Bookish Post – December 2022 Reading Wrap-Up

books, wrap-up
Teacup on top of vintage books.

Number of books read: 7
Number of rereads: 0
Number of physical books: 4
Number of ebooks: 1
Number of audiobooks: 2
Number of ARCS: 0

5* reviews: 0
4.5* reviews: 0
4* reviews: 3

Not only is December over but so is 2022. I can’t believe that we’ve got through another year already. I’m currently preparing my yearly wrap-up post so that will be up next week. For now, we’ll just look back on the last month. It was a slow end to the year but there was a lot going on in December. I actually managed to get a few more in than I expected. Thanks to my Christmas holiday, I managed to up the count from a fairly unremarkable 4.

MELMOTH BY SARAH PERRY

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Synopsis:

For centuries, the mysterious dark-robed figure has roamed the globe, searching for those whose complicity and cowardice have fed into the rapids of history’s darkest waters-and now, in Sarah Perry’s breathtaking follow-up to The Essex Serpent, it is heading in our direction.

It has been years since Helen Franklin left England. In Prague, working as a translator, she has found a home of sorts—or, at least, refuge. That changes when her friend Karel discovers a mysterious letter in the library, a strange confession and a curious warning that speaks of Melmoth the Witness, a dark legend found in obscure fairy tales and antique village lore. As such superstition has it, Melmoth travels through the ages, dooming those she persuades to join her to a damnation of timeless, itinerant solitude. To Helen it all seems the stuff of unenlightened fantasy.

But, unaware, as she wanders the cobblestone streets Helen is being watched. And then Karel disappears. . . . 

Read my review.

SECRET RULES TO BEING A ROCKSTAR BY JESSAMYN VIOLET

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synopsis:

Acclaimed musician Jessamyn Violet’s debut LGBTQA+ novel sizzles with a coming-of-age story set in an industry of ambition, secrets, lies, and utter joy.

Eighteen-year-old Kyla Bell dreams of one day being a professional musician… but gets little to no support from her parents. Still, she practices every day and performs locally, harboring her own secret hopes. One night, her dreams are answered in the form of sultry rocker Ruby Sky, the magnetic frontwoman of her favorite band, Glitter Tears. Ruby hears Kyla perform and asks her to join the band on keys for their upcoming tour. 

In order to accept, Kyla must drop out of her Western Massachusetts high school and move to Los Angeles immediately to live with a renowned yet highly volatile producer who has agreed to put her through “rock star boot camp” in a matter of weeks. Blindsided by her emerging feelings for Ruby Sky, Kyla tumbles through the lights and shadows of the 90s music scene in Los Angeles. 

Read my review.

SHE AND HER CAT BY MAKOTO SHINKAI AND NARUKI NAGAKAWA

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis:

On the outskirts of Tokyo, in a neighbourhood crossed by a commuter railway, local cats weave their way through the lives and homes of their owners as they navigate difficult times.

A cat named Chobi sends silent messages of courage to a young woman, willing her to end a faltering relationship; a gifted artist fatally misunderstands her boss’s enthusiasm for her paintings; a manga fan shuts herself away after the death of her friend, while her cat Cookie hatches a plan to persuade her outside; a woman who has dedicated her life to a distant husband learns a lesson in independence from her cat.

Against the urban backdrop of humming trains and private woes, SHE AND HER CAT explores the gentle magic of the everyday. Populated by both the friendly and the feral, it reveals – with heartstopping clarity and warmth – how even in our darkest moments, community and connection may lead us to a happier place.

Read my review.

HERCULE POIROT’S CHRISTMAS BY AGATHA CHRISTIE

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synopsis:

In Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, the holidays are anything but merry when a family reunion is marred by murder — and the notoriously fastidious investigator is quickly on the case. The wealthy Simeon Lee has demanded that all four of his sons — one faithful, one prodigal, one impecunious, one sensitive — and their wives return home for Christmas. But a heartwarming family holiday is not exactly what he has in mind. He bedevils each of his sons with barbed insults and finally announces that he is cutting off their allowances and changing his will. Poirot is called in the aftermath of Simeon Lee’s announcement.

Read my review.

HOW TO BE RIGHT … IN A WORLD GONE WRONG BY JAMES O’BRIEN

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis:

Every day, James O’Brien listens to people blaming benefits scroungers, the EU, Muslims, feminists and immigrants. But what makes James’s daily LBC show such essential listening – and has made James a standout social media star – is the careful way he punctures their assumptions and dismantles their arguments live on air, every single morning.

In How To Be Right, James provides a hilarious and invigorating guide to talking to people with faulty opinions. With chapters on every lightning-rod issue, James shows how people have been fooled into thinking the way they do, and in each case outlines the key questions to ask to reveal fallacies, inconsistencies and double standards.

If you ever get cornered by ardent Brexiteers, Daily Mail disciples or little England patriots, this book is your conversation survival guide.

‘I have had a ringside seat as a significant swathe of the British population was persuaded that their failures were the fault of foreigners, that unisex lavatories threatened their peace of mind and that ‘all Muslims’ must somehow apologise for terror attacks by extremists. I have tried to dissuade them and sometimes succeeded… The challenge is to distinguish sharply between the people who told lies and the people whose only offence was to believe them.’

Revew coming soon.

I’M A FAN BY SHEENA PATEL

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis:

In I’m A Fan, a single speaker uses the story of their experience in a seemingly unequal, unfaithful relationship as a prism through which to examine the complicated hold we each have on one another. With a clear and unforgiving eye, the narrator unpicks the behaviour of all involved, herself included, and makes startling connections between the power struggles at the heart of human relationships and those of the wider world, in turn offering a devastating critique of access, social media, patriarchal hetero-normative relationships, and our cultural obsession with status and how that status is conveyed.

In this incredible debut, Sheena Patel announces herself as a vital new voice in literature, capable of rendering a range of emotions and visceral experiences on the page. Sex, violence, politics, tenderness, humour—Patel handles them all with both originality and dexterity of voice.

Review coming soon.

DIARY OF A VOID BY EMI YAGI

TBC

Synopsis:

A prizewinning, thrillingly subversive debut novel about a woman in Japan who avoids harassment at work by perpetuating, for nine months and beyond, the lie that she’s pregnant

When thirty-four-year-old Ms. Shibata gets a new job in Tokyo to escape sexual harassment at her old one, she finds that, as the only woman at her new workplace–a company that manufactures cardboard tubes–she is expected to do all the menial tasks. One day she announces that she can’t clear away her colleagues’ dirty cups–because she’s pregnant and the smell nauseates her. The only thing is . . . Ms. Shibata is not pregnant.

Pregnant Ms. Shibata doesn’t have to serve coffee to anyone. Pregnant Ms. Shibata isn’t forced to work overtime. Pregnant Ms. Shibata rests, watches TV, takes long baths, and even joins an aerobics class for expectant mothers. But pregnant Ms. Shibata also has a nine-month ruse to keep up. Helped along by towel-stuffed shirts and a diary app on which she can log every stage of her “pregnancy,” she feels prepared to play the game for the long haul. Before long, though, the hoax becomes all-absorbing, and the boundary between her lie and her life begins to dissolve.

A surreal and wryly humorous cultural critique, Diary of a Void is bound to become a landmark in feminist world literature.

Review coming soon.

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