This week's theme is a look forward to debut authors that have already piqued our interest - which does require a little research... and also a solid publicity campaign behind those authors. So the following list is drawn from various sources, selected by reason of their covers, their blurbs, the endorsements and of course the inherent interest I have in the themes and genres they represent.
This week is a freebie week and I am in the midst of listening to Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, her first novel and written around 1798, albeit not published until after her death. It is part of my half-formed intention - a vague idea and inclination perhaps - to try to re-read Austen, returning to an author that I did not gel with as a teenager at university. Certainly, it is much funnier and more wry than I remembered Austen to be. Which bodes well. Anyway, the point of this preamble is that I love the way Catherine Morland becomes obsessed with The Mysteries of Udolpho, by Ann Radcliffe - to the extent that she would prefer to curl up at home with the novel than venture out into Bath's social scene, has limited conversation save for her love of the novel, and is desperate for her life to emulate the thrills and passions of the novel. So I thought I'd use this as a springboard to explore bookworms in fiction.
This week is a look back again at 2022 and those authors we met for the first time last year. And isn't it great to meet new favourite authors year after year. Of course there are the old favourites, the reliable familiar authors who we just know we are going to enjoy, but new authors add some extra spice and variety... and often then become some of our new favourites!
Another slippery little thriller with everything you would expect from Janice Hallett: an epistolary format using messages, emails, transcripts and, here, extracts from fictionalised accounts of events; vivid characters brought to life through their own (unreliable) voices, a twisty plot. A great, fun read to see the new year in with.
An undeniably beautiful and lyrical piece of science fiction poetry but, for me, the beauty of the language and the translation came at the expense of vivid charaterisations; there was an ephemeralness about the characters, a transparency, that was perhaps deliberate - how small we are in the vastness of space and time and Light is, after all, a familiar science-fiction trope - but left me wanting more of the humans.
And there we have it: Christmas has come; Christmas has gone again. The new school term looms at work - feeling like it is hot on the heels of the festive period this year - and my daughter and I are sharing last-day-of-the-holiday jitters! We are in the midst of the annual negotiation about when the Christmas Tree should come down: my wife wants her living room back from our rather expansive tree; I want my money's worth from the rather expensive tree; and twelfth night superstitions... Anyway... this month on TTT is a combination of looking back at 2022, and looking forward to 2023, and this week's topic is a list of my favourite books from 2022. I have already listed on my lookback on the year post my 5* reads which you can review here... but it does raise the question of whether a book needs to be a 5* read to be one of my favourite reads of the year...
Anyway, this week's Top Ten list is, seasonally enough, books I wish Santa would leave for me... which is a little tricky: I do tend to treat myself to books far too often and my wife refuses to buy me any, arguing that I'll already have read them! Which is true, but somehow misses the point: someone browsing a bookshop and thinking of me is a gift in itself regardless of the book finally bought; and books that I may have electronically or in audiobook format I will still enjoy as a physical copy too!
It is clearly winter now here in the UK: sub-zero temperatures, no working heating in the house; the smell of mince pies I've been baking in the kitchen; struggling through the last days at work - definitely not on a countdown - under the effect of a nasty cold and cough; daughter flying high on the adrenaline of her school Christmas play... Yup, definitely winter time! The sort of time of year where curling up with a good book - and a pot of tea and, yes, one of those mince pies - is a real pleasure. So this week's theme, a quick recap of the books I am looking forward to in these months, is a delight. I will preface these lists, though, as I always do with the caveat that I am very much a mood reader and will, over the winter, pay probably no heed whatsoever to this rather nominal list.
This is also a week when I have noticed a strange coincidence in my current reading: three of the books I am currently reading are set in the interbellum years between the two World Wars: the roaring twenties and the increasingly ominous 1930s as war encroaches. And as this is a Freebie week, I thought this might be an interesting focus. It is an interesting time: in hindsight the urge towards modernity and optimism and hopefulness - to a jazz soundtrack of course, in an art deco ballroom populated with flappers - looks just a little desperate and hollow but still strangely compelling.
There was a time when I would have derided cosy reads - yes, I confess it - because surely books should be disquieting and challenging, shouldn't they? And yes, of course they should. But they should also be heartwarming and sweet and create that feeling of being wrapped up in a warm blanket in front of a fire with a cup of tea (and of course a book) on a winter's night...
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics 4th October: Favourite Bookshops and Bookstores I'd… Continue reading Top Ten Tuesday: Thankful Freebie: Books I Would be Thankful for the Time to Read!
A cosy series that just seems to get cosier and more tightly plotted with each entry: the warm and close world of Cooper's Chase and its inhabitants is as charming as ever; the vagaries of old age and dementia is explored with tenderness and insight; the decade old murder that propels this novel and the underworld that complicates it are all well balanced, and charming.