As you have probably guessed I did read 100 books in 2014 and made my goal. Actually I have read 101 finishing the final one of the year this morning. When I set out in 2014 with this goal I really thought it would be easily achieved. In fact if I am honest I expected to reach the goal in November at the latest. I read over 90 books in 2013 and that was without thinking about it so 100 books didn’t seem like a challenge. And for the first 7 months of the year it wasn’t especially after a mammoth reading session over three weeks in Harris. But as anyone whose ever been overly confident knows life is not life if your challenge is easy. So although I made my reading goal in August things started not going to plan in September picked up slightly in October with the October holiday and almost stalled to a halt in November. December arrived I had 13 books to read and was way behind in book reviews and if I am honest felt like giving up it just didn’t seem achievable. I had also discovered a new trilogy to read by Paula Simmons which I enjoyed immensely but they were almost 900 pages each so progress to the goal was slow yet I didn’t want to cheat by reading shorter books. Instead I started Dec and decided to catch up on reviews and see where Dec took me. By the start of the holidays on the 19th I had 9 to go and knew that the goal was within reach if I did what I do best in Winter hibernated with some good books and then Runaway landed at my doorstep.
So as my daughter has just said Runaway isn’t actually the 100th book I read of the year it is in fact the 93rd but I am elevating it to 100th book as I said to her with artistic license. Why? Because Peter May is one of my favourite authors of the last couple of years. His Lewis trilogy is probably the best Scottish books I have read and I return to them often and give them as presents. In fact on Monday I got a text from my sister to say that she had started The Black House and it was very good. Yesterday I got a text saying she was almost finished Lewis Man (my personal favourite) and about to start Chess Man another Peter May fan in the making. Another friend who I gave Entry Island to lost a whole day over Christmas reading it and was delighted when Peter May responded to her positive comments on Facebook. This is another reason I like Peter May he interacts with his fans on both Facebook and Twitter. Which is why I found myself with a preview copy of his new book Runaway as I entered a competition on social media to become one of his super fans and was delighted to be selected as one of 100 Superfans. The prize 5 Peter May books to give out of my choice to friends (Entry Island was my choice which as you can see above my friend has already read) plus a signed copy of Runaway and a copy of Hebrides.
As luck would have it I was just finishing a book when the parcel arrived ironically set in Lewis. (The Road Dance). So on the 20th I started Runaway and early doors on the 21st I finished Runaway. That is one issue I have with Peter May books they tend to runway with me. (sorry very bad joke).
I loved Runaway for a number of reasons. One it was about a group of old men. We can tend to think that old people don’t have a life and as bad haven’t lived a life when in reality they have much to teach us and that they make great friends especially when you are growing up. As the grandson in the book discovers to my great joy. Two part of it is set in Glasgow and sense of place is immediate. Peter May is from Glasgow so I know that in this case he knows the city well but that said I also know he does lots of research for every book he writes so that he gets that sense of place right. Runaway is set around a part of the city I know well as it is where my Papa lived so knew it well from my own childhood and it took me back. It also features the Royal Victoria Infirmary infamous in our family. My parents especially my mother viewed it with great respect as a Glasgow medical institution. I on the other hand regard it as a place of death as the only person I know who survived a stay in there is my sister when she was pregnant with my niece. Aunts and Uncles went in to that place we visited and they died. Then it was the turn of my Grandfather’s. First my Grandfather took a stroke and went in and my dislike of the Victoria turned to hatred with the appalling conditions the stroke victims had to be cared in. He didn’t die there but was never the same again I realise not the fault of the hospital but for a 16-year-old girl the hospital was a place of despair. Then my papa went in and if I am honest I can’t fault the hospital but he died and I was gutted and from then on I was petrified of any family members entering the place so it was a huge relief that said sister got out well and shortly gave birth to my beautiful niece. Long point I know but the Victoria Infirmary is featured in the book and reading between the lines I felt that Peter May and I understood each other. And I loved the great escape theme from the hospital.
After the great escape the book takes us through the Lakes to London as the three men and one reluctant grandson go back to the past and what happened that changed their lives in the sixties. As ever Peter May creates vivid characters not all you would like to know on a personal basis but you will create firm pictures in your mind of what they look like and some you would love to have a coffee with and learn more.
The book is a crime book and for me a crime book works if I have to get to the end of it to find out if I am correct or as in this case to be clueless and have a need to know what actually happened. Not going to spoil it for you just going to say that Runaway is published in January. It is well worth a read would recommend that you set aside a holiday for it or diary in a weekend and snuggle up with the best thing on earth a good read.
I have reached my goal. I am delighted with that I feel it is an achievement as I thought it was going to be easy and it wasn’t. I have read some great books over 2014 and hope to read more in 2015 though not setting a reading goal next year going to see where I get to. A Happy New Year to you all in all the very best reading in 2015.
PS. My husband finally realised this morning……………………………………….100 books means that I also bought in one form or another 100 books over the year!!! (still took him till the 31st Dec to do so). Just as well a kind lady in the village popped three books for me through the door on Christmas Eve as not sure I will be allowed to buy any new books any time soon.