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charmed life by diana wynne jones.
i love dwj - her plots are never predictable, and she always writes fun and eccentric characters. i particularly liked the ending of this book. it took some building up to, and it didn't disappoint.

the ordinary princess by m. m. kaye.
this is one of [personal profile] baroquestar's favourite books, and she lent it to me. half way in i decided i had to own my own copy. it's a charming and timeless fairy tale, with a plucky and lovable heroine. i am looking forward to reading this one to my son or daughter.

baby-sitters club #37: dawn and the older boy by ann m. martin.
i used to read bsc novels when i was younger, and in a fit of nostalgia thought i should read one again. i had forgotten how shit they were. dawn is a moron, and her friends are patronising bints. the best thing about reading this book was imagining how they would all be when they grew up. stacey = a hooker in nyc, claudia = unemployed due to being next to illiterate, mary-anne = suffering from neurosis and in a loveless marriage to logan, kristy = a lesbian, and dawn = an anorexic hippy. i think some childhood indulgences are best left alone.

the odyssey by homer (translated by robert fagles).
epic. totally fucking epic.

coraline by neil gaiman.
this would have been way too scary for me as a little girl. as a grown-up, during the daytime, it was great! i love a brave and plucky heroine, and coraline is definitely one of those. and i love a good cat character, and there was one of those too!

the hogfather by terry pratchett.
classic pratchett - nerdy, philosophical, clever, dorky, witty, and odd. this time with a festive theme.

pemberley manor: darcy and elizabeth, for better or worse by kathryn l. nelson.
i can't be quite as glowing and gushy about this novel as other austen geeks have been. there were a few too many irritating little slips out of the right style for my liking, and it seemed to be quite obviously written by an american (not that being american is bad, it's just that if you're going to be writing about regency england, your yank shouldn't show). but it was definitely an enjoyable read, and it kept me interested to the end.

a wrinkle in time by madeleine l'engle.
one of my friends was talking about madeleine l'engle's books on twitter and they sounded right up my alley, so i though i'd give her a go. she was so right! what a wonderful mix of sci-fi & fantasy, what a wonderful adventure, and what a beautiful story. i loved that the main protagonists were GIRL who's good at maths and gets in fights and BOYS who are good at communication and empathy. i love that they came from a supportive family for once, rather than being orphans as is often the case in stories like this and gets a little boring and predictable. and i love the vivid worlds that madeleine l'engle creates. this was SUCH fun, and i am already onto the next one in the series.

a wind in the door by madeleine l'engle.
even after my immense enjoyment of the first book in the series, this was not a disappointment. madeleine l'engle has such a vivid and extraordinary imagination. she is a fantastic storyteller. i can't recommend these stories highly enough.

emma by jane austen.
some people say that life is too shore to re-read books, and i feel very, very sorry for those people. they don't know how wonderful it is to return to worlds and characters that have been dear to you, only to have them become even more dear. emma is one of my favourite fictional characters, and this is my favourite of austen's novels. marvelous fun to come back to yet again.

harry potter and the philosopher's stone by j. k. rowling.
one of my comfort books (well, comfort series really). another re-read.

harry potter and the chamber of secrets by j. k. rowling.
ditto above.

harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban by j. k. rowling.
... and again.

the uncommon reader by alan bennett.
a very clever and funny read. i particularly liked the ending, but the whole book was delightful.

harry potter and the goblet of fire by j. k. rowling.
more comfort reading.

harry potter and the order of the phoenix by j. k. rowling.
... and more...

harry potter and the half blood prince by j. k. rowling.
i'd forgotten how much i love this one.

venetia by georgette heyer.
marvelous fun. a most enjoyable romance. most aspects of the plot were quite predictable, but as i wanted them to happen, that was perfectly acceptable!

harry potter and the deathly hallows by j. k. rowling.
it was so great to read the whole series from beginning to end in a shortish space if time. i really do adore these books.

wolf hall by hilary mantel.
i truly loved this book. it was an epic commitment, because it was LONG, and very involving both mentally and emotionally, but in many ways this is what was most wonderful about it. i love historical fiction, but i'm the first to admit that most examples of the genre are not exactly great works of literature. this novel brought together the unique escapism of entering a different time, and the joy of reading a beautifully crafted novel. i loved the fact that mantel was sympathetic with thomas cromwell rather than thomas more, as most stories about these two take the opposite tack. i can't recommend this book highly enough.

sylvester, or the wicked uncle by georgette heyer
very similar to venetia. light, fluffy, romantic, and fun.

moab is my washpot by stephen fry
i am an insufferably nosy person. i'm fascinated by people - their secrets, their motivations, their histories. this is why i love biographies and autobiographies. this is one of the best i have ever read. part confession, part treatise, part coming-of-age story, part tale of corruption and redemption, this story gave a wonderful insight into the mind of a man that i admire so very much.

decline and fall by evelyn waugh
i laughed out loud SO many times while reading this. so witty, so clever. everyone should read it. especially teachers.
oh, and i now know where stephen fry got the title for his autobiography.

knife by r. j. anderson
... meh.
i think anderson had some good aims in writing the book, but i don't think she achieved them as effectively as she thought.

anne of green gables by l. m. montgomery
i read and re-read this book as a girl, and loved it very much. anne is one of my favourite fictional characters, and i think went a long way to shaping my own character. it's been a long time sine i have enjoyed a re-read this much.

rescuing the spectacled bear: a peruvian diary stephen fry
a wonderful adventure, wittily and engagingly related. reminded me how much i enjoy well written non-fiction.

anne of avonlea by l. m. montgomery
continuing to enjoy the re-read...

anne of the island by l. m. montgomery
this one was always my favourite.

anne of windy poplars by l. m. montgomery
i didn't enjoy this one as much as a little girl, but i really did this time.

anne's house of dreams by l. m. montgomery
i didn't read this one when i was younger - i stopped at windy poplars. it was an absolute joy to follow anne's story further, and i'm glad i waited with this one till i was a bit older. the issues it addresses (grief, motherhood, etc.) are more relevant to me as an adult.

the hippopotamus by stephen fry
an interesting mystery, satisfyingly fry-ishly told. there were some scenes that made me a trifle squeamish, but on the whole, enjoyable.


the red queen by philippa gregory
it's hard to believe that i can find the books of so prolific an author to be so consistently entertaining. you usually expect volume and quality to have an inverse correlation. maybe they do. but i enjoyed this book enormously, as i have almost all of gregory's other books. she seems to have hit on a formula that works for both of us.

the fry chronicles: an autobiography by stephen fry
i am having a very fry-filled year, it seems. there were parts of this book that were genuinely funny and entertaining, but it lacked a lot of the appealing (for want of a better word) confessional quality of 'moab'. what in the first volume of his autobiography rang true as insightful introspection and self examination, evoked empathy and identification from me. if he was aiming for a similar feel in this second offering, it came across more as self conscious apologism, and the book was poorer for it. i loved his tales of cambridge and life as an oxbridge scholar, and it was lovely to read his impressions of some of my favourite actors (emma thompson in particular), but on the whole, i was left wanting more.
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December 2010

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