Thankfully German Literature Month (GLM) starts on Saturday and that will give me time to review some of the books I read in preparation. (4 completed and pictured with just 50 pages to go of a 1000-page extravaganza). I kept myself reasonably up-to-date review-wise during September, but October whizzed by in a flurry of flu, a renovation project and an unrelated broken boiler that caused far more disruption than they should have, plus house guests from Canada. (Fortunately house was rendered habitable just-in-time for their arrival.) Given that I just wanted to read in downtime, I’m afraid reviews of October’s non-GLM books and activities shall be confined to the following summaries.
Margaret Atwood’s latest collection of short stories, Stone Mattress, is all kinds of magnificence. I could tell she was enjoying herself writing these. They are playful, exuberant, full of wicked wit and an absolute joy to read. If you need more detail, see Victoria’s review at Shiny New Books. I agree with every word. My only regret is that I read a library book. I now want my own copy.
Nathan Filer’s The Shock of The Fall, winner of the 2013 Costa Book of the Year is another reading highlight. A dead cert to win my tearjerker award of the year. I haven’t had such a cathartic sob for years!
Oh yes, North Lanarkshire’s Encounters Festival was held during October also. And Nathan Filer appeared at it! Interesting questions and experiences from the audience who were more concerned with the mental health issues than the literary aspects of the novel.
Then there was the 10th anniversary of my book group which was celebrated with cake, cava and a visit from the Scottish crime writer and co-founder of Bloody Scotland, Lin Anderson. Don’t we look pre-cava pretty?
I’ll confess to not having read Anderson before the event but I was absolutely blown away by the opening chapter of Picture Her Dead. Best 1st chapter of the year … and the rest of the novel is pretty darn good as well. It’s the 8th in her Rhona McCleod series – not that it matters. I had to read it as a stand-alone, and it works as such. Who knew there were so many disused cinemas in Glasgow or that they would spawn such an intrigung premise for a crime novel! The only downside is that I now want to start reading the series from the beginning. But do I have the time to add another 7 novels to my 1000+ TBR? Rhetorical question. The answer is no but I will read number 9 sooner rather than later.
So there you have it, proof that Murphy’s law does indeed exist. In a period when I had precious little time for blogging, I read three books which will doubtless appear in my best of year list.