My Reading in 2022

I’m very annoyed with myself that I didn’t keep track of everything I read last year. I was just slack. My reading was fairly wide, a bit more nonfiction than usual and also more lighter books than I normally read. I felt a little run down after some bouts of flu, throat & ear problems and poor sleeping. I found a couple of new to me authors and with some of my favourite authors I’ve enjoyed filling in the gaps with their unread books. I’ll give a bit of a rundown here with a link to some I’ve written about – I was slacker with this as well – with a promise to myself that I’ll be more diligent this year. 🙂

Non-Fiction

The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang – oh my, what a heart-wrenching story of a diabolical event. So sad to read that the woman who wrote this committed suicide at age 36. A+

In December I heard that a Broken Hill nurse, Lieutenant Colonel Vivian Bullwinkel, is set to become the first woman honoured with a statue at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. I’d picked up a book at a recent Lifeline book sale that caught my eye because it’s storyline reminded me of Nevil Shute’s novel, A Town Like Alice.

White Coolies by Betty Jeffrey (1954) is a diary account written by another nurse of a group of Australian Army nursing sisters who were evacuated form Malaya after the fall of Singapore in 1942. Their ship was bombed and sunk by the Japanese and of the fifty-three survivors who made it to land, twenty-one were murdered and the rest taken prisoner. Vivian Bullwinkel was shot but managed to escape after feigning to be dead. She was later captured and sent to the same prison as the author of this book. Betty Jeffreys tells her story in Chapter 4. After three years of imprisonment only twenty-four of the nurses made it home.

The petty actions of the Japanese guards and their sadistic behaviour such as withholding Red Cross supplies, leaving potatoes dumped in a pool of water in the sun and rain for days before allowing the women to take the rotten remains into the camp for food are recorded alongside accounts of how the women kept up their spirits and distributed what little food they had.

Last Sunday the powers that be in the guard-house up the hill sent word round the camp that all the children could visit their fathers and brothers in the men’s camp a mile or so away through the rubber… The excitement was at fever pitch when the bell rang for them to assemble at the guard-house. When they got there their names were listed and then their excitement died suddenly. The Japs called the names of those children who could not go, and that is how many wives and children learnt that their husbands and daddies had died, some of them more than a year ago. These beasts are a pack of sadists.

Although White Coolies is a gruelling account of survival and deprivation, it is told matter-of-factly and even with humour at times. It’s an engrossing story and very Australian. This is a great book for high school students. A

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (1971) – this is a re-read and it’s an excellent account of a Dutch family imprisoned for their work with the Underground during WWII. A+

Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts A

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir (1991) – Weir is a new author for me and I will be reading more of her histories. I also read two of her historical fiction novels but so far I prefer her nonfiction writing to her novels. A

For the Family’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (1999) – another re-read for me. I’ve written a blog post on each chapter which starts here. A+

Mrs. Oswald Chambers by Michelle Ule – I’ve been reading Oswald Chambers’ devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest for years and was given this book for my birthday. My expectations weren’t very high but I loved it! A+

Beatrix Potter: a Life in Nature by Linda Lear B+

Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton B+

Under the Sea-Wind by Rachel Carson A+

The Salt Path by Raynor Wynn – B; In 2013, Moth and Raynor Winn, a couple in their early fifties, lost the home they had shared for over twenty years. They had spent those years bringing up two children and rebuilding a ruined farmhouse and its surrounding land in Wales. It had been their home and their livelihood but a failed financial investment left them liable for debts and they lost everything. On top of all that, just a day later, Moth was diagnosed with a terminal illness, corticobasal degeneration.
They were homeless. The Salt Path is Raynor Winn’s account of how they coped with their dilemma, which was to walk the 630-mile South West Coast Path of England, camping in the wild and surviving on a small allowance which hardly covered the cost of their food.

Historical Fiction

Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz  A

Blood Feud by Rosemary Sutcliff B+

A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir B

Towers in the Mist by Elizabeth Goudge B+

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton B – I have mixed feelings about this book. I’ve only read one other book by this author, The Lake House, which I thought was quite good except that the ending was just too convenient and not at all believable, but I thought enough of it to try another of her books. The Secret Keeper had a very clever plot partly set during WWII, but one the main characters was so awful that I hated reading whenever she appeared. Morton’s writing style works well with the chopping and changing to different time periods but the chapters that included the rotten character were sections I really wanted to skip. Except you can’t with this type of writing! By the end of the book I was really enjoying it. Pity I had to wade through the coarse antics of the other character to get there.

The Dolphin Crossing by Jill Paton Walsh (1967) A – the story of two boys who took a boat to help save the stranded British Army from Dunkirk. ‘For readers of ten and over, boys especially.’ Realistic and sad.

‘It is not a true story, but it could have been true, for there really were schoolboys who helped ferry the British Army in retreat. It is also truthful in another sense: when real people take risks they really get killed.’

Detective/Crime Fiction

The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude A

Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler – while I’m not a hardboiled detective fan, I do enjoy Chandler’s superb prose. B+

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett – I don’t like his detective as much as Chandler’s. B

The ABC Murders B; Cat Among the PigeonsB+ ; Murder in Mesopotamia B; They Came to Baghdad B+ The Seven Dials Mystery B+ by Agatha Christie

Grave Mistake by Ngaio Marsh – A

Favourite Authors

FatherA and Vera B by Elizabeth von Arnim

Beyond the Black Stump -B+ and So Disdained – B by Nevil Shute

Assignment in BrittanyA; Neither Five Nor Three B+ ; I And my True LoveB – Helen MacInnes

John Macnab A and The Courts of the Morning A by John Buchan

The Battle of the Villa Fiorita by Rumer Godden – B+ “No book of mine has been more unpopular, especially in America.”

Shakespeare – listened and read along with my daughter to: Henry VIII, As You Like It & Coriolanus – we laughed through Coriolanus. His relationship with his mother was quite ridiculous.

New to me Authors

Two stand out for me in 2022:

Mary Stewart & Georgette Heyer – I’ve read a good chunk of their books and have written about a few of them. One of my favourite Stewart books was Airs Above the Ground, but I liked them all! A favourite Heyer is These Old Shades.

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Ladlow – a well done re-imagining of the life of Mary Bennet after Pride & Prejudice.

I’ve counted 61 books that I remember reading in 2022. 🙂

8 thoughts on “My Reading in 2022

  1. Brava! You look like you had a great year! Lots of As & Bs. I’m creating my own reading journal this year (after finishing my last one which covered more than a decade). I’m adding more stats and stuff but it will be nice to have a self-designed one with more than “book and author” to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Re the A’s & B’s – I usually have a semi decent idea of whether I’ll like a book, so I don’t have too many duds!
      I’m trying to decide if I’ll join in with any Challenges. They’re good if they generate some discussion or help to focus with reading…
      Happy reading in 2023. 🙂

      Like

  2. I really enjoyed this!

    A Town Like Alice is on my wishlist right now. It sounds like just the sort of book I would really enjoy. I almost bought a copy earlier this month, but I’m trying not to buy more books right now because I got several for Christmas, so I just wishlisted it instead.

    The Hiding Place is so amazing. I am overdue for a reread.

    I really love Raymond Chandler — he’s my favorite author, as I am fond of mentioning whenever I can, lol — and I loved finding him here! Farewell, My Lovely is not one of my top favorites of his, but still sooooooooo enjoyable. And I agree with you that Sam Spade is not nearly as likeable as Philip Marlowe.

    I read Vera this past year too! My goodness, that was quite the book. Not what I was expecting at all, but so well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nevil Shute is so good at depicting very ordinary people put into uncommon circumstances & I haven’t read a book he wrote that I haven’t enjoyed.
      I think ‘The Big Sleep’ was the first Chandler book I read. Marlowe is such a very likeable character.; tough but with a self-deprecatory attitude. 🙂

      Like

  3. I commented on your previous blog because I forgot that you moved over to WordPress. I am looking forward to reading last-year’s read-along posts for For the Family’s Sake as I dive into it this year!
    I am linking my top 10 books of 2022, if interested!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s