Even more fun than reading books all year is sorting out who gets what. First I pick the best of the batch. I make little tickets with the names of family members, and match them up. Starting with my sisters.
Links are random, to the book page or to associated blogs or reviews.
Sister Jill — multilevel reading
Wild Romance: the true story of a Victorian scandal. Chloe Schama, Bloomsbury. A woman toughs it out when left high and dry by ambiguous marriage laws and an ambivalent bigamist suitor. Lovely writing, disturbing social issues.
Venice Pure City. Peter Ackroyd. Chatto & Windus. Browsable, soakable, knowledgeable and eccentric.
Sister Deirdre — easy reads
The Help. Kathryn Stockett, Penguin. Highly readable and deeper than Upstairs, Downstairs. Jackson, Mississippi 1962. The black maids tell their stories, and live them.
Smoking in Antarctic. Steve Braunias. Awa Press. Smart, cynical, tender, and funny offerings from one of our favourite columnists.
Sister Prue — a wee bit literary
Two for Sorrow. Nicola Upson. faber & faber. A fictional Josephine Tey wants to write a novel about the Finchley baby farmers. Delicious except for a love affair that makes no sense to me.
These I have loved. My favourite New Zealand poems. Harvey McQueen. Steele Roberts. Anthology as a farewell message to the world from a poet who hails from Little River, Banks Peninsula.
Sister Lesley — art
Dick Frizzell, The Painter. As much an adventure and a party as an art book.
Sister Penny — frivolity
The Marriage Bureau for Rich People. Farahad Zama. Abacus. Great fun: an Indian equivalent of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.
Crossfire. Dick Francis and Felix Francis. Penguin/Michael Joseph. A worthy successor to a long line of horsy thrillers from Mr Francis Senior.
Wrapping these books is a mixed pleasure. Some I want to read all over again. But time is short, so get over it.