One of the things I love most about the winter – apart from my birthday, Christmas, and the ever-present smell of cinnamon, of course – is the books. For me, it’s the perfect time to revisit an old favourite or bundle up in a big ol’ classic, those kinds of books that will always welcome you on days when the weather is invariably grim or when you’re waiting for a heartwarming pie to finish in the oven. And then there are the murder mysteries and Gothic horrors, which are absolutely ripe now that the days are getting shorter and the nights earlier.
So whilst I’ll still be booktrotting through Central and South America over the next few months, I’ve also set aside a few reads to see me through to Christmas (when I’ll hopefully get another few dozen books to fill up my New Year’s reading list):
My resolution to read more non-fiction this year fell somewhat by the wayside when I also decided to take on the likes of Tolstoy and Joyce (and not to mention a whole Booktrotting adventure), but I’ve at least got a little time before the year is out to set that straight. I’m really looking forward to this one: William Marshal – who rose from being a prisoner of war to participate in the drafting of Magna Carta – is one of those historical figures who seems plucked straight out of fantasy, and I can’t wait to delve properly into his story.
There’s something about Christmas and crime novels that just works – especially when those novels are set in Victorian Edinburgh. I picked up The Strings of Murder in the summer after being caught by the cover in the window of Oxfam Books but have been holding it back until now; I just hope it lives up to the long wait.
I wasn’t planning on reading any more fantasy this year after slogging through a reread of A Song of Ice and Fire in the spring, but then a friend happened to recommend Brandon Sanderson to me on the same day I was browsing a Waterstones (which, let’s face it, is every day). I’m deliberately not getting my hopes up after being stung by some truly drivellous modern fantasy recently, but I’ve heard good things about Sanderson and his Mistborn series, so with any luck this one won’t end up dumped on the same pile.
It’s been a good few years since I last read this, and I can feel it calling to me once again (perhaps because I watched Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the other day as well). Considering I got given the beautiful Barnes and Noble leather-bound edition last Christmas – and considering Hallowe’en is about a month away – it feels like exactly the right time of year to reread one of my all-time favourite novels.
Back at the start of the year, I set aside five massive books that had been lurking on my shelves, waiting to be tackled for too long. Four of them – War and Peace, Ulysses, Moby Dick and Don Quixote – have been met and dispensed with, and now only Anna Karenina remains. Seems only fitting to read it now and bookend 2016 with Tolstoy’s two most well-known novels.