Reading round-up December 2016

Happy holidays! I’ve had a week off work and I have read half a book. Crazy! In fairness it’s a big book – 684 pages in the edition I have. And I finally finished it this morning, just in time for a New Year fresh start. If I feel like reading today, I’ll dig out a short story or three, but I think we’re running out of time to do stuff before going out for New Year anyway.

I have sadly failed to complete my reading bingo card. Even cheating a little bit by including short stories for two of the remaining categories, I didn’t manage to tick everything off. But I think in general I did pretty well and it did encourage me to read a few things I otherwise wouldn’t have – including my epic reread of Sophie’s Choice.

Tomorrow I’ll weed out the TBR a little as my kind and generous family gave me 10 new books for Christmas and I’m expecting/hoping for a couple more for my birthday next week. Lovely lovely bookses.

But for now I’ll quickly list my December reads and then get to my annual stats in another post.

Do you have any self-imposed rules about end-of-year reading? Do you try to start the New Year with a carefully selected book that will set the right tone? I feel like I should, but I’m running out of time to pick it out!


Uneasy Money by P G Wodehouse
This is the story of Bill Dawlish, who has a title but little money, and his jaunt to America. It’s a fun romantic comedy that skewers the class system and also the desire for money versus the need for money.

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
This is a memoir, written in the form of essays, by Lauren Graham, star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. It’s funny, honest, smart and touching.

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
These 10 letters constitute Rilke’s advice on how to look at life as well as how to write and some non-advice observations such as his thoughts on places he travelled to and gender equality.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli
Miles is a teenager at high school who was a straight-A student until he started balancing being a superhero with school and he’s…struggling. It’s fun but not amazing.

Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
10 and a half years ago I read this and declared it to be my favourite book. On re-reading, I don’t think I still rate it as highly, but it is still really well written. It’s a disturbing story, or rather two disturbing stories in one – Sophie’s World War Two experience, which included time at Auschwitz, and her life a few years later in Brooklyn.

Short stories

“New wave” by Haifa al-Mansour (words), Brad Niemann (pencils) and Rachel Dukes (inks) – Lenny newsletter, 13 Sep 2016

“A dream of men” by Mary Gaitskill – New Yorker Fiction podcast

“Flower hunters” by Lauren Groff – New Yorker The Writer’s Voice podcast

“The gift giving” by Joan Aiken

Happy New Year! Here’s to 2017.