This year’s challenge is simple, just pick an author that was born in that month and read a piece of their work. I told you, easy!
Obviously there are hundreds of books and authors to choose from so we’ve just listed a few for December in case you’re in need of inspiration.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
From the moment she entered the world, Francie needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior—such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce—no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama.
Transcription – Kate Atkinson
In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever.
Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ’n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
Past the rusted gates and untrimmed hedges, Hill House broods and waits….
Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable noises and self-closing doors, but Hill House is gathering its powers and will soon choose one of them to make its own.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
Extravagant, inventive, emotionally sweeping, Corelli’s Mandolin is the story of a timeless place that one day wakes up to find itself in the jaws of history. The place is the Greek island of Cephallonia, where gods once dabbled in the affairs of men and the local saint periodically rises from his sarcophagus to cure the mad. Then the tide of World War II rolls onto the island’s shores in the form of the conquering Italian army.
One Summer: America 1927 – Bill Bryson
The summer of 1927 began with Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic. Meanwhile, Babe Ruth was closing in on the home run record. In Newark, New Jersey, Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly sat atop a flagpole for twelve days, and in Chicago, the gangster Al Capone was tightening his grip on bootlegging. The first true “talking picture,” Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer, was filmed, forever changing the motion picture industry.
Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
David Sedaris’ new collection of essays – including live recordings! – tells a most unconventional life story. It begins with a North Carolina childhood filled with speech-therapy classes (“There was the lisp, of course, but more troubling than that was my voice itself, with its excitable tone and high, girlish pitch”) and unwanted guitar lessons taught by a midget. From budding performance artist (“The only crimp in my plan was that I seemed to have no talent whatsoever”) to “clearly unqualified” writing teacher in Chicago, Sedaris’ career leads him to New York City and eventually, of all places, France.
Commonwealth – Anne Patchett
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness centers around Marlow, an introspective sailor, and his journey up the Congo River to meet Kurtz, reputed to be an idealistic man of great abilities. Marlow takes a job as a riverboat captain with the Company, a Belgian concern organized to trade in the Congo. As he travels to Africa and then up the Congo, Marlow encounters widespread inefficiency and brutality in the Company’s stations. The native inhabitants of the region have been forced into the Company’s service, and they suffer terribly from overwork and ill treatment at the hands of the Company’s agents.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Set in England in the late 18th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after two gentlemen have moved into their neighbourhood …: the rich and eligible Mr. Bingley, and his status-conscious friend, the even richer and more eligible Mr. Darcy. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy is disdainful of local society and repeatedly clashes with the Bennets’ lively second daughter, Elizabeth.
Other suggestions from Cwts Club Discussion Group. include, Mary Higgins Clark, Daniel Silva, Elizabeth Berg, Catherine Coulter, Rudyard Kipling, Noam Chomsky, Emily Dickinson, Stephanie Meyer and Akala.
Pick a book from our list, pop along to your local book shop or library or pick something that’s already in your TBR pile. Whatever you decide, don’t forget to let us know what you’re reading over on Cwts Club Discussion Group.