Read January 2019


Theme of the Month was Starting in Scandinavia. The idea was to read 3-5 books written by Scandinavian authors or set in Scandinavia from my pre-2019 TBR. In the event I read 8 (and uncovered lots more in the stacks!)

I prefer to read cold books during the cold months – settings with lots of snow and ice. Imagine my surprise when Jakob Wegelius sailed me round the world to the Congo, India and many other hot spots. Lisa Stromme’s book was set in a Norwegian summer of hot passion. Tove Jansson cooled things down in an unspecified location, and it was perishingly cold at times in the Switzerland of Hans Christian Andersen. Cold weather wasn’t much of a factor in Gudmundur Andri Thorsson’s And The Wind Sees All. Will Dean’s thrillers, Dark Pines and the sequel Red Snow, finally delivered the atmosphere I craved – a deep, dark snowy forest set in Värmland, central Sweden (just in time for the white stuff to fall in the UK).

The two non-Scandinavian reads were prompted by a) dry January – I read Five Give Up The Booze as it’s the thought that counts) and b) Lisbon being home base of Wegelius’s globe-sailing gorilla, Sally Jones. Stankovic’s Estoril was my first taste of Serbian literature.

Between books, I read the first 12 of the hundred short stories in Found In Translation, which included rereads of favourites Immensee (Theodor Storm) and The Sandman (E T A Hoffmann). I enjoyed a third German story – The Severed Hand (Wilhelm Hauff) – very much indeed. He has been duly added to my must-read-more list.

January 2019 was a good reading month. 10 read, 2 3-star and 8 4-star reads.


Hans Christian Andersen – The Ice Virgin 3*
Christelle Davos – A Winter’s Promise 5* (Read December 2018)
Tove Jansson – The True Deceiver 4* (Book of the Month)
Degan Tiago-Stankovic – Hotel Estoril 4*
Lisa Stromme – The Strawberry Girl 4*
Jakob Wegelius – The Legend of Sally Jones / The Murderer’s Ape 4*/3*


The rule for 2019 is to have no more than 3 unread purchases at any given time. I purchased 4 items: 1 cookery book (which isn’t a TBR item), 2 novels and a Happy Reader magazine. I’ve read Estoril, so go into February with a backlog of 2.


No new Theme of the Month, as I need to stay in Scandinavia for a while, catching up on reviews and reading a couple of tantalising new releases. It’s time too to make a start on my Age of The Weimar Republic reading project as well continuing to read Found in Translation stories between books.