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img_1116And just over a week after my blog birthday it was my real birthday. I’m a very long way from being 10 years old but still enjoy opening my presents. As is traditional, here is the detail of my book haul (which some of you ill already have seen a photo of on Facebook.

  • How to Ruin a Queen by Jonathan Beckman – Marie Antoinette, the stolen diamonds and the scandal that shook the French throne; had me at diamonds. Oh, and scandal…
  • Bird in a Cage by Frederic Dard – deadly deceit in 19602s Paris
  • Summer of Night by Dan Simmons – “It’s the summer of 1960 and in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois, five twelve-year-old boys are forging the powerful bonds that a lifetime of change will not break. […] But amid the sundrenched cornfields their loyalty will be pitilessly tested.
  • The Fisherman by John Langan – “It’s a tale of dark pacts, of long-buried secrets, and of a mysterious figure known as Der Fisher: the Fisherman
  • Margaret Pole by Susan Higginbotham – “Of the many executions ordered by Henry VIII, surely the most horrifying was that of sixty-seven-year-old Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, hacked to pieces on the scaffold by a blundering headsman.”

As is also traditional, I am now on a book-buying freeze, probably until end of March, certainly until end of February, when only pre-orders well cross the threshold chez Bride.

Christmas lootIt’s that time of year when all good book bloggers brag about their presents. Who am I to argue with that tradition? So here goes:

  • Dust by Elizabeth Bear – “Can a broken angel save a fallen world?”
  • The Advent Killer by Alastair Gunn – “Christmas is Coming. One body at a time.” (Confession – I read this on Boxing Day, review will follow soon)
  • Catalina by W Somerset Maugham – “The last of Maugham’s novels, Catalina is a romantic celebration of Spain and a delightfully mischievous satire on absolutism.”
  • The Late Scholar by Jill Paton Walsh – “Becoming the Duke and Duchess of Denver has not ended the detective partnership of Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.”
  • Through the Window by Julian Barnes – seventeen essays and one short story
  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige – “Remove the Tin Woodman’s Heart. Steal the Scarecrow’s Brain. Take the Lion’s Courage. And then – Dorothy must die.”
  • Jackaby by William Ritter – “Miss Rook, I am not an occultist.”
  • 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley – what to read and how to write
  • Elfrida by Elizabeth Norton – “Wife, mother, murderer, ruler: the first biography of the most powerful and notorious woman in Anglo-Saxon England.”

And one literary-related CD thingy:

What bookish delights were you given?

Reading WomanSo I may have mentioned that I’ve been on holiday for a few weeks and have done quite  bit of reading, mostly for Carl’s RIP IX challenge (my proposed book list for that is here and so far I’ve read six and have started on a seventh of the books mentioned with a week to go). One of the things that often happen after my annual break is I start thinking about what I might want to read over the next few months. I also usually buy some new books as I can’t resist popping into every bookshop I can see, and this year has been no exception on either count.

New books

A modest pile for me:

but there have also been various Kindle downloads too numerous to mention which would crank the number up if I could make the effort to list them all.

Reading lists

My reading has been very genre heavy this year, which isn’t a bad thing but I feel the need to stretch my wings a little bit.

There are five or six novels which my friend Silvery Dude has been pushing me to read, so that’s a list in itself (including Game of Thrones which I mentioned here, as well as Tigerman, Little Star and Norwegian Wood, which might lead me to a Japanese focussed list as I also have some unread Mishima which has been gathering dust in the stacks for donkey’s years).

I would also like to finish working my way through The Big Re-Read, a personal challenge which I talk about here and which has been chuntering on for ages.

I am also very keen to focus on a couple of my favourite authors, including a re-read of Virginia Woolf and attacking my backlog of Joyce Carol Oates’ books (she is so prolific, I can’t keep up).

But first I would like to do some reading in November around World War I. I probably won’t re-read A Testament of Youth which had a huge impact on me when I was in my late teens, but though the Royle book mentioned above plus a couple of novels (Helen Zenna Smith is somewhere on my shelves) but I haven’t thought it through as yet.

I always find it difficult to strike a balance between planning my reading and keeping some spontaneity so we’ll see how it works this time round!

IMG_0215I had a lovely birthday with some fabulous presents including the following books:

  • Red Gloves by Christopher Fowler – wanted this for ages and it was possibly my present of the day
  • Shoggoths in Bloom by Elizabeth Bear – Cthulhu-based short stories with a beautiful cover
  • The Eiger Sanction by Trevanian – I enjoyed the Clint Eastwood film many years ago without realising it was based on the first of a series of thrillers (thanks to Anne Billson for telling me that) so thought I’d give this a try
  • Tom-All-Alone’s by Lynn Shepherd – looks fascinating

My brother the Stanley Scot gave me a book voucher and I have planned a spending spree with Silvery Dude at the end of February.

Looking forward to diving into all of these!

IMG_0202Yes, it’s time for the obligatory “ooh, look what I got for Christmas” post when we all share our lovely presents which we are thrilled by, but still manage to gaze enviously at everyone else’s haul (or is that just me?)

So here we go, the Book God having been most generous once again:

  • Grace: a memoir by Grace Coddington – models, fashion, Vogue, jet-setting, all that jazz.
  • The Watchers by Stephen Alford – the spies and other secretive types who protected Elizabeth I
  • Fires of Faith by Eamon Duffy – revising the reign of Mary Tudor
  • Havisham by Ronald Frame – because, you know, its Miss Havisham plus (actually mostly) Ronald Frame, one of my absolutely favourite and shamefully under-appreciated authors
  • Jack Glass by Adam Roberts – sic-fi, murder and the year’s most beautiful cover
  • The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal by Jan Marsh – can’t get enough of those pre-Raphaelites
  • Heart of Iron by Ekaterina Sedia – steampunk
  • Under My Hat, edited by Jonathan Strahan – short stories, witches, Neil Gaiman et al
  • In Tearing Haste, edited by Charlotte Moseley – the letters of Debo Mitford and Patrick Leigh Fermor (I love reading other people’s letters)

So rather pleased with all of those, just need to settle down and get reading. Looking forward to seeing all your presents too!

Since my last post to the Sunday Salon I have singularly failed to finish anything though I have been dipping in and out of a number of books.

And despite the imposition of an alleged book buying embargo, I have obtained the following new books since my last post (some paid for by a book token left over from my birthday so not quite as damning as it looks):

  • Watson’s Choice by Gladys Mitchell – Sir Bohun Chantry’s party to celebrate Sherlock Holmes is thrown into disarray by the arrival of the Hound of the Baskervilles but luckily Mrs Bradley is there to put things to rights (as soon as I got this I added  it to my Readathon pile and it is well and truly read)
  • The Kings of Eternity by Eric Brown – ” a novel of vast scope and depth, yet imbued with humanity and characters you’ll come to love” and a recommendation from Silvery Dude, as is:
  • The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan – “You’re the last. I’m sorry. The end is coming” Justin Cronin says its glorious so how could it possibly be avoided?
  • Adorned in Dreams by Elizabeth Wilson – an updated version of a book on fashion and modernity which was first published in 1985. When it came out, Angela Carter said it was “the  best I have read on the subject, bar none”
  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
  • Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel – the sequel to Wolf Hall, and a means of encouraging me to finally getting round to finishing it
  • Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel – “Alison Hart, a medium by trade, tours the dormitory tons of London’s orbital road with her flint-hearted sidekick Colette, passing on messages from dead ancestors” Philip Pullman says this is one of he greatest ghost stories in the language
  • A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel – I think i can see a bit of a pattern here – “a gripping epic and tour de force of historical imagination”
  • The Saltmarsh Murders by Gladys Mitchell – Mrs Bradley once again, proving that “some English villages can be murderously peaceful”
  • Foundation: The History of England Part 1 by Peter Ackroyd – just dipping into this on the way home in the cab was a joy; takes us up to the death of Henry VII

Not a bad haul; now if I could only get some of my current reads FINISHED…….

I have been very quiet on the blogging front, mostly because January was spent planning and preparing for my 50th birthday party which was held on 4 February and was really lovely and fabulous. I was a very lucky woman, being given some gorgeous presents, though not many were books – I can understand why, though; given the size of my library it would be a brave person who would buy me a book on spec.

But the Book God was given a list and very generously bought me the following:

And lovely friends gave me:

And as if that wasn’t enough, I also got a book token all of my very own to spend. Very exciting and I am so, so grateful to everyone.

Hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and spent some quality time with family and friends. The Book God and I had a quiet and relaxing break with good food and wine and if I’m honest far too much chocolate.

But the run up to the holidays was a bit busy for various reasons (some of which will become clear in the New Year) and I haven’t been reading very much which is why it has been very quiet around here for a few weeks. But Santa was very generous this year and having drooled over everyone else’s prezzie-themed posts I thought I would do my own.

So here goes:

Not a bad haul at all, some really good reads here but not to be touched until 2012!

So, I managed to miss the point at which my blog passed the 20,000 hits milestone, but it’s a nice warm feeling all the same.

This has been my first full week at home and we have been out and about visiting interesting places as we did in Berlin but on coming home after each trip it wasn’t a curl up in the hotel with a good book scenario but chores and admin and cooking very little reading done at all.

All that means that I am still reading and enjoying Look at Me by Jennifer Egan, and am hoping to finish it this week when my commute to work restarts.

I made up for the lack of reading and of new books in previous weeks with the following haul:

  • Deadline by Mira Grant – “The truth won’t rest. Neither will the dead” A continuation of the Newsflesh series which started with Feed, the book which single-handedly broke my reading slump
  • To Love and Be Wise  by Josephine Tey – “If a crime had been committed, , was it murder … or fraud … or simply some macabre practical joke?” A mystery by the classic crime writer which I had not been aware of, so of course it had to be bought
  • The Good, The Bad and the Multiplex by Mark Kermode – what’s wrong with modern movies?
  • Virginia Woolf by Alexandra Harris – because you can never have too many biographies of Virginia Woolf
  • The Baskerville Legacy by John O’Connell – “a thrilling, frequently terrifying exploration of friendship and rivalry, love and lust, ambition and the limits of talent”
  • The Hound of the D’Urbervilles by Kim Newman – “a volume in vermilion” – love Kim Newman, really looking forward to reading this
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – because it has been recommended by so many other bloggers
  • The Corn Maiden by Joyce Carol Oates – because she is my hero and I can never resist her.

I’ve really enjoyed the RIP VI challenge which finishes tomorrow, and suspect I will continue reading creepy books as we move into the winter months.

So, back to sort-of normal after my trip to Berlin; still on holiday for a week so hoping to get a bit more reading done. Given all the distractions of being on holiday in such a fascinating city I was really pleased that I managed to finish one book – Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge (which I had hoped to finish before I went but events conspired against me) – and completely read another one – Harbour by John Ajvide Lindqvist, which I loved – both for RIP VI.

Currently reading: Look at  Me by Jennifer Egan and enjoying it very much.

No new books made it into the Bride’s household this week but I’m working on it.

Bride of the Book God

Follow brideofthebook on Twitter

Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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