What I read in February 2020

I somehow read 15 books in February. I was pretty impressed by that, because a) I usually read more like 12 (admittedly still more than a lot of people, but I don’t watch a lot, so swings and roundabouts), and b) although there were two weeks where I was absolutely zooming through books, in the other two, it took me most of the week to read one book because I was especially sleepy and kept falling asleep whenever I tried to read.

I’m starting a new job on Monday - will I still find the energy to read in the evenings? And will I single-handedly save Essex Libraries by suddenly boosting their issues by 100+ books a year? Maybe I should order my books to a slightly-less-convenient-but-under-threat village library to make a point…

House of Trelawney, Number 11, Dark Hollow, The Murders at White House Farm, The Good, The Bad and The Little Bit Stupid

House of Trelawney, by Hannah Rothschild - 4*

Number 11, by Jonathan Coe - 4.5*

Dark Hollow, by John Connolly - 4*

The Murders at White House Farm, by Carol Ann Lee - 4*

The Good, The Bad, and The Little Bit Stupid, by Marina Lewycka - 3*

Such a Fun Age, The Long Call, The Scorpio Races, The Foundling, Liar Liar

Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid - believe the hype - the only thing I didn’t love about this book was the unsatisfying ending. 4.5*

The Long Call, by Ann Cleeves - 4.5*

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater - 4*

The Foundling, by Stacey Halls - started it on Saturday night, finished it on Sunday morning. Magnificent. 5*

Liar Liar, by Mel Sherratt - 3.5*

Welcome to Night Vale, Rage and Retribution, Unbelievable, Confusion, Traces

Welcome to Night Vale, by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor - 3.5*

Rage and Retribution, by Lorraine Mace - I’m on a blog tour (my very first!) for this one, full review to come on Monday 23 March. 4*

Unbelievable, by T. Christian Miller & Ken Armstrong - good, but I thought the female gaze of the Netflix series was superior to the male-authored book. 4*

Confusion, by Elizabeth Jane Howard - read this 500-page book in a weekend. 5*

Traces, by Professor Patricia Wiltshire - super-interesting as I previously had zero realisation of how much pollen and fungi could tell us about where a person lived and died, but the ways victims are described in forensic investigators’ memoirs (‘pretty’, ‘illegal’) makes me a little uncomfortable sometimes. 4*

Looking ahead…

Expo 58, All Change, The Address Book, Time's Legacy, Ghostcatcher

My mission to read everything Jonathan Coe, Barbara Erskine, and Elizabeth Jane Howard have ever written continues apace!

In fact, one of the many leaving gifts my lovely (now ex-, sniffle sniffle) colleagues gave me was a book voucher, and I put it towards all of Howard’s Cazalet Chronicles novels. Even though I’ve read three of them from the library already, they just feel so re-readable - if I was looking for a comfort read, I would return to them the same way I constantly re-read Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson books and Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole books as a teenager. For that reason, I have to own them so they’re always there for me.

Ghostcatcher is the third and final title in my former colleague Sophie Green’s excellent series and I’ll totally be buying a copy, even if I might not be able to get this one signed like the others!

As for The Address Book, by Deirdre Mask, I spotted it on Netgalley and it totally appealed to the historian that will always be within me. Having done a historical demography module as part of my Master’s (and referred to the sub-discipline in my PhD, even if it was to say why I wouldn’t be going down that route!), been an avid viewer of series such as The Secret History of Our Streets and A House Through Time, and always wondered why some houses on my road have ‘A’ appended to their numbers, it looks right up my, er, street.

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About Alice Violett

Reader of books, editor of web content, haver of PhD

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