I hope Christmas week has been as relaxing for you all as it has been for all of us here at Relish Towers. A break from work and, most shockingly of all, a break from reading! Although I realise many of you will have taken advantage of the extra time to delve into some long neglected tomes, I have inadvertently done the opposite. Tired and full of a cold I felt it was time to reflect on the reading year past and, of course, other pivotal events of the bookish year.
Having mulled over the idea of setting up a book club in south Manchester for many a month, the fabulous Simon Savidge and I finally set up the Manchester Book Club in the city centre back in April and have enjoyed many a fruitful meeting since. I have met a wonderful group of bookworms, have read and delighted in some thoroughly disappointing books and got, well, rather sloshed! Long may it continue!
For Literary Relish, the move to WordPress back in August has been the largest and scariest overhaul of them all and still very much a work in progress. It seems one has to understand a little more about the tinterweb, urls, copying and pasting (ha ha!) than previously expected but I am happy with the result so far and am striving towards a more professional forum to vent my spleen…so to speak.
However, never mind all that. Back to the bread and butter of the blog which is, after all, the reading. What of 2012? Was it a year full of wonder or drenched with duds? Here is the year at a glance:
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. A book and location that have both been on my ‘to do’ list for far too long. I both read and visited this year. Although the bookshop itself is now gone, Hanff’s classic brings this wonderful business and the friendships she developed with its staff back to life.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. Beautiful, bewitching tale of the Alaskan wilderness and the love and hope a grieving couple find therein.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Need I say more.
Pure by Andrew Miller. Forget your delicate pastries and Chanel No 5. Andrew Miller’s stinking sewer of the 18th century Cité truly brings Paris jumping off the page.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I have yet to meet a book lover disappointed with this winning début novel that explores a classic story and drags it to an accessible and suitably heart wrenching place – to reach the heart of the steeliest of readers
Classic of the year
Classic authors discovered…
Include Agatha Christie, Christopher Isherwood, Nancy Mitford and Derek Tangye. I also dipped into Susan Hill’s ghost stories this year. Formulaic yet immensely entertaining. Can’t wait to read Dolly… (mwah hah hah!)
Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell. If I had a pound for every time a MBC member slates our (my) first book club choice I’d be a very rich woman…
The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers. Tiresome tiresome tiresome.
First eBook read: The Swimmer by David Haynes
Disappointments and niggles
Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I love Ishiguro yet was left completely unmoved by this, apparently his ‘greatest work to date’. Not.
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. You know those books in your TBR that you are confident will be life affirming/changing, etc, etc *insert positive adjective here* Well, I read Midnight’s Children and don’t know how I feel! Rushdie’s story is undoubtedly something special but I have the horrible feeling I read this book at the wrong moment in my life, finding my attention wandering more than once. I’m reserving judgement and will not be writing a review…..
The shock of matching my paltry 47 against the 100 + books that some bloggers have managed to read this year (how!!!???) has also been appeased at being included in Kate Feld’s Manchester blogs for 2012 (see The Manchizzle here. Very good stuff!) Woo hoo!
After all of this rambling, it looks like we need to get down to business. The Kindle giveaway is still pending…..
Rudolph (and the boyfriend) have picked the two winners out of the top hat and I can confirm….*drumroll please* that the winners of the Christmas Kindles are….
Hurrah! Many thanks to those of you who entered and have read this rambly post. I wish all of you an incredibly healthy and happy 2013. See you soon!