November has ended – I think about my reading challenge and mention some other books I have read and recommend

I had expected to read fewer books in November than usual because I was moving house. For various reasons that didn’t happen as planned and so I had more time than expected. November’s theme for my 12 in 12 Challenge was Names in Titles and I found a huge number of books that met that criterion and could have read a lot more if I had had time. The books I read were novels so that meant that they were, on average, shorter than if I had included lots of non-fiction as well. I suggest that you have a look at some of my blogs as there are lots of books to recommend.

For December I have chosen One Word Titles as my theme which again allows me to read lots of novels and might mean that I reach my target of 12. I found a lot of books which had short and snappy titles like this – had there been more months in the year I might have used More than 5 Words in the Title as another theme as I have plenty of those too ! December is liable to be complicated because of my house move and also Christmas. I always allow myself to read old favourites at Christmas and indulge in some easy reading – if I haven’t read my 12 books for the challenge by about 23 December then they are not going to be read. I am also aware that possible lack of Internet during the move may also mean that I might have read books but can’t blog about them.

I have really enjoyed my 12 in 12 Challenge for the year which has helped me to read some of the books that I have had outstanding on my shelves for some time- in some instances for years. I am thinking of doing a similar thing next year only perhaps with wider themes and no target although I will still want to reduce the number of books I own but haven’t read. I would, of course, be better able to achieve that goal if I didn’t buy almost as many as I read ….

During November, while awaiting action from solicitors and estate agents, I also read some other books that were not part of the challenge. I list those below in case they might interest you :

  • A Talented Man by Henrietta McKervey is a crime novel set before WW2. It is the story of Ellis, the son of a famous painter, who wants to have money without earning it. Circumstances lead him to start forging documents said to come from Bram Stoker, the writer of Dracula. One thing leads to another and soon Ellis is embroiled in theft, forgery, deception and murder. This is a clever book and a good read.
  • Red Notice by Bill Browder is a book I listened to on audio. The author was a highly successful investment manager who made a large fortune for himself and others in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. When some Russians defrauded the tax authorities using his company without his knowledge he starts to investigate and uncovers a web of corruption leading all the way to the top. He thinks himself immune to retaliation because he is American but his friends and associates are not and events become tragic. This is a true story. I wasn’t enjoying the beginning because I am not particularly interested in hearing how people make money but I kept listening and the events around the fraud and what happens afterwards are gripping and eye opening. A bit of an uneven read but worth persevering.
  • The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths is a semi-sequel to The Stranger Diaries and includes the same policewoman. The story, though, is mainly driven by a group of older people who come to suspect that one of their number who is recently dead was actually murdered. You need to suspend a bit of disbelief for this one but if you do then you will be rewarded with a highly entertaining book at the cosier end of the crime spectrum.
  • White Nights by Ann Cleeves is yet another crime novel (I am beginning to detect a theme here in my non-challenge reading). It is one of the Jimmy Perez books set on Shetland and deals with the sudden death of a man who is a stranger to the island and who has created a scene at a local art show the day before his death. Well plotted and beautifully written – all the books in this series are a treat
  • The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer is a thriller. Our heroine is the chemist of the title and has fled a government job where she used drugs to interrogate people and find out secrets of terrorists and the like. The story assumes that you are in favour of using torture and similar against people who are supposed to be enemies of America, although who have not appeared in a court of law. I had to overcome my revulsion for this assumption but when I did I was engaged completely in the fast paced story of Alex and the people she connects with. I lost sights of the intricacies of the plot at one stage but just went with the flow and enjoyed the action and the interaction between characters.
  • The Railway Viaduct by Edward Marston is one of a series of novels about the so-called Railway Detective. They are light and easy to read and not the greatest crime fiction I have ever read but the author knows his railways and Victorian industrial history and that makes the books seem quite authentic. An enjoyable read.
  • The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells is the second in her series about a vampire who discovers that she is also a witch and that the chief vampires have been lying to her all her life. In this book Sabina is coming to terms with her new life and beginning to reinterpret all that has happened in the past. It’s a cracking read but do read Red-Headed Stepchild first otherwise it may not make sense.
  • High Country Fall by Margaret Maron is one of her series featuring Judge Deborah Knott. In this book Deborah is substituting for an ill colleague in the Blue Ridge Mountains and finds herself surrounded by suspicious deaths. It’s a good read and even better read as part of the whole series which starts with Bootlegger’s Daughter. Another book at the cosier end of crime.

I hope that you may have found something new to try in those I have listed above or in this month’s blog posts. There is certainly plenty to choose from.

Keep reading ….

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