Sunday, 30 December 2012

Reading Plans 2013

I've decided to make an effort to reduce the size of my TBR pile in 2013 by taking part in the TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Roof Beam Reader. The twelve books I have chosen from my TBR pile are as follows:

Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman
And Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
Captain James Cook: A Biography by Richard Hough
Lanark by Alasdair Gray
Time's Legacy by Barbara Erskine
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
The River King by Alice Hoffman
The Harsh Voice by Rebecca West

All have been on my TBR shelf for more than a year, as per the rules of the challenge.

At the beginning of this year I chose six books to re-read because I felt I was never making time to go back and revisit books I have enjoyed. I felt it worked well, so I'm going to do the same this year. The six books I've chosen are:

Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett
Amanda & the Eleven Million Mile High Dancer by Carol Hill
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg
The Quincunx by Charles Palliser
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I haven't done very well with the Challenges which I signed up for in 2012 and I think the main reason for this is that I haven't been organised enough. So in 2013 I am going to set up a reading list at the beginning of each month and hopefully in that way I can keep on top of things.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dead Scared by SJ Bolton

This is a book I received through Goodreads and the first one I have read by SJ Bolton. I have heard good things about her, so I was looking forward to it.

Lacey Flint is a police officer who is working undercover, posing as a Cambridge University student. There has been a spate of suicides amongst female students at the university. The methods the women have chosen to kill themselves are highly unusual - one sets herself on fire, another decapitates herself. What the women seem to have in common is that they were struggling in some way, lonely or depressed, or having trouble with their studies. This wouldn't be unusual in suicides, but the methods and the number of deaths have drawn the attention of the police, who suspect foul play. Lacey's role is to act the part of a vulnerable student, both to find information about the women who have died, but also to possibly draw out the killer.

The only person at the university who knows Lacey's true identity is Dr Evi Oliver, a psychiatrist who runs a clinic at which the most recent victim was a patient. Evi seems to be being targeted by someone who wants to break her;

Evi stopped, willing the wind to soften so that she could hear the snigger, the scuffle of feet that would tell her someone was watching. Because someone had to be watching. There was no way these cones had blown on to the path. There were twelve in all, one in the exact centre of each flagstone, forming a straight line right up to the front door. 

I thought this was an enjoyable book, the short chapter helped to keep up the pace and I didn't know how it was going to end. I did wish that I had read the previous book in the series because I felt that I could've done with a bit more understanding of the relationships, particularly between Lacey and her superior officer, Mark Joesbury. But other than that, I enjoyed it.

I got a couple of new books this week. I visited a quirky gift shop in Stockton, Who Ray, which has a few shelves of second hand books. I picked up A Writer's Notebook by W. Somerset Maugham which is described as 'a fascinating glimpse into the life and mind of the man who wrote some of the greatest novels and short stories of this century'.

I also won a book! I won a copy of The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers in a competition from Harvill Secker. 'Over two hundred years ago Bookholm, the City of Dreaming Books, was destroyed by a catastrophic firestorm.' It looks like an interesting read.