HAPPY NEW YEAR!
2018 has certainly flown past, hope it was a good one for you all and that 2019 turns out a great year too (reading and otherwise)!
December for the past couple of years has been the month that I read the most, close to twenty books, usually simply trying to catch up with my reading challenge. This year (now last year I guess), I had thought it would be the same, but then I decided not to do the crazy reading sprint. So kind of opposite to the last two years, this turned out my worst or one of the worst reading months for me in terms of quantity as I ended up finishing only five books. But as far as the books themselves were concerned, I actually rather enjoyed them all.
First off, I read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier which is the story of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, two remarkable women from very different social strata who made contributions (Mary more so) to paleontology, and also ended up friends and fellow fossil hunters in Lyme Regis (though Elizabeth was also twenty years Mary’s senior). This was an enjoyable fictional telling of their stories, (alternate chapters) told in each of their “voices”, looking into their lives and also their struggles to do what they loved in a world where their interest was seen as strange, and their contributions as not much by the “men” of science. My full review is here.
Next, I read Gangsta Granny by David Walliams. This is the story of eleven-year-old Ben whose parents are hooked to a dancing show and who finds his typical, old granny boring to spend time with. That is till he discovers that boring old Granny is really an international jewel thief who has had adventures all over the world, and is up for one more, this time also involving Ben. While some of the humour in this book was not my kind (rather crass), I enjoyed the plot and many of the things it has to say. Find my review here.
Emperor Mage, which I read via NetGalley is the third of Tamora Pierce’s Immortals series which I’ve been really enjoying, largely because of our “heroine” Daine’s ability to communicate with animals and the relationship she shares with them. In Emperor Mage, she along with her friends from Tortall are in Carthak on a diplomatic mission, but there is treachery afoot and also ill omens indicating tough times for Emperor Orzone. This is a fantasy title of course, but with many reflections of the world we live in. My review.
Then I read Ganga: The Constant Goddess by Anuja Chandramouli, a book I’d received for review from the publisher and author. This tells the story of Ganga the river, and Ganga the goddess who is essentially one with the river. As the goddess, she has a “human” persona but at the same time, her character, her spirit are essentially that of the river. Nothing can tie her down or bind her, she questions stereotypes and challenges patriarchy, choosing her own path in life, yet always being there to bring relief to those, mortal and immortal, who need her, even if life has been unfair to her. My review is here.
Finally, I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, also via NetGalley. This is the story of actress Eveleyn Hugo who has decided to tell her story to the world, but her medium is a young reporter, Monique Grant, somewhere at the bottom of the ladder at her magazine Vivant. In Evelyn’s story we learn of her career, the ups and down she faced, and the hard choices she had to make–all in perfect control of herself and her decisions–but also of her personal life, where her struggles to find happiness throw up the many issues she and others have had to face in a world where glamour and power didn’t necessarily give one the freedom to be who one was, where illusion is everything, and at a time when the truth would not be accepted by anyone. Alongside, we have the mystery of why she has picked Monique to tell her story to, which certainly had me hooked throughout. My review is here.
So that was my reading in December. For next year, I plan to set my goodreads challenge at a much lower number, 85 I think (about 7 books a month) which is doable. If I cross it, all the better. As far as my January plans go, I am going to restart selecting a theme for each month and building my TBR around that. (If you’ve been following this blog, you’d have noticed that I was doing this for most of last year, and this is something that I enjoyed.) But I’ll pick only 5-6 books a month, with the rest left for NetGalley reads and reads for book groups. My first theme this year is the first of my attempts to read the older books on my TBR since they ended up very neglected last year since I joined NetGalley 😛
So my theme for January (I really couldn’t come up with a better name) is simply Oldest First. And the books I plan to pick up include Poland by James Michener (this is literally the oldest on my TBR), Murder at Foggy Bottom by Margaret Truman, Swann’s Way by Proust, Twice Shy by Dick Francis (this one has only been dangling because I simply can’t find where I’ve put it), Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, and Common Sense by Thomas Paine. I also have four titles pending from NetGalley which I will be reading of course–Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (which I am in the middle of at the moment), Murder at the Museum by Lena Jones, Maddy Alone by Pamela Brown, and Blissful Land, a graphic novel set in ancient Tibet by Ichimon Izumi. Let’s see how it goes.
So how was your reading month? Any books that you’d like to recommend? And what are your reading plans for January, and for 2019 generally? Looking forward to hearing all about them!