Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Books read August - December 2008

Although I haven't been posting here long - since August - here's my list of books read since then, with links to my reviews here or at Cat Musings. I wondered if picking a favourite (rather than a "best book" which wouldn't necessarily be the same) would be possible and, after much deliberation, came up with the following: in non-fiction it's Traveller's Prelude, Freya Stark's book about her early years, compelling for its candour and atmospheric writing, though hard on her heels would be Philip Marsden's The Bronski House, a lyrical retelling of the lives of Polish poet, Zofia Ilinska and her mother, which I have yet to review. Favourite crime novel was certainly just-completed The Black Seraphim by Michael Gilbert (I'll be posting about it very soon), while favourite fantasy and Young Adult books are the same: The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway. I'm reading the second in the Hemingway trilogy at the moment, and finding more of Michael Gilbert's elegantly written crime fiction is top of my list. And I must mention Frank Baker's Miss Hargreaves, also still to review, which is a treasure - a huge thank you to the various people whose reviews drew it to my attention. All of these would be strong contenders for "best book" too.

Most of the books listed here have been enjoyable, and I count it a good period of reading, with only one or two disppointments (though there have been some discards along the way, which aren't recorded here). I don't have records for January-July, but I do recall a handful of authors/books I read with immense pleasure: Connie Willis (particularly To Say Nothing of the Dog), Diana Wynne Jones and, best of all, Frances Hardinge's glorious Fly by Night. There were some notable re-reads during that time, too - Elizabeth Goudge's The White Witch, all of Elizabeth Pewsey's Mountjoy series, and - remembered from childhood - The Country Child by Alison Uttley. Fingers crossed that 2008 turns up as many good books.

  1. The Black Seraphim by Michael Gilbert
  2. Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters
  3. Temeraire by Naomi Novik (From the Stacks)
  4. Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner (From the Stacks - review pending)
  5. A Girl's Guide to Kissing Frogs by Victoria Clayton
  6. Tales from Moominvalley by Tove Jansson (re-read)
  7. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke
  8. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle
  9. The Coast of Incense by Freya Stark (Outmoded Authors – review pending)
  10. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham (Outmoded Authors – review pending)
  11. All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West (Cornflower book club)
  12. Christmas Pudding by Nancy Mitford (re-read)
  13. The Fisher King by Anthony Powell (From the Stacks – review pending)
  14. The Pink Front Door by Stella Gibbons
  15. The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith
  16. Kitchen Essays by Agnes Jekyll
  17. In Chancery by John Galsworthy (Outmoded Authors – review pending)
  18. The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson (Canadian Book Challenge – review pending)
  19. Snail Eggs and Samphire by Derek Cooper
  20. Lunatic Villas by Marian Engel (Outmoded Authors - review pending))
  21. The Honeyman Festival by Marian Engel (Canadian Book Challenge)
  22. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman
  23. Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker
  24. The Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding
  25. The Young Unicorns by Madeleine l'Engle (re-read)
  26. In the Country by Kenneth Allsop
  27. The Wind in the Door by Madeleine l'Engle
  28. Dark Fire by CJ Samson
  29. Nine Layers of Sky by Liz Williams
  30. The Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  31. The Pure in Heart by Susan Hill
  32. Diary of a Victorian Gardener: William Cresswell and Audley End
  33. A Deathful Ridge by J.A. Wainwright
  34. Untold Stories by Alan Bennett
  35. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (re-read)
  36. Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith
  37. Hester's Story by Adele Geras
  38. Mrs Fytton's Country Life by Mavis Cheek
  39. Diamond Dust by Peter Lovesey
  40. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
  41. Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark (Canadian Book Challenge)
  42. Dissolution by CJ Samson
  43. Darklands by Liz Williams
  44. Second Honeymoon by Joanna Trollope
  45. The Country House by John Galsworthy (OA)
  46. Traveller's Prelude by Freya Stark
  47. Fort of the Bear by Stella Gibbons
  48. Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong
  49. Dear Pup by Diana Pullein-Thompson
  50. The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
  51. The Bronski House by Philip Marsden
  52. The Innkeeper's Song by Peter S. Beagle
  53. Brotherly Love by Elizabeth Pewsey (re-read)
  54. Bloodhounds by Peter Lovesey
  55. Witch's Honour by Jan Siegel
  56. Meetings with Remarkable Trees by Thomas Pakenham
  57. Resisting Novels by Lennard J Davis
  58. Dragon Master by Chris Bunch
  59. The Man of Property by John Galsworthy (Outmoded Authors Challenge)
  60. The Mark of a Murderer by Susanna Gregory
  61. Recursion by Tony Ballantyne
  62. A Place of Safety by Caroline Graham
  63. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  64. The Dragon Charmer by Jan Siegel
  65. Made in Heaven by Adele Geras
  66. Storm Front by Jim Butcher
  67. Guide to the Food Heroes of Britain by Rick Stein
  68. Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs
  69. Never the Bride by Paul Magrs
  70. The House Sitter by Peter Lovesey
  71. A Country Wife by Lucy Pinney
  72. Sleeping with the Fishes by Mary Janice Davidson
  73. Myrren's Gift by Fiona McIntosh
  74. The Folk of The Air by Peter S. Beagle
  75. Prospero's Children by Jan Siegel (re-read)
  76. The Gay Phoenix by Michael Innes
  77. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
  78. The Country House in Perspective by Gervase Jackson-Stops
  79. Temporary Kings (A Dance to the Music of Time: Winter) by Anthony Powell
  80. The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway
  81. I Bought a Mountain by Thomas Firbank
  82. Roast figs, sugar snow by Diana Henry
  83. Back to the Land by Richard Mabey and Francesca Greenoak
  84. Mrs Fytton's Country Diary by Mavis Cheek
  85. The Lore of the Land by Westwood and Simpson
  86. Small Talk at Wreyland by Cecil Torr
  87. The Unnatural History of the Sea: The past and future of humanity and fishing by Callum Roberts



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