December 2021 Review

The build-up to Christmas starts in August so by the time it comes around, I am a mix of bored and fed up by it. That said we had a nice quiet Christmas with a couple of family members over and met up with small numbers of other families too. Ate too much, but that kind of goes without saying really. I was only given one book for Christmas, but did get a new bookcase! Anyway this is mostly about my December reads, so here we go. I only read 12 books which I needed to get to the 190 books I needed for my Good Reads challenge, and then started pre-reading for 2022.

The books are a right of mix of types and genres and the first is David Howe’s, Extraction to Extinction which is about the way we have exploited the minerals from the surface of our planet and the impending ecological crises coming from these extractions. Bleak but worth reading.

Possibly the most surreal book that I read this year is Mordew by Alex Pheby. It is about a boy who lives in this magical world that has echoes of Victorian London about it and the story concerns his growing powers over his Lord and master. It is an immersive fantasy story.

A Christmas book, but not the sort that has any mention of tinsel within the covers. Rather these are stories that will give you goosebumps.Ii liked all the stories bar one and whilst it wasn’t scary, it was slightly unnerving!

A subject that is capturing my interest more and more is folklore. This was a library book by two of the contributors of #FolkloreThursday on Twitter and in here they look at folk stories from the rivers and seas around the world. It is not an in-depth study, but a overview.

The Vikings are portrayed as a grim, violent and brutal bunch of reprobates that raped and pillaged their way along the coastlines of Europe. They did do that, but they were also capable of fine art, cultural nuance and were in contact with peoples all over the middle east and even further. Well worth reading.

Most people don’t think about maths again after leaving school, but modern society is built on maths, equations and numbers. Brooks takes a number of concepts that you might or might not have come across and explains their significance to modern life.

I am not a big reader of philosophy but decided to give this a go after being sent it by the publisher. I struggled with some parts of it but found other parts that were absolutely spot on. May need to have another read of this at some point.

The two natural history books that I read this month could not have been any different. The first, Mistletoe Winter is another collection of essays from Roy Dennis about some of his favourite subjects and a reminded of the mess we are making of the environment. To say he is livid would be an understatement. The second is the debut by Nicola Chester. In this memoir, she takes us through her life in the natural world and the political stance that she has taken against the damage being done by various organisations. Compelling reading.


The Black Sea is surrounded by a number of countries that have been through or are still going through a significant upheaval. To find out what life was like in these places Jens Mühling circumvented the region and tried to find out what made these people tick. Really enjoyed this and it is a great companion book to Caroline Eden’s Black Sea cook book and travelogue.

I have two books of the month for December and they are the final two books in the Discworld series, Raising Steam & The Shepherds Crown. Needless to say, I loved them. R I P Terry Pratchett, thanks for everything



Has anyone read any of these? Or are there some now that you now want to? let me know in the comments below

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  1. Liz Dexter

    One book for Christmas? Oh dear! I had a fun time the other day shoehorning all mine onto my TBR shelf (there’s also the matter of other books sent by bloggers or naughtily bought …). A good mixed bag there.

    • Paul

      I know, but I would much rather have book tokens as I have been bought duplicates numerous times now. I won’t say quite how many I bought in December, but ‘many’ would be applicable…

      • Liz Dexter

        I have well-behaved friends and a tame husband: I have a wish list on my blog and if anyone buys anything from it, they have to contact him and he removes it from the list! Works really well. I also give my best friend and Heaven-Ali the book blogger, also a good friend, a list of Dean St Press books to choose from. So all safe, although lots of people give me book tokens, too.

        • Paul

          Perfect system then!

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