We were away for a good quarter of December and the rest was filled with Christmas prep so I’m chalking this down as a successful reading month – not only because of volume but also quality. I was less productive on the social media and blogging fronts, although generally happy that I’ve maintained both in 2021.
I actually asked Santa not to gift books this year, but received a bunch of lovely ones including Treacle Walker by Alan Garner, a collection of Mary Oliver poetry, Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer and Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. Al bagged Paper Girls 5 by Brian K.Vaughan and a gorgeous Folio Society edition of Misery by Stephen King
At the beginning of the month, I didn’t think I’d hit my 80 target because it took me ages to read The Truth by Terry Pratchett (it took me the whole of December in dribs and drabs). Receiving The Burglar’s Christmas from my bookstagram friend Kathryn made the biggest difference. A short story, it broke the deadlock and jolted me into a highly satisfying run of small and beautifully written hardbacks. The perfect way to end a tumultous year.
Books Read (84 books out of 80 target)
- The Burglar’s Christmas by Willa Cather (4.25/5)
- The Truth by Terry Pratchett (4/5)
- Moonminland Midwinter by Tove Jansson (4.2.5/4)
- Laurie Lee – Down in the Valley: A Writer’s Landscape – edited by David Parker (4.5/5)
- Treacle Walker by Alan Garner (4.5/4)
Broadly, Al and I agreed about Klara and the Sun although he wasn’t as generous with his ratings. Fantastic writing but the story didn’t quite hang right. It felt more like a mid-draft than the end product. The Laurie Lee edit was a win for both of us – a collection of anecdotes, it offers a fascinating insight into Lee’s mind and life. We’re going to dig his other titles out in 2022.
- Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (3.5/5)
- Laurie Lee – Down in the Valley: A Writer’s Landscape – edited by David Parker (5/5)
Funny books for a funny month! Martha also read halfway through Midnight by Jacqueline Wilson, which might be slightly too old for her, but she’s making her own decision about whether she continues with it.
- Dog Diaries by James Patterson and Steven Butler (5/5)
- Bunny vs Monkey and the League of Doom 3 by Jamie Smart (5/5/)
Film and TV
Al and I watched season 2 of The Witcher. Jury’s out due to random plot and slightly hokey writing although we’ll watch season 3 for sure as we like the characters. Martha has developed an obsession for Ghostbusters so we’re expecting to see all the movies at some point. Simon Reeve’s The Lakes was a TV highlight, and also enjoyed listening to James Rebanks’ guest edit of the Today programme on Radio 4.
Most of December was focused on family visits rather than going out out. The rise of Omicron also put us off some adventures, but didn’t stop us completely. We made it to Scotland where we celebrated a delayed family birthday in the most amazing fairytale castle. We also had days out Kelburn Castle, Loch Lomond and the Isle of Bute while staying in Largs and really glad that we took the opportunity while we had it. Definitely planning another Scottish journey soon – the welcome and the landscape was fantastic.
Now back home and making sense of the world during this liminal period. I’ll be posting separately about our full 2021 round-up and our 2022 bookish plans very soon.
Wishing you a Happy New Year!
Mel, Al & Little M