I had great plans to have blog posts up during December but it just never came to be, for one reason or another. So I’m going to post up December’s Reads a few days early, as I doubt very much I’m going to finish any more and because I also hit my goal for the year, read 100 books! It was tight but I just about made it. I’m not sure I’ll be trying for such a big number next year, in fact I doubt I will, but it was fun to try it for once.
I Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk
I picked this up in London at the end of November/beginning of December. I couldn’t resist, I love the I Heart series and I thought this Christmassy edition would be a great way to kick off December. It follows the further adventures of Angela Clark, English woman living in New York with her husband, her best friend Jenny Lopez and the other usual cast and characters in this series. Angela thinks she’s in for a nice relaxing lead up to Christmas, doing things like ice skating and watching Christmas films, but things don’t go to plan when Angela is thrown into extra responsibilities at work, including a new assistant in the form of her arch enemy, her best friend from England landing unannounced on her doorstep, Jenny in the midst of a baby craze and her husband Alex springing another surprise on her. Probably not my favourite of the I Heart series, though I still really enjoyed it. I love checking in on Angela and co., they’re like old friends!
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This book has been on my radar for a while but even when I got it out from the library, I was slow to start it. But once I did I was hooked! Set in 2044, the world is a bleak place and many people prefer to live within OASIS, a virtual reality where you have your own avatar and can live, play and go to school on the ten thousand planets. Wade Watts spends most of his life on OASIS and like most people is obsessed with finding the massive prize hidden within the worlds: the fortune left behind by OASIS creator James Halliday. To do so, people must solve a series of puzzles and riddles left behind by Halliday and to do so, Wade and the many others have immersed themselves into the pop culture of 1980s, Halliday’s favourite decade. When Wade finally stumbles across the first of 3 keys, a floodgate opens and suddenly it becomes a rush to solve the clues before something serious could happen to Wade in real life. It was a great novel, I feel people who grow up during the 80s would appreciate a lot of the pop culture references more (seeing as I don’t remember the few years I lived during the 80s) though you don’t have to be a lover of the 80s to love this. It’s a fun idea and unique and I loved it.
Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster
Another of Jen Lancaster’s memoirs. First off, I just love the cover of the book. If you’ve enjoyed previous books by Jen, then you’ll enjoy this. It did make me giggle in places, I love hearing about her life. I did however dislike some of the comments made about Gen Y, but I suppose every generation has something bad to say about the next generation.
The Vogue Factor by Kirstie Clements
Kirstie Clements made her way from receptionist up to Editor for Vogue Australia, before being fired out of the blue in 2012. This book is a series of stories and events from over the years in Vogue Australia. If you’re hoping for something The Devil Wears Prada or even something that gives an in depth day to day running of Vogue, then you won’t find it here. Instead you’ll find how Kirstie rose through the ranks, stories of different shoots, the changes in Vogue Australia through the years, and some of the events and Fashion Weeks that Kirstie attended over the years. The book didn’t wow me, there was no tell all’s or dirty secrets aired, but I certainly did enjoy the book and would recommend you read it if you like the fashion world. I really did like the insight into what would be for me a lesser known Vogue publication (I’ve only read UK, US and French Vogue). And I did appreciate reading how much hard work it can be working in a) an institution like Vogue and b) a fashion magazine.
Peas and Queues by Sandi Toksvig
This was gifted to my sister for her birthday just before Christmas and I grabbed it to read so I could have it finished before returning back to UK after my break. A modern etiquette and manners book, it is by no means stuffy. I found myself laughing at some of the things Toksvig said (I do so love her on QI). I loved the addition of some word meanings and origins. A lot of it should be common sense (like don’t ever get too drunk) but you know what they say about common sense (it’s the least common of senses). A charming read, though the bits about children didn’t really interest me.
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Abby Clements
When I saw this at a cheap price for Kindle, I decided to give it a go, as I liked reading I Heart Christmas and decided I wanted to read another light, fluffy, heart warming Christmas read. Laurie and Rachel have drifted apart since being best friends in school. Laurie lives in London, immersed in her design career. Rachel lives in a cottage in Yorkshire, content with raising a family. But when unexpected events happen to both Rachel and Laurie, they find themselves in need of a house swap. How will Laurie find the sleepy Yorkshire village? And will Rachel be able to brave the fast and busy streets of London? The book has several things in common with with film The Holiday, so if you like that film you’ll probably enjoy reading this book. It was a fun read, though there were a few mistakes in my Kindle edition which irked me (Rachel’s son Zak was spelt Zach on at least one occasion and apparently it was Steve Carell and not Will Ferrell that was in Elf). None the less, it’s a light, fast, if not predictable, Christmassy read. I have another Clements book to read and I’m looking forward to reading it after reading this.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
A short companion book to go with the Harry Potter series, it gives an A-Z list and description of the beasts in the HP series. It’s a nice read to accompany the series but definitely not an essential read. What I liked about the edition is that the proceeds of the book goes towards Comic Relief, a very generous and kind hearted thing for J.K. Rowling to do.
Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones (read by Kirby Heyborne)
This book, which I listen to from an Audible.com download, took me over a month and half to read. It is 1275 minutes long, over 21 hours long! It is definitely an extensive look into Jim Henson’s life, at times I felt it was a little too long and that some of the details weren’t really needed. But I loved it. I especially loved the fact I listened to it, as the narrator Kirby Heyborne put on accents and made it just that little bit more special. I’d listen to it while walking to the library just after I moved to UK and probably looked like a massive goon, grinning ear to ear at something sweet. There’s no doubt that Jim Henson was a special and talented man, who has left an incredible legacy. Brian Jay Jones did a lot of research and interviews for this book, with all the people closest to Jim, which makes it seem extra special. I cried so much at the end, he definitely died too young. A must read if you are a Jim Henson, Muppets or Sesame Street fan.
Number of Books Read- 8
Ratio Fiction to non-fiction- 4:4
Books borrowed from library- 1
Number of eBooks- 3
Number of audio books- 1
Number of books from Reading Resolutions- 0
So that’s it! 100 books read. 7/12 Reading Resolutions accomplished. Not bad, but I hope to make another set of Reading Resolutions for 2014 and will stick to finishing them more than hitting a number goal (which I must say became exhausting near the end). It’ll be a bit of a relief next year not to have to hit a number goal, I’m looking forward to reading more at leisure and perhaps tackling the Song of Fire and Ice series. If you’d like to see all I’ve read this year, either click on one of the months below or else click here to see my Year in Goodreads.