Monday, December 31, 2007

Books Read In 2007

So these are the books I read in 2007...

1. The Shadow of the North – Phillip Pullman
2. On Beauty – Zadie Smith (BG)
3. Eragon – Christopher Paolini
4. The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
5. Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
6. Restless – William Boyd (BG)
7. Notes On A Scandal – Zoe Heller
8. Agatha Raisin & The Quiche of Death – M. C. Beeton
9. Running With Scissors – Augusten Burroghs
10. Morality For Beautiful Girls – Alexander McCall Smith
11. The Observations – Jane Harris
12. Agatha Raisin & The Vicious Vet – M.C. Beeton
13. The Undomestic Goddess – Sophie Kinsella
14. Star People – Paul Burston
15. The Half Life of Stars – Louise Wener
16. The Art of Undressing – Stephanie Lehmann
17. An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro (BG)
18. The Tenderness of Wolves – Stef Penney
19. Dry – Augusten Burroughs
20. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
21. The Interpretation Of Murder – Jed Rubenfield (BG)
22. Lovers & Losers – Paul Burston
23. Jamaica Inn – Daphne Du Maurier
24. Blood Red, Snow White – Marcus Sedgwick
25. Branwell – Douglas A Martin
26. Eleven – David Llewellyn
27. Agatha Raisin & The Potted Gardener – M.C. Beeton
28. Half A Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche (BG)
29. The End Of Mr Y – Scarlett Thomas (didnt finish)
30. Dissolution – C.J. Sansom
31. The Book Of Lost Things – John Connolly
32. A Most Dangerous Woman – L M Jackson
33. The Devil In Amber – Mark Gatiss
34. The Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox – Maggie O’Farrell
35. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things – Jon McGregor
36. Suite Francaise – Irene Nemirovsky (didnt finish) (BG)
37. Case Histories – Kate Atkinson
38. Agatha Raisin & The Walkers of Dembley – M.C. Beeton
39. Mary O’Reilly – Valerie Martin
40. A Spot Of Bother – Mark Haddon
41. Knots and Crosses – Ian Rankin
42. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling
43. Aiding & Abetting – Muriel Spark (BG)
44. Agatha Raisin & The Murderous Marriage – M.C. Beeton
45. Atonement – Ian McEwan (BG)
46. The Sunday Philosophy Club – Alexander McCall Smith
47. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
48. The House At Riverton – Kate Morton (BG)
49. Our Betty – Liz Smith
50. Queen Camilla – Sue Townsend
51. The Various Haunts of Men – Susan Hill
52. The End of the Affair – Graham Greene
53.The Collector – John Fowles
54. The Ladies of Grace Adieu – Susanna Clarke
55. The Pure In Heart – Susan Hill
56. Gents – Warwick Collins
57. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
58. Animals People – Indra Sinhu (BG)
59. The Almost Moon – Alice Sebold
60. The Testament of Gideon Mack – James Robertson
61. Hide & Seek – Ian Rankin
62. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
63. Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins – Rupert Everett
64. The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett
65. The Diary Of A Nobody – George Grossmith
66. Winter In Madrid – C J Sansom (BG)
67. Darkside – Tom Becker
68. The Book Thief – Marcus Zusack
69. The Magicians Guild – Trudi Canavan

How many will I do in 2008?

BG = Book Group

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Review: The Various Haunts of Men - Susan Hill

This was the second time that I had picked up Susan Hill’s ‘The Various Haunts of Men’, I hadn’t put it down before because it was boring or anything, I think I had had to read something else for my book group. Anyway I decided to give it another whirl as a) I have started to get into crime books more and more b) her ghost story The Woman In Black is one of my favourite books c) I am taking part in her Creative Writing Course and wanted to do some more research/reading.

The story centres around people who vanish on ‘The Hill’ in the cathedral town of Lafferton. It’s the first in the Simon Serrailler series (of which there is now three; Pure in Heart and The Risk of Darkness follow) yet it seems to follow the story of new ‘Sarge’ Freya Graffham more as she moves to Lafferton as the disappearances start.

You aren’t actually sure if anyone has died for around the first 80 pages, even though it’s a crime book so you’re pretty clued up. That doesn’t slow down the story or the pace of the book at all as you start to get hooked on the small story lines of various members of the town and how their own personal stories start to intertwine with the main mystery.

I did guess the killer before it was unveiled however, you are still reeled into some big red herrings as well as some subtle little quotes and comments that make you question if your convicted thoughts are correct. What I also loved about the book was the eight or nine twists that start to seep in later in the novel, very clever. I also felt that Susan Hill had researched the illnesses, police dialect and facts, and depths of a psychopath in great detail whilst also using the book as a sort of social study of people and a small town. There are some twists in the end that I thought were very clever as it leaves you a bit shocked and doesn’t follow the normal ‘happy ending’ you get in some books, I just thought that made it better and more real.

I would recommend this book (though not to my Mum as she didn’t like it) to anyone who likes crime, or just really anyone who likes fiction. I cant really compare it to any other crime authors as it is a genre I am only just getting into, I did really enjoy it and will definitely be reading the next instalment. Two thumbs up from me.