Thursday, 7 January 2016

January reading


For the past two years, I have participated in the Year of Book, hosted by Laura at Circle of Pine Trees. Laura is now hosting her Year of Books on Twitter and Instagram rather than on her blog. I don't do Instagram and I rarely tweet so that's probably the end of that for me. Still, I like to share my reads and, with your help, find new books to explore.

So, without further ado, here is what I read in December. First up is 'The Fall - Tales from the Apocalypse', a short story collection of post-apocalyptic scenarios edited by Matt Sinclair. I am not sure what to say, some stories were fun, others were a bit silly. Cats stuffing corn down zombie throats to kill them? God accidentally scheduling judgement day too soon on his iPhone? Really? Still, I was entertained for a few hours.

My next read was also set in the immediate aftermath of a world changing event, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States. I liked the Audible blurb, which described how three individuals stranded on the highway far from home try to understand what's happening, and eventually attempt to reach home and family. To tell you the truth, the book is complete pish, don't go near it. There are three groups of people living in the United States, if the author is to be believed: disaster-ready well armed Christians, unprepared stupid idiots and villains. The unprepared stupid idiots make up the majority of people, perishing by the thousands. The villains reveal their true nature within hours of the EMP, roaming the lands raping, murdering, robbing and burning. The disaster ready well armed Christians get their guns loaded. Two of the three main characters belong to the latter variety, the third is a numpty who dies within 24 hours after being hit on the head by a villain and drinking water from a burn, cause of death a combination of head injuries and diarrhoea. John, the survivor, is a 'good man'. Jill is a 'good woman'. They meet en route (of course) and continue their way home together, leaving in their wake countless dead villains and many grateful stupids. They frequently refer to each other as 'good people'. Really. A completely wasted Audible credit. I refuse to believe that any society like the one described in the book exists. Survival of mankind requires more than guns, prayer and a chicken coop, yes? Oh, the title of the book is 'Once upon an Apocalypse', the author is Jeff Motes.

I also read a short and sweet book by Neil Gaiman, 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane'. This book is about a middle aged man finding himself. In a way. Here an excerpt from the Goodreads blurb: 'Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.' I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a gentle read about a a childhood not quite perfect, a book about lost memories and fantastical adventures. 

My last read was 'Last Night in Montreal' by Emily St. John Mandel. We meet Lilia in New York, where she has just left Eli, her lover. Lilia is forever leaving. She was abducted by her father when she was seven years old and spent her childhood and adolescence travelling, constantly changing identities, often times followed by a private detective (hired by her mother) who doesn't seem to want to reveal her whereabouts. Lilia carries on leaving places long after her father has settled down once more. When she leaves New York for Montreal, Eli follows her, determined to find out her secrets and to make sure she is ok. It is a sad and touching tale of loss and love, sacrifice and abandonment, and of finding a way home. If you have read 'Station Eleven' by the same author, you know you won't be disappointed.


I have started listening to some lighthearted crime novels set in London. I need some light entertainment to crochet those long long blanket rows. 


What have you been reading lately? 

Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my duffle coat post, I really liked reading them all. I am glad you like my coat! Unfortunately it is far too wet to wear it now, and far too warm, too. What's wrong with the weather??

Have a great rest of the week! xx

20 comments:

  1. I've never read a book by Neil Gaiman but Dave like his books - or at least some of them - and I'm sure I would too so that's something on my reading to do list this year!

    You can still participate in the year in books with your blog (I will be) and Laura did say to just post a link in the comments on her YIB post each month, rather than than the link list.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Any book, film or tv series set during an Apocalypse type event always assumes that the world population will become cannibals, the men rape at the drop of hat, and all is horrible. Now I am a fan of The Walking Dead, but I really would like someone to make a tv series about how the ordinary citizens of the world might be able to exist, and try to get along with one another - like the good old stiff upper lip of the World Wars...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm laughing at your description of that American apocalypse book. I think I'll be giving it a pass. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am actually reading a book for once - I got right out of the habit a couple of years ago and have struggled to get back into it again. I'm reading "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" by Chris Hadfield which is an autobiography rather than a novel (I'm not usually an autobiography kind of girl) but I'm really enjoying it xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane was one of my favorite books from last year, I'm a big Neal Gaimen fan. I'll look for Last Night in Montreal as I liked Station 11 very much. Currently I'm reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, Churchill Alone (the 2nd volume of this set) by William Manchester and The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I live to end of the world as we know it books, but they have to fairly realistic, as soon as zombies is mentioned it turns me right off, I have read some really good ones :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think I'd like to read 'The Ocean at the end of the lane' I shall look out for it. I don't think I left a comment on your duffel coat post (I have a terrible habit of reading posts in work). It was a splendid achievement you must be extremely proud x

    ReplyDelete
  8. I read that Neil Gaiman book a while ago. It was not what I expecting but I loved it! x

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey Christina,
    I have an idea for a monthly reading group that was suggested by a chum at my book group. I was thinking of blogging about it, and offering up the idea for others to join in. Watch this (my) space!
    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes - please do this, Leanne. I'll miss Laura's link up and would love to join another.

      Delete
  10. I love Neil Gaiman, as does my husband. I gave him Gaiman's recent book of short fiction, Trigger Warning, for Christmas and he's loving it so far. Just in case you wanted anything else to read, ha. The apocalypse book sounds interesting. Sometimes you need a book like that - you can't take it seriously, it's just fluff. I consider most of my pulpy paperback true-crime reading to be in the category. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. A mixed bag there then! The apocalypse book will not be appearing on my list anytime soon! xx

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've recently read I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh - a gripping read. Really enjoyed it. I've nearly finished The Lie by Helen Dunmore for my book group. I wouldn't have chosen it but it's ok. Sad and a I think it's going to end badly! Next on my pile is A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler which I'm looking forward to. I'm also reading Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane about the language of place - poetic and inspirational. I might give that Neil Gaiman one a go, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love your posts about the books you have read. I am currently reading Louise Penny mysteries and I am loving them.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Christina - love your description of 'Once upon an Apocalypse' - 'complete pish' says it all. I was planning a book post myself this weekend and am sorry Laura's link up is ending. By the way we are coming to Glasgow at the end on the month. Will email you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It seems there are a few of us who had been joining in with Laura who are now doing our own thing. I love reading other people's book reviews though I can't say you've sold me on these. Especially the "complete push" one! Now I must go back and read old posts... I missed your duffle coat!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your comments about your books made me laugh..I know what to steer clear of. It seems quite a few of us are still happy to blog about our books each month. Maybe I will set up a links page at Coastal Ripples next month for those people who don't tweet or Instagram, there seem to be a few people around. What do you think? Barbara x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just read Leanne's comment, sounds like maybe she is going to do something!

      Delete
  17. You've reminded me that I want to do year in books again this year and actually complete it this time! Thanks for the reminder! And Happy New Year!
    Xxx

    ReplyDelete
  18. I listened to a dramatisation of Neil Gaimans Neverwhere on Audible and enjoyed it so will be looking out for more of his work. I love post apocalypse books but they have to be well written like The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx