December 2016

T’is the season! As I finished work partway through this month, this gave me lots of time for reading and so I thought I’d tackle some of the larger books which have been sitting on my shelves for a while. In actual fact, I got too excited about the books I received for Christmas! Here’s my reading for December:

1.The Green Road – Anne Enright

The first book I read this month was The Green Road, and to be honest I’m still unsure how I feel about it. Most of the book is set in Ireland, though the parts of the book I really enjoyed were set elsewhere, particularly the section set in New York in the early 90s. I found the Irish dialect quite hard to follow, and the way conversations are written seemed stunted. I rated this book 3 stars on Goodreads, but really I think it is more of 2 and a half stars compared with my last 3-star read, The Improbability of Love, which I actually enjoyed more.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

2. Daisy in Chains – Sharon Bolton

I read Daisy in Chains next, which is a murder mystery/thriller which I picked up on a whim in the supermarket having seen it being raved about online. I enjoy a thriller every now and again, and this one was filled with twists and turns which left me guessing right up until the end. I especially liked the unreliable narrator aspect as the book is told from multiple perspectives, and I found the insights given into the UK prison system to be interesting. This book made me want to pick up some more crime this month, so I’ve planned to read the third book in the Cormoran Strike series this month.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

3. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

To get myself in the Christmas Spirit I decided to go for the classic, A Christmas Carol, which I haven’t read since I was in school. Although I’m sure everyone is familiar with the story of the three Christmas ghosts visiting Scrooge to give him prophecies, the characters, particularly Jacob Marley, the Cratchit family and Scrooge himself, are so original they really do stick in your mind. The story itself is relatively short compared with most of Dickens’s work, but I still found some of the passages unnecessary to the plot. Overall though I enjoyed dipping into my first work by Dickens.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

4. The Secret History – Donna Tartt

I started to read this while on holiday in Edinburgh, and it took me a little while to get into but once I did I was thoroughly gripped. The story is based around a mostly privileged group of students who study Greek at a New England college, and is told from the perspective of an outsider, Richard. Tartt’s character development is one of the best I have ever read, and I largely enjoyed the plot despite the fact that I found the ending a little bit convenient. I would definitely like to read The Goldfinch, also by Tartt, to see how it compares.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

5. Where Am I Now? – Mara Wilson

This was my first Christmas present read, and I flew through this memoir in a couple of days. Mara Wilson is a former child actor who is best known for her roles in Mrs Doubtfire and Matilda among many others. The book chronicles these years in film and those since, and it was particularly interesting to read about her relationships with her co-stars and  experiences after she left film acting. I would thoroughly recommend this if, like me, you grew up in the 1990s alongside films starring Mara Wilson.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

6. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea – Barbara Demick

I asked for this book for Christmas, as I had heard it was a good introduction to understanding life in North Korea, a country about which so little is known or reported. I found this book eye-opening to say the least. It described the lengths ordinary people have gone to in order to survive the country’s gruelling regime and ultimately to make the decision to flee the country. As I enjoyed this so much, I am keen to read more non-fiction work about Asia and about communism in the New Year.

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

7. Career of Evil  – Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

I finished off the month with the final in the Cormoran Strike series, Career of Evil. Much like with the second book in the series, The Silkworm, which I read earlier this year, I found that there were a larger number of suspects than in the first novel, who were sometimes confusing to keep up with. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the writing style and thought that it was a sufficient ending to a great detective series.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

That’s it for December! Happy January reading, Beth x

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