15 April 2014

Tope Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren't Books) That I'd Like To Own



I haven‘t participated in the Top Ten Tuesdays meme for a while, but when I saw this week‘s subject, I knew I had to participate:

Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren't Books) That I'd Like To Own (new bookshelves, bookends, cool bookmark, a bookish shirt, etc. You can add things you DO own if you want). To see more bookish goodies, click here and from there you can visit dozens of blogs participating in the meme.

Here are my ten, in no particular order:
(some of the images contain links with information about the product/art project)

 1.
 This book bed:

http://www.thisistomorrow.info/viewArticle.aspx?artId=2301&Title=Ruth%20Beale:%20Bookbed
 Or this one:
http://www.likecool.com/Book_Bed--Design--Home.html

2.
This or any of a dozen or so bookshelf quilts I found on the Web:
(I am planning to make one) (sorry, no information available on where to buy it)

3.
These owlish bookends:
http://www.theliterarygiftcompany.com/ollie-owl-bookends-3271-p.asp 
 4. 
A cosy reading nook. This is just a sample of the style I would like:

5.
An invisible floating bookshelf. This example is made of books: 
(planning to make one) (sorry, no information available on where to buy it) 

6.
This book-case:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/63344489/free-shipping-free-melting-clockhandmade

7.
This, or similar, book tote:
(sorry, no information available on where to buy it)


8.
This, or similar, laptop case:
(I am planning to make one, from scratch, using my bookbinding skills) (sorry, no information available on where to buy one) 

 9.
This set of book diningware:

http://www.americandiscounttableware.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=ADT&Category_Code=BOK

 10.
This painting:
http://womenreading.tumblr.com/post/70887166341


28 March 2014

Reading report for February 2014

I read only 10 books in February. One was non-fiction and two were what I like to call half-fiction. The rest were fiction, one murder mystery and six M/M romances.

The two half-fictions were collections of short narratives. One was a cute little book of anecdotes about famous and once-famous musicians, composers and conductors. I picked it up years ago in a junk shop in Denmark and only got around to reading recently. The other was the sometimes funny and always amusing Sleeping at the Starlite Motel, a perfect example of the storyteller’s craft.
I call them half-fiction because anecdotes are often completely made-up and even when they are true they are more often than not impossible to corroborate, even if they are based on real people and ring true, while some may be true but have had the not-famous people they happened to replaced by famous ones because it makes the story more interesting. 
Starlite Motel is supposedly about real people, but one can tell it has lots of lovely little embroideries of the kind that make true ordinary stories into good ones and good ones into great ones.

The month’s highlights were Sleeping at the Starlite Motel, The Road to McCarthy and His Name is John. The romances ranged from clumsy to pretty good, but none made it into stand-out territory. The anecdote book contained just too many stories about people who were famous when it was published (1948) but I had never heard of, besides which I found the writer's style a tad annoying.

The first is, as I mentioned before, a collection of narratives, some of which I would call anecdotes and others I would call essays. White writes skilfully and with humour and insight about herself, friends, relatives and neighbours, places and events, drawing out the extra-ordinary in ordinary people and the quirkiness in everyday things and making insightful observations on human nature.

The Road to McCarthy the second book I read by Pete McCarthy. In the first, McCarthy's Bar, he drove around Ireland and stopped at every bar that had his name on it, and visited various interesting places and met all sorts of people. In this one, he chases the Irish heritage all over the world, from Australia to Alaska, with various stops in between.

The third favourite of the month is His Name is John, an interesting take on the paranormal mystery genre, with an engaging lead and an intriguing story-line, even though I quickly figured out some of the mystery. This is one of those "the less said, the better" stories, so I will not mention what it's about, except that there are three mysteries involved, two murders separated by decades and whether or not "John" is real and if he is, who he was in life.


The Books:
  • Mary Calmes: Tooth & Nail. Urban fantasy romance, M/M.
  • Anah Crow & Dianne Fox: Driven to Distraction. Contemporary romance, M/M.
  • Diana DeRicci: A Fated Love. Contemporary romance, M/M.
  • Cat Grant: The First Real Thing. Contemporary romance, M/M.
  • Dorien Grey: His Name is John. Murder mystery, paranormal.
  • Helen L. Kaufman: The Little Book of Music Anecdotes. Non-fiction, Anecdotes.
  • Josh Lanyon: Icecapade. Contemporary romance, M/M.
  • Pete McCarthy: The Road to McCarthy. Travelogue.
  • Various : Reflections of Love. Romantic short stories, M/M.
  • Bailey White: Sleeping at the Starlite Motel, and other adventures on the way back home. Vignettes/Essays.



17 March 2014

Reading report for January 2014

Here it is, finally: the reading report for January. (February‘s report is in the works: I have it entered into Excel and I just need to transfer it into Word, edit the layout and write the preface. It will either take a couple of days or a couple of months).

I finished 26 books in January, although admittedly a number of them were novellas. As I mentioned in my previous post, I delved into a new(ish) type of genre: gay (or M/M) romance. I found everything from genuinely sweet romance to hardcore BDSM, in sub-genres like fantasy, suspense and mystery and even a quartet of entertaining (and unlikely) rock star romances. Other books I read in January include the highly enjoyable memoir of cooking doyenne Julia Child, two straight romances, and Jennifer Worth‘s trilogy of memoirs about her experiences as a midwife in a London slum in the 1950s. I also watched the first season of the TV series based on these books and may (I say 'may') write something about this when I have finished the second series (I'm off to the post office tomorrow to pick up the DVDs).

The standouts of the "also reads" were Julia and Jennifer (especially the first book in the Midwife trilogy), and of the gay romances my favourites were the four rock star romances by Jet Mykles (Heaven, Purgatory, Hell and Faith) and Adam and Holden by L.B. Gregg. Both were well plotted and had fun and/or interesting characters and the storyline of the latter also included a juicy murder mystery. Love You, Loveday was notable for the creepy stalker storyline and the interesting twist on the “damsel in distress” trope. I can also recommend the two Tere Michaels books, especially Love & Loyalty, the style of which reminded me of a Nora Roberts novel.

The Golden Boy/Golden Man duology by Clare Thompson was admittedly well written and plotted, and while I will never, ever understand the attraction of BDSM, I don‘t regret reading them because they gave me an insight into that culture. (I must, however, admit I have no idea how representative it is of reality. Doubtless there is some poetic licence involved).

There were also some fairly bad books among the M/M romances. Since I hadn‘t done much research on the subject before being (rudely) handed a Kindle and ordered to start reading (I know, I‘m a pushover) it was hit or miss whether I picked something good or something I had rather not finish, and in fact there were three DNF stories among the ones I started reading in January (not included in the list) and a couple more I did finish but wouldn‘t recommend.

The Books:
  • Katie Allen : Private Dicks . Romantic mystery, M/M.
  • Mary Calmes : His Hearth . Romantic fantasy, M/M.
  • Julia Child & Alex Prud'homme : My Life in France . Memoir.
  • L.B. Gregg: Men of Smithfield: Adam and Holden. Romantic mystery, M/M.
  • Jean Haus : Ink My Heart . Romance, contemporary.
  • G.A. Hauser : Love You, Loveday . Romantic suspense, M/M.
  • Amy Lane : Christmas with Danny Fit . Romance, M/M.
  • Carol Lynne : Rough Ride . Romance, M/M.
  • Angel Martinez : Boots . Romantic fantasy, M/M.
  • Tere Michaels : Faith & Fidelity and  Love & Loyalty. Romance, M/M.
  • Jet Mykles : Heaven, Purgatory, Hell and Faith. Romance, M/M.
  • Terry O'Reilly : One Night in December. Romance, M/M.
  • Lucius Parhelion : A Faint Wash of Lavender.Historical, romantic, M/M.
  • Marty Rayne : A Master's Love. BDSM romance, M/M.
  • Nora Roberts : Secret Star. Romance, contemporary. 
  • Katrina Strauss : Sleight of Hand. Romance, M/M.
  • Clare Thompson : Golden Boy and Golden Man. BDSM romance, M/M.
  • Lori Toland : The Replacement Guitarist. Romance, M/M.
  • Jennifer Worth : Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse and Farewell to the East End. Memoirs.

15 February 2014

Challenge...

Wouldn't you know it: After stating that I was mostly staying away from reading challenges in 2014,  I then spent most of January doing a reading challenge. A chance comment of mine during a conversation prompted my friend Sig to hold me to something I said in a reading report post several months before, about doing some research into gay romances with a view to finding some good ones. I'd read a few since then, but had not been too impressed.

Sig happens to love this genre and considers herself an expert on the subject. In the second week of January she handed me a Kindle loaded with a bunch of gay romances in various subgenres, including some of her favourites with various other stories thrown in for variety. She challenged (or rather ordered) me to read at least 10 of them, preferably at least one erotica story and one BDSM subgenre story.

By the way, I should say that by good ones I meant romances that have the qualities I like in a good straight romance: an interesting or thrilling story with strong emotions, engaging characters that undergo plausible development in the course of the narrative, no "sex instead of character development" scenes, no more than one sex scene per every 60-or-so pages and preferably only one long sex scene.

I have, in the past, been able to ignore an over-abundance of the last two items, but only when the first three items were in place. I usually get around them by skimming, and I can tell you: I did a fair amount of skimming through some of these stories. It seems that in gay romance - usually referred to as M/M romance - there must be sex in at least every other chapter. I found a handful of books that had less, and another handful in which the frequent sex scenes were short and written with enough skill and variation not to make me suspicious of an overuse of the "cut, shuffle and paste" technique, because, face it: there are only so many ways in which you can write a sex scene before they start getting repetitious.

Generally speaking, the fewer the sex scenes, the better the character development and story were, with the sex being used for verisimilitude and extra flavouring, rather than being the main focus of the story. Some, however, were just sex scenes strung together with the barest hint of a story and lead characters with the (admirable) physical charms but also unfortunately the plastic personalities of Action Man dolls.

All of these stories fall into the "all dessert and no main course" category of literature, although some are apple pie while others are meringues.

What I do find refreshing about M/M romances is that in the sex scenes, the authors tend to call things - both body parts and actions - by their names. Not necessarily medical names - penis is not a common word in these books - but rather the terms used in everyday talk. If you've read straight romances you will be familiar with the flowery evasive language and metaphors used in the sex scenes in about 95% of them. There aren't a whole lot of those in use in these books, and the language tends not to be as purple as in straight romances. For example, I only found one mention of the "velvet covered steel" kind in 20 books, which, had I been glomming straight romances, would have been a record. This plain language, of course, means that when taken out of context many of these sex scenes could easily be read as porn. It's the context, the story, and the feelings that temper them and make them erotic rather than pornographic.

A final interesting point is that of the 20 books by 14 authors, it seems only two authors are male. They, and about half of the others, go by gender-neutral author names - either initials or unisex names - while the rest go by recognisably female names. I have no way of knowing how many use pseudonyms and I didn't feel like going into the research to find out, but since this type of literature is out of the literary mainstream (although it seems to be slowly paddling towards it) and has certain associations some would consider shameful, I am assuming most of these names are pseudonyms.

So, will I continue reading M/M romances? I think I can safely say 'Yes' to that, but I will be careful in my choices before I start buying rather than borrowing them because, if you didn't already guess, I f***ing hate it when romance authors use sex to replace character development or to stuff plot holes, and I will need to find out which reviewers I can trust to help me avoid such books and which authors write the kinds of stories I like.
--
P.S.
I'm working on the reading report, will post it later this week.


10 January 2014

My stand-out reads of 2013

I reread a number of books in 2013 - which is a recommendation in itself - but this post is about the first time reads that I enjoyed the most and would recommend to others. The recommendations are not entirely universal - after all, people have different tastes in reading - but most, if not all, of them should be appealing to a literary omnivore.

I invite you to visit the Pinterest board I made with cover images and mini reviews of these books. Just click on the screen-shot below and off you go. The link will open in a new window.

Bibliophile's favourite books of 2013

06 January 2014

Looking ahead to 2014

Another year, more books to read. I'm looking forward to discover new books and authors and possibly genres in the course of 2014.

If you have followed this blog for any length of time you will know that I have a tendency to make resolutions I don't keep or enter/create ambitious and complicated challenges that I fail to fulfil. There have been some I have finished successfully, e.g. the resolution to read 50 TBR books in 2013  and the 365 short stories challenge I did a few years ago. But mostly I tend to start well and then lose interest little by little until the resolution/challenge has become a millstone around my neck and I give up.

This year I am going to take it easy. Well, fairly easy. I read 60 TBR books in 2013, 10 more than I set out to finish. Consequently, this year I am going to set out to read 60 of my TBR books in the course of the year, because I know I can do it. If I end up with fewer TBR books than I set out with, it will be a bonus.

I also plan to read at least two more books for my Brontë project. Which ones? I don't know yet, but I think I might choose one reread (i.e. Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights) and possibly Agnes Grey, which I already read one chapter of last year.

My only other - let's call it a plan, because I don't want to call it a resolution - is to read more non-fiction. I plan to do this every year (sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't), because I enjoy non-fiction and in fact tend to give non-fiction books higher marks than I do fiction, which would seem to indicate that I like it better than fiction. My favourite genre, travelogues, is certainly non-fiction, and so is my second favourite, popular science. I have some interesting choices lined up in both genres but I do not intend to commit to finishing any particular titles.

I was toying with a possible century reading project, covering the 73 years of the 19th century from which I have not read any books (to read more about that, click here). For that purpose I gathered together a list of possible novels and then got carried away and managed to find books for every year of the 19th century that I might like to read, and for most of the 18th century as well. Most are British or American, but there is a smattering of Icelandic, French, Italian and Russian as well.

However, I am not going to commit to anything now. I may pick out the occasional book from the list in the course of the year, because there are a lot of juicy classics on it, but I'm not going to stress myself over it. I might follow Alex in Leed's example and create a book jar with only these titles.

How about you? If you have a book blog and have posted your resolutions or reading plans for 2014, please leave a link in the comment box. I would love to see what you are planning to read.


03 January 2014

Looking back on 2013

http://www.pinterest.com/netla/books-read-in-2013/
It's that time of the year again: Time to look back over the year that just ended, to give thanks for all the great books I read in 2013, bemoan all the potentially great books I planned to read but didn't and express regrets for the books I read that were not so good. However, I have come to the conclusion that one shouldn't have regrets about books not read and books read but not enjoyed. After all, the unread books might, once you actually read them, turn out to be crap, and the only way to find out that you don't like a book is to read it, so the time spent reading the "bad" books isn't really wasted time but rather invested. It's just that the time you invested in the books you didn't like hasn't paid dividends like the time you invested in the good, great and excellent books. Therefore I will not spend time discussing the negative points of my reading year but will let my comments in the monthly reading reports suffice.

As for the great, good and excellent reads: there were stand-outs for each month but there is no one book that I could nominate as the best book I read in 2013. I will go over those in a later post.

The tally of books I read in 2013 comes to 218, with 54592 pages read. These numbers should perhaps be higher, because I omitted some comic books I read online, but I don't consider either Gunnerkrigg Court or Bad Machinery to be a series of separate books but rather an ongoing story with chapters or episodes and I will not consider myself to have finished reading them until they come to an actual end. Therefore they don't go in the reading journal. Same goes for the comics that are ongoing stories without clear chapter divisions, like Questionable Content and Safe Havens. If that page count were to be added I think I would find myself having read considerably more pages than what my reading journal tells me. Whatever the real tally is, I think it is possible to try too hard to count everything and it will only cause headaches.

218 books makes 2013 a better than average reading year for me. However, I did do a considerable amount of rereading, and I find I generally read faster when I reread, especially if I have read the book several times before. This, as many rereaders will know, involves a certain amount of skimming between the good parts. I also (mostly re-)read a number of short books which push up the book count while contributing little to the page count. It is also questionable whether one should tally pages that are mostly pictures as read pages because although there is undeniably a considerable mental effort involved in looking at, digesting and appreciating them, looking at them still only takes a fraction of the time it takes to read a full page of text on the same size of page.

In other words: this shit is relative.

The average rating of the books I read was 3,4, which is about the same as in  previous years. Sometimes it's a bit higher, sometimes a little lower. It does look like there were slightly fewer 4+, 5 and 5+ rated books than usual, which is not surprising as I tend to give higher ratings to non-fiction books than to fiction and I read fewer of those than usual. My intake of non-fiction tends to fluctuate between years and maybe in 2014 I will manage to read more of them.

As for the plans I outlined in my Looking forward post at the start of 2013, I never got round to doing the What's in a Name Challenge. I'm ashamed to admit I forgot all about it, as it is always fun to do.

I fulfilled my resolution of reading 50 of my TBR books, and as a matter of fact I made it to 60. I also kept the book-buying resolution. I still bought books, but I bought them with the stated purpose, i.e. books I wanted to read but knew I was unlikely to find at the library, and books I knew I might want to keep once I had read them.

I failed in fulfilling my wish to read more in my native language, but did read a few books. For example I started making inroads on the numerous books left to me by my grandmother.

As for the books I specifically mentioned in last year's post, I finished none of them. The Pratchett book lies half-read in the stack on my bedside table - no surprise since I have actually read about half of the material elsewhere and I have not been much interested in short stories this year. Instead of Jón Árnason's folktale collection I went instead for folk-tales collected by his cousin and collaborator, Ólafur Davíðsson and finished three out of four volumes. I did start reading Ulysses, but other books intruded.

Taken all in all, 2013 was a satisfactory reading year: not outstanding but by no means bad.

For a visual overview of the books I read in 2013 (and mini-reviews of some of them), click here to visit my "Books read in 2013" Pinterest board, or click on the image at the start of this post.





01 January 2014

Reading Report for December 2013

I finished 18 books in December. Of those, 5 were rereads and the rest were the usual mixed bag: some romances, a literary novel, a book of heraldry, photograph books, and folk tales old and new.

Five books had a Christmas theme and I am rather sorry I read two of them. I should have followed my instincts and stopped reading them when it became evident that I was in for unrelenting tweeness.

Some years ago I read an enjoyable Christmas novella by Debbie Macomber. It had just the right amount of sentimentality one expects from a good Christmas story, without being actually saccharine. Then I discovered that the lead characters in that story, the angels Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, were featured in full-length books. I got hold of two of those books and read both this December and I can safely say that I have had enough of Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. The stories were pure glurge: hyper-sentimental, saccharine tear-jerkers.

A third Christmas book was a volume of two novellas of the paranormal genre, both of which feature vampires and humans falling in love. They were nothing extraordinary, except the purpleness of the prose in one of them made me giggle a couple of times (I may post about that later).

The standouts, apart from Dickens‘ Christmas Carol, which doesn’t count because it’s a reread, were Vestal Fire, Reimleikar í Reykjavík, and the two photography books, The Book of London and North Dakota 24/7.

Vestal Fire is a juicy tale of scandal within a community of expats on a romantic Italian island in the years immediately before, during and immediately after World War One. It is full of wonderfully drawn eccentric characters and nuanced descriptions of a tight-knit community that begins to unravel when a stranger lands in their midst and becomes an apple of discord.

Reimleikar í Reykjavík is a collection of ghost stories from my home city, Reykjavík, set down by an accomplished writer who knows how to turn up the chill factor. It is available in English.

Both photography books are fascinating records of a particular place at a particular time. The Book of London is full of charming, mostly black-and white, photographs of London life and landmarks in the late 1960s, for the most part by one photographer, while North Dakota 24/7 is a portrait of a week in that US state in the mid-2000s, recorded with digital photographs by many, many photographers, both amateurs and professionals.

I am writing down some thoughts about the past year in reading and my plans for the new year, and if I have time and inclination I may post some statistics, although they will not be as detailed as they have sometimes been. It has, however, come to my attention that I now have reading journal entries covering a whole decade. I might do something with that, maybe take a look at how my reading has developed genre-wise and see how many books and pages I have finished in that time.

The Books:
  • Rosemary A. Chorzempa: Design Your Own Coat of Arms: An Introduction to Heraldry. Heraldry.
  • Jennifer Crusie : Faking It. Romance. Reread.
  • Jennifer Crusie; Anne Stuart; Lani Diane Rich: Dogs and Goddesses. Romance. Reread.
  • Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol. Christmas story. Reread.
  • Georgette Heyer: The Quiet Gentleman. Historical romance. Reread.
  • Compton Mackenzie: Vestal Fire. Novel.
  • Debbie Macomber: A Season of Angels and Touched by Angels . Inspirational Christmas romances.
  • Maureen Child; Caridad Piñero: Holiday with a Vampire. Two paranormal Christmas romance novellas: Christmas Cravings (Child); Fate Calls (Piñero).
  • Iain Mcmillan (photos); Roger Baker (text): The Book of London. Photograph book.
  • Jeanette Murray: No Mistletoe Required. Christmas romance, novella.
  • Morag Neil: Curious Cats. Picture book.
  • Ólafur Davíðsson: Íslenzkar þjóðsögur III. Folk tales.
  • Terry Pratchett: Moving Pictures. Fantasy. Reread.
  • Nora Roberts: Hidden Star and Captive Star. Romantic suspense.
  • Steinar Bragi: Reimleikar í Reykjavík. Ghost stories.
  • Various: North Dakota 24/7. Photograph book.



17 December 2013

Reading report for November 2013

November was a less than average reading month for me: I finished 8 9 books. (Tsk! I forgot one).
Of those, 5 were rereads and 3 were TBR.

Unusually, this was not due to one of my fits of depression (reading little and rereading are two of the danger signs), but simply because I have had other things to do. I have been using some of the time I usually spend reading to draw/doodle instead, something I love doing but I haven't had much energy to do for a long time. One of the things I did was to hand-draw all my Christmas cards. I also made a number of paper ornaments, most which can be hung anywhere at any time of year, but of course they also look nice on the Christmas tree.

Any time I do less than my usual amount of reading for a while, I begin to feel the difference in my body by the second week or so, especially my neck and shoulders. Having myalgia means I need to take good care of myself and reading unfortunately puts a strain on my muscles. But if I had to choose between being perfectly free of myalgia and not reading, or having myalgia and continuing to read, I would still choose reading and the stiffness and sore muscles it entails, because I can't imagine not having the joy of books in my life.

The stand-out was undoubtedly  L'étranger by Albert Camus, not only because it is good literature but also because it is the first unabridged, unsimplified novel I finish reading in French. Reading it and then discussing it (in French) helped me get a better feeling for the French language than any book meant for teaching possibly could.

But on to the books:
  • Mary Balogh, Sandra Heath, Edith Layton, Barbara Metzger, Patricia Rice: A Regency Christmas Feast. Historical romance novellas. Reread.
  • Albert Camus: L'étranger. Novel. 
  • Martha Grimes : Help the Poor Struggler. Murder mystery. TBR read.
  • Georgette Heyer : The Masqueraders. Historical romance. Reread.
  • Georgette Heyer : Powder and Patch. Historical romance. Reread.
  • Georgette Heyer : Cotillion. Historical romance. Reread.
  • Terry Pratchett : Night Watch. Fantasy. Reread.
  • Helen Scales : Poseidon's Steed: The Story of Seahorses. Natural history. TBR read.
  • Marilyn Wann : Fat!So!. Self-help. TBR read.


02 November 2013

Reading report for October 2013

I finished 14 books in October. Of those, 4 were rereads and none were ebooks, something that hasn‘t happened in a single month since I bought my Kindle a couple of years ago. In addition, all 10 first-time reads were TBR books, so I have now fulfilled my goal of reading 50 books from my TBR stack in 2013. Now that there are only 2 months left in the year I don‘t think I will set myself a further TBR goal, but I will continue to count the TBR books I read to see if it is realistic for me to set the TBR bar higher for next year. I am finally beginning to see gaps in my formerly overstuffed bookshelves, and I should be having a hard time preventing myself from buying books to fill them, but so far it has been easy to avoid that temptation, because I am saving up money for something else. Besides, the Christmas season is beginning and I have been busy planning what to give to whom and making Christmas cards.

There were several reading highlights in October. Among them were Only in America by BBC correspondent Matt Frei and The Unites States of Europe by American reporter T.R. Reid, which are comparable books in that the authors are trying to give their compatriots an idea of what the subjects they are writing about are like. Their approaches are different, Frei‘s being more anecdotal and using him and his family to illustrate many points of difference between the USA and Europe/Britain, while Reid takes a more political and historical approach and makes comparisons while mostly keeping himself and his family out of the picture. Both are informative and enjoyable reads.

Both Georgette Heyer books were stand-outs as well. Not because they are good mysteries – I can't in all honesty say that about either – but because of the repartee-filled dialogues and screwball characters Heyer excelled at whatever genre she was writing in. I also enjoyed the humour of Martha Grimes‘ The Anodyne Necklace, which in addition is a good mystery, one in which Elizabethan literature plays a considerable role. I am also happy to have discovered a new mystery author (to me): V.C. Clinton-Baddely, whose twist at the end of My foe outstretched beneath the tree came as a complete surprise, even though I did have my suspicions about the identity of the killer.

The Books
  • V.C. Clinton-Baddeley: My foe outstretched beneath the tree. Murder mystery.
  • Jennifer Crusie: Anyone But You. Romance, contemporary. Reread.
  • Jennifer Crusie: Getting Rid of Bradley. Romance, contemporary. Reread.
  • Jennifer Crusie: Manhunting. Romance, contemporary. Reread.
  • Elínborg Lárusdóttir: Hvíta höllin. Memoir.
  • Fannie Flagg: Can't Wait to Get to Heaven. Inspirational novel.
  • Matt Frei: Only in America. Social commentary.
  • Martha Grimes: The Anodyne Necklace. Murder mystery.
  • Georgette Heyer: Behold, Here's Poison. Murder mystery.
  • Georgette Heyer: A Blunt Instrument. Murder mystery.
  • Lora Leigh, Nalini Singh, Erin McCarthy, LindaWinstead: The Magical Christmas Cat. Romantic urban fantasy.
  • T.R. Reid: The Unites States of Europe. Political science and history.
  • Sigge Stark: Engir karlmenn, takk. Romance. Reread.
  • Patricia Wentworth: The Catherine-Wheel. Murder mystery.