2017 in Review

This was a good year for reading and blogging: 72 posts, of which some were about series so reflected more than one book. Given some books were also missed, I easily smashed my self-set book-a-week target. Onwards to 2018 with a to-read pile that threatens to cascade across my library. I’ve also got two books on request at the library and my ereader is never far from my hand.

Aside from my new Discworld discovery I am not sure what I’ll be reading all year though.

I’ve also been to the theatre ten times, although only reviewed nine times (sorry Chorley Little Theatre – I missed off the panto during the hectic pre-Christmas rush). There’s been a selection in there, from musical theatre to serious drama and opera thrown in.

We already have our local amateur theatre season tickets for next year, and I’m browsing the listings of the other theatres for what I intend to watch.


Starting on the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist

I like to occasionally read prize lists (see my Man Booker readalongs). I have seen that this year Claire is reading the Bailey’s longlist, and picked up a review of a book that made me want to read it. Plus I’d already read one, and another was on the list for later this year, so I rapidly decided to tackle the whole list:

Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo – ordered
The Power, Naomi Alderman – reserved
Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood – bought
Little Deaths, Emma Flint – reserved
The Mare, Mary Gaitskill
The Dark Circle, Linda Grant – read
The Lesser Bohemians, Eimear McBride – didn’t finish
Midwinter, Fiona Melrose – reserved
The Sport of Kings, C.E. Morgan – read
The Woman Next Door, Yewande Omotoso – reserved
The Lonely Hearts Hotel, Heather O’Neill
The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry
Barkskins, Annie Proulx – reserved
First Love, Gwendoline Riley – reserved
Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien – read
The Gustav Sonata, Rose Tremain – reserved

The Lesser Bohemians is now on order at the library and Hag-Seed has been bought. Lets do this before the result is announced.

Somewhat defeated by the scale of this task, I have prioritised this down to the shortlist:

Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo – ordered
The Power, Naomi Alderman – reserved
The Dark Circle, Linda Grant – read
The Sport of Kings, C.E. Morgan – read
First Love, Gwendoline Riley – reserved
Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien – read

My favourite for World Book Day

This blog usually covers the new things I read, my library picks and theatre I go to see. But on World Book Day I want to tell you about my favourite books, Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series.Lioness Rampart Shield

“Why do boys say someone acts like a girl as if it were an insult?”

Since being a teenage I have loved fantasy novels, starting as we all did, with Harry Potter. But it was Pierce’s Alanna that changed my world. It didn’t pretend to happen in the real world, but set aside its own world, where magic could be real. And even better than that, here was a girl who wanted to choose her own path, and is prepared to break rules to get there.

There was even just enough light romance for a middle-teenager.

“Lord Raoul asked me to tell you that if you get yourself killed, he will never speak to you again.”

Then there were the Protector of the Small books, better again as Kel is the determined working one. Taking on the same world, but as herself, not disguised as a boy. She takes on bullies, struggles to make friends and to learn how to survive on her own terms.

This is the best series I own, and well into adulthood I am still rereading regularly. Reading again with Mark Reads was one of my most fun online time.

My favourite reading spot


With the chaos of family life, I have managed to carve out my own spot as a library in the guest bedroom. But it was lacking coziness, and I had a desire to learn to quilt. Then, in the library (where else) I spotted “The Little Book of Simple Quilting”. I now have the warmest snuggliest quilt, in just my style on my reading sofa.

Of course, this isn’t helping the the blogging guilt-pile of books that I’ve finished but not yet reviewed..

Blogging guilt pile

Pop Goes the Weasel – Albert Jack

A month or so back, I was reading a thread on Ravelry, where I discovered that a weasel as referred to in the rhyme, and in thread work, is not a small mammal, but a tool for the winding of spun thread. The mental image of each syllable being a turn of the weasel, until it “pops”, whilst managing children and watching a busy household was compelling. I was therefore delighted to find a book titled Pop Goes the Weasel providing theories, or longer stories, explaining the meanings of nursery rhymes.

By DTParker1000 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
There are fascinating narratives provided for each of the rhymes in this book, linking into (mostly English) history, and discussing how in a preliterate world, where the authorities handed out harsh punishments to those who were subordinate, passing on news through nonsense rhymes was used for communication. I’m not sure to what extent this was true – how many people would have really known that the “Three blind mice” were the Oxford Martyrs, burned at the stake by Mary I??

Although I did read it with a small bucket of salt to hand, it was an interesting look at less savory parts of English history, as well as details of everyday life that are not clear from the rhymes alone.

Happy New Year!

The 2015 WordPress report tells me that this year I published 48 posts. Two of those weren’t book reviews, so that’s 46 new books read this year.

Slightly under average, but this year I have been knitting much more than reading, mostly due to being very busy and tired with everything else going on in my life.

So thank you all for reading/following, and hope you carry on in 2015!

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 450 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 8 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.