December has been a busy month and I don’t feel I’ve been able to settle to reading anything properly. So I suppose it was just as well I was mostly reading a book of short stories that I could dip in and out of without feeling I was losing the plot (literally and figuratively speaking). I also discovered a new author this month (well, new to me anyway. I seem to be the last person on the planet to have heard of Sara Paretsky) and another book on hygge.
This is what I read in December.
Toxic Shock by Sara Paretsky
I’d somehow missed out on knowing about Sara Paretsky and her female detective V I Warshawski until a friend recently recommended I read her books. She’s a lone female PI in the vein of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone though she’s a very different personality type and is based in Chicago rather than California. One thing both detectives do have in common is that they are both operating in the 1980s when women didn’t really do this kind of thing.
In Toxic Shock, Warshawski returns to her childhood home on the rougher, grittier side of Chicago. She thought she’d left this part of her life behind a long time ago, but gets dragged back in and rather than just finding an unknown father as originally tasked ends up uncovering corruption on a deadly scale.
I did like the book, but couldn’t help comparing it to the Kinsey Milhone books and thinking how I preferred the Milhone character. This is probably just because I haven’t read enough to get to know Warshawski properly yet, so I will read more books in this series when I get the chance.
A Darker Shade: 17 Swedish Stories of Murder, Mystery and Suspense edited by John-Henri Holmberg
I don’t read many books of short stories, but this one was too good to resist. 17 Nordic Noir stories all by different authors. Some were authors I’d never heard of before and so this book was a good way to introduce them to me. Others were by authors I already know well and enjoy reading, including Stieg Larsson.
The stories each have a bit text before and after giving an author bio and some background putting the story into context.
Books of short stories are often quite slender, but this one is a bumper 368 pages. The stories are each quite different reflecting the variety of authors, but I’ve enjoyed reading every one.
Hygge: Comfort and Food for the Soul by CookNation
Can there by anyone left in the UK who hasn’t noticed the hygge explosion? (I wonder if this is the same in other countries or is it just a UK phenomenon?) Hygge (just in case you don’t already know) is the Danish art of being cosy, homely and feeling content.
So many books have appeared with the theme of hygge and I’ve been in bookshops with whole sections set aside for their hygge collections.
Of course, when a new phenomenon takes off and everyone jumps on the bandwagon, many of the resulting books can be of dubious quality.
This is a book I picked up in a remaindered bookshop. It has some text on different aspects of hygge, ideas on how to achieve it, recipes, hygge crafts and even a section on hygge yoga (huh?). It’s okay I suppose, quite nice to read, but is definitely one of the more hastily put together books. If you’re only going to read one book on hygge then you’d do better choosing a different one (such as The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking which I read last month).
What did you read in December? Share in the comments below.