January Book Wrap-Up

I read a LOT, and I’ll read just about anything and everything I can get my hands on… except trashy romance novels.  From fiction to biography to travel guides–I’m there.  I have two huge floor to ceiling bookshelves back home stuffed with books and a smaller bookshelf half the way there.  Here in London, I have another floor to ceiling shelf that’s getting close to the halfway full mark.  I love books.  Someone asked me recently how many books I thought I read in a year.  I couldn’t even fathom a guess… so this year, starting at New Years, I decided that I was going to keep track of what I read each month so that I could see how many books I made my way through in 2010.  Every time I start/finish a book, I mark it down in my planner as well as on goodreads.com.  (http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2304102)

Each month I’m going to do an entry (I know a few of you guys are bookworms!) recapping what I’ve read and what I thought were the best and worst of the month.  Maybe I’ll inspire some of you!  Anyhow, here we go!

January 2010

Books Finished: 5

  • The Angel’s Game – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard – Kiran Desai
  • Once – Morris Gleitzman (Young Adult Novel)
  • Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

Books Abandoned (given up on): 1

  • The Perfect Storm – Sebastian Junger

Books in Progress: 1

  • The House at Riverton – Kate Morton

Best Book:

I have absolutely fallen in love with Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  I read his first English-translated novel, The Shadow of the Wind back in September and finished the long read very quickly.  Zafon has a knack for creating characters that you care about and setting such atmospheric moods that you can almost feel the sticky, cloying Barcelona heat.  Like Shadow, Angel’s Game takes place in Barcelona and actually is somewhat of a prequel to Shadow.  Though the plotlines in the two books are unrelated, there are a lot of the same endearing characters in each book.  I have to say, I liked Shadow much more, but Angel was a superb read.  I couldn’t tear myself away from the book–there were all sorts of twists and turns as well as genuinely spooky moments.  I can’t wait for the next translation of one of Zafon’s books.

Worst Book:

Definitely The Perfect Storm, as I couldn’t even finish it!  I have a general rule that I apply to books–if I’m not interested by page 50, chances are that I won’t be at all–so I put the book away and go to something else.  Sometimes I come back to it, sometimes I sell it or give it away.  With Storm, I couldn’t get past page 30, let alone 50.  Many people have said that the novel’s biggest problem is all of the meteorological explanation, boating information and several bits of  history of fishing in New England.  Actually–I didn’t have a problem with that.  I thought the information fit nicely with the novel–I wouldn’t have known much else otherwise!

My problem was with Junger’s writing style.  From what I understand, he’s a journalist… and believe me it shows.  The novel reads like a news story– “so and so did X and then they drove down the road and did Y.  And then so and so picked up another so and so and then they did Z together.”  It was all very factual–boom there it is, all spelled out in black and white for you.  I should have known it was going to be like that when I read the author’s note at the start.  Junger explains that he wanted as much of a factual account about the events in the novel as possible.  He put the novel together by interviewing friends, neighbors and towns people and all such as that.

All in all, I just couldn’t slog through it.  For me, there was no imagination to it.

Currently Reading:

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton.

Dunno how I feel about it yet.  Nearly 50 pages in and it hasn’t grabbed me–but I want to like it sooooo bad.  I just wish it would stop hinting at mystery and intrigue and just GET ON WITH IT!!!!


If you’re interested in getting in touch, tweet me at @stephanie_khani or @londondiaries1.  Alternatively you can email me at emailthelondondiaries [at] gmail.com.


One thought on “January Book Wrap-Up

  1. You gave up on “The Perfect Storm”? May not be the best book in the world, but the second half is much better and becomes slightly more literary versus straight sentences. The start, is, well, dull, as you found it (I had to read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for academic team last year and the scientific weather things don’t bug me any more). The movie is even greater and even starts semi-intruiging; a real Titanic-style tearjerker.

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