The Month of December in Books

The last month of the year turned out a total of four books all up.  Here they are:


The English Patient

This is the 1992 Booker Prize winner by Michael Ondaatje.
Set in Italy as the Second World War is coming to a close.  It follows four characters living in a Villa and was made into an multiple Oscar winning film by the late Anthony Minghella.
I did a full review of this book in December, which you can read here.
Would recommend it if you have the time, and haven’t had your fill of war-based novels, unlike myself.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
This is number 19 on the BBC Top 200 list.  Personally I would not have rated it that highly, but then clearly many others did.  I did my review of this novel on Christmas Eve and it was pretty much the last book read for 2008.

This novel is partly romance, partly political commentary, partly a war story.  Covers many bases.  It’s flaws and foibles I have mentioned in the review.  The upside is that despite the extraordinary amount of obscure words, it is for the most part an easy and enjoyable read.


This is the first in the series of stories about the Walsh family.  This is the tale of Claire.  Her husband walks out on her the day she gives birth to their daughter, and the story continues on from there.
On the one hand this should be poignant, and it is.  On the other hand it is plainly silly.   The book is very, very, very long.  Much longer than it really needs to be.  The other novels about the Walsh girls are a step up from this, in my opinion.  Try Rachel’s Holiday, which I reviewed back in April 2006 or Angels, which I read in October of this year, instead.

Dead Man Docking

Well this little story wasn’t really worth the effort.  The two lead characters were irritating and childish, despite being (presumably) in their 60s.  At least one review suggested that this is well under the usual standards of author Mary Daheim.  Personally, I’d hope so.
The premise is two cousins – Judith and Renie – are going on a cruise through Renie’s business with the cruise line.  The owner of the company is murdered at the pre-launch event and the story goes on from there.  It is given a very 30’s taste with the choice of language and supporting cast.  A martini-swilling, upper class couple and a gumshoe detective using language straight out of the black and white movies.  Unless you are a die-hard fan, don’t bother picking this up.

And to cap off 2008, here is a quick review of the statistics for the year.

32 works of fiction for the year.
4 novels from my Booklitzer Challenge – 2 BBC Top 200 and 2 Bookers.
10 works of non-fiction for the year.

26 different authors, of which 19 were new to me.

How was your year in books?

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