December book acquisitions

December was a particularly bumper month for book acquisitions; both purchases and proofs from publishers reps and publicity departments. There are some treats ahead…


Apologies for the fuzziness of this… but you get the message – lots of books!

Particular gems that I’m looking forward to are American Housewife, Helen Ellis‘ collection of short stories (out in January); Lissa Evans’ Blitz-set Crooked Heart (I loved Their Finest Hour and a Half); Sunset City by Melissa Ginsberg (crime novel from Faber, out in April); Grahams Swift’s Mothering Sunday (February); and A Siege of Bitterns by Steve Burrows. The latter particularly intrigued me – a police chief inspector who takes a job on the Norfolk saltmarshes at least partly because he can indulge in his birdwatching hobby. The title is marvellous although I’m predictable enough that if I was using collective nouns of birds as titles I don’t think I’d have been able to resist diving straight in with A Murder of Crows. I also have a clutch of the British Libraries Crime Classics, acquired by various means and which I’ll develop an entire blog post too soon.

Books that I’ve bought myself and that I’m itching to get to are Jessica Mitford’s Poison Penmanship, a collection of her journalism – destined for bathtime reading. I can’t remember how I heard about Barbara Cleverly’s Enter Pale Death but a 1930s-set locked room mystery sounded intriguing and far enough away from my own novel that I could risk reading it. How to Be A Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott is my annual self-improvement/business book purchase. I’d love to get the dull stuff done more quickly so that I can have more time for the things I enjoy and every January I try to put systems in place to help me to do just that. It never works though but maybe this is the book that will help it click into place…

And finally, Dreamstreets by Jacqueline Yallop. The 18th and 19th centuries saw the development of a number of villages by philanthropic industrialists for their employees. Places such as Saltaire, Port Sunlight, Bourneville, New Lanark and more. A combination of Utopian experiment and (mostly) benign dictatorship I’ve always been drawn to these communities and the way that they have survived despite the mass building of council housing, the fragmentation of the workforces they were built to house and so on. Fun fact – I have a Masters degree in Housing Policy and tried very hard to steer my PhD in the direction of these communities, even just a little bit. The government department sponsoring me weren’t as keen sadly… This is a book that I’m looking forward to reading, hoping that I love and I’ll be trying hard not to envy the author for having the opportunity to write it.

So, although Santa didn’t bring me a single book, I’ve lots of reading ahead. What about you? What’s the first book on your January tbr pile?

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