The first monthly bookish wrap-up of the year, how exciting!
I honestly can’t believe we’re at the end of the first month of 2020 already! I feel like it went by so quick, but at the same time I feel like it took literal aaaages to reach this point. Did I do a lot of reading this month? I feel like I didn’t, but I did manage to finish a book and get quite far into another one, so maybe I did.
What I did definitely do (very exciting stuff) is buy a few books. Ones that weren’t on my wish lists necessarily, that I didn’t plan on getting for a while, I got books that I wanted to get in that moment and thus got in that moment. And it felt so good. It is not something I plan to do a whole lot this year (you’ll know that if you’ve read my 2020 bookish goals) but every once in a while it’s totally fine. Anyways, let’s just get into the books.
What I got
The Penguin Book Of Christmas Stories – Edited By Jessica Harrison
This is a collection of the most magical, moving, chilling and surprising Christmas stories form around the world, taking us from frozen Nordic woods to glittering Paris, a New York speakeasy to an English country house, bustling Lagos to midnight mass in Rio, and even outer space.
Here are classic tales from writers including Truman Capote, Shirley Jackson, Dylan Thomas, Saki and Chekhov, as well as little-known treasures such as Italo Calvino’s wry sideways look at Christmas consumerism, Wolfdietrich Schnurre’s story of festive ingenuity in Berlin, Selma Lagerlöf’s enchanted forest in Sweden, and Irène Némirovsky’s dark family portrait. Featuring santas, ghosts, trolls, unexpected guests, curmudgeons and miracles, here is Christmas as imagined by some of the greatest short-story writers of all time.
So the first book here isn’t actually one that I bought myself, but one that I – appropriately – got as a late Christmas present from my mom. I love it , I’d wanted it ever since I saw it in store at the beginning of December. It is a collection of Christmas or December stories from around the world and it features some writers that I’ve never read anything from so that is very exciting. I am definitely saving this one for the end of the year, as I think it would be so fun to read a story every December evening. It is also just a beautiful book to look at, and since I have been so into my short stories lately, it is basically perfect for me.
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Passionate, poetic and revolutionary, Jane Eyre is a novel of naked emotional power. Its story of a defiant, fiercely intelligent woman who refuses to accept her appointed place in society – and instead finds love on her own terms – has become famous as one of the greatest romances ever written, but it is also a brooding Gothic mystery, a profound depiction of characters and a transformative work of the imagination.
I loved the film adaptation of this book when I watched it years ago (I need to watch it again soon) and ever since I have been wanting to read the book. So when I saw it, in my favourite edition, in the bookstore I used to work at for a while, I knew I needed to get it. As you may know I haven’t actually read any of the classics like this, no Jane Austin or any of the other Brontë sisters, but I do own a few and really want to start reading them as well. For some reason, and I could be completely wrong about this, Jane Eyre has always felt like one of the more accessible books to me, so I will probably start with this one and see how I get on with it. One thing I already love about it is, of course, the beautiful cover of the PEL edition.
Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie
The story of Peter Pan, the boy who would never grow up, captures the lost magic of childhood and has been loved by generations.
As Peter flies through the window and spirits Wendy and the rest of the Darling children away from their London home and on a journey involving epic battles, fairies and pirates, their adventures conjure up a world of joy and freedom far away form the responsibilities of adulthood.
Peter Pan was never really a book that was high on my list to read, or on that list at all. However, when I saw this edition in a bookstore in Den Bosch last year (like 2018, not 2019), I decided that I really really wanted to get it. Isn’t it just beautiful? We all know by now that I have a weakness for the PEL editions, but this one I think is especially beautiful. I didn’t buy it at the time, and have kind of regretted it ever since, so when I saw it in a different bookstore at the beginning of the month I immediately snatched it up. It is a shortish book, around 150 pages, and I can honestly see myself reading and loving it. I feel like, even though I didn’t necessarily grow up with the story (I knew of the story, of course, but I don’t think I actually had it read to me or watched the film growing up), it will just be one of those books that instantly feels nostalgic, and I am kind of really looking forward to that.
What I read
Appointment With Death – Agatha Christie
Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sat the corpse of Mrs Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist was the only sign of the fatal injection that had killed her.
With only 24 hours available to solve the mystery, Hercule Poirot recalled a chance remark he’d overheard in Jerusalem: ‘You see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?’ Mrs Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he’d ever met…
So let me start by saying that I love Agatha Christie books in general, they always make me smile and I don’t think I’ve read one that I didn’t love. And thankfully, Appointment with death didn’t disappoint me one bit. I started and finished it this month, I am pretty sure I finished it in less than a week, and I loved every bit of it. There is just something about her books, they are so nostalgic for some reason, easy to read, entertaining and they have you – well, me at least – guessing at who did it with every chapter. With this book for the first time I guessed correctly before the ending, so I am pretty proud of myself. I definitely want to read more of her books, not just Poirot but the other ones as well, and thankfully there are a whole lot. 5 stars from me!
The Idiot Brain – Dean Burnett
Motion sickness. Nightmares. Forgetting people’s names. Why did I walk into this room?
For something supposedly so brilliant and evolutionarily advanced, the human brain is pretty messy, fallible and disorganised. In The Idiot Brain neuroscientist Dean Burnett celebrates the imperfections of the human brain in all their glory, and the impact of these quirks on our daily lives. Expertly researched and entertainingly written, this book is for anyone who has wondered why their brain seems to be sabotaging their life, and what on earth it is really up to.
Yes, I still haven’t finished this one. Not because I don’t like it, I love it and think it is so funny, it’s just because there is a lot of information in this book and my (idiot) brain can’t handle a whole lot of it at once. Is this the exact thing I said in my last reading wrap-up about the book? I think it is. I read almost 10% of it in this past month, because obviously I was preoccupied with solving that fictional murder, but I think that is a pretty good amount anyways. I still find myself calling out to Gideon every few sentences to read him something funny or interesting that I just read, much to his annoyance. I think he’ll be pleased when I finish the book. Will that be in February? We shall see…
And that is pretty much what I have got to share with you in terms of my book updates this month. I am very happy with the new books I got, and I feel like my reading is going quite good as well, with books that I am really liking. I do really want to finish The Idiot Brain now though, that’ll be my goal for February.
Thanks for stopping by ❤