Reading Plans for the Holidays

These will be the most unusual and uncomfortable Christmas holidays ever, as an estranged couple stuck in the same house non-stop for 2 weeks, making an effort to be civil for the sake of the children. I suspect I may spend quite a bit of it hidden away in a corner and reading, to avoid too much discussion and conflict, but there is the unavoidable ‘going through the rubbish in the loft’ moment, deciding on who gets what. (Luckily, there won’t be much crying over books, as they are 99% mine). 

So here is the reading that I am going to use to maintain my sanity through this tricky period. Not sure how much time there will be reviewing though.

Physical copies:

deepdowndeadSteph Broadribb: Deep Down Dead – have just started it and can confirm it really is as confident, sassy and American as others have reported!

Eva Dolan: Watch Her Disappear – fast becoming one of my favourite new authors

Marc Elsberg: Black Out – Austrian thriller writer I met in Lyon, this is his first book to be translated into English

Kate Hamer: The Doll Funeral – I was impressed by Kate’s writing skills in her debut novel and have high expectations of this second one – she does a child’s viewpoint so well!

guapaSaleem Haddad: Guapa – a strong new voice from the Arabic world, unafraid to tackle such contentious issues as revolution and repression, Arab Spring, homosexuality and drag queens

Kati Hiekkapelto: The Exiled – I’ve been waiting for a while now to catch up with Anna Fekete and her flawed but determined approach to policing

Luca Veste: Then She Was Gone – a missing baby and a missing politician – what on earth could they have in common? Liverpool and social issues, what’s not to like?

On the e-reader:

moxylandLauren Beukes: Moxyland – I was so blown away by Lauren Beukes’ writing that I’ve been saving her earlier books to savour but now it’s time I savoured her debut set in an alternative high-tech South Africa where apartheid is still alive and well (and evil)

William Nicholson: Adventures in Modern Marriage – irresistibly drawn to books depicting the difficulty of midlife relationships. As in ‘so much better to read fictional accounts of it rather than live through it.’

Viet Thanh Nguen: The Refugees – the dreams, aspirations, challenges and reality of immigration, the curse of living between cultures

Ian Rankin: Rather Be the Devil – the 21st Rebus novel (I know, I can’t quite believe it either!) – a reliable author I can always turn to when times are tough and I need distracting

OK, maybe I am over-optimistic about how much I can read, as I am also planning some trips to London with the boys, and we’ll also be celebrating my older son’s birthday. But that should keep me out of mischief…

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46 thoughts on “Reading Plans for the Holidays”

  1. The Eva Dolan’s excellent, that’ll keep you engrossed for a day. Hope it goes okay under the circumstances. Could you tag team it on long walks, split part of the day that way?

  2. The cosy John Lewis version of Christmas seems to be something of an illusion for all by the very lucky few. Ours is restricted to just one day of misery so in that respect we’re lucky. I hope all goes as well as it can and that you enjoy some fun with your sons as well as some book solace.

    1. Thank you, Susan. I used to put so much effort into creating a picture-perfect Christmas for the children (I got to love that holiday through their eyes, didn’t care too much for it myself)… and rarely met with approval. So this year I am going on strike and keeping it very minimal!

  3. Keep reading those books! I want to read the Kate Hamer as it’s set in the Forest of Dean in 1983 and Ruby the narrator is 13. I lived in The Forest of Dean in 1983, and I was 13 that year – sadly my name isn’t Ruby! Even though I’m not too sure about the content as it sounds a bit on the spooky side, I will have to read it.
    I really hope the holidays are manageable from someone who has been there, done that, and survived!

  4. Hope you get plenty of reading time – books are a fantastic escape at difficult times. Hope yours is as peaceful as possible.
    I am lucky that my family Christmas is usually quiet and reasonably sane. (just four of us – no children to squabble and break new toys). Some good food more presents than 4 adults really need and no serious arguments though as I live alone I can find being at my mum’s for three days with everyone a bit hectic. Also my mum is moving house in the New Year so as soon as Xmas day is over we’ll all be helping to pack boxes.

  5. That sounds difficult but hopefully it won’t be as bad as you think. And it is only two weeks. It’ll pass, especially with the balm good books and long walks provide. I’ve got Deep Down Dead to read as well, and am jealous you get to read The Doll Factory early. I’m looking forward to seeing what Kate Hamer does next!

  6. You’ve got some great books lined up to distract you over the holidays. I do hope that it isn’t as bad as anticipated. At least you know it’s for a finite time, hopefully that will help and the boys can distract you more. No matter how old they are, I’m sure they’ll still be excited by Christmas, in whatever it’s form x

    1. Yes, they are still excited! Even though they admit that it’s less of a surprise when they get to choose their Christmas presents themselves instead of relying on Father Christmas to choose it for them.

  7. I love your list and I hope you get to it as much as events allow so that we can hear from it! For the sake of my professional electrical engineering sanity, could you please photoshop this plug in your pix? And er,… promise officially in this blog that you only plug it when you’re home and nearby? Pleaaaase!

    1. Yes, we are tragically short of sockets in this house. Especially with the constant Continental/English plug problem. But no, rest assured, I only plug things in for a very limited period of time and only when we are around!

  8. Oh, that does sound uncomfortable, Marina Sofia! I hope it goes all right. And you do have some great books there. Dolan is really talented, and of course, there’s Ian Rankin. And many of the rest do look terrific. Here’s to it all going as smoothly as it can.

  9. Yay, thank god for books, they’ve seen me though many a difficult moment. After one such holiday, a friend of mine said ‘At least now I really know why I got divorced!’. Hang in there, my friend. 🎄😋

  10. Christmas can be such a difficult time for families, but I hope yours turns out to be as peaceful as possible. Moxyland should prove to be a great escape, just the thing to transport you to another world when you need it. Wishing you all the best.

  11. Good luck! For many years I had a sort of Pavlovian response to anything Christmas related of bursting into tears because both my parents either died or had health dramas around Christmas. So basically anything Xmas related (especially songs however tacky)and I was a wreck. Driving home for Xmas – the song – was a particular killer. So you have all my sympathy. My one survival tip is get out of the house and walk.

    1. Oh, poor you! It is very hard to handle this time of year, isn’t it, when others are so joyous and full of anticipation? I hope the weather allows for some nice long walks – although we do tend to get very muddy and waterlogged around here.

  12. Interested to see what you make of the Rankin as that is on my list too (doesn’t come out here until 2017). Good luck with the other stuff. Taking the high road is always the optimum if circumstances allow.

  13. You have some good books ahead of you to help get through the “holidays.” I love Eva Dolan and Kati Heikkapelto. So, enjoy.
    And it’s true, there’s nothing like a book for distraction, a truly healthy habit.
    I got some book ideas from your “Best of” list and your holiday reading list.
    I’ve had my nose buried in crime fiction since the horrific election over here. Friends and bloggers are all reading away, watching movies and eating comfort food.
    Hope it goes as well as it can.
    One other book suggestion: I read and loved Tana French’s “The Trespasser.” It is full of crackling, sarcastic, brilliant and witty dialogue.

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