2020 is going to be a year to remember in many ways but for the moment, I am just going to concentrate on books. Taken me a while to reflect back on them all.
All 109 of them that I finished!
Some facts and figures for those geeks that like that sort of thing!
The Shortest Book was 149 pages (The 39 Steps)
The Longest Book was 608 pages (The Moonflower Murders)
I read 35,580 pages – goodness knows how many words that was.
There was no rereading in 2020, despite my promise to myself that I will do this.
79 books were on my kindle – this is in the main due to my netgalley membership which is enabling me to read books and review them and tell all my blog followers and watchers about books to look out for. I am always most humbled by this and do not take it for granted. Though you have to be careful not to get too bogged down in requesting too many!
Though this year more than any I have revelled in being to a hold a tangible book as a reassurance in these strange times.
So what has stood out for me? What is worthy of a mention?
Multiple Books by the same Author
The winner is Agatha Christie – I read 5 of her books in 2020. The Reading Christie challenge hosted by the Agatha Christie official website helps with that. They have brought it back for 2021 and I hope to dip in and out as I did in 2020.
4 Books – Katie Fforde
3 Books – Emma Davies, Helena Dixon, Katie Ginger, Amanda Owen, Caroline Roberts, Heidi Swain, Tilly Tennant.
2 Books – Lucy Foley, Sophie Hannah, Holly Martin, Carole Matthews, Cressida McLaughlin, Bella Osborne, Nancy Revell, Ben Schott, Robin Stevens, Jo Thomas, Emma Burstall, Christie Barlow, Phillipa Ashley.
I know you should not judge a book by it’s cover but in these strange times I have sought such joy in bright colourful covers of books that have then gone on to give me such joy.
This blog in the last few years has prominently been heavily dominated with Women’s Fiction as you can see, but as the blog has changed and developed so has my reading. I made all these promises of looking back over the last ten years of blogging – I got no further than 2012. Odd when I had a lot of time on my hands that I did not go back and manage this task.
Oh well, the blog moves on and develops as I suppose life does.
So what other books should I tell you about well these are the stand out ones for me in 2020.
There is only one Queen of Crime (Agatha Christie if you don’t know) but what if the Queen was involved in solving crime. Well she needs to fill her days somehow between all the papers, visits and family battles surely?
This really is an exuberant take on the cosy mystery genre and has some good research done on it, to understand the workings of the the Royal Family and also the descriptions of Windsor Castle. There are some humorous moments and it had me laughing out loud and what seems like the absurdity of it all but then do we really know what goes on behind palace walls?
Nora is seventeen. Her whole life ahead of her. Bright and skilful. Her heart leads her to one night of passion and that leads to a baby.
In 2020, heads would hardly turn, families would pull together.
In 1939, the world was very different. The Mental Deficiency Act meant Nora could be committed to an asylum as a moral imbecile. She was a threat to herself and others for one act of passion.
Beautifully and emotionally written it engages you from beginning to end. This is one if the best books I have read and for a debut novel should be up there with the best.
I first met Atticus Pund in Magpie Murders, I thought it was a one off, it seemingly started at the end of what could have been a series of books. However four years later Atticus is back and his creator Alan Conway long since dead is still making an impact from beyond the grave.
The reader is treated to a skilfully written novel, the clues are all there, and whilst I had the wrong person for a while, I did have the right reasons but the most obvious simply passed by Susan Ryeland as well as me! If the lead character can be fooled as much as the reader – the author must be on to something.
This brings Louisa back in touch with The Mitford Sisters, who she thought she had left behind. Diana, now separated from her husband Bryan has started a love affair with Oswald Mosley and with her sister Unity obsessed with the beliefs and values of the Fascists, it seems that Louisa is going to be plunged into the darker side of politics and ever growing problems in Europe.
A well written murder mystery perfect for fans of history and the gold age of crime. Long may they continue. Highly recommended.
There is something about Rachel Joyce stories, that have a quietness about them which stays with you for a very long time. I remember the beauty of her debut novel……
This time we meet Margery Benson, spinster, late forties who discovered an interest in a particular golden beetle. It was said to exist but no one had seen or even found it.
With detailed research clearly undertaken in terms of the landscape of New Caledonia as well as the research into all the insects and the treatment and recording of them, the book teaches you as well as gives you a story that you can believe in and characters you put your trust in.
Having finished their A-Levels Judith, Lana and Catrin are about to embark on one of those life affirming moments when they take a trip to Greece to celebrate the fact that they have made it thus far and that their long standing friendship since the age of eight will last a life time.
As the book goes on through key moments in all their lives, it is being told from the perspective of each of the girls as they become women, as they move between close friends and further distance.
This is a book full of strong female characters, with such depth and warmth you will think you have known them a lifetime. In fact you can relate to aspects of all of them and I think that is the key to making this an excellent book.
A book I did not review, it was a Christmas present from 2019, but one all should read if you are a fan of Toksvig.
And finally, I must say thank you to all those who comment on my blog and to those that stop by and read but don’t say anything. It really is all just a stream of my consciousness and I enjoy reading, writing and sharing it all with you.
I am not sure where this blog will go in 2021, I have all these fanciful ideas, but I have not managed at the moment to get to grasp with using WordPress from my iPad and only have access to a computer (notwithstanding the 4 I use at work every day) on a Sunday. Perhaps when and if I do, I will share more of the craft items and other life observations I did when I first started this blog all that time ago.
For now, take care, stay safe and keep reading.