What I read in December 2019

I read 15 books in December, and I’m not surprised - the month seemed to go on forever, and it would have been even more if one of them hadn’t been a huge Barbara Erskine tome. I reached a total of 148 books for the year, finishing my last one (S.T.A.G.S, by M. A. Bennett) at around 11:15pm on New Year’s Eve!

Grand Union, Nine Elms, How It All Began, Mindf*ck, The Raven King

Grand Union: stories, by Zadie Smith. A bit hit-and-miss for me, some of the stories I really enjoyed and others left me cold - 3*

Nine Elms, by Robert Bryndza. Robert Bryndza’s books are like Pringles - you have one and it leaves you craving more. As I’ve read all his thrillers now, though, I have to wait ten months for the next one! - 4.5*

How It All Began, by Penelope Lively - 4*

Mindf*ck: inside Cambridge Analytica’s plot to break the world, by Christopher Wylie. Fascinating, surprisingly wide-ranging re: psychology and culture, and probably not the best choice to read the week of a horrible election result - 4*

The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater - 4*

What a Carve Up!, Who Did You Tell?, Joe Country, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas, Cartes Postales from Greece

What a Carve Up!, by Jonathan Coe. Nearly 26 years old, but still so relevant to today that it could have been published last week. Really funny, I absolutely barrelled through it - 5*

Who Did You Tell?, by Lesley Kara - 4*

Joe Country, by Mick Herron - 4*

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas, by Adam Kay - 4*

Cartes Postales from Greece, by Victoria Hislop. Not quite what I was expecting re: how much we saw of the writer and receiver of the postcards/notebook, but I really enjoyed the short stories - 4*

The Ghost of Madison Avenue, The Warrior's Princess, I Never Said I Loved You, City of Ghosts, S.T.A.G.S

The Ghost of Madison Avenue, by Nancy Bilyeau - 4*

The Warrior’s Princess, by Barbara Erskine. Similar to Sleeper’s Castle (or the other way round, as this came out first) in setting and formula, but still a fun read and made me want to go on a holiday to Wales even more - 4*

I Never Said I Loved You, by Rhik Samadder. Occasional flashes of humour and relatability (I, too, would be regarded as ‘doing well’ if only I was a decade younger) but too often felt like a bit of a trudge - 3*

City of Ghosts, by Victoria Schwab - 4*

S.T.A.G.S, by M. A. Bennett - 4*

Looking ahead…

Call Down the Hawk, Those Who Are Loved, Birthdays for the Dead, Ghostland

As ever, this is more of a ‘hope to read’ than a ‘definitely will read’ list! Well, I’ll definitely be reading Call Down the Hawk, by Maggie Stiefvater, because I’ve already put my bookmark in it ready to begin reading. I found Ronan, his unusual ability, and his family the most fascinating things in the Raven Cycle, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

As a fan of all things spooky, Ghostland: in search of a haunted country, by Edward Parnell, looks fascinating to me. Having enjoyed my first Victoria Hislop book last month, I have high hopes for my second, Those Who Are Loved. And I’ve not quite read everything Stuart MacBride has ever written, so when I saw Birthdays for the Dead in the Kindle sale, I decided it was high time to remedy that! It’ll also keep me going until his next new book comes out.

Alice Violett's Picture

About Alice Violett

Writer of blogs and short stories, reader of books, player of board games, lover of cats, editor of web content, haver of PhD.

Colchester, UK https://www.draliceviolett.com