Saturday 31 January 2015

January in Books

January was pretty good for reading methinks; at the moment I've read 8 towards my GoodReads challenge of 52 in 2015, 4 ahead of schedule according to the site.

January in Books
I managed to give 4 of the books back to the library before realising I hadn't actually taken a picture yet...

England Observed: John Gay by Andrew Sargeant
Anything containing old pictures of Britain is interesting to me and John Gay was prolific photographer who shot all sorts of railway heritage, industrial landscapes and countryside scenes. Andrew Sargeant looks at his photographs and discusses each one with just the right amount of text to picture ratio to make it really interesting.

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth
I always thought I'd already read this; I remember it being popular when I first starting working in the library back in 2005 and just assumed I'd had it out at some point. Looking at my GoodReads list though, I couldn't see it on there and came to the conclusion I must have dreamt reading it. I love the TV show and we went to see Jennifer's husband, Philip Worth do a talk last year as part of the Bath Literature Festival so it was fascinating to read the original stories and see the similarities. I know it's only the first three series of the TV show that the book is based on but still, it's a strange sort of book. On the one hand the author goes into quite a lot of detail with each story and you can see how the TV show followed that closely; on the other hand, there's an awful lot of stuff on TV which you can tell has been well, not exactly made up, more just extrapolated from the stories in the book. Still a  good read though.

Mr Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt
It took me a while to get into this one and even now, I wouldn't say it's one of my favourites. It tells the tale of Mr Chartwell, a large black dog who decides to move in with Esther (a librarian in Westminster) and who also has a job, visiting and plaguing Winston Churchill during his final days in politics. Andrew's suffered with depression in the past but I never have so I thought this would be an interesting take on it and well, it was okay. I just felt as if there should have been more to the storyline, I kept expecting something else to happen and it never did. I am claiming this one as Middlesex for my Read Around the UK challenge though (Middlesex includes Westminster according to the Association of British Counties website).

Christmas at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan
This has been sitting on my 'to read' shelves since November 2013 and it's taken me two Christmas seasons to get round to reading it. It's a nice enjoyable read all about a girl who runs a cake café and her boyfriend who gets a job over in New York. Will she stay with her friends and business in London or follow her heart across the ocean? The chapters are interspersed with recipes from her shop which make a lovely addition to the storyline; I ended up photocopying most of them to try at home. The one thing this book did though, was make me want to open up my own cake café!

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
The sequel to The Rosie Project (which I read last August and loved), the story's moved on a year and Don starts on The Baby Project when Rosie announces she's expecting. I did like this one but not quite as much as the first book, there's quite a few storylines and some of it felt a bit well, formulaic is probably the best word for it. Although it might just be the fact that living up to the first book was always going to be a hard job!

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
I read this for the Blogger Book Club last week (which if you haven't signed to yet, pop over to Jenny's site, the next book we'll be discussing in April) and it was quite good, although some of the characters seem a bit weak. At the book club I think we all ended up talking a lot more in depth about the storyline than the author had ever imagined, dissecting murder, affairs, secrets and a whole lot more.

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
I've read quite a few of Meg Rosoff's books and I didn't think this was one of her best. It tells the story of Mila, a young girl who's apparently able to sense hidden facts and unspoken emotions and Matthew (a friend of her dad's) who goes missing. Mila and her dad set off to look for Matthew but the clues Mila keeps getting are confusing and misleading. The thing is, by the end of the book I didn't feel as the storyline was really resolved, we still don't find out what happens to several characters and the whole thing about Mila's 'secret gifts' isn't really developed. It's okay but nowhere near as good as some of the author's other books.

Maidens' Trip by Emma Smith
This was Emma Smith's debut novel, first published in 1948 and telling the tales of her life working on the Grand Union Canal with several other girls during the Second World War. I found this a little bit hard going, not due to the stories or age but instead because of all the boating terminology which I'm not exactly au fait with. It meant that although I could understand what was happening, I didn't feel as if I really got into the book. I have read one of her other books though, The Great Western Beach set in Newquay and I enjoyed that one much more, probably because I know a lot more about that area than about boating!

Have you read anything good recently?


  1. I've just finished The White Princess which you'd love if you like historically fiction.

    Lizzie Dripping

  2. I'm so disappointed that a lot of folk haven't enjoyed The Rosie Effect, I'm in two minds as to whether to read it...

  3. I've only just read The Rosie Project with one of my book groups and we're planning to read The Rosie Effect later in the year. It's interesting to read your thoughts on it as that's exactly what my friends who have read said too.

  4. January has treated you well on the reading front.

    I wasn't entirely blown away by The Husband's Secret.. There were parts that kept me on my toes but I felt like there was a lot compacted in to the one book!

    I'm currently reading Living With It by Lizzie Enfield... I haven't finished yet but I am quite enjoying it so far. I'm also dipping in and out of a non fiction book - Daily Rituals by Mason Currey.
    Bits & Bobs

  5. I was so disappointed in The Rosie Effect, having loved The Rosie Project.

  6. We don't need to discuss The Husband's Secret again...really we don't!
    I'd like to give Call the Midwife a go though, I've never seen the TV show and I'd much rather read the book before I dive in!
    I've got the Girl on the Train to read and a crappy looking Dan Brown I picked up at the airport...might give it a miss,.
    M x


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