October has been an absolutely bonkers month that seems to have flashed by in a blink of an eye. Work-related parties, bookish events, holidays and yet more pub-centric socialising, this month has been fun but hardly conducive to the literary cause and it means that I desperately need to sit back and take stock of what (in the words of The Readers) I have read, what I’m reading at the moment, and what I’m going to read very shortly. *Deep breath* here goes…
As you can see from the rapidly growing stack on my windowsill, the number of books I have read but not yet got around to reviewing/making notes on is a little worrying. That said, I find it far more concerning that, since our Scottish holiday at the beginning of August I have only managed to read six books! Six! Even though it feels like about sixty. Although I love to blame my slow reading on having a time-consuming day job, plenty of people seem to be reading hundreds of books a year whilst leading perfectly normal lives! I know it’s all about quality, not quantity but I still can’t help feeling envious…
Fighting against my hardback-aversion, I am currently reading the very heavy yet reasonably enthralling slice of historical fiction by Amy Tan; The Valley of Amazement, which will be released at the beginning of November. It’s difficult to hold any reader’s attention for nigh-on 600 pages but Tan has definitely given it a good go. I’m still hooked!
My TBR, on the other hand, is reaching troubling levels, not helped by my reading at snail’s pace. Apart from the usual crammed bookshelves, I have a raft of tantalising new books to get through – happily helped along by Grandma Relish whose birthday money was only ever heading directly into the coffers of Waterstones Deansgate. So. Which books are on my mind?
The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – You really can’t go wrong with a bit of ol’ Carlos. Like most people I’ve been very excited about his most recent novel, the third in his ‘cemetery of books’ quartet. When I saw it in the window of a Spanish bookshop I decided to challenge myself by reading in the original language. Whether that was a silly idea remains to be seen…
Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé by Joanne Harris – Although Harris’ books can be a little predictable, they are undeniably lovely and feel-good. I can’t wait to read this one.
Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood – Since the book group read the second of the Berlin novels; Mr Norris Changes Trains last year I’ve had a real crush on Christopher Isherwood and his superb writing. A Single Man was shatteringly good and it was about time I read the first of the Berlin duo.
Florence & Giles by John Harding – A story for book-lovers, this novel sounds so chilling and dark and has had so many excellent reviews it’s about time I read it. Or at least added it to Mount TBR…
Grimms Tales by Philip Pullman – Ever since reading His Dark Materials trilogy, Pullman has been a go-to author in my mind for everything fantastical. The thought of him re-working the Grimms Fairy Tales fills me with excitement.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – I have just a week to get stuck into Gaiman’s new novel, the Manchester Book Club read of choice for October. I’m really excited as it’ll be my first Gaiman novel, as was, incidentally, the lovely lady in Waterstones I bought this from. (Waiting on her special copy from London apparently!)
In other bits and bobs, after receiving the tantalising Monsieur Le Commandant (Romain Slocombe) the other week, Gallic Books have very kindly sent me a couple more novels to pour over; The People in the Photo (Hélène Gestern) and The Foundling Boy (Michel Déon). I couldn’t be more excited. Although I really should be reading more literature in the original language, I am very excited by their mission to translate French language books that may have otherwise been overlooked across the water. I adored their 2009 edition of The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.
Other booklettes on my horizon include the autobiography of Manchester man Tom Kilcourse and Legend Press‘ Letters from Yelena by Guy Mankowski, a book which, from what I’ve read so far, is both well-written and an intriguing premise (the tragic life of a prima ballerina). I just can’t get into it. I will do soon though. I promise.
Mount TBR here we come! What’s on your reading horizon?