Sunday 31 December 2017

Happy New Year

With Love and Best Wishes to all who visit this blog.  Be you family, friend, acquaintance or total stranger I wish you and yours love, peace, harmony, kindliness and health for the forthcoming year.

Friday 29 December 2017

Books Read in 2017

January 2017
Julian Treuherz & Peter de Figueiredo – 111 Places in Liverpool not to be Missed (NF)
Lorena McCourtney – In Plain Sight (Ivy Malone mystery no 2)
Lorena McCourtney – On the Run (Ivy Malone mystery no 3)
Lorena McCourtney – Stranded (Ivy Malone mystery no 4)
Ken Pye – Liverpool Pubs (NF)
Claire Douiglas – Local Girl Missing
Daniel K Longman – Liverpool in the Headlines (NF)
Dave Joy – Liverpool Cowkeepers (NF) [A fascinating account of city dairies by a former colleague of mine]
Jed Rudenfeld – The Interpretation of Murder [Historical crime based on Freud’s visit to the USA IN 1909]
Cyril Hare – An English Murder (for the second time)
Cyril Hare – An Untimely Death (Inspector Mallett and Francis Pettigrew)
Philippa Gregory – The King’s Curse [Henry VII / Henry VIII from Margaret of York’s perspective]
Philippa Gregory – The White Queen

February 2017
Philippa Gregory – The Red Queen
Philippa Gregory – The Lady of the Rivers
Philippa Gregory –  The White Princess
Philippa Gregory –  The Constant Princess
Philippa Gregory –  The Other Boleyn Girl
Philippa Gregory –   The Boleyn Inheritance

March 2017
Philippa Gregory – The Taming of the Queen
Philippa Gregory –  The Queen’s Fool
Philippa Gregory –  Three Sisters, Three Queens
Philippa Gregory – The Kingmaker’s Daughter
Nicci French [A pseudonym used by Sean French and Nicci Gerrard] – Secret Smile       

April 2017
Mervyn Benford – Milestones (NF)
Rebecca Tope – The Troutbeck Testimony
Robert Low – The Whale Road (The Oathsworn Bk 1)
Robert Low – Wolf Sea  (The Oathsworn Bk 2)
Giles Kristian – Blood Eye (Raven 1)
Giles Kristian – Sons of Thunder (Raven 2)
Giles Kristian – Odin’s Wolves (Raven 3)
Robin Paige – Death at Bishop’s Keep (Victorian Mystery 1)
Robin Paige – Death at Gallows Green (Victorian Mystery 2)
Robin Paige – Death at Devil’s Bridge (Victorian Mystery 3)

May 2017
Robin Paige – Death at Rottingdean  (Victorian Mystery 4)
Robin Paige – Death at Whitechapel (Victorian Mystery 5)
Robin Paige – Death at Epsom (Victorian Mystery 6)
Catriona McPherson – Dandy Gilver and he Reek of Red Herrings
Catriona McPherson – After the Armistice Ball
Catriona McPherson – The Burry Man’s Day
Catriona McPherson – Bury her Deep
Catriona McPherson – The Winter Ground
Catriona McPherson – Dandy Gilver and a Deadly Measure of Brimstone
Catriona McPherson – Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains
Catriona McPherson – Dandy Gilver and the Unpleasantness in the Ballroom
Ian Sansom – The Bad Book Affair (Hilarious story of Israel Armstrong, a mobile librarian in Ireland)
Ian Sansom – The Case of the Missing Books
Ian Sansom – Mr Dixon Disappears

June 2017
Ian Sansom – The Delegates’ Choice
Catriona McPherson – Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder
Catriona McPherson – Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses
Catriona McPherson – Dandy Gilver and a Most Misleading Habit
Andrew Pepper – The Last Days of Newgate (First Pyke mystery)
Nina George – The Little Paris Bookshop  [An excellent, eminently quotable book]
Benedicte Newland & Pascale Smers – and God Created the Au Pair.
Sara George – The Journal of Mrs Pepys; Portrait of a Marriage
Sarah Waters – Fingersmith (Deservedly shortlisted for the Booker and Orange prizes)
David Lewis – The Illustrated History of Liverpool’s Suburbs (NF)
July 2017
Sarah Waters – Tupping the Velvet

August 2017
Geraldine McCaughrean – Where the World Ends (Exxcellent fact based fiction about a fowling party stranded on a St Kilda stac in 1727)
Charles Maclean – Island on the Edge of the World – the strory of St Kilda (NF)
Anita Brookner – Fraud
Veronica Henry – How to Find Love in a Bookshop
Sarah Waters – The Paying Guest
Sarah Waters – Affinity

September 2017
Sarah Waters – The Night Watch
Sarah Waters – The Little Stranger
Bernard Cornwell – Flame Bearer
Yrsa Sigurdardottir – The Legacy (Children's House no 1)
Yrsa Sigurdardottir – The Undesired
Yrsa Sigurdardottir – The Last Rituals (Thóra Gudmundsdóttir no 1)
Yrsa Sigurdardottir – My Soul to Take (Thóra Gudmundsdóttir no 2)
Yrsa Sigurdardottir – Ashes to Dust (Thóra Gudmundsdóttir no 3)
Yrsa Sigurdardottir – The Day is Dark {Thóra Gudmundsdóttir no 4)
Yrsa Sigurdardottir – Someone to Watch Over Me {Thóra Gudmundsdóttir no 5)
Yrsa Sigurdardottir – I remember You

October 2017
Anthony Rolls – Family Matters (British Library Crime Classics 1933)
Emma Healey – Elizabeth is Missing (Excellent look at senility through a mystery. In this darkly riveting debut novel - a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest examination of memory, identity, and aging - an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find her best friend. Her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences. )
Susie Steiner – Missing Presumed (Manon Bradshaw bk 1)
John Burningham (Ed.) – When we were young (NF)
Kathryn Hughes – The Letter (One of my top books of 2017 - Tina Craig longs to escape her violent husband. She works all the hours God sends to save up enough money to leave him, also volunteering in a charity shop to avoid her unhappy home. Whilst going through the pockets of a second-hand suit, she comes across an old letter, the envelope firmly sealed and unfranked. Tina opens the letter and reads it - a decision that will alter the course of her life for ever...)
Charlie Croker – Lost in Translation (NF)
Arnaldur Indridason – Strange Shores
Arnaldur Indridason – Jar City
Barney Norris – Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain  (My Book of the Year.  One quiet evening in Salisbury, the peace is shattered by a serious car crash. At that moment, five lives collide - a flower seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a security guard, a widower - all facing their own personal disasters.)
P.D. James – Death in Holy Orders (an Adam Dalgleish novel)

November 2017
P.D. James – Cover her Face (Adam Dalgleish bk 1)
Philip Hensher – King of the Badgers
Peter James – Denial
Susie Steiner – Persons Unknown (Manon Bradshaw bk 2)
Stella Duffy – The Room of Lost Things
Nikki French – The Memory Game (for the second time)
Amy Tan – Saving Fish from Drowning

December 2017
Carol Smith – Grandmother’s Footsteps
Val McDermid – The Distant Echo (for the second time)
Val McDermid – Out of Bounds

P.D. James – Death comes to Pemberley (Murder mystery as a follow-up to Pride and Prejudice – a must for Jane Austen fans)

Sunday 24 December 2017

It's Christmas Eve - Jolabokaflod

Book lovers will want to adopt this lovely holiday tradition, which melds literary and holiday pleasures into a single event.

Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. This custom is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it is the reason for the Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,” when the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in preparation for Christmas giving.

At this time of year, most households receive an annual free book catalog of new publications called the Bokatidindi. Icelanders pore over the new releases and choose which ones they want to buy, fueling what Kristjan B. Jonasson, president of the Iceland Publishers Association, describes as “the backbone of the publishing industry.”

"It's like the firing of the guns at the opening of the race," says Baldur Bjarnason, a researcher who has written about the Icelandic book industry. "It's not like this is a catalog that gets put in everybody's mailbox and everybody ignores it. Books get attention here."

The small Nordic island, with a population of only 329,000 people, is extraordinarily literary. They love to read and write. According to a BBC article, “The country has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world… One in 10 Icelanders will publish [a book].”

It seems there is more value placed on physical, paper books than in North America, where e-books have grown in popularity. One bookstore manager told NPR, “The book in Iceland is such an enormous gift, you give a physical book. You don't give e-books here." The book industry is driven by the majority of people buying several books each year, rather than the North American pattern of a few people buying lots of books.

When I asked an Icelandic friend what she thought of this tradition, she was surprised.

“I hadn't thought of this as a special Icelandic tradition. It is true that a book is always considered a nice gift. Yes, for my family this is true. We are very proud of our authors.”

It sounds like a wonderful tradition, perfect for a winter evening. It is something that I would love to incorporate into my own family’s celebration of Christmas. I doubt my loyalty to physical books will ever fade; they are the one thing I can’t resist collecting, in order to read and re-read, to beautify and personalize my home, to pass on to friends and family as needed. Combining my love for books and quiet, cozy Christmas Eves sounds like a perfect match.


Monday 18 December 2017

Snow Day

Saturday 16 December 2017

Happy Birthday

Today is Friend-uber-special's birthday.  I wonder if she will remain friends after seeing the following -

Many happy returns from across The Pond.

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