Reading Round-Up January 2013

I entered the year with two resolutions concerning my reading: to read 100 books and to read more diversely. The best thing about holidays is that there is time to indulge a lot of reading.

Below are the books I sped through in January:

Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen

I tend to re-read all of Austen’s books each year and after watching the BBC mini-series (2007), I delved back into S&S. I adore the sisters, the depiction of life in the 1800s, and the clash between brain and heart.

One Hundred Names, Cecelia AhernImage

Ahern is one of those authors whose new books I eagerly await. I was not disappointed, another heart-warming story of a modern woman finding their way through life. Kitty, a journalist in disgrace, redeems herself through working on a mystery story left to her by her late boss and mentor. Weaving the strands of several characters’ stories, Kitty is able to pull together the shreds her life has fallen into and find love. Reading Cecelia Ahern is much like curling up in a warm jumper with a nice cup of tea.

Vampire Academy books 1-6, Richelle Mead

In preparation for these books being adapted into movies, I re-read the whole series. Usually upon second reading, I take it more slowly, enjoying the plot, the characters and the writing, but I was drawn into the addictive plot twists and turns and devoured these books within the first week of the year. As the title suggests it is the about a teenage girl, who is half-vampire, as she protects her best friend and attempts to finish school. Although, like a lot of Young Adult fiction, it doesn’t read or feel as juvenile as the plot suggests.


City of Bones, Cassandra Clare

This is the first in a series that my brother raved about last year, so I gave it a go and enjoyed it. The world Clare has created, in which vampires, werewolves, demons, witches and shadow hunters exist, is complex and well constructed. I enjoyed the characters, the plot and the writing.

Catching Fire & Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

I admit it, I adore The Hunger Games movie. So much so, that I read Catching Fire and Mockingjay, despite not having read The Hunger Games book. The protagonist is appealing, yet not perfect, the world and the characters are compelling and the writing is enjoyable. Again, despite the protagonist being only 17 years old, it doesn’t feel juvenile. The character is complex and has had reason to mature quickly, so it doesn’t feel like you are reading Young Adult fiction.

Becoming Jane Austen, Jon Spence

A beautiful biography about Austen’s life, it is well written with penetrating insight into my favourite author and her life.

The Forgotten Garden, Kate MortonImage

I stumbled upon Kate Morton, an Australian author, late last year and haven’t been able to put down her books! The Forgotten Garden is my favourite of the four I have read. It spans three generations and two continents. A small child ends up on a wharf in Australia in the early 1900s, put on the boat by a mysterious “Authoress.” As an adult, Nell begins to unravel the mystery of her early life, but passes away before she can place the final pieces together. Her granddaughter, Cassandra (nursing her own life’s tragedies) ends up in England at the place of Nell’s birth, tracing the mystery surrounding her grandmother’s origins. The book intertwines a complex plot and subplots with distinctive, eccentric characters with rich back-stories. The mystery is sustained through the comparatively long novel and comes to a beautiful denouement.

Adventures, Books

Fancy Nerd Finds Great Secondhand Bookstore

A delicious shelf of classics
A delicious shelf of classics

My weekend began with a perfect fancy nerd outing with my brother, consisting of great coffee and hours lost in a second-hand bookstore, Book Mark, in Takapuna (North of Auckland). I was lured there on the promise of a 20,000 strong collection of used books, and they delivered. I emerged from the stacks of aged and contemporary books with a Jane Austen biography that has been on my “to read” list for a while, Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin. Unfortunately I couldn’t source a collection of Donne’s poetry or a copy of Pride and Prejudice with first edition text, so they remain on the “really want to buy” list. They did have a beautiful, gold-edged paged omnibus of the Bronte sisters’ novels and an illustrated history of English Literature that I couldn’t liberate this time.

We followed this with a chaser of new books at a bookstore beside our parking spot, just because we were in a new area and are nosy!

A great start to the weekend!