Breeding Books

It’s January. That means it is definitely time for a book census before 2014’s book buying begins in earnest. It also means I need to sort my desk out and get back down to some serious writing. And of course, it lends itself to a glorious afternoon of lost treasures and procrastination.

However, the task is now complete and 26 books have been identified for initial consideration this year (I really do stockpile them. Charity shops are my downfall). Rather than list them, I took a pic as they looked so pretty:

From French folk tales to the history of the damned, my little reading pile for 2014

From French folk tales to the history of the damned, my little reading pile for 2014

Three of them are library books, so pretty high up the pecking order, with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children also being high up the list as it’s book club’s read next month. I’ve already read this, and think it’s a bit of a strange choice for my normally conservative and classic loving group but we shall see! I’ve chucked a bit of steampunk into the mix with Cherie Priest and James P. Blaylock, plus some historical books (the history of St Nicholas’ Hospital, my local mental hospital and Death in the Victorian Family, a very odd find in my local Mind shop).

I’m really looking forward to reading  Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik, Temeraire was one of my big reading delights of 2013 and this promises to be just as lovely. I have just picked up the amazing William Horwood’s Winter, the conclusion to his brilliant Hyddenworld quartet which I need to read when I have time to digest it, obsess over every word and just generally appreciate what a beautiful, heart breaking author Mr Horwood is.  Also in the heap is a very old copy of Lorna Doone, found in the Red Cross shop (I live in a charity shop wonderland). I have no idea how old this book is; I bought it because when I opened it a letter fell out, explaining it was a birthday gift and it instantly grabbed my heart:

Lorna Doone plus lovely letter

Lorna Doone plus lovely letter

Sadly once I’d finished playing with books (which literally are breeding in various corners of this house), I had to bite the bullet and get my desk back to optimum work position. Now this past week has been all very exciting, learning that The Bone Queen is going forward for publication in an anthology with Red Squirrel Press later this year, and having to send off the document for typesetting – but I have to admit I’ve written nothing this year. Nada. I have some lovely ideas, have carried out the requisite research and yet produced nothing. I have watched a great many episodes of Criminal Minds however. So, nose to the grist time.   My desk is now perfectly formed (if a little pose-y!):

Spot all the cliches!

Spot all the cliches!

So, yup I am a walking cliche. I love fountain pens – and this is a gorgeous gift from my big brother, an absolutely exquisite Pelikan pen which writes like a dream (I am not a pen snob mind you, I have a sweet little Parker for outside use which is equally pleasing and writes with pretty purple ink). Under the dubious cloth there is a lovely  wooden desk that I am paranoid about damaging, hence the cover. And yes – cliche no 2 – moleskine note books abound in my world. There’s just something about the creamy paper and durability of them that does me fine.

The two pics have been giving me some inspiration. The two dears on the right are actually great great aunts of mine in their Victorian finery and looking very stern.  The lovely lady on the left with her pert bob and pretty red suit is my maternal Grandmother, Elsie Margaret who never let her 4’10” frame stop her from being totally in charge.  She was a lovely lady and I like to have her here watching me.

So, to the real work.  And to that, as much as I love paper and pen, I need my lovely Zephyr. My Macbook. Never knew I needed a Mac until someone gave me one.  Zephyr (yes, I name my technology – his predecessor was Ares, my first laptop Zeus. Sorry for blowing you up Zeus).  And a cup of tea. And now I really do have no excuses!  Until next time…


5 thoughts on “Breeding Books

  1. I just put “Miss Peregrine’s Home…” on my own reading list, thank you! I’d love to know what the other 20+ books on your desk are. 🙂

  2. Hello and thank you for your comment, much appreciated. I did enjoy Miss Peregrine, quirky book. There are 2 Sherlock Holmes books on there (The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles), Wilkie Collins The Woman in White, a rather interesting library book which I’ve just started by Paul Torday about missing children and based not far from where I live (Light Shining in the Forest), Lavie Tidhur’s Camera Obscura which is a steampunk Noir, which I’m just finishing, Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart (absolutely love his books), French fairy tales and Norse legends, a biography of graphic artist Jack Kirby (an amazing charity shop find, beautifully illustrated), Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep (follow on from The Stand, one of my favourite teenage books). The Crow Road by Iain Banks (amazing Scottish author I want to read more of this year), The Silver Bough by Lisa Tuttle which a book group friend gave me, as it’s modern fantasy and old myth mixed up and she rightly thought it had my name all over it. Boneshaker which appears to be a staple ingredient of any steampunk library. Phew, that was quite exhausting!

    The interesting little book that looks like a Hogwarts school book is The Illustrated Guide to the Elements Volume 1 by Jenna Whyte. This is self published, and I picked it up in Whitby last year and met her – what a lovely girl and so talented. She has basically taken elements from the Periodic Table and created characters for them, complete with illustrations. Absolutely gorgeous book, very clever and also rather funny but I’ve only dipped into it so far and want to read it fully this year. You can check out her work at

    I mention in the blog post I also have Naomi Novik and William Horwood on the desk. Two brilliant authors, in different ways. I’ll be a sobbing wreck by the end of the Horwood book. And I won’t care one bit. 🙂

    • Opps! Forgot poor old Lilith Saintcrow’s Dante Valentine chronicles. The book on the desk has 5 full books in, I’ve read the first 3 and want to finish the next 2. Really well written dystopia, about necromancers, demons etc. Quite brutal and bloody but have a rather nice heart to them.

      • Thank you! My goodness, what a diverse lot of books! I’ll be putting a couple more of them on my reading list, I think. Totally intriguing.

        I have read “The Woman in White”; I thought it was VERY good, albeit a bit confusing in spots as the narrators change back and forth. I’ve also read both Sherlock Holmes books, which are almost always excellent, although personally I don’t blame Conan Doyle for killing Holmes off in that one book (or trying to). He’s frequently so full of his own cleverness that I’d be tempted to kill him myself! But I do like Watson and many of the other characters, so I put up with him. 😉

      • Have you watched the BBC’s Sherlock? I love it, the relationship between Holmes and Watson is beautifully done, even if the current series is missing a storyline. I am also a bit of a fan of Elementary.

        Light Shining through the Forest is absolutely amazing, though very British, there’s a lot in about our public services and how they (don’t) work but there’s some wonderful magical realism and I can’t put it down. I’ve tried to read Women in White before, but it just wasn’t it’s time, hopefully its one for next month. I’m a bit of a poorly bunny at the mo, so crawling off to bed with tea, hot water bottle and a good book, its a hard life!

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