Nicola here, welcoming you to the Word Wench "What We’re Reading" feature for December. It’s a bumper edition, including both Christmas-themed and other books, so jump right in and check out our choices, and let us know what you recommend this month!
Anne here, and as usual I've read quite a bit in the last month and have several recommendations. The first is The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. Elderly artist, Julian Jessop is lonely and unhappy and, claiming that authenticity is the only possible solution for changing his life, he writes down how he feels in a small exercise book, and leaves it in a local cafe. The owner of the cafe finds it, and inspired by his words of wisdom, writes down her own secret dreams and fears. And leaves the book in a nearby park. And so it goes from person to person. Of course, all their paths begin to cross, and various stories begin to unfold. Quirky and fun — I thoroughly enjoyed it.
In crime, I’ve just finished the latest JD Kirk — A Snowball's Chance in Hell. This is the 9th book in JD Kirk's excellent Scottish crime series. I've mentioned his books before. Crime, good characterization, humor, tension and a compelling mystery. I put his books on pre-order the minute they appear. They develop, so start with the first book in the series.
I'm also rereading E F Benson's "Lucia" novels, which I haven't read for years. They're delightful novels — very funny and gently satirical, about the intense rivalry, pretensions and ruthless one-upmanship (one upwomanship?) that takes place in the upper middle class society of a small English village in the 1930s. The series builds — for my money the pick of the crop is the middle book, Mapp and Lucia, where two strong-minded ladies battle it out for queen (or top of the pecking order) of their little society.
As the moment you can buy all six of the books in one collection for the ridiculous price of $2 (with a slight variation according to country.) But they're all good. If you have any doubts about whether you'd enjoy the books, read the first few pages of Mapp and Lucia (by clicking on the "look inside" feature on Amazon.)