I’m trying to track my reading this year – like Kate Constable does – so I can present some stats at the beginning of 2025. Maybe no pie charts, but who knows? So here’s my ‘read and reviewed, and also just read’ list for January.

Children’s Books
The Fair to Middling by Arthur Calder Marshall
The Painted Garden by Noel Streatfeild
The Rescuers by Margery Sharp
Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones
Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

Adult Fiction
The Secret Hours by Mick Herron
Illegal Action
and Secret Asset by Stella Rimington
Stone Yard Devotional by Charlotte Wood

Shirley Hazzard: A Writing Life by Brigitta Olubas
A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre
Queen of Spies: Daphne Park, Britain’s Cold War Spy Master by Paddy Hayes

And my top picks were…

The Rescuers
was my favourite of all the children’s books I read this month. OK, it was my favourite book. It is so witty and sophisticated, full of jokes for adults to enjoy without taking away from the ripping yarn of Bernard, Nils and Miss Bianca braving the castle, the jailer and the jailer’s terrifying cat (see picture) to rescue an imprisoned poet.
And the illustrations, by Garth Williams, are superb.
I’d never read Witch Week before, and while I did enjoy it, I found all the talk of witch burnings rather confronting. Bone-fires! Inquisitors! I actually had a Wynne-Jones inspired nightmare.

I’m not reading much literary fiction at present, but Stone Yard Devotional might get me back on track, making me remember how a novel can enlarge my world, make me think and feel deeply and illuminate areas of my own life. And as for non-fiction, A Spy Among Friends was as much a thriller as any…well, thriller.

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  1. Kate C says:

    Garth Williams’ artwork is such a part of my childhood. Numerous Little Golden Books (especially ‘The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse’) and particularly The Little House books. I don’t think I’ve ever read The Rescuers! Must remedy that 🙂

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