bookworm ~ a year of books ...

Reading

What more pleasant pastime is there on a winters' afternoon, when it is cold, grey and raining, than to light the fire, make yourself a steaming mug of tea, snuggle yourself into your favourite armchair and read a book.

Laura at A Circle of Pines is featuring 'A Year of Books' on her blog which I shall be linking this post to.  When there is plenty to do out of doors in the summer months  I read maybe a couple of books a month, but during the winter I get through at least one a week ~ so far this year I have read seven.  One or two are books I have read previously from my own shelves, others were Christmas gifts ~ I move from fiction to factual, dependant on my mood and often have three on the go at any one time.  I love to lose myself in the world of someone else's imagination, and if it is beautifully written with exquisite descriptions, so much the better.

My first choice at the beginning of the year was

The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke

Two sisters, one life-changing journey...There are some currents in the relationship between sisters that run so dark and so deep, it's better for the people swimming on the surface never to know what's beneath ...Katie's carefully structured world is shattered by the news that her headstrong younger sister, Mia, has been found dead in Bali - and the police claim it was suicide. With only the entries of Mia's travel journal as her guide, Katie retraces the last few months of her sister's life, and - page by page, country by country - begins to uncover the mystery surrounding her death. What she discovers changes everything. But will her search for the truth push their sisterly bond - and Katie - to breaking point? The Sea Sisters is a compelling story of the enduring connection between sisters.

The Sea Sisters

Followed by

Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield

Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who "could go to the good or the bad." And indeed, although William Bellman's life at first seems blessed—he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business—one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife's fresh grave—and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William—a mysterious business called "Bellman & Black"

17571907

From my bookshelves ~ As It Was by Helen Thomas, Simply Imperfect by Robyn Griggs Lawrence, A Moment of War by Laurie Lee, I Can't Stay Long by Laurie Lee which is a series of essays.  I love his work.  Here is the description of when his daughter was born from the essay 'The Firstborn'

She was born in the autumn and was a late fall in my life, and lay purple and dented like a little bruised plum, as though she'd been lightly trodden in the grass and forgotten.  Then the nurse lifted her up and she came suddenly alive, her bent legs kicking crabwise, and her first living gesture was a thin wringing of the hands accompanied by a far-out Hebridean lament.

How good is that!

Finally, I have just finished reading

The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys

Fleeing war-torn London in 1941, gardener Gwen Davis leaves the "wild, lovely clutter" of the city for the safe haven of the English countryside. Unwilling to watch her beloved city crumble under the assault of incendiary German bombs, she accepts a position at a requisitioned estate in Devon, supervising the farming of potatoes for the war effort.
A 35-year old spinster with a wicked wit and a fondness for literature, Gwen arrives at her new post to find that the group of "Land Girls" she's to supervise have little interest in planting. They're far more eager to cultivate the human crop -- a regiment of Canadian soldiers stationed at the estate, awaiting their assignment. Allying herself with the Canadians' commanding officer, Gwen strategically wins the girls' cooperation by agreeing to a series of evening dances at which they may mix with the soldiers. Pleased to again be in control of her environment, Gwen makes two life-changing discoveries. The first is the existence of feelings she's never before allowed herself to experience. The second is a hidden, abandoned garden on the estate, the secrets of which Gwen is compelled to unlock.
With poignant, poetic mastery of her craft, Helen Humphreys has produced a smart, no-nonsense, and utterly sympathetic character in Gwen Davis. And as her affecting story unfolds and she plumbs the mysteries of gardening, readers too will explore the depths of the soil in which grow the tender shoots of love

The Lost Garden

I am looking forward to joining in with A Year of Books and finding out just what floats everyone else's boat.

The next book from the top of the pile will be The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Husband's Secret

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret - something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all - she's an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia - or each other - but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband's devastating secret.

Comments

  1. Fabulous reviews! Because I work p/t at a friend's book shop, I am inundated with books, and LOVE it, but I truly appreciate a review from a real person and not a book rep who loves all their publishers' books! Thank you for the great suggestions!

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    1. Lucky you working in a bookshop - I don't think I could cope with so much choice.

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  2. Well I'm glad to see your computer is now fixed.
    Some great reviews here, I actually got Bellman & Black out of the library before Christmas and never got around to reading it, then when I tried to renew it it was recalled as someone else had requested it. After your write up I'll certainly give a few of these a go.
    I completely agree, there's nothing better in winter than curling up with a good book. I wish I had a log burner to sit in front of....maybe I'll get one for next winter.xxx

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    1. Thanks Snowbird - I now have a new keyboard - I have been lost without being able to comment. Bellman and Black was listed as a ghost story but I couldn't quite work out who the ghost was meant to be - an enjoyable but unusual read.

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  3. Some good books there Elaine. I've just joined the Year of Books too and am looking forward to seeing what everyone else is reading. Its nice to have prompts sometimes.
    Patricia x

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    1. I'm looking forward to it to Patricia although I suspect other people's selections won't necessarily suit everyone.

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  4. I'll make a note of some of those titles as they sound my sort of book. I've read Sister by Rosamund Lupton which has a similar theme to your The Sea Sisters. I've also read The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I'm just arranging my bookshelves at the moment - post decorating. As well as a small pile of paperback novels waiting to be read I also have my newly acquired ebooks which should mean my shelves are less cluttered!

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    1. I have Rosamund Lupton next book 'Afterwards' in my to be read pile. I've also read The Thirteenth Tale which I really enjoyed, I watched it on tv recently and was very disappointed, it didn't have nearly as much suspense as the book in my opinion. I haven't tried ebooks yet but never say never.

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    2. I've read Afterwards - I was going to watch Thirteenth Tale and forgot so seems I didn't miss much.

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  5. I've already shared this post with a friend. These books all sound wonderful! I'm headed to Amazon.com to pop them in my cart! Thanks for this post. :o)

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  6. HI Elaine, I love the sound of those books and especially the last one on your list. I will be looking out for that one. Thank you for the lovely Ladybird book XXX

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  7. I agree that there's nothing more pleasant. I may not read any these books but this certainly is a most enjoyable post. Happy reading! Flighty xx

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    1. No I can understand that they are ladies books and as I know your preference is for crime books I doubt you would be interested in my future reading either. Each to his own eh!

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  8. They all look good, but I'm especially interested in the Lost garden - am off to amazon now! Thank you :-)

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  9. Some really good reads. I wonder if they are available here in the states?

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    1. I should imagine so - you can get anything anywhere these days.

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  10. It will be fascinating to see what everyone is reading and to read their reviews. I shall make a note on any interesting books for my holiday - that's when I get most of my reading done.

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    1. I always take more books than I need on holiday - just in case I don't enjoy one that I have chosen.

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  11. I read The Husband's Secret, loved it, hope you do too. I am someone who reads several books a month too, but won't blog about all of them, maybe just those I enjoyed the most.

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    1. I have just started it Edwina - so far, so good.

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  12. I like the look of The Lost Garden. I think I may see if I can loan that one from the library:)

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    1. I enjoyed the writing style in this book - which isn't always the case.

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  13. If ever there was an author who wrote perfect prose it's Laurie Lee. I often think contemporary fiction writers should be made to study his work ... there is so much dull prose out there these days, don't you think?

    Loving that this project of Laura's has enticed so many of us in :)

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    1. I totally agree - I could re-read his books over and over - come to think of it I do. I just love the descriptive quality of them.

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  14. Oooh, they pretty much all sound perfect for curling up with on a cold wet day like today. Thank you!

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    1. There have certainly been enough cold wet days recently to warrant curling up in front of the fire with a good book.

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  15. Thanks so much for joining in! Lots of lovely book choices, there. Laura

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  16. I am off to look for the lost garden! Thank you.

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