Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens book cover
Incredibly, I think I actually managed to read just about everything on my list from January – clearly 2012 is off to a rip-roaring start, and I am destined for a year so full of literary nourishment that my elbow patches might spontaneously combust, that or I’ve peaked way too early and it’s all downhill from here!

So, to February: I am starting my year of Dickens in earnest this month, although quite what ‘my year of Dickens’ means is yet to be defined. For the time being, we can take it that I shall be reading as much of good, old Charlie’s writing as I can get my hands on. For starters I’m going to have a little gander at Oliver Twist, which serves the dual purpose of being a gentle introduction to Dickens (musical available if reading becomes too much effort), and a requirement given that myself and my disgustingly-efficient colleague Kim are organising a series of events in March and April, which centre on all things Oliver! Incidentally, you can find details of our events here: Dickens 2012, hosted by Royal Holloway.

I have also decided to finally make a start on Suzanne Collins’s wildly popular The Hunger Games, so have picked up the first instalment and expect to whip through that at some point this month. I’m a little intrigued as I know very little about it, despite its huge popularity but, with the impending film release, I guess it’s time to get in the know.

And then for something altogether more gentle: The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones. I was sent this a few weeks back and really liked the look of the cover and the blurb included on the press release. Ripped straight from Amazon is the description below:

Everyone has to make decisions about love. Wilfred Price, overcome with emotion on a sunny spring day, proposes to a girl he barely knows at a picnic. The girl, Grace, joyfully accepts and rushes to tell her family of Wilfred's intentions. But by this time Wilfred has realised his mistake. He does not love Grace. On the verge of extricating himself, Wilfred's situation suddenly becomes more serious when Grace's father steps in. Up until this point in his life, Wilfred's existence has been blissfully simple, and the young undertaker seems unable to stop the swirling mess that now surrounds him. To add to Wilfred's emotional turmoil, he thinks he may just have met the perfect girl for him. As Wilfred struggles in an increasingly tangled web of expectation and duty, love and lies, Grace reveals a long-held secret that changes everything . . . Wendy Jones's charming first novel is a moving depiction of love and secrecy, set against the rural backdrop of a 1920s Welsh village, and beautifully told.

Finally, I’ve been wanting to read American Psycho for a while so, if time allows it, I will pick that up later in the month. Oh, and for those who have been waiting for it, my analysis of The Outsider should also be ready this month (very late now, I know!)

Phew, so that’s another month’s good reading planned. Have you read any of the above, or are you celebrating Dickens’s bicentenary in any way? As always, let me know below!

Notable Posts from January
Review: The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (Book 2, His Dark Materials)
Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
Review: The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst
Review: The Guys' Guy's Guide to Love by Robert Manni
Interview: Robert Manni