Monday, 12 January 2015

Read in 2014

I was far from consistent in writing book reviews last year, but I did actually read quite a lot – if you include listening to audio/talking books, which is what I do most these days. I do find it hard to write reviews of books I’ve only listened to, though; as then I can’t go back to check details and find quotes etc.

I keep a list of all the titles I read though (using Works spreadsheet on my computer). And summing up my statistics for 2014, I find that I listed 64 titles, of which

42 were audio + 19 Kindle + 3 printed on paper;
21 in English + 21 written in Swedish + 22 translated

Those numbers do not include certain old favourites that I return to too often to bother about the statistics (like Harry Potter or Narnia). But they do include a few rereads of books I hadn’t read in a long time – like Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and Camille (La Dame aux Camilias) by Alexandre Dumas (fils) (the reason being that on some occasion I found myself confusing the two); and more recently Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (after watching the film musical from 1964 on DVD, and thinking that surely Mary in the books was a lot more “contrary” than the Julie Andrews version? – an opinion I still stick to after rereading!)

I also read quite a few detective novels. Among those may be worth mentioning one writer who was new to me: Ann Cleeves (and I think it may have been Adrian of the blog Adrian’s Images who first suggested her books to me). Back in the spring I listened (in Swedish translation) to her series set on the Shetland Islands – and what-do-you-know, now Swedish television is showing a Scottish BBC drama series based on those (saw the first episode a few days ago).

On Kindle I read (among others) two novels written by Frances Garrood: Dead Earnest and Basic Theology for Fallen Women (I also read The Birds, the Bees and Other Secrets in 2013). Frances is also a blogger, and I’d been following her blog for some time before I got round to reading her books; something which I found made it a bit tricky to “objectively” review the novels. (Or at least to know whether I could or not. I mean, I do think I’d have found her books worth reading anyway, but how exactly can I know that?)

I also read – or finished reading – in 2014  The Mystery of Lewis Carroll written by Jenny Woolf, whose blog *An English Travel Writer* is also on my bloglist (and was before I read her book). This is not a novel but a biography. I never got round to writing a proper review of this book, partly because of the fact that I read the first half of it in 2012, but then it got put aside for over a year; not because of the book as such, but because of my eye problems making it difficult to read printed books at all.

It is not exactly a chronological biography, but more of a thorough examination of various aspects and myths and rumours about the “elusive” author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll. I enjoyed it, and it seems to me that Jenny has done a good job of putting facts and speculations into context, by also taking a good look at the differences between our own time and the English Victorian age when the book was written.

Other English titles that stand out for me from my 2014 list are

Entry Island by Peter May

The Physic Garden by Catherine Czerkawska

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

(of these I did write reviews and that’s where the links go)

Currently I’m reading the second Cormoran Strike detective novel by Robert Galbraith (= pseudonym for J.K. Rowling) – The Silkworm; and up next (or at least soon) probably Peter May’s new novel Runaway, which will be published on January 15.

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Musing Mondays


  1. Wow! You got a lot of reading done!! The Dodgson one looks interesting. After they uncovered those photos, I don't know what else could be said. Maybe they didn't portray Poppins like the book because it might turn people off?

    1. Actually Dodgson's photography is one of the things I think Jenny manages to put in perspective, Ginny. In the early days of photography images like these represented innocense rather than anything else, and the photos were taken with parental consent. I've not read any other full biography of his life but this one does seem to me both truthful and respectful and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in learning more.

      About the Mary Poppins musical I have no doubt you're right. While the musical is all "with a spoonful of sugar", the books I'd say have a bit more salt and pepper and chewy bits... ;)

  2. I read a lot less, not even 50 books altogether, and much of this was done on the train to and from work.
    Your post has reminded me of the fact that I have not yet managed to read any of J.K. Rowling's Non-Harry-Potter books.

    1. I'd say that's still a lot of reading, Meike, considering you're also working full time! (which I am not)

  3. as near as i can tell, because i did not keep a list, i read around 120 books last year. i read every single day of my life and read every where i go.. all of mine were Kindle books but one I got at the library

  4. You read a variety of genre, good for you! I read The Cuckoo's Calling and I was disappointed, so I won't be reading any more of that series.

    1. I do like to read a certain variety of genre, Norma - even if I do read mostly fiction. I'll hold back on my opinion of The Silkworm until I've finished it, I think :)

  5. I am so ashamed of the paucity of last year's reading list that I shall not even think about it!


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