The year in books: November and December

For some reason, I've struggled to keep up with the Year in Books posts this year - not sure why.  I shall endeavour to do better next year, as I do enjoy keeping a log of what I've been reading, and seeing what other people are reading too.

War Horse by Michael Murpurgo was picked up in our favourite charity shop warehouse (from where else do I get my books?) and was very good.  Sad but uplifting and on my list of plays I'd like to see.  I read it around Remembrance weekend, and just before we went to see The Wipers Times at the theatre, which I recommend you see if you can.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skoot was passed on to me by Mum, coincidentally just a few weeks after I'd seen a post on Facebook by one of my friends who is a secondary school science teacher and had been discussing this lady in her class.  I was intrigued to learn more.  Henrietta Lacks died in America in the 1950s, a black lady from a very poor background.  She had cervical cancer and her cells were taken as a biopsy.  They were then grown, without her original consent for anything other than the standard biopsy, to be used for all manner of things such as developing vaccines and advancing knowledge about cancer, viruses, IVF.  These cells are known as HeLa cells and are used throughout the world.  But Henrietta, the lady behind HeLa cells, remains virtually unknown.  We can't judge the 1950s by today's standards, but it does raise ethical questions about who owns part of our bodies when they are no longer actually in our bodies, and who should profit, financially or otherwise, from this.  A very thought-provoking book.

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne* was one of those books I enjoyed so much I read it in a matter of hours.  I've loved her YA books and so I hoped this book aimed at adults would be just as good - and it is.  Questions about turning 30, trying to have everything, and enjoying what you (and your friends) have.  With plenty of swearing.

The problem with reading a very good book is that the next one you read probably is not going to be as good, as this is what happened with The Second Sister by Clare Kendal*.  A psychological thriller involving a young woman whose sister went missing a number of years ago, it just didn't keep my attention and I admit to skim reading it on the train home from a weekend away. 

Over the past few weeks I've started reading a few books, but stopped a couple of chapters in.  I know many people have to finish a book once they've started, but I've never been like that: the time I have available for reading is precious and I don't want to spend it on books I'm not enjoying, when there are so many publications out there I want to read.  If On A Winters Night A Traveller by Italo Calvino appealed mainly because it was a wintry book, but I could not get on with the weird narrative style of it and so it went in the charity shop bag, closely followed by Devoured by D.E. Meredith.

So. The Christmas holidays are nearly here, and I fully intend on spending time in bed reading with a cup of tea, and probably plenty of chocolate.  Here is to a new year filled with more books I enjoy, and hopefully fewer I give up on after 20 pages!

Joining in with Laura.

*Sent by the publisher via NetGalley.  All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own.


  1. I'm so jealous you've got to read the new Holly Bourne already!

    1. I was very excited when I was approved to get a copy! Haven't yet been disappointed by something she's written.


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