Another month has ended, which means another round up of what I have been reading. Also another month where my total was 12 books. This brings me to 143, only 7 shy of my target of 150. I think I can do it! Here’s what I read in November:
Books for Children
- Well, Really, Mr Twiddle! by Enid Blyton (Dean & Son, 1968). This was a childhood favourite and I still own the copy I think I got for a birthday. There is always a risk revisiting a childhood favourite, but even though it is dated, I still found plenty to smile about.
- Maybe… by Chris Haughton (Walker Books, 2021). This picture book came from the publisher as a review copy. Who doesn’t love a monkey story? In this one the young monkeys are told not to go near the mango tree because there are tigers around – but can’t help wondering if maybe they could just take a look. Lots of fun and a bit of a lesson (maybe).
- Stellarphant, by James Foley (Fremantle Press, 2021). Another review copy. I adore the work of James Foley, and this one didn’t disappoint. The story of Stella, an elephant who wants to be an astronaut but keeps being told she can’t – even when she meets the requirements – is funny but also uplifting. The messages here about working towards goals, overcoming prejudice and acceptance are wonderfully couched.
- Rainfish, by Andrew Paterson (Text, 2021). This one won the Text prize, and I can see why. It’s beautiful, sad, even humorous, all rolled into one. The story of Aaron, who finds himself an accomplice to a crime and spends his summer living in dread of being caught, but not knowing how to put things to right.
- The Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Graeme (Audible). By the author of Wind in the Willows, I hadn’t read this one before, but downloaded it from Audible and listened while doing some house work – which made the work bearable. When I was at school we learnt a song called The Reluctant Dragon, which I can still sing by heart – and I presume the song was inspired by the book. Either way, I am now singing the song anew.
- Saving Celeste, by Timothee de Fombelle, translated by Sarah Ardizzone (Walker Books 2021). This came as a review copy from Walker Books and is a touching fable about two children fighting for a better world in a dystopian near future. A story of hope.
- Huda and Me, by H. Hayek (Allen & Unwin,2021)Told through the eyes of twelve year old Akeal, as he accompanies his little sister Huda on a bold mission to reach their parents on the other side of the world. Their parents have had to travel to Beirut to be with family, leaving Akeal and his six siblings with an evil babysitter. It is Huda who finds a way to travel across the world and let their parents know what is happening. I enjoyed this – funny, heart warming and intriguing.
Books for Adults
- The Book of Form and Emptiness, by Ruth Ozeki (Text Publishing, 2021). I picked this one up on the basis of both the title and the duck on the cover. They drew me in and, even though I knew it was fiction, I was surprised by just how odd this book i, with the book itself being one of the narrators, alongside the main character, Benny who, in his early teens is struggling with the death of his father. Hard to sum up in a few lines, but although it took me a while, I did enjoy this, compelled to keep reading, as Benny and his mother struggle through some terrible times.
- The Riviera House, by Natasha Lester (Hachette, 2021). It had been a while since I read any of Lester’s work, and it was a pleasure to reengage. Set in Paris in WW2, as well as on the Riviera in modern times, this is an absorbing tale, well woven.
- The Turn of Midnight, by Minette Walters. (Allen & Unwin, 2018). I picked this up not knowing it was a sequel, and would have preferred to read the prequel (The Last Hours) first, but still enjoyed this. Set in 1349 as the Black Death devastates communities across England, with a strong, wise woman guiding her community assisted by an educated serf. Lots of action and intrigue.
- Showtime! by Judy Nunn (Random House, 2021). I really enjoyed this saga, set in the golden age of Australian showbusiness – the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and following the lives of two showbusiness families.
- A Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle (Audible edition). I downloaded the collection of Sherlock Holmes books read by Stephen Fry several months ago, but have only just got around to listening. I don’t know why I waited – anything read by Stephen Fry is a treat. I’ll be listening to the rest for sure.
Off to get reading, to ensure I reach that 150 by the end of the year. What have you been reading?