I read 116 books in 2022 and if I've counted right they divided up like this.....
Non Fiction 31
Recently Written Crime Fiction 45
Pre 1990's Republished Crime Fiction 8
Short Stories 5 (several were British Library Crime Classics)
Children's Fiction 2
Most were library books but because the mobile library missed a couple of visits during the year I also read lots of my own including the Alexander McCall Smith series about Isobel Dalhousie which I'd collected many of over the years. Many of the books that I owned and have now read have gone off to charity shops.
I went to 3 charity book sales through the year and found many books at car boot sales, a few at charity shops and one or two in random places - like the For Sale shelves in church porches.
|Best Car Boot book finds was the day I found someone selling all these|
The pick of the month of January was one of my own books from the shelves...........Joan Strange - Despatches From the Home Front; The War Diaries. Non Fiction. (Edited by Chris McCooey. Published 2013).From January 1st 1939 to the end of the War, Joan Strange kept a diary. From the dramatic happening in other parts of the world to the local problems in Worthing. The book also includes a few newspaper cuttings which are interesting.
Writing this post helped me find an author I'd completely forgotten....... In January I read a crime fiction book by a new to me author called Roz Watkins and for some reason I'd not looked to see what other books she has written until I started writing this post. The library have two more - good news.
Best Book of February was another from my shelves.............
Esther Rowley - Dogs, Goats, Bulbs and Bombs;Wartime Diaries of Exmouth and Exeter. Edited by John Folkes. (Published 2010)These diaries were found in an auction and thanks to a letter found among the pages could be attributed to Esther, a single woman who was in her 30's and lived with her mother in a large house in Exmouth. It's a fascinating look at the life of those who had money at the time and were able to purchase things that many found difficult to find. Esther is in the ATS at the beginning of the diaries in 1940 but later has to leave to take care of her elderly mother. She spends lots of time out and about walking her dogs, visiting neighbours and friends for tea. playing tennis, swimming in summer and having picnics. Gardening is her main pleasure and there are good details of all the plants she buys - things I didn't think were available during the war.
Favourite book from March
Duff Hart-Davis- Our Land at War:A Portrait of Rural Britain 1939-1945. Non Fiction (Published 2015). A thorough look at all the events of WWII which had any effect on the countryside. From farming to evacuees to air bases and Land Army Girls to country houses and secret hideouts. A very good read.
In April I enjoyed the latest Elly Griffiths in her Ruth Galloway series, the next of this series is due out in January and I'm sure I read somewhere that it will be the last she writes about Ruth. (I've just remembered to reserve it and I'm number 331 in the queue! might be waiting a while)
Through the year I've been able to read and enjoy many of the D.E.Stevenson books that have been republished by Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow blog and Dean St Press. I read some back in the 70's when they were really popular in the library but they are a good gentle read that make a change from crime.
Two good books in June were the latest by Rory Clements - The Man in the Bunker. This is the 6th book featuring Professor Tom Wilde. The war is over, so many countries are in ruins and Tom Wilde is asked to go to Germany to find out if Hitler really did die in the bunker. This is a really good story and so well written.
And a much older book by Phyllis Bottome -
London pride. Fiction (Published 1941) Ben, a boy of the London dockyard slums is 7 years old and the main character of this book he spends his time during the days of the Blitz looking after his little sister Mabel. His mother is a char lady, his father and eldest brother work on the docks. An older sister works in a shop and the twins are sent off as evacuees to Cornwall. Ben's best friend is Emily next door a street wise nine year old whose parents are not as caring as Ben's. Together they do a bit of looting, get buried for 48 hours in a bombed house and then get bombed out of the hospital too. Such a unusual story. The TLS at the time said "her knowledge and understanding of the character of the London slum child in particular cannot be done justice to in an outline of the book".
It was so hot in July I read loads of books while keeping cool indoors. One was from the US Kristin Hannah -
The Four Winds. Fiction. (Published 2021) Elsa Martinelli was rejected by her family- she was never good enough but by 1934 she has found a life she loves with family and farm. Drought and dust storms force her and her two children away from Texas to find the 'land of milk and honey' that everyone is talking about in California. A sad story but good for finding out more about the Depression, migration and dust bowl of 1930's USA.
After reading this I picked up a copy of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath to re-read but it's still waiting ............so many books ...............so little time!
In August I specially enjoyed Sarah Steele- The School Teacher of Saint-Michel. Fiction (Published in 2021). A duel time line story. In the present day Hannah finds a letter sent to her by her late much-loved grandmother Gigi. Gigi wants Hannah to travel to France to find someone called Lucie Laval to apologise - for what? Hannah has no idea about her Grandmothers past. In 1942, at the end of the day, a school teacher checks that her children have their identity passes before taking them to the border post between occupied and Free France which cuts their Dordogne village in half. A lovely story based on real happenings of the time showing the bravery of the people, living in fear of their German invaders.
In September I finally got around to reading the much-hyped book by Delia Owens - Where the Crawdads Sing. Fiction (Published 2018) Kya Clark is the 'Marsh Girl' living alone on the North Carolina coast from a very young age after her drunken father is the last to walk away, she is a mystery to the people of the nearby small town. I enjoyed it but didn't bother to go and see the film - I'll wait until it's out on TV.
Octobers biggest book was Robert Harris - Act of Oblivion. Historical Fiction. (Published 2022)
1660 England and General Edward Whalley and his son in law Colonel William Goffe board a ship bound for the New World. They are on the run, wanted for the murder of King Charles I.
Now 10 years after the beheading Charles II is in power and the 59 men who signed the death warrant and took part in the execution have been found guilty of treason under the Act of Oblivion. Some are already dead and others have been captured and hung. But Edward and William have escaped.
Richard Naylor secretary of the Regicide Committee is given the job of finding them - dead or alive. A period of history I knew nothing about but Robert Harris is such a good writer that I always enjoy his books whatever the subject.
November and Decembers reading were mainly all crime fiction and that's the end of my 2022 books. There are already 7 books on the reserved shelf for me to collect when the van comes round in January and I've made a note of the first charity book sale of the year at Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Lackford Lake Nature Reserve (25th March).
Thank you to everyone who says they enjoy the library book photo every month and to other bloggers who give me ideas for reading.