Thursday, November 30, 2023

"Jim! Jim! What happened to your beautiful hair?" by Catriona

It’s the time of year when family commitments begin to ramp up, AND a huge number of books are published, just in time for the gift-giving season. How will this affect your reading? What’s on your To Be Read pile at the moment?

It's Catriona here, stepping in with my below-average hair today because I'm on a blog tour for a new book, coming out next Tuesday. It's a Last Ditch Motel Christmas, in which Lexy and the gang hop (geddit?) over to Scotland for the holidays, and encounter many potty-mouthed seasonal Scots, over-refreshed seasonal Scots (those are not necessarily different seasonal Scots) and one mouldering skeleton bricked-up in a cellar.  The reviews so far have been terrific! And isn't it pretty?

buy links and reviews are here

So, it's not actually family commitments that are ramping up for me right now. Except that the last date for getting parcels to Scotland is next Wednesday, and nothing is wrapped, and those US Customs forms are INSANE! The UK ones are a tiny wee sticker with three lines that says "Fill this in if you like" and you can fill it in by writing "Nah". Basically.

On the other hand, I am two days from the 50K finish line of National Novel Writing Month on Last Ditch Motel No.7 - SCOTSZILLA - and I will, oh yes I will, get it to 80K by the 20th of December.

And then page proofs for the next Dandy Gilver arrived. But that's okay, because if I do 20 pages a day I can get it finished by the deadline.

Except, a structural edit of the next standalone just dropped on my desk too. But it's not a big 'un. Just a few cuts and tweaks and clarifications. It'll be fine.

Only, I committed to teaching a workshop next Saturday, and I need to cut it from 90 to 60 minutes. Pah. That's a doddle.

Although, why did I book myself in for a COVID booster? That's two days lost right there while the side effects work through me.

But I've got lots of support, right? HAH! My housemate, and mate actually, has been in Australia for two weeks and is only home for two days before he swans off to Mexico. In those two days, we're decorating the house for Christmas, which starts with going to cut down a couple of trees. Jetlag and a big saw. What could go wrong?

I'm not complaining about any of it. Family I love, multiple publishing deals, getting asked to do workshops, healthcare, three weeks' worth of solitude, and then Christmas? Lucky me. 

It might have looekd like complaining, but it was really just the lead-in to revealing my hoard of Christmas-break reading, I have had it set aside since my birthday haul plugged the gaps in it and I look at it multiple times a day. (Imagine Gollum rubbing his hands and going "My precious" except it's "My preciouses".) 

This is a typical - no dammit! - this is a vintage Christmas reading pile.  I've got the last ever Ruth Galloway (Elly Griffiths), the next Three Rivers (Ann Cleeves), the fourth Thursday Murder Club (Richard Osman) and HOLLY, by Stephen King. These are the "How the frilly hat did I manage to save them up and not devour them on publication day?" volumes. 

Similar but worse, there's LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY (Bonnie Garmus)  ALL THE SINNERS BLEED (Shawn Cosby) and YELLOW FACE (Rebecca F Kuang). I'm calling this the "How have you not already read this like everyone else?" section. 

I've also got two Christmas books, THE CHRISTMAS APPEAL (Janice Hallett) and STAY ANOTHER DAY (Juno Dawson), and a celebrity memoir, CHAMPION (Sarah Millican). Because I've got to have a celebrity memoir and Barbra Streisand's is too long for the purpose and would use up my entire holiday. (I'm listening to her read it on audio instead).

Also non-fiction, there's A VERY GREAT PROFESSION (Nicola Beauman) which is a book that could be used instead of taking someone's pulse. Briefly, if you don't want to inhale this review of women's writing between the world wars, which was inspired by the library book Celia Johnson is taking back to the library at the start of Brief Encounter, then lie down. You're dead. 

And finally, Shaun Bythell's REMAINDERS OF THE DAY, the diary of the real bookseller (not Lowell) who works in the real bookshop (not Lowland Glen Books) in Wigtown where I set Quiet Neighbors.

Four weeks to go till I can put on elastic-waisted clothes, draw my sherry glass a little closer (in my dreams; I don't drink sherry) and start to turn these pages. I thoroughly recommend all of them to you for your own seasonal reading. Except, actually, maybe if I'm suggesting the perfect books for other people at this time of year I would make one small tweak:


1 comment:

Ann said...

What a lovely lot of books! I’ve read about half of them plus Hop Scot is waiting in the wings until next Tuesday, at which point I’ll put down whatever I’m reading and hop on over the pond.
Now, what have you done with our Jim? Xo