Reading report for December 2009

December was an unusually varied reading month for me.

Mysteries have dominated my reading for the last 10-15 years or so, but this month I only read two of them.

I have always enjoyed the Ripley’s Believe It or Not books, even when I find information in them I know or suspect to be wrong. I keep a couple of them in my bathroom for myself and guests to browse through when things get boring.

Two anthologies of poems and verse made it into my reading in December. Lately I have been reading a lot more poetry than I have done since I was in my teens, and I am becoming reacquainted with my favourite poets and versifiers in my native language and discovering new ones.

I mentioned the diary anthology in my last entry. Spending a year reading it took willpower, especially when the editor put in entries by the same person several days in a row when an interesting mini-story was to be told. I decided that it would be interesting to explore some of the excerpted diaries better. For example, I will definitely take a better look at Samuel Pepys.

I have always enjoyed short stories, and ended up reading two collections, one an anthology and the other by P.G. Wodehouse, an author I have for some reason always appreciated more for his short stories than for his novels. The last book on the list, Taxi might also be called a short story collection. It is a compilation of true stories told to the writer by 32 Icelandic taxi drivers, and the stories range from shocking to tragic to funny.

Then there were Pratchett and Wyndham, both books I have already reviewed, and one gorgeous photography book by one of Iceland’s best press photographers, Ragnar Axelsson. Look up Faces of the North if you want to check out the book.

The books:
Ripley's Believe It or Not (trivia)
Simon Brett (editor):The Faber Book of Diaries (anthology, diaries)
Grímur Thomsen:Ljóðmæli (verse)
Ngaio Marsh:False Scent (mystery)
Terry Pratchett:Unseen Academicals (fantasy)
Ragnar Axelsson:Andlit norðursins (photography)
Satyajit Ray:Incident on the Kalka Mail (mystery)
Various authors:Þrisvar þrjár sögur (short stories)
Various authors:Barnaljóð (verse; theme: children)
P.G. Wodehouse:A Few Quick Ones (short stories, humorous)
John Wyndham:Trouble with Lichen (science fiction, satire)
Ævar Örn Jósepsson (editor):Taxi: 101 saga úr heimi íslenskra leigubílstjóra (true stories)

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