October & November 2017 Books

October November Books

Death in the Stars by Frances Brody *
I’d probably say that a murder mystery is my favourite type of story, which is very much borne out by my 2017 list – there’s quite a few on there! This is one that I reviewed as part of a blog tour (you can read my full review here); I’ve reviewed the last three Kate Shackleton mysteries, and I’m a huge fan. I think the sense of time is spot on (speaking as someone who didn’t live through the post-war years), and the mysteries always keep me guessing!

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Enger *
This book has been floating around for ages; I follow so many bookish people on Twitter that when a book has a bit of hype around it, I see it mentioned over and over again – this is one such book. It lived up to the hype for me, luckily, despite having a subject matter that it dark and frankly horrifying. Over a decade after leaving grandparents’ vast estate in rural Kansas, Lane returns to look into the disappearance of her cousin Allegra. Being back in the small town brings back memories that Lane has tried to bury, and the narrative splits into two, weaving between Lane’s first summer in Roanoke and the present day, with a bit of old family history thrown in as well. This structure allows the tension to build, so we are left waiting to find out the reason for Lane’s abrupt departure in the past, and what has happened to her cousin in the present. It’s a really great novel, I just loved it.

He by John Connolly
He tells the story of Stan Laurel, famous for his comic partnership with Oliver Hardy. It’s a fictional account, something I had to keep reminding myself of throughout the story. While all the factual major life events are covered – his various marriages, his financial problems, how he came to star in so many films with Hardy – but the rest is a construct. But it’s beautifully imagined, and lends a tragic air to Laurel’s life. It took me a while to get through it, but ultimately I really liked it.

The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler
Having recently renewed my Audible subscription, once a month I find myself trying to find a new audiobook to download. In October, I settled on this one, and then ended up regretting it slightly. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fascinating and well-researched list of 100 authors you may never have heard of. Some were prolific, some were incredibly famous for a short time, but most of whom the average reader probably have heard. My problem wasn’t with the book, nor wit hthe narrator (it was read engagingly by the author), but with the fact that I should have read it, rather than listened to it, as it would have made list making a lot easier!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng *
This was another book where I read a lot of the hype about the book before I finally got to read the story itself. I really do love it when I have a lot of good things about a book, and then an email lands in my inbox asking if I’d like to be part of a blog tour for it! You can read my review hereLittle Fires Everywhere is a slow story, but not to its detriment. It just takes time to build the characters, and the setting of Shaker Heights, meaning that everything that happens to them is felt on a deep level.

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter *
My iPad is full of books that I have downloaded from Netgalley and not got around to reading or reviewing, so when I was on the Eurostar on my way to Disneyland Paris last month, I decided to delve in and find one. I landed on Bonfire by Krysten Ritter, another book that I have heard good things about, but one that ultimately, I wanted to read because I like Krysten Ritter. I wasn’t disappointed; it’s a great thriller about a corporate cover up that descends into something even more nasty.

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
This has been all over Instagram as a festive read, and though I tried to reserve it at the library, I ended up having to buy it as a Kindle download. It’s a World War I story about a young couple who start off as friends, but through their wartime correspondence begin to fall in love. It’s an epistolary novel, which is one of my favourite types of story, and it’s beautifully written. It reminded me a little of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

Books with an asterisk were provided by publishers.

Books in 2017 – 37

60 New Films in 2012

Following on from my summary of books read in 2012, here are all the new-to-me films I saw in 2012. I set myself the target of 52 films in 52 weeks, and I exceeded it by five, reaching sixty in the end.

Jan-March

April - June

Jul - Sep

October - December

  • Of the sixty films, I saw 13 at the cinema, 28 on DVD, seven on the television, and ten online.
  • I watched thirteen of the films with Anna, and thirteen with Hannah. I thought Jen was going to win this one, because I watched a lot of films with her at the start of the year, but she fell just short with twelve.
  • In the space of 41 days I watched all four of the Millennium trilogy films that have been released. I was obsessed with Lisbeth Salander in February and March, devouring three books and four films. I was quite bereft when I finished watching The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.
  • My favourite films of the year were: French KissWarhorse, both The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo adaptations, The Hunger GamesCrazy HeartThe Social NetworkAvengers AssembleThe Dark Knight RisesGoldfinger, Brief EncounterEducating RitaSkyfallNotorious and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
  • The worst one I saw was A Christmas Romance. Anna bought it in the pound shop, and it was truly awful. Not so-awful-it’s-good. Just awful.

83 Books in 2012

As you probably know, at the beginning of 2012 I set myself the challenge of reading 75 books. I had managed 70 in 2011, so I knew it was possible, and I’ve pleased to say that I managed 83!

I wanted to do a collage of all my reads, but there were too many for just one collage, so I had to break it up a little bit! This is what 83 books looks like:

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April-June PNG

July - Sept PNG

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A few stats:

  • Goodreads tells me that I read 29,339 pages in 2012. I am not sure how accurate that is, because I didn’t necessarily read the same editions as they have on there, but it’s more or less right. Maybe I’ll aim for 30.000 next year! 
  • My most read author was George R.R. Martin. I read all seven of the as yet published books in the Song of Ice and Fire series, starting with A Game of Thrones in May and ending with A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast in October.
  • I also read six books by Sophie Hannah, four by Nora Roberts, four by Lynda la Plante, and four by Judy Blume.
  • As well as the Song of Ice and Fire series, I also read the Bride Quartet (Nora Roberts), and the Millennium trilogy (Stieg Larsson).
  • I got an eReader for my birthday in November, and my first eBook was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I’ve read four more since then, all of them in the last three days!
  • Only two of my books this year were rereads (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Nippy), compared to 17 in 2011!
  • I gave eight books five stars out of five on Goodreads: The Hunger GamesThe Girl With the Dragon TattooBossypantsThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest11-22-63A Storm of Swords: Blood and GoldI Remember Nothing and Other Reflections, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I’m really pleased with myself; I like being able to say I’ve completed a challenge, but also I’m just really glad that I’ve done lots of reading again this year. My goal for next year is 75 again, so stay tuned!

Progress Report ~ November

Apologies for the slight delay on last month’s progress report. I honestly hadn’t even realised that November was turning into December until it had almost happened, and then I didn’t have time to schedule a post!

November was the month that 30 Before 30 ended, and 31 Before 31 began! I already did a round up about 30 Before 30, so I won’t do it again here!

See 52 New Films

I reached my goal of 52 films in November! I knew that I was going to do it when I got a great start at the beginning of the year, and I’ve now surpassed it. I will be doing a post about all the films I saw in 2012 at the end of the year (or the beginning of next year).

Because I was rushing to complete an item off my birthday list, four of the films are on the BFI Best British Films list; The 39 Steps, The English Patient, The Italian Job and Alfie. Patriot Games, which I really enjoyed, was the 52nd film, and I also saw (and adored) Skyfall. I have actually seen it twice!

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Read 75 Books

Funnily enough, I also completed my books goal in November. I got the 75th book in under the wire, as I literally finished reading it at about 11.55PM on the 30th November!

I got a Kobo eReader for my birthday, and having found Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was available for free on the library website, I had to download and read it, despite having read it about eight times already. I also read the first ever novel written by my favourite children’s author, Shirley Hughes, called Hero on a Bicycle. It’s a children’s book, and I’d definitely recommend it as it’s really good!

I’m actually rather impressed with ten books in a month; even if two of them were short(ish) children’s books, and one was a Quick Read. That’s still seven full sized novels in 30 days! Goodreads tells me that my 75 books equate to 26,801 pages!

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And that concludes my Progress Report for November! Usually here I would go on to round up any 31 Before 31 items that I have crossed off, but as it has only been running for a couple of weeks, I haven’t got anything to report on! And as for my What to Do in 2012 list (where the films and books targets come from), I have achieved nothing more from that.

I’ll be coming up with a similar What to Do in 2013 list in January (I’m even toying with the idea of attempting Project 365 again, even though it was a massive failure this year), and as I said, I’ll be rounding up all of my films and books of 2012!