Monday, June 30, 2014

Reading in June and Pick of the Month

In June I read ten books. Looking back, this surprises me. I felt like I was reading slowly and had several distractions. I continued my plan of reading one Very Long Book a month, but still I finished ten books. 

I completed the Once Upon a Time Challenge, hosted by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings, and joined into a new challenge, the Japanese Literature Challenge 8. More about that later. I read my 10th book for the 7th annual Canadian Book Challenge sponsored by John Mutford at The Book Mine Set. A new challenge, the 8th annual Canadian Book Challenge will start on July 1, 2014. 

One of the ten books I read was a memoir, The Film Club by David Gilmour. Gilmour allowed his 15-year-old son to drop out of high school on the condition that he watch three films a week with him. Gilmour is a film critic, among other things, and the book contains some interesting thoughts and tidbits about the movies, directors, and actors.

My crime fiction reading for June...

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
Horse Under Water by Len Deighton
The Collini Case by Ferdinand von Schirach
Mr. Campion's Farewell by Mike Ripley
The Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home
The Mother Hunt by Rex Stout
Slow Horses by Mick Herron
A Hearse on May-Day by Gladys Mitchell
Sorrow Bound by David Mark

It is difficult to pick a favorite crime fiction book this month. I enjoyed so many of the books I read, and I haven't even reviewed four of them. Reviewing always helps me focus in on what I liked about a book. Nevertheless, I will pick one book as my favorite: The Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home.

This debut novel by a Scottish author is set primarily in Edinburgh. Three separate plots are intertwined throughout the book: a "detective" studies ocean currents and tracks the objects deposited by them; a female Detective Constable loves her job but has difficulty being taken seriously; an Indian girl who has been sold into prostitution endeavors to discover a friend's fate. It is a complex story but I never got lost or bored.

18 comments:

  1. A very good reading month, Tracy. I still haven't read anything by Rex Stout while Len Deighton is never far from my horizon; I hope to (re)read some of his books.

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    1. It has been a great reading month, Prashant, but way behind on reviewing. Which stresses me out, which I don't need.

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  2. Great choice Tracy - I really liked that book too - it seems to be full of surprises and there's lots of nice humour too. Plus I found the whole notion of his job fascinating

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    1. It was an unusual book, Bernadette. I always like multiple plot threads, but I also liked that the characters were not standard types or perfect. I heard that the 2nd one was not as good, but I will read it anyway to see for myself.

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  3. Great looking cover. I'm off to go look up The Sea Detective. I Am Pilgrim was the behemoth read of the year? I missed reading your review of Slow Horses. I thought it was too slow going for my tastes.

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    1. Keishon, The Sea Detective is worth a try. Thought-provoking while entertaining at the same time. I guess I Am Pilgrim was the longest book I have read so far this year, but in the US hardcopy it is only 600 pages and some of my other books this year have been around 550.

      I have not reviewed Slow Horses yet. I have gotten behind (due to illness partially) and I am beginning to wonder if I am every going to catch up. I would categorize Slow Horses as slow, but I like spy fiction so much that did not bother me. I purchased Dead Lions (the follow up) immediately and will be reading it soon.

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  4. Tracy - I really liked this novel very much too. I especially liked the characters of Preeti and her friend, and the loyalty between them. I thought that was very well done, as was the historical plot thread.

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    1. Margot, I agree, the relationship between the two Indian girls was good, and the historical plot thread added another dimension. Some would say this book packed in too much, but I liked every part of it.

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  5. I liked this book, too. Although I was interested in all of the plot threads, I was especially fascinated with the setting on isolated Scottish islands, the isolated (and cold) lives of their inhabitants and the investigation into the main character's grandfather's disappearance. That was new to me as a book's theme. This book spurred me to read more about Scotland and I'd now like to read about the Highland Clearances.

    I have the author's second book but haven't opened it, somewhat because I'd read that it was not as good as the first.

    Don't worry about your reading or reviewing tasks. It's not a syllabus you have to complete or a test. It's supposed to be entertaining and a leisure activity, not anything to feel pressured by, not at all. So just do what you can.

    I somehow didn't read much in June, unlike my past habits of several years. I can't analyze it, just realize it and try to read more over the summer. It's all about enjoyment, not stress.

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    1. You are right, Kathy, I should not be stressing about writing reviews. I guess it is because I like to write the reviews, but the longer I wait the less I remember and the more work it is. Regardless, I might as well relax because stressing isn't going to make it better.

      I don't usually stress about the amount of reading; it goes up, it goes down, that is OK. And we do watch a lot of TV (right now on DVD or streaming) and movies, so we do mix it up.

      I want to read more books set in Scotland too. More of the Ann Cleeves books set in the Shetland Isles. I did not realize how many Scottish authors I have books by until I started listing them.

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  6. A great month's reading Tracy. I have a few of the books you've read, though I've not got to them yet. I might look up Douglas-Home as it seems a little bit different. I'm looking forward to trying Herron, but I'll probably start with something else.

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    1. thanks, Col. The Douglas-Home book is definitely different, which was good. I do plan to read DEAD LIONS by Mick Herron soon, but also this year I will read DOWN CEMETERY ROAD, his first book?

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  7. There's Denise Mina. She has three series set in Glasgow, which are good. The latest one in her Alex Morrow series called The Red Road blew me away; it's intense.

    Then there are Gordon Ferris' books set in post-WWII Glascow. I thought Pilgrim Soul was excellent about Jewish guys and the main character hunting Nazis in 1947 Glasgow. It has a lot of humor to it.

    Kate Atkinson lives in Edinburgh; she may or may not be considered a Scottish writer.

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    1. I will definitely be reading Garnethill by Denise Mina this year. I want to read a Gordon Ferris book also; I have several. I do like Kate Atkinson. I have read all of her mysteries and want to try some of her other books.

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  8. Wow! What a great reading month you had for June. I'm only managing a book a week at the moment :-(

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. I sometimes can't figure out how the numbers accumulate. This month I read more books than usual and I thought I had less time available for reading. Some of the books were fairly short, but one was very long. So, who knows?

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  9. The Sea Detective is on my radar, and sounds good - I'll have to get hold of it...

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    1. My husband was the one who purchased it, probably seeing reviews at blogs who are taking part in the Read Scotland challenge. It deserves all the praise I have seen at various blogs.

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