Saturday, September 3, 2016

Reading in August

August was the first month in a while that I strayed from reading crime fiction. This month I read one book from my Classics List, Passing by Nella Larsen, and a military fantasy, The Black Company by Glen Cook. I have already reviewed The Black Company. With its emphasis on war and violence (although not much graphic description of such), I was surprised to have liked it so much.


Passing by Nella Larsen was published in 1929 and was one of only two books by this American author. It is the story of two childhood friends who meet up again by chance in Chicago. Both are light-skinned African-American women who can pass for white. Clare Kendry continues to live in Chicago and has married a white man who does not know that she has Negro blood. The couple have a daughter. Irene Redfield is married to a black doctor; they live in Harlem with their two young boys. Later, Clare wants to continue her friendship with Irene, and Irene resists.

Both women are interesting people, but the novel focuses on Irene's life, her reactions to Clare, and how the continuation of their friendship affects both of their lives. The story was different and for me it was an eye-opening picture of the black community in Harlem in the 1920's.




The crime fiction novels I read were:


August was a lovely month of reading. There was not a bad (or even mediocre) book in the bunch. There were two crime fiction books I rated my favorites for the month...

I absolutely loved From Russia With Love. The movie has always been a favorite and the book is a lot like the movie, but even better.

See Also Deception was the 2nd book in a great series by Sweazy.  It has two big pluses for me: a strong woman in the lead role and an interesting setting in time and place (1960's North Dakota).

On this 3rd day of September, I am in the middle of a short story anthology, Grifters & Swindlers edited by Cynthia Manson. And also reading another book from my Classics List, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham.

14 comments:

  1. Always nice to have a good reading month. Hope you're enjoying The Wind in the Willows. The first half of the book is an all time favourite... the second, not so much.

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    1. I am enjoying Wind in the Willows, Cath, but I had noticed that I am slowing down towards the end.

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  2. That sounds like a great month's reading. Passing is an excellent book, I agree.

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    1. PASSING exceeded my expectations, Moira. I bought it initially a ways back because Colm did a post on it at your blog, and it sounded interesting. I did not know what to expect, but it was very, very good.

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    2. Glad you enjoyed it. I only write about books I enjoy so I always hope people might read them as a result.

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    3. I am glad I was introduced to this book, Colm. I bought a copy shortly after you did the post and took too long to get to it. It was both a good read and thought provoking.

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  3. You had a great reading month, Tracy, and I'm glad for you. Sometimes it's really nice to 'stretch' a bit and read something other than crime fiction for a bit. And isn't it nice when a book or film exceeds expectations? It's always a treat, I think.

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    1. Now if I could just keep up with the reviews at the same pace that I read, Margot, I could have a perfect month.

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    1. I wish I could have read more, Col, none of the books were very long. But I don't want to stress over aiming for a number so I just try to enjoy the reading I do get to.

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  5. Hi Tracy -- Great post! I reread From Russia with Love over the last year, when I managed to read all of Fleming's Bond books in their order of publication. From Russia is hands-down my favorite title in the series, although I have a fondness for Live and Let Die and Doctor No as well. It is Russia that shows Ian Fleming's skill for characterization at its best. The chess-move psychology shown by Kronsteen, summoned by SMERSH in mid-game, and his gambit of explanation, is quite wonderful, as are many scenes in this book. Its pace is great, its villains are memorable... glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reminding me of the title.

    All best -- Jason H

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    1. We definitely agree on From Russia With Love, Jason. I look forward to reading Dr. No soon. The Bond novels by Fleming have been quite a surprise to me, although I am sure I read a few when I was younger.

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  6. Good reading, Tracy. Much variety and quality. I'm curious about "Passing" by Nella Larsen.

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    1. It was a good month, Prashant. I hope to write a post on Passing soon, but I am far behind in my reviews and write them when I am in the right mood for the book.

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