This was looking like being a lean month for reading. It started off well and I was reading at my usual speed and then I hit a slump and couldn't quite get myself out of it until the last few days of the month when I read three short books written by friends, which made me smile. Each month the first books I read are the ones I'm reviewing the following month. Then I read my book group book. After that I mix between the books from the BBC 100 list and others I want to read. The books I review are ones I really want to read and I choose each one of them carefully from those I'm offered. Normally I only review three each month and nine times out of ten I thoroughly enjoy them and it's a pleasure to write the reviews. This month I ended up reading six that needed reviews and although I sincerely loved most of them and wanted to write positive things about them and encourage others to read them, it did mean that I ended up spending a lot of time thinking about the reviews I wanted to write instead of being able to just get on with reading the other books. In a normal month it wouldn't have mattered too much, but it coincided with a very busy month for my family, me taking the decision to self-publish my first novel for adults (and all the work that getting it ready involved), a huge project being undertaken for Makarelle and in me applying for a writing role that would be massive if I got it. It all combined to make a very stressful month and once I'd read the books I had to, I found I didn't really feel like ploughing through lots of other books.
Don't get me wrong, I've still read a fair few by most people's standards and this is not a 'woe is me' post by any means. I just wanted to share my thoughts with you. What this month has made me realise is how much pressure I put on myself when I set myself targets and goals and it's reinforced my decision to go for a simpler reading objective in 2022. When I started this challenge at the beginning of the year I just wanted to expand the range of books I was reading and step out of my comfort zone a bit more. I've definitely done that, but in doing so, I found I'd reduced the books I read purely for pleasure quite significantly and it's rare nowadays that I read a book with no uterior motive in mind. There are books I desperately want to re-read and don't have the time to. There are books on my wish list that have been on there for years because there's always been something else I 'had' to read. I think in future I'll try to bear in mind some of the things I've learned this year and I'll definitely be reading more of the classics again, but I'm also going to give myself time to just enjoy reading again. One thing I definitely won't be doing is setting myself a number goal!
October Book Total: 20
Overall Challenge Total: 246/150 (257 including audiobooks) and 89/100 on the BBC 100 List
Audiobooks (Month/Year): 1/11
October Book Reviews
Winter Fires At Mill Grange – Jenny Kane (thoroughly enjoyed the last in the Mill Grange series. Full review to come on 11th November.)
Twinkle Twinkle Little Bar – Isabella May (Would recommend reading the others in the series first if you want to get full value from this book. Full review on 3rd November.)
The Legacy – Alison Knight (fabulous follow up to MINE. Definitely recommend.)
The Hidden – Alison Knight (Brilliant thriller. Perfect conclusion to the MINE trilogy. Full review can be found here.)
The Perfect Daughter – Alex Stone (Creepy, psychological thriller. Kept me guessing almost to the very end. Full review is here.)
The Girl From Bletchley Park – Kathleen McGurl (Thoroughly enjoyed this. Good solid historical mystery. Full review on 10th November.)
A Year of Marvellous Ways – Sarah Winman (Book group pick. Opening didn’t grab me but once the second character came into play it was much more interesting. I was far more drawn in by his story to begin with - possibly because his made more sense, Marvellous’ story was far more meandering which I sometimes found frustrating and occasionally difficult to follow.)
The Forgotten Maid – Jane Cable (solid historical thriller set in Cornwall. Full review on 15th November.)
The Secret History – Donna Tartt (a bit of a slow burner to begin with but once I got to halfway I devoured the second half. Gripping plot, psychologically interesting, twists I didn’t see coming, utterly intriguing. Can see why it’s billed as a modern classic.)
Murder At The Dolphin Hotel - Helena Dixon (a good solid series starter of 1920s crime. A touch darker than some in this genre, but it still works well within the cosy crime set up. Have put the rest of the series on my list to read when I get to my Kindle Unlimited list.)
The Deadly Mystery of The Missing Diamonds – T.E. Kinsey (one of the characters sounded vaguely familiar and I realised that this was a spin-off of a series I’d previously read the first book of. Another 1920s crime from Kindle Unlimited, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Am hoping there will be more to follow as there’s currently only one other book in this series.)
A Baffling Murder At The Midsummer Ball – T E Kinsey (second in the ‘Dizzy Heights’ series. Thoroughly good follow-up book, well plotted and kept me guessing almost to the end.)
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (odd, quaint, touching. A very unusual book but beautifully written and one I’d like to come back to when I can savour it a bit more.)
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole (a bizarre book with a frustrating but quite endearing main character. A series of bizarre incidents all link together to create the narrative. Not my favourite but worth a read.)
Watership Down – Richard Adams (was very apprehensive about reading this having heard horror stories about traumatised childhoods from the film. Was nowhere near as scary as I thought it was going to be although I can see why a film version might be. Actually really enjoyed it and thought it was a fantastic story. Will definitely be reading this to my youngest, but probably won’t let him watch the film!)
My Father’s Daughter – Lily Lawson (short collection of poetry written by a friend. Favourites were ‘LBD’, ‘Time’ and ‘A Chance To Dance’. I could really relate to a lot of the experiences she wrote about, which always makes me happy. Book is currently on offer on kindle and well worth a look if you like poetry that speaks to you and your experiences.)
A Taste Of What’s To Come – Lily Lawson (some cross overs from ‘My Father’s Daughter’ and some new pieces as well. Particularly liked the shaped poem about wine.)
Valencia and Valentine – Suzy Krause (picked this up because it was recommended if you liked ‘Eleanor Oliphant’, which I did. Totally agree. Beautiful heart-warming book with loveable characters, but have the tissues ready in places.)
Ghosts In The Toolbox and Other Nonsense – Dini Armstrong and Sarah Armstrong (not going to say too much here as I’ll be interviewing Dini about the book next month. However, I did love it.)
All Cornwall Thunders At My Door: A Biography Of Charles Causley – Laurence Green (fascinating insight into the life of my current favourite poet. Loved the fact I knew exactly the areas I was reading about because it’s the same area our flat is in. Also found out he used to live almost opposite our flat, which pleased me no end!)
Favourite Book Of This Month?
Watership Down by Richard Adams. The main reason for my choice is that this was a book I'd been dreading reading, thinking it would give me nightmares. I've successfully avoided picking it up or seeing the film since childhood and was genuinely fearful of opening it. However, the book is far less brutal than the film appears to have been and it's a cracking good story.