October was a bumper reading month for me. I read 11 books and 1 novella and reviewed all of them except one – To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, which was a re-read. Two books are non-fiction, and 2 books are from my TBR shelves.
I’ve included a brief description of each book, for the full posts click on the book titles.
- The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier €“ TBR – this is fantasy fiction set some time in the future, about a place between heaven and earth, and the people who end up there after they’ve died and what happens to them. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
- The Lake District Murder by John Bude – first published in 1935, this is a police procedural, showing in intricate detail how the detectives investigate a crime. In this case a body is discovered in a car outside a lonely garage on a little used road.
- The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie, one of the earlier of her books, first published in the UK in 1931 and in the US as Murder at Hazelmoor, featuring Inspector Narracott. It begins with a seance, or rather a table-turning session which tells of the death of Captain Trevelyan.
- The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel – a collection of short stories that are brooding, somewhat melancholic, dark, disturbing and full of sharp and penetrating observations.
- A Short Book about Drawing by Andrew Marr – NF – not an instruction book, but it’s full of insight into what happens when you draw and it’s dotted throughout with personal information.
- Almost Invincible: a biographical novel of Mary Shelley by Suzanne Burdon – a remarkable novel about Mary Shelley’s life and relationship with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, a story of scandal, love and loss.
- Time’s Echo by Pamela Hartshorne – a time-slip story with an element of mystery and suspense set in York in the 1870s and the modern day.
- In Our Time by Melvyn Bragg €“ NF, TBR -transcript of the Radio 4 programme covering a wide variety of subjects including the history of ideas €“ philosophy, physics, history, religion, literature and science.
- Cauldstane by Linda Gillard – a ghost story, set in a Scottish tower house in the Highlands where a malign presence threatens the MacNab family and ghost writer Jenny Ryan.
- To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf – a review may follow.
- A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson investigate the murder of Enoch J Drebber, an American found dead in the front room of an empty house off the Brixton Road, with the word ‘RACHE’ scrawled in blood on the wall beside the body.
- She Never Came Home by Dorte HummelshÃ¸j Jacobsen (novella) – ghost story with a chilling atmosphere and shocking twist at the end.
With such a variety of books it’s impossible to pick a book of the month, but in particular both the non-fiction books are excellent:
and in fiction, Hilary Mantel’s book of short stories and Suzanne Burdon’s autobiographical novel of Mary Shelley are two that still linger in my memory: