I have read very little this month. I never do manage to get through much in December – the week between Christmas and New Year is not for reading as we’re always visiting people and the rest of the month is hectic.
So this will be a short round up:
A Thousand Tiny Disappointments – Sarah Edgehill
This came highly recommended by Book Twitter and is published by a small indie publisher. Edgehill details the daily burden on Martha, trying to keep her job and marriage together, and look after her seriously disabled son, in the face of her mother dying unexpectedly. To complicate matters, her mother has left an unsigned note suggesting that she would like to leave her house to her dog walker and not her two children. The book covers a lot of the daily burdens and micro-aggressions that come with being a working mother, but I would have preferred it if the two male characters, Martha’s brother and husband, were painted in a more nuanced way. They were both absolute self-absorbed unsupportive wankers and even if we were meant to see them through Martha’s burdened eyes, this did come across as a little unlikely. I did at least prefer Martha at the end when she was much less passive than she had been throughout the book. Having said all that, this was well written and I’d be interested to see what she does next.
Break a Leg – Jenny Landreth
This is part-history, part memoir and full celebration of amateur theatre. Landreth shadows an amateur production of a play with her mother’s theatre group, while also discovering more about the role that amateur theatricals has played in British history and in cultural influence beyond our shores. It’s at times sweet and funny, and always interesting, and as someone with a family interest in amateur theatre, does inspire a little pride.
Gifts – Laura Barnett
I really liked this undemanding series of connected festive short stories. It’s not challenging but pleasant enough to read, with each chapter concerning a different character trying to find the perfect Christmas gift for another. The characters are linked and come together (mostly) at the end. It does make a nice change to come across a series of stories that don’t have a ‘shock’ twist of some dark heart that gets revealed.
Mystery in White – J Jefferson Farjeon
December’s reading group choice and we decided to go for a vintage crime offering. Sadly this was not as absorbing as I hoped as, despite an intriguing premise, most of the characters were insufferable. It was easier to finish if you skipped the middle section.
The Winter Guest – WC Ryan
Out next month, I reviewed this here.
I am in the middle of reading three other books and a short story but haven’t managed to finish any of them. So those reviews to come next month!
Moments of Pleasure
I will add only that I received some great books for Christmas and a large Waterstone’s voucher as a work leaving do gift so any suggestions for what to read next year and spend this on are very welcome. There is nothing better than a) a new pile of books and b) the prospect of choosing more books.
On a forward looking note, this blog will hopefully be used more next year! I’m aiming to post more reviews and chats about bibliotherapy and writing for wellbeing throughout the year.
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