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I don’t find it easy to review non-fiction books so thought that I would provide a quarterly (or thereabouts) round-up so that I don’t miss any of my 2018 reading. This post covers the first quarter of this year.

  • The Midnight Assassin by Skip Holdsworth – “Panic, Scandal and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer”, this covers the crimes of the person who became known as the Servant Girl Annihilator in Austin, Texas during the period 1884-5. Never caught, there was serious consideration of this man (probably) as Jack the Ripper a few years later. So interesting I’ve gone off and purchased the novel by Steven Taylor which recreates the murders and the various trials.
  • The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards – a history of the Detection Club as founded by Dorothy L Sayers and others, counting most of the greats (including Agatha Christie) in its membership. A breezy history of the club and the development of the classic murder mystery, this led me down several rabbit holes including rewatching some old TV series and finding successor authors picking up unfinished stories before creating their own. Dangerous for its potential impact on book spend.
  • I’ll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara – “A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer – the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorised California for over a decade – from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.” So well written, totally fascinating and really sad whenever you come across sections where it’s made clear that they were reconstructed from the author’s notes. I read this in tow massive chunks one weekend. Gripping.
  • Bright Young People by DJ Taylor – this is one of the rabbit holes I mentioned above. We watched an adaptation of my favourite Lord Peter Wimsey novel (Murder Must Advertise) which has a number of characters described as bright young things, which led me to this book which gives a history of the Bright Young People, who they were, what they got up to and how they, mostly, declined. Includes various Mitfords and Evelyn Waugh for a start. I’m not sure it delivers much in terms of analysis but there is plenty of society gossip. I can’t resist tales of aristocratic ladies!

I seem to be very attracted to true crime at the moment – watch this space 😀

 

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I’m really keen to start 2018 with a clean slate and have decided that I don’t have time or inclination to review the books I read between May and November 2017 (at least up to finishing The Ritual which I reviewed here) before then of the year, which is tomorrow.

I mean this in the sense that I wouldn’t be able to review them in the detail they deserved and that would do the authors and the stories a disservice. I liked them all, some of my favourite authors are in here and I wanted to mark them in some way.

So here are some pretty covers and the statement of intent that I will do better in 2018. Honestly.

 

 

smbigship250Even though my reading record this year has been appalling – I’ve only just limped into double figures having experienced the longest and most intense reading slump EVER – I’ve decided to sign up for the Sci-fi Experience as hosted by Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings.

It’s a gentle challenge in that there are no targets to aim for, it’s just about enjoying as much or as little science fiction in any format that you can. As such I think it’s a nice thing to help me start 2017 with some structure to my reading without the pressure of more traditional challenges.

As well as going to see Rogue One as soon as I can after it’s released, I already have the following books in the stacks from which I can pick and choose:

There’s also the finale of Westworld this week so I may have something to say about that also. Should all be fun.

Book-PileTomorrow morning I fly to Vienna for 10 days (the first part of a 3 week break from work which started today – hurrah!) and because we’re flying and I’m a modern sort of person I am taking my iPad with its lovely Kindle app with me instead of lots of “real” books. I have loads of volumes on there (I’m actually too embarrassed to say how many, so don’t ask me, I won’t tell you) so I’ve set up a collection of potential reads just to be able to manage my choices, and I thought I’d share them here.

So, in no particular order (and with no links, sorry):

  • The Troop by Nick Cutter
  • The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher
  • Horrostor by Grady Hendrix
  • A Long Spoon by Jonathan L Howard
  • The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
  • The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liiu
  • Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall
  • Shutter Man by Richard Montanari
  • Into the Fire by Manda Scott
  • The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross
  • The Relic Guild by Edward Cox
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
  • My Bloody Valentine by Alastair Gunn
  • The Uninvited by Liz Jensen
  • An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman

There’s no way I’m going to get anywhere near all of these, especially as I ‘m already about a quarter of the way through Osiris by EJ Swift. And I’m not as brave as my husband who is on ebooks alone; I’m taking VE Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic as an emergency just in case my iPad explodes.

out-sickSo this has been a very strange reading week. I had an overnight business trip at the beginning of the week which is often good for reading and I was well prepared, dragging my copy of the Book That Shall Not Be Named (which I’m still struggling to engage with fully) figuring that an evening on my own in the hotel and a 2 hours plus train journey back to London would make me read it. Of course, I also had the Kindle app on my phone and was distracted by zombies so how wrong was I?

Then I got hit with the dreaded lurgy and was basically off work for the rest of the week (and only really starting to feel well today if I’m honest). Day One I had a headache of such enormous proportions (amongst other symptoms I’m too delicate to elaborate on here) that I couldn’t read.

DISASTER.

However the remaining days of illness and convalescence were easier and being housebound and sofa-ridden I managed to read three whole novels and finish a book of short stores.

Clouds. Silver linings. It’s a cliche for a reason.

And now we’re nearly in December and despite the failure that was my WWI reading plan for this month I’m going to tempt fate and pull together a book list for the run up to Christmas. I’m sure I’ll add to this as I remember other titles but my starters are:

I’ve already had my most successful reading year for ages so I’m fairly relaxed about all of this. Do you have any special reading plans for December?

IMG_0033Earlier this year I gave some thought to pulling together a short reading list centred around WWI and its aftermath, but didn’t do anything about it other than mention it in passing. But a visit to the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London earlier this month, followed by a visit to Dryburgh Abbey while on holiday (relevant because as well as being the burial-place of Sir Walter Scott it also hosts the grave of Earl Haig) brought this back into focus, and as November is the month in which we commemorate the Armistice it seemed fitting that I concentrate my reading then.

So I’ve pulled together a very short list, a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, about the war as it is happening and its impact afterwards. I would like to read them all in the month but we shall see how I get on.

  • The Flowers of the Forest by Trevor Royle – Scotland and the First World War (actually bought in the Historic Scotland shop at Dryburgh)
  • Not So Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith – published in 1930 it presents the war through the eyes of a young woman who is an ambulance driver at the French front
  • The End of the Age of Innocence by Alan Price – the story of Edith Wharton’s efforts on behalf of Belgian and French refugees
  • Patrimony by Jane Thynne – “what is the truth about Valentine Siddons, acclaimed poet and World War One hero?”
  • Wake by Anna Hope – a novel about three women awaiting the arrival of the Unknown Soldier

I thought long and hard about whether I should re-read Testament of Youth, a book that had a huge effect on me when I first read it as a teenager, but I may save that for a proper Vera Brittain project at a future date.

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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