Anyway, this is supposed to be a book round-up, so let's get on with it, even if I don't have many reviews to refer to. One of the brightest points of the year is the continued reissue of Angela Thirkell's books, and I've been chatting regularly to friends on FaceBook about her work (where we've held fairly gentle group reads) and keeping an eye out for reviews, so that we can list them for Angela Thirkell Society members, who like to know such things are out there. This was my first year as ATS journal editor as well, which has been fun, although it's sometimes taken my attention away from blogging. This was also Barbara Pym's centenary year, and I went to Oxford to attend the Alliance of Literary Societies' AGM, which was hosted by the Barbara Pym Society. On FaceBook a virtual birthday tea-party was held and people got together to eat tea and cakes in Pym's honour -- my contribution was a cup of what I still think of as "British Rail" tea and a shortbread biscuit, while sitting in the waiting room at King's Cross on my way home:
It's nice that the refurbishment of King's Cross Station is finally almost complete!
In September the UK Angela Thirkell Society held its own AGM, where Rita Rundle, the author of last year's Society Christmas present, described how she set about writing a guide to present-day Barsetshire, which has proved very popular with members.
As far as books went, my actual reading rate wasn't a lot lower than usual in most months, though -- contrary to what you'd expect -- when I had a very severe and prolonged attack of sciatica after Easter the number of books I read went down. I was very grateful at that time for my new Android tablet, because I had the powers of concentration of a butterfly for some weeks. Even my usual go-to books for comfort weren't much help, and it was July before I was reading normally again. This affected blogging as well, as I couldn't sit at a computer for long, and as soon as I'd recovered, I had to go haring off to Devon for a couple of weeks of brisk dog-walking.
One of our favourite places, the churchyard is also a mini nature reserve
And here we are again in November...
Back to books again! I've decided to do what a number of people have done this year and just pick out my top ten -- no categories, no particular order, just the books I've enjoyed most this year. The only requirement I've imposed on myself is that they must all be hitherto unread:
1. Let's Kill Uncle by Rohan O'Grady
2. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
3. Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell
4. Deep Magic by Diana Wynne-Jones - Kindle
5. The Salt-Stained Book by Julia Jones
6. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
7. A Lifetime Burning by Linda Gillard
8. I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
9. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
10. A Crowded Coffin by Nicola Slade
I'm not even going to try to pick out a "most favourite", they all have so much to recommend them and it would change with my mood. I was surprised, though, to realise that all but three are recent -- pleased, too, as it means there will be new books by most of these authors to look forward to.
What about resolutions for 2014? Well, I do mean to read more off the TBR pile, and a lot of that means Kindle reading (all those bargains snapped up!), which may be useful as I expect to be away from home quite a bit. I'm limiting challenges, knowing that time may be an issue, but I'm greatly looking forward to participating throughout the year in Melwyk's Postal Challenge. Also, I want to finish my Century of Books -- I see Simon, who started the challenge, is off on his second run through the twentieth century. I shall have a look at posts by people who have finished it to help me fill in some missing years, but first I need to run through what I've read in the past twelve months and work out where the remaining gaps are!
It only remains to thank all the lovely people who have visited my blog in the past year, and to wish everyone a very happy and fulfilling year of reading!