I really wanted to read the book, but also needed to leave a few months between the viewing and the reading. I had wanted to read Indigo Donut for a while after hearing Patrice talk about it at YALC a couple of years ago, and I was not disappointed. A great YA book, and I'm not going to give anything away, just read it, you won't regret it. But my top book of the month goes to Oliver Sacks and his wonderfully witty and intelligent book about music and the human condition. How music can move us, haunt us and heal us. Highly recommended.
Book I Read in August
- The Last: Hanna Jameson
- Le Assaggiatrici - Rosella Postorino
Again, slim pickings this month, but we did move house in July and went on holiday in August, which is where I bought the second book. I enjoyed both books: Hanna Jameson's murder mystery with an apocalyptic spin was well paced and captivating, though I found the ending lacking, and Rosella Postorino's chilling tale of the women who tasted Hitler's food at the end of the war when he was holed up in a bunker, was all kinds of uncomfortable, but in a good way. It wasn't an easy read but it was something I never really knew about and whilst, fiction, it was obviously based on true events and research. I learned a lot of new words, especially body parts in some of the steamy sections. Ha ha.
Books I Read in September
- Paper Aeroplanes - Dawn O' Porter
- Poor Unfortunate Souls - Serena Valentino
- The Science of Storytelling - Will Storr
- Leopard - Giuseppe di Lampedusa
- My Sister the Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite (Kindle)
- SAGA Vol 8 (Re-read) - Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan
- SAGA Vol 9 - Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan
Wow, I actually shifted some material this month. Look at that, 7 titles. I find this month the hardest to choose my favourite for, but after some deliberation, it goes to Oyinkan Braithwaite's tale of the bonds of sister hood. Blood is most definitely thicker than the truth in this fantastic novel. Check it out.
Books I Read in October
- The Story of the Lost Child (Neopolitan Novels #4) - Elena Ferrante
- Stories to Tell in the Dark - Alvin Schwartz (Kindle)
- Still Waters (Sandham Murders #1) - Viveca Sten (Kindle)
To be honest, I didn't love the Viveca Sten's crime novel. I found it quite boring and kept plodding on simply to know who did it. After seeing the film, Stories to Tell in the Dark, I wanted to read the book, but it's actually a collection of very short stories to tell each other in the dark and is aimed at younger children, but there were some interesting ideas and it was quite witty. I did love the film though and would love a second one. So Ms Ferrante wins again. It was so fulfilling to reach the end of such an epic set of books. If you haven't started them yet, give it a go, it is not all hype, it is phenomenal writing.
Books I Read in November
- The Cuckoo's Calling (The Strike Novels #1) - Robert Galbraith
- Music and Singing in the Early Years - Zoe Greenhalgh
- The Silkworm (The Strike Novels #2) - Robert Galbraith
- Music with the Under Fours - Susan Young
As you might tell here, my very good friend lent me the Strike novels and I also started a new course, so had to intersperse my pleasure reading, with research for my course. Not surprisingly the text books don't make the top book cut, but oh my god, I am now completely obsessed with Robert Galbraith AKA J.K's new creation. I love the Strike novels, and as someone who has never been a massive fan of crime as a genre, I could not stop with these. Love, love, love, and I can't thank my friend enough. I love a good lending library.
Books I Read in December
- Career of Evil (Strike Novels #3) - Robert Galbraith
- Lethal White (Strike Novels #4) - Robert Galbraith
- The Princess Bride - William Goldman (Kindle)
- The Hunting Party - Lucy Foley (Kindle - currently at 87%)
I tried to put another text book between the remaining Strike novels, but I got bored and abandoned it. The lure was too big. I needed to know whether Robin actually went through with it, no spoilers, and now I need book 5, so get on with it, please. Pretty please. I am nice, really. I am hoping to finish the Hunting Party before the end of the day, which is seeming less and less likely, but I am loving it. Also, it was fun to finally read the Princess Bride. And because it's the end of the year and I'm too lazy to choose between the two Strike novels, they both achieve best book, because they are brilliant! I feel in safe hands, as I always did when reading Harry Potter. More please!
And so that's it, a shorter list than usual but around 48 books, 4 of which were read in Italian, so not too shabby considering more than half of the year was taken up with house stuff. The plan for 2020 is as always, more books, in a whole host of genres, and definitely to get a shift on with my own books. No more excuses, no more procrastination - okay, a little less procrastination is more realistic - and write, write, write and read, read, read.
I hope you've had a good reading year. If you have any books that have rocked your year, then let me know, especially if they are not on my list. I am always looking for recommendations.
And so it's the end of another year, and not only that but another decade. Eek. I hope you all have a great night whatever you do and all the best for the New Year.