My 2015 reading challenge got off to a good start with five books completed in January. I was beginning to wonder if I’d made things too easy for myself by setting a goal of reading only thirty six books this year, but once the cruise season starts in May I’m going to have a lot less time for reading so I need to keep the momentum going whilst I can. My list of ‘want to read’ books has grown longer and longer since the start of the year and I found it really difficult to limit myself to only five books this month. I got there in the end though!
Tinder by Sally Gardner
Based on The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Anderson, Tinder is the story of a young man trying to escape the horrors of war. I love a good fairy tale retelling and from the few chapters I’ve read of this book, this one is shaping up to be exceptional. I picked it up for a quick flip through and was immediately drawn in by Sally Gardner’s vivid prose and the fantastical and grotesque illustrations by David Roberts. It’s a feast for the eyes. Whatever you do, don’t download it – this is a book that needs to be held.
Heap House by Edward Carey
I discovered Edward Carey entirely by accident when I found an advanced reader’s copy of his first book, Observatory Mansions, in a local charity shop about ten years ago. I only bought it because I liked the cover. Thankfully the inside of the book lived up to the the outside and I loved the quirky and surreal tale of romance and ordinary people. I had completely forgotten Carey existed until Heap House popped up on one of those Amazon ‘People Who Bought This Also Bought…’ things, and I only clicked on it because I liked the cover! That seemed wonderfully serendipitous so of course I had to have it. The blurb on the back of the book coupled with Carey’s beautiful Gorey-esque illustrations reminds me of Gormenghast, Neverwhere, and Dickens. I’m really looking forward to reading this.
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
I saw this book in Tesco before Christmas and made a mental note to buy it after the Christmas spending had finished. In the meantime it’s won both the Specsavers and Waterstones Book of the Year awards. The inspiration for the book came from Petronella Oortman’s beautiful dollhouse cabinet, now housed in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. In the book, the cabinet is furnished by an elusive miniaturist who seems to have an insight into the lives of Petronella and her household, as the tiny replicas she receives to furnish the cabinet with reflect and predict the events in her life with uncanny accuracy. The Miniaturist was the subject of a frantic bidding war at last year’s London Book Fair, with eleven publishers fighting for the rights to it. Picador eventually won and it’s now been published in thirty countries, with rumours of a film version closely following. It’ll be interesting to see if it lives up to the hype.
The Scots Kitchen and The Scots Cellar by F. Marian McNeill
Halfway through the second month of the year, and I’m already back on non-fiction – I just can’t help myself! The Scots Kitchen and it’s follow up The Scots Cellar are collections of traditional Scottish recipes and the folklore, traditions, and history surrounding them, first published in 1929 and 1956, respectively. I got these two vintage copies for pennies on Ebay. I am in love with these books, and I want to make everything in them, perhaps excluding the recipes that require a whole sheep or cow’s head. I don’t think I’m quite ready for that. Almond flories, hattit kit, fairy butter, and heather ale, however, will definitely be on our table soon.
So that’s my reading plan for February. If you want to keep up with what I’m reading you can add me on Goodreads, and if you have any book recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments! What are you reading just now?
PS. If you’ve commented before and your comment has disappeared, my apologies! I’ve just installed Disqus and it wiped all my existing comments :/