The Year in Books: October

I didn't read as many books in September as I did in August, but still it has been quite varied.

My book for October is going to be Getting Colder by Amanda Coe.  Not an author I've read before, once again I am broadening my horizons!

My book for September was The Roundabout Man by Clare Morral.  Having never heard of the author or the book, I had no idea what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The 'roundabout man' is Quinn, who lives on a roundabout and has partially withdrawn from society - he hopes that no one finds out that he's not named after the little boy in the famous children's stories, he actually is that little boy, and his mum wrote the books based on him and his triplet sisters.  It's a very readable story, and I'm definitely going to hunt out more books by this author.

The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory was excellent.  I do love books about the Tudor court!  I know they're not everyone's cup of tea, but I do enjoy them.  Not very often, I have to say, I need to be in the right mood for them.  This scratched an itch for me.  Classic Philippa Gregory in terms of how the story unfolds, with deceit, intrigue, royal shenanigans, and a lot of illicit encounters.  Just what I wanted!

This Little Piggy* by Bea Davenport was a good quick crime read.  Set in the north east in 1984 during the miners' strike, a baby is pushed? dropped? thrown? off a balcony and local journalist Clare begins investigating the murder, finding herself more closely involved than perhaps she should be professionally.  It was a quick read, I can't really judge plot twists and red herrings with crime books as I read the end first so I know whodunnit, but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless.  The bit before the end I thought was a tad unlikely, and improbable (even for a crime book) but if I overlook that, it was a good read.

A Christmas to Remember* by Jenny Hale was not good.  Not good at all.  It was one of those really annoying books that gives you information rather than it gradually coming out.  So within the first maybe four or five pages, I knew pretty much all of Carrie's history, personality, and future desires.  Did anyone read The Babysitters Club series of books by Ann M. Martin?  They were popular in the early-mid 1990s and I read pretty much the whole series.  In each book (and there were many) there were a few pages in which each character was introduced in a couple of paragraphs - Claudia was artistic, Kristy loved sports, Dawn was from California, Mallory had lots of siblings.  It was a useful format for reminding the target young reader audience of the central characters and what they'd been up to in the earlier books in the series.  This technique I didn't like in a book for grown-ups.  I don't need to be told a list of facts, a character's likes and dislikes should become apparent as the story progresses, they don't need to be stated.  And so, after that, I wasn't really on board with the story.  I had nothing to learn about Carrie as I'd already been told!

I've had The Road Home by Rose Tremain on my bookshelf for quite a while - I think my mum read it with her book group.  I can't think why I would have chosen it.  I enjoyed The Colour (set around the gold rush in New Zealand) but not enough to have purchased any of her books.  I didn't particularly enjoy The Road Home, whilst I liked it in places, in others it just grated on me slightly and felt inaccurate in places.  It follows Lev, an Eastern European migrant who comes to work in the UK.  The writing is excellent, but none of the characters appealed to me.  One of those books I thought I might like, but turned out not to.

Amit Chaudhuri's A Strange and Sublime Address was excellent.  I borrowed it from the library, chosen for no other reason other than its title. It's beautifully written, and a pleasure to read, although it doesn't really have a plot.  Sandeep spends a summer holiday with his maternal uncle and family in Calcutta, and then a winter holiday there too.  I had to persevere with it, but once I was into it, I read almost without stopping (it is quite short).  I don't think it's a book that will stay with me, but I did enjoy the time I spent reading it.

It appears that I read more books than I thought I did!  I've just started reading Gin Glorious Gin (best accompanied with a G&T, I feel) and it's made me want to read a bit more non-fiction.  As Janet wrote, one ought to consider one's literary diet!

Joining in with Laura.

*These books were obtained through NetGalley, in return for an honest review.  All thoughts, opinions and photos are, of course, my own.


  1. You've written'A Christmas to Remember' by Carrie Blake rather than Jenny Hale, m'dear. It's a shame you didn't like it. Have you read her other books? If so what did you think of them? X

    1. Thank you for that! Have changed it. Proofreading clearly didn't pick that up! (It's always easier to proofread something someone else has written...) I don't think I've read anything else by her, I would try something else, it's just this one annoyed me so much! Or perhaps I was in the wrong frame of mind. Christmas is still 80-something days away...x

  2. Some excellent recommendations here, thank you. I shall definitely look out for The Roundabout Man. I have never got on with Rose Tremain...some authors people rave about, or are well known, and you think you should read them. She was one such author, but for me, not a good read and after trying a couple, and failing to get on with them, I have given up now.

    1. It's interesting how some authors people either rave about, or just don't get on with. If you've tried a couple and not got on with them, fair enough- there are plenty more books in the sea!

  3. Still a very good number of books. Your reviews are always clear and concise, means I can quickly decide whether I think I might like it. I read The Queen's Fool a while ago now, back around The Other Boleyn Girl mania and didn't enjoy it as much as some of Gregory's other books but it was still enjoyable. I do have to be in the mood for them as well.

    I'd not heard of NetGalley either and decided to check it out, so thanks for mentioning that!

    1. Thanks, I like clear and concise! Regarding Philippa Gregory, I think one of my favourite books by her is her first novel 'Wideacre' which isn't set anywhere near the Tudor period. It's the first in a trilogy, and the other two books are on my TBR list, along with a lot else!

      NetGalley is good - took me a while to get used to it, but now I check it quite a lot to see what I might like. Trying lots of new authors, so can be a bit hit and miss, but come across some great books I don't think I would have read otherwise.


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