Shortly Reads Too…

 I know it’s not *exactly* the start of the new year anymore, but I thought that I’d try to keep a record of what I’ve been reading this year, and  here seemed as good as any other place. I read a lot, probably about as much as I knit, so it will give me a little more to talk about 😀

So, for starters, here’s the pile of reading I finished while I was on holiday in Christchurch. I took the picture on the windowsill of our bedroom at my parents-in-law’s house.  Looking out at a lovely day in their country idyll. Seems a million miles away from our rainy windy Taranaki day today, that’s for sure!!  Anyway, I was able to start the year with a few nice new books thanks to some Christmas gifts and gift cards for bookshops. I also had a few reward vouchers for Whitcoulls. And I was horrified at the price of new books – I’ve been largely subsisting on library books and second hand books for a long while now… However, that aside it was nice to add a few new books to my collection.

First up was Freya North’s Secrets.  Chicklit. Need I say more? Lightweight, inoffensive, a bit more sex than the average novel perhaps, but a pleasant enough read.  I picked this one up cheap from a remainder bin… And it was a nice light piece of reading for the start of the holiday.

The next in the stack is the last one I finished, Owen Marshall’s book of poetry titled Sleepwalking in Antarctica and other poems.  I was gifted this by my PIL for Christmas – a signed copy no less. Lovely! I really enjoyed reading this collection, some of which are about Marshall’s time  in Antartctic as  an Antartica Fellow in 2010.  While his’ poems about Antarctica are nice, I found his poetry about life in general, especially life in New Zealand particularly enjoyable and touching.  A favourite pair are Motel Diary and The Roosting Tree which created a touching contrast between the ‘numbered crypt of/throughfare’ and the importance of having a roosting place of one’s own ‘some high, safe place/of happy congregation when/the night is cloaked for/hunting.’  I also enjoyed several poems about dating or former loves, especially Flashback and From the Back it was Just Like You.  My parents in law try very hard to choose an appropriate book for me, and this time they, again, hit the nail on the head  – a lovely, light read, and a very enjoyable collection from Marshall.

The final three books all come highly recommended – if you don’t mind losing several days in reading them that is!

I read The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows with a large degree of enjoyment – it is set in World War Two England and Gurnsey Islands.  I’m very fond of historical novels – and this was both a well written story and enlightening in terms of the history at the time.  The book consists of letterns, narrative, different points of view, and sympathetically presented characters.  A great read – I hope you enjoy Juliet Ashton and the cast of characters from Gurnsey’s book club as much as I did if you read this book!

The final two books of the Millenium Trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, were totally absorbing.  I stayed up altogether too late on more than one occasion while reading these books.  I hadn’t bought into them previously, but a conversation with a workmate last year planted a seed of curiosity in my mind (after he and his wife saw the movie of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). When I realised these were thrillers, I was suddenly more keen to read them.  And I’m super glad I did – Stieg Larsson has written superbly crafted novels – I think I possibly enjoyed the first one the best, but they are full of twists and turns in their plots. Not in a one-upmanship type of way I’ve seen authors write (I’m looking at you, Dan Brown) but in an authentic way that links to the complex characters who he has created.  Lisbeth Salander is a someone who finds it hard to understand ‘read’ other people, but it certainly is not hard to find yourself sympathising with her.  Mikael Blomkvist is not someone I’d probably like in real life, but again he makes an excellent hero – someone multi-faceted, loyal, determined and intelligent.  I finished my year’s reading with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and was super glad the other two books were available straight away, I don’t like waiting for my sequels!

I should probably write about books soon after reading them rather than waiting several weeks as it makes it harder to write about them – so I’ll try to update my reading list in the next couple of days before my next few books all begin to blur together!

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4 Responses to “Shortly Reads Too…”


  1. 1 Alison January 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    A great selection of reads! I read Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society last year on the recommendation of several friends and really enjoyed it. I’m also half way through The Girl Who Played with Fire and finding it quite absorbing, an ‘intelligent’ thriller. It seems we have similar tastes in reading so I’ll be keeping an eye on your reading list 🙂

  2. 2 Fiona January 23, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    I read the trilogy early last year, and really enjoyed it too. I’ve found the movies OK, but hard work for Brain Tumour man with the subtitles. He still enjoyed them though which is saying something!
    Must keep an eye out for the other books you have been reading.

  3. 3 kreachr January 24, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I’ve read the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society too – its such a good book! And now I wanna go visit Guernsey 😉 I’m yet to read the other two books in the Millennium trilogy, read the first one last year. I always find it sad that Steig Larsson died soon after delivering the novels for publishing, and never got to see how successful his work was 😦

  4. 4 Sweetp January 25, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Owen Marshall taught at my high school 🙂 Big fan of his work.
    I loved the dragon tattoo books too. I read the 3rd one in a little over a day I was so absorbed in it. Easy way to keep track of what you’ve read is goodreads.com


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