Ok, I was putting this off until later in the month, but it looks like I will only get Eat, Pray, Love finished by the end of the week, and then it's Christmas and not sure when I will get to read! So.....the funny thing is, reading over the books I have read this year, none really made it to my all-time list. Some years I read so many books that I instantly fall in love with. This year seemed to be the year when I read lots of continuing books in series, or read books I enjoyed, but not necessarily would give copies to other people to read.
The Naming of the Dead - Ian Rankin - my favourite mystery author. And this book was one of the best ones, with Rebus taking on Bush on a bicycle in Scotland, and the shocking slide of Siobhan Clarke to the dark side.
Lost in a Good Book - Jasper Fforde - these two books are number 2 and 3 in the Thursday Next series. I love this series. I love the books that Thursday jumps into, the characters she meets - the scene of the therapist with the group from Wuthering Heights is hilarious, because she's right, who doesn't hate the insipid Catherine?? and Thursday going through her pregnancy without her husband who may not be recovered is unexpectedly moving. Ok, so I"ve found some books to recommend after all!
Well of Lost Plots - "
Twelve Sharp - Janet Evanovich - I love this one - I love the series, who couldn't love Morelli and Ranger vying for her attention???Yikes, who to choose! Yummy!!! and Stephanie is hilarious as is her family. This is one of my all-time favourite series, and this one was good, where we get to see a little bit more about Ranger (but no so much that he loses his mysterious/dangerous quality). I'm waiting for 13 to appear in paperback....hmm, should be due soon....
Magic or Madness - Justine Lardabelestier - a new fantasy series from an Australian writer, this is book one. It is exciting, with a new theory of magic in families, an Australian setting for some of the mystery, and believable characters, some of whom are threatening, some charming. Reason Cansino does not know what to believe from her mother, who has gone mad, and I found this breathed a new perspective into the theory that you must do magic or die; in this book if you do magic, you also die, as well as if you don't do it. Very interesting series.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling - what can I say? I was devastated after book 6 and Snape's revelation of working with Lord Voldemort. I confess that I cried all through the ending, partly for Harry's sacrifice, mostly because of Snape and how all his life he was misunderstood, and in the end what he did, he did out of love. I had never believed he was evil, and so I felt such a thrill of joy when he was revealed to be one of the heroes of the series! (I won't reveal any more for fear of ruining the future reading of some Gentle Reader in furthest regions of the world who have not read the books yet). I very much enjoyed this whole series, which I thought brought back the joy of reading, the fun and thrill of adventure stories for kids, which I devoured as a child. As soon as the youngest two are old enough, I will be reading the books in sequence to them.....
Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert - currently reading this one, but since she writes about her trip both inner and outer in an engaging, friendly fashion - careful to show her character warts as well as exuberant joy in travelling - I have already thoroughly enjoyed the 1/5th I have read.
The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson - see earlier blog about this book, in October I think. As time has gone on, I have found that images or ideas from this book keep popping up in my head. Larson did a masterful job comparing the soaring heights of the dreams of the men who built the Chicago's World Fair in 1900, and of the man who dreamed large in a darker, deadlier fashion - the one thing the book was missing was an accurate count at the end of who was murdered, and a list of his suspected victims. As a morality tale about the current state of our cities, it should be must-reading for every young woman about to leave home and get her first job and apartment, no matter where she is. Highly recommended.
Strange Affair - Peter Robinson - Canadian mystery author who sets his mysteries in Yorkshire, England. I had read earlier books of his in this series some years ago, and enjoyed them, but lost touch until my mother brought this one up on her trip for my birthday in May this year. She had never read him before, and not knowing I had, brought me the book. Once i started reading it, I couldn't put it down! It was gripping! So I went out and bought the book before - Playing with Fire - and bought the next in line, Piece of My Heart, to go in my 888 Book Challenge for 2008 - that's how much I enjoyed it! We get to know more about Inspector Alan Bank's family, and see him begin to put the pieces of his life back together even as he loses a family member. Always a good mystery writer, and this one was set partly in London, my favourite city in the world. A thoroughly enjoyable read, and nail-biting at the end.
The Grand Tour or the Purloined Coronation Regalia- Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer - 2nd in the Sorcery and Cecelia series (for lack of a better group title, since there isn't one). Sorcery and Cecelia or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot is the first book, and it is so delightful and wonderful, full of magic, mystery, and romance PLUS a chocolate pot, that when I saw there was a second book, I grabbed it right away. It was the first book I read this year. This one occurs in Europe, as the girls (Cecelia and her cousin Kate) are on a honeymoon tour with their husbands. More magic, more mystery, fashion from Paris, and love (as they are on their honeymoons!). It loses some of the excitement of the first book because they are happily married now, not falling in love - and I kept flipping to the front to remind myself which man was whose husband (James and Thomas), as their characters are not terribly different from eachother - cut in the same mold, because they are friends, and of high character. I find that I am looking for book 3 now, which is the highest recommendation I can give any series - that I want to continue reading it. I love in this book how Cecilia and Kate discover more about their magic, their husbands, their friendship, and of course their trip through Europe. I would recommend this to teens, especially, as well as anyone who enjoys fantasy and romance. Very enjoyable and sweet!
Well, they aren't selected in any order, and there they are. Let me know what your favourite books of the year are, Gentle Reader, if you like. And now that I've done the list, I see I did read some I did really like!
Happy Reading in the run-up to Christmas!!