2018 – In Books

With the end of the year less than 2 weeks away it’s time to start the yearly round-up posts. Today it’s my year in reading.

How many books did I read?

According to Goodreads, so far this year I’ve read 95 books – although there were others that didn’t make it to Goodreads. That’s a few less than last year

Yes, that’s a lot of reading, but I do read most afternoons for an hour after I log off from the day job and again every night before I go to sleep.

And the ones that didn’t make it to Goodreads? Mostly genre romances that were devoured in an hour or so and are sweet but guilty pleasures – like vegemite and cheese on white bread with butter.

The longest book?

Ok, I’m not great with commitment, so the longest book I read was Erica James’ Love and Devotionat 536 pages. Again, according to Goodreads, my page count was greater than last year.

Any new series?

Absolutely. There was Debbie Johnson’s Comfort Café series, Jenny Colgan’s Mure Island series, E.V. Harte’s Tarot Detective series and Helen Pollard’s Little French Guesthouse series.

Additions to favourite series?

I was fortunate to get an advance copy for review purposes of Sulari Gentill’s latest Rowland Sinclair adventure, All The Tears in China. Thankfully there was also a new Rebus from Ian Rankin, In A House Of Liesand an addition to Anthony Horowitz’s Hawthorne tales with The Sentence Is Death.

Series I missed this year?

Nope. All good.

Thanks for the recommendation…

I rely on my book blogger friend Debbish for additions to my to-be-read pile, and she certainly didn’t let me down in 2018. A new bloggy friend – Sammy from The Annoyed Thyroid was also a reliable source of reading recommendations.

Any 5 star reads?

Yes – I was obviously feeling very generous this year as I handed out 5 stars to 17 reads. I’m not a great critic – if I’ve really enjoyed something it will get the marks from me. As for my favourites out of this list? That’s a tad tougher, but in no specific order here is my top 10:

  • The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover
  • Paris Is Always A Good Idea, Nicholas Barreau
  • The Man I Think I Knew, Mike Gayle
  • The Chilbury Ladies Choir, Jennifer Ryan
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
  • Café By The Sea, Jenny Colgan
  • The Wife Between Us, Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
  • A far Cry From Kensington, Muriel Spark
  • Sunshine At The Comfort Food Café, Debbie Johnson
  • Gardens Of Delight, Erica James

Close behind – and also with 5 stars – was Art of Friendship by Lisa Ireland and Three Gold Coins by fellow Sunshine Coastie Josephine Moon.

Any books adapted into a movie?

I tend not to read blockbusters – in much the same way that I tend not to watch anything nominated for an Oscar. I’m a bit of a reverse snob in this way. This means that often I don’t watch movie adaptations.

This year, however, there was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – which I read before I watched the movie.

Genre-hopping?

I’m not normally a non-fiction reader, but read some memoir this year – mostly foodie related, of course.

There was Nigel Slater’s Toastand Eating For England, and John Baxter’s A Paris Christmasand The Perfect Meal. Away from the foodie genre I enjoyed Billy Connelly’s Billy, and Ailsa Piper’s Sinning Across Spain – Walking The Camino.

Craft books read?

No, not this year.

Any business books?

Nope.

What annoyed me this year?

I read way too many books this year where sub-plots were added late into a book for the sole reason of enabling the author to tie together loose ends. There were also too many books that told us in the last couple of chapters about the character’s growth without showing these traits throughout. Oh, look! She used to be like x, now she’s like y…that sort of thing. Show don’t tell.

This cost at least six books on my list from getting a 5-star rating.  

What is concerning is that all were traditionally published yet they felt like they needed tightening editorially. Perhaps I only noticed because I’m aware that this is something I’m guilty of too – like typos in quickly cobbled together posts…whatevs..

2019?

I have some more non-fiction on my to be read pile and a couple of cookbooks that need to be actually read rather than flicked through. I’ve also added some food critics to my pile – for research purposes. 

Book-related resolutions?

This isn’t great news for the authors that I support, but my resolution this year is to go three months without buying any books at all. I have books on my bookshelf – both physical and virtual – that are crying out for attention and yet last year (and the year before and the year before that and…you get the idea) spent the equivalent of a very good holiday on books and music. I intend to work my way through some of these this year. And yes, I said all of this last year too! Anyways I’ll revisit my progress (and my willpower) at the end of March. Oh, exceptions to this rule are books bought at airports which everyone knows don’t count.

What about you? Any favourites? Recommendations? 

My Christmas Reading List

I’ll give you a rundown of my year in books next week, but for now, with Christmas just 11 days away, I’m reading only seasonal titles – just to get into the spirit of it all.

In fact, I’m so full of the spirit of the season that I’m planning my own Christmas novel. It will be full of food, love, and two dogs named Nigel and Nigella. As for the rest? Yeah, I haven’t got that far yet!

Anyways, without further ado here’s what’s in my kindle for Christmas…

A Gift From Comfort Food Cafe, Debbie Johnson – part of the fabulous Comfort Food Cafe series

Christmas At The Comfort Food Cafe, Debbie Johnson – ditto

A Paris Christmas, John Baxter – a book about one man’s search to plan and source the perfect French Christmas dinner

Christmas at Claridges, Karen Swan – which, disappointingly, isn’t really about either Christmas or Claridges.

The Christmas Secret, Karen Swan – which, much more pleasingly, is about both Christmas and a Scottish whisky distillery.

Mistletoe and Murder, Carola Dunn – part of the Daisy Dalrymple series

The Mother Of All Christmases, Milly Johnson – I thought this one would be a lot more predictable than it has turned out to be…thankfully. What I’ve loved is re-meeting a whole host of characters from her previous (stand-alone) novels.

The Christmas Wish, Tilly Tennant – on my to be read by Christmas or over the Christmas break pile

An Island Christmas, Jenny Colgan – on my to be read by Christmas or over the Christmas break pile

Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery, Jenny Colgan – on my to be read by Christmas or over the Christmas break pile

Ok, that’s my Christmas reading list – what’s on yours?