Today’s blog post is going to be a quick wrap up of the books I read in December featuring some of my favourite quotes from these books. It’s crazy to think that this will be my last wrap up of the year!
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel
A book I got out from the library and my first ever book by Hilary Mantel. This is a collection of short stories and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Each story was the perfect length to make sure they flowed well and were not too wordy. However, each story was long enough that you could get your teeth into it, enjoy it, and feel invested in the characters and their story. Each story is so drastically different, and although this could be seen as a negative that there’s no evident theme in this short story collection, I quite liked that you got to read stories about different topics, set in different places, and with vastly different characters and experiences.
“I see that both the living and the dead commute, riding their familiar trains. I am not, as you will have gathered, a person who needs false excitement, or simulated innovation. I am willing, though, to tear up the timetable and take some new routes; and I know I shall find, at some unlikely terminus, a hand that is meant to rest in mine.”
Winter Magic by Abi Elphinstone
Another short story collection. This was a re-read for me, the first time I read it being last year. I loved it so much that I really wanted to read it again this year. This is a beautiful and magical collection of stories around everything to do with winter (elves, frost fairs, snow, ice queens…)
I couldn’t choose a favourite story of all of these – each is as magical as the last!
‘Winter is a season that sparkles with magic and transforms our ordinary world into a glittering kingdom: rooftops covered in snow, lakes glazed with ice and windows frosted white. It is a time of year that invites exploration and whispers of adventure. And at the heart of it all there is a sense of longing – for snowflakes, stockings and sledging, of course – but also, for stories.’
Another Night Before Christmas by Carol Ann Duffy + Frost Fair by Carol Ann Duffy
These are both short Christmas poems by Carol Ann Duffy. I had read Another Night Before Christmas last year and I absolutely loved it. When I saw Frost Fair was the new book this year, I knew I had to get it as I’m really enchanted by the idea of the Thames freezing over and the people of London turning it into a fair with games, sports, food, drink and festivities.
I gave Another Night Before Christmas 5 stars (again) and Frost Fair 4 stairs.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I don’t know whether I even need to review this or tell you my star rating as I’ve mentioned A Christmas Carol so many times this festive period haha.
It’s one of my all-time favourite books let alone my favourite Christmas book and I love reading it every year around this time – and this year was no different!
“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,’ returned the nephew. ‘Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”
It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything by Enid Blyton and reading this book made me realise how much of a special place she held in my heart when I was a child. However, within short story collections I have realised that I prefer to read collections where there’s less stories but the short stories are longer. This book featured 30 stories, all very short, and although I understand this is a book targeted at a much younger audience, I just felt like I was rushing through the stories, some were over so quickly, and I wasn’t able to fully enjoy the experience.
A Maigret Christmas and Other Stories by Georges Simenon
This was a collection of three seasonal stories set in Paris from the series of books about Inspector Maigret (who I had never heard of before!). The books in this collection are “A Maigret Christmas”, “Seven Small Crosses in a Notebook” and “The Little Restaurant in Les Ternes (A Christmas Story for Grown Ups)”. It was very easy to delve into each story, and Georges Simenon is a brilliant writer whose complex mysteries aren’t confusing, but enjoyable and easy to understand. I’d definitely be interested in reading more mystery/murder/detective books around the Christmas period.
What books did you read this month?
Thanks for reading!
Love, Zoë xx