September in Books

I feel ancient saying this, but why does time have to fly!? I can’t believe it’s October already! This means it’s the last semester ever for me and between freaking out over writing my thesis and looming unemployment we’ll see where that will leave my fun reading.

Here’s what I read in September:

Frenchman’s Creek (Daphne DuMaurier), for Jo’s readalong. My third book by DuMaurier and I’m already looking forward to reading My Cousin Rachel.

Ten Little Herrings (L. C. Tyler) is a super fun cosy crime and an homage and parody of classic mysteries. Hope I’ll manage a quick post about it this week.

I read Strangers (Taichi Yamada) for Bellezza’s Japanese lit challenge which was wonderfully eerie and makes me want to try so much more Japanese literature.

The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing (Tarquin Hall) is the second Vish Puri book, the Indian Poirot. I had as much fun with it as with the first instalment, maybe a bit more as it was more lighthearted. I hope there’ll be more of Vish Puri’s investigations.

Little Hands Clapping (Dan Rhodes) was weird and wonderful, though I do think that most books advertised as strange are much more conventional than they may at first appear.

I still have a pile of books on my nightstand, from my last LL, so that and uni will keep me busy this month. I’m also reading the truly wonderful Sita’s Ramayana, a gift from my amazing friend Vishy.

What is everyone planning on reading this month?

August in Books

Considering my current uni workload and a reading slump I’m surprised I managed to read six books in August. It’s not a huge number of course, but I’m quite happy with it and most of those books were pretty great reads.

The News Where You Are by Catherine O’Flynn is her second novel and one I enjoyed immensely. Her first, What Was Lost, will remain my favorite though.

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee was sadly not what I expected, but I think that’s all my fault and I know a lot of people enjoyed this one.

DreadfulWater Shows Up was a great read and I did not regret taking a break from British cosy crime. Hope there’ll be a book 2 soon!

Rack, Ruin and Murder is of course a British cosy, I’m still trying to figure out how much the cover art of these books influences me 😀 This one is the second book in her new Campbell and Carter series and I like it much more than the Mitchell and Markby books.

The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge I wrote about here. And then when the reading slump hit and I was feeling meh about every book, Wodehouse to the rescue. Something Fresh or Something New is the first in the Blandings Castle series and I can tell the Threepwoods and I are going to be great friends.

Hope everyone had a great August, any plans for September? I know I will be reading (or am currently reading) Frenchman’s Creek for Jo’s readalong.

June in Books

How is it July already? I somehow managed to read 9 books in June, though I hardly read anything in the last week. There’s a ton to do what with semester break looming and finding new roommates and I couldn’t seem to settle down enough to focus on one book. Does that happen to any of you, too? It makes me feel guilty for looting so many books that I won’t get to read soon and keeping others from reading them.

Here’s what I read in June:

The Case of the Missing Servant: Vish Puri 1(Tarquin Hall)

Rattling the Bones (Ann Granger)

Borges and the Eternal Orangutans (Luis Fernando Verissimo)

When Will There Be Good News? (Kate Atkinson)

The Red House Mystery (A.A. Milne)

The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire and Phosphorus (John Emsley)

Daddy-Long-Legs (Jean Webster)

A Prayer for the Dying (Stewart O’Nan) – reread

Dead Clever (Scarlett Thomas)

There’s the usual large chunk of mysteries, be it cosy, serious or postmodern, an apocalyptic read to shake off the lingering coziness, an epistolary novel and my sudden craving for a book on a chemical element (and for some reason I turned to phosphorus). Only three of them have I posted about as of yet, but my review about The 13th Element should be up soon. And don’t worry, the book is neither dry and boring nor as melodramatic as the title makes it out to be!

I’m trying not to make any plans, I hardly ever stick with them, but I want to try to read another myth book, Baba Yaga Laid an Egg is at the top of the list.

What has everyone else been reading and what are your plans for July?

March in Books

Better late than never, here’s my wrap-up for march. I read six books, which is not a lot but it’s not a bad number for me, considering I spent most of my time behind the laptop writing a paper. Here’s the list:

The Ladies’ Paradise (Emile Zola)

The Way Things Are (E. M. Delafield)

Travels with my Aunt (Graham Greene)

Cathedrals of Consumption (Jaumain, Serge and Geoffrey Crossick, eds.)

The Odd Women (George Gissing)

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher (Kate Summerscale)

 

Cathedrals of Consumption is a non-fiction work I used for my paper, if you’re at all interested in the department store phenomenon of the 19th century give this one a try. Not only is it a fascinating subject (I could start gushing now, but I’ll save that for my review of Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise), but this collection gives a great overview of the department store in Europe and also situates it in context by including an article about the retail development from the 18th century and an outlook on the concept of the mall of the 20th century.

The Way Things Are was certainly an interesting insight into the life of a housewife during the late 20s. I know there’s tongue-in-cheek humour, but really, I couldn’t appreciate this much as I was too depressed by Laura’s life. Travels with my Aunt was pretty great, though I kept re-checking the author’s name as it made such a change from Greene’s other works! And I did manage to read through The Odd Women which really wasn’t long at all despite the size of my edition, and I now feel like I have to read everything else by Gissing! (I can hear my tbr list groaning, poor thing)

And finally a typical read for me, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher. And yes, I loved it! Apart from being an amazing mystery, Summerscale also made it a fascinating account of the dramatic changes that took place during the 19th century, from the industrial revolution to the establishing of a detective department.

What did you read in March? Anything that really needs to go on my tbr?

February in Books

I’m pretty happy with my reading in February, eleven books is a lot for me. Here’s the complete list:

The Blindfold (Siri Hustvedt)

Embroideries (Marjan Satrapi)

The Winter Garden Mystery (Carola Dunn)

Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones)

High Wages (Dorothy Whipple)

The Manual of Detection (Jedediah Berry)

Aya (Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie)

When Ladies Go A-Thieving: Middle-Class Shoplifters in the Victorian Department Store (Elaine S. Abelson)

A Rare Interest in Corpses (Ann Granger)

Crime, Gender and Consumer Culture in Nineteenth- Century England (Tammy C. Whitlock)

Bury Her Deep (Catriona McPherson)

 

I’m also glad about the variety of these books. I read two comics, Embroideries and Aya, which I both enjoyed a lot. I’m actually proud of myself for finally reading comics without feeling like a fish out of water.

Then I read two non-fiction, academic works (for my paper mostly): When Ladies Go A-Thieving and Crime, Gender and Consumer Culture. Both were fantastic, and between them I have most of the shoplifting going-ons during the 19th century in the USA and England covered. I suppose I’m moving from fictional crime to its social history 😀

Doesn’t mean I neglected mysteries though, I read the first Lizzie Martin mystery, A Rare Interest in Corpses, which is also set in Victorian England (my mother didn’t quite believe the research argument here) and then the third Dandy Gilver book, Bury Her Deep, and started another series with Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple, though The Winter Garden Mystery is not the first installment.

The Manual of Detection is also something of a mystery, very post-postmodern, and though the ending could’ve been better, I loved most of it. The Blindfold is really the only book I didn’t like too much, perhaps Hustvedt’s later works are better, but the summary of this one was more exciting than the actual story. Though if you’re a fan of Auster’s writing, you might love it.

My favorite of the month is Howl’s Moving Castle, how great is that book and why did I only recently find out this book existed? And I finally got my hands on a Whipple novel, High Wages was fantastic, and I even found out more about retail and consumption. Luckily, my expectations were completely met and all the hype is deserved.

This month I hope to put a dent into my LL pile, and finally write-up some reviews.

 

What was your reading month like? And what are your plans for March?

November in Books

 

November was not the best blogging month for me and I feel like I keep repeating myself, no time, too much uni work to do, blabla. What also sucks is when your computer dies on you and you can’t access your files. On the upside, we have lots of pretty snow here and I booked my ticket home for the holidays, only two more weeks to go! 🙂 How’s everyone else holding up?

As for the bookish bits, I read seven books last months:

Birds of a Feather (Jaqueline Winspear)

Falling Man (Don DeLillo)

Curtain (Agatha Christie)

Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood)

The Burry Man’s Day (Catriona McPherson)

The Zero (Jess Walter)

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation (Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón)

 

Most of those were for uni (the 9/11 books and Curtain), but assigned reading is still reading and often pretty awesome. I mean, I had to read an Agatha Christie mystery! 😀 Also, things I learned from those readings: I wish DeLillo would quit writing novels and focus on non-fiction instead (his robot-like dialogues are creeping me out), the 9/11 report is much more accessible than I thought but the graphic adaptation is not successful and open endings in suspenseful twisty fiction are just plain mean.

The rest of my reading was mysteries (of course) and Atwood’s dystopia Oryx and Crake, which I’ve only been trying to get around to for about two years. I finally read it this year for the Canadian Authors Challenge 2010, now I only have to read 2 more for this one and I might actually complete one challenge. Did I mention that I tend to forget about challenges? Anyway, Oryx and Crake is pretty amazing and now I can read Year of the Flood, though I can’t imagine it’s as good as Oryx.

Both the mysteries I read were sequels, and I enjoyed them both. I’ve gotten better at not letting the esoteric, psychic stuff in the Maisie Dobbs series bother me and got a kick out of learning about the White Feather Campaign (Nicoletta Gullace’s The Blood of Our Sons seems to be the best book to find out more about that. Any other recs?). The second Dandy Gilver book, The Burry Man’s Day is also a great follow-up and if you enjoy historical mysteries and are interested in Scotland after WWI, give Dandy are chance.

 

I’ll make the round now, to see what everyone else’s reading in november was like!

September in Books

September was a good reading month for me. Since I had so much time to read, I expected to read a lot, that didn’t really happen. I started a lot of books but had to return many to the library before I could finish them but I noted down where I had to stop so hopefully I’ll find these books in my library when I get back to my place next week. The small library here doesn’t allow you to have the books for more than 2-3 weeks at a time and renewing them costs 1-2 euros and can’t be done online, so not ideal for looting lots of books but reading some chapters from them without finishing them quickly. But seven books is still a good number for me and I’m not going to stress over that. Here’s the September list then:

Little Face (Sophie Hannah)

Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet (M.C. Beaton)

The Easter Parade (Richard Yates)

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox (Maggie O’Farrell)

The Lifted Veil (George Eliot)

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand (Helen Simonson)

Mein Freund Maigret/ Mon ami Maigret (Georges Simenon)

I only reviewed three of these but I’m working on my backlog and will hopefully manage to write something about them before I forget what they were about. I was planning on writing about Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand next but have yet to type a single word for the review so I thought I’d ask if there are any requests on what I should review next (take a look at my books read page, there are quite a few unreviewed books listed).

My favorite read in September was probably The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, in fact I can’t wait to try one of O’Farrell’s other works. Any recommendations on which to turn to next?  I also really loved The Easter Parade and plan on reading Yates’ Disturbing the Peace soon. Hope that’s a good one though I really doubt that Yates is capable of disappointing! The I also managed to get my hands on a copy of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand which was a nice cosy if not perfect read. I read my first ever Eliot this month and hope everyone will try The Lifted Veil at some point, it’s a really short novella in the gothic tradition and a perfect fall/winter read. But I’m working on a reading list for the season, so more on that soon. And of course I read some crime fiction, don’t think I know how to survive without my go-to genre. Agatha Raisin was fun as ever and I’m looking forward to reading the first one in the series soon, I like to read them in order but what can you do when you don’t own the set. Little Face was a good literary thriller though I preferred Hannah’s The Other Half Lives and she seems to have a formula so the twist wasn’t very surprising this time around. Finally I grabbed one of my mom’s Maigret books. She made me try them a couple of years ago but I didn’t really enjoy them that much, this time around though I loved it and think there’s another series that I can enjoy curled up with a pot of tea. Funny how reading tastes change over time!

I don’t think I have specific plans for October, except for doing the required uni reading. So expect to see a lot of novels about 9/11 on here, and probably the usual mysteries as counterweight.

What was your reading month like, and what are your plans for October?