Sunday, March 5, 2017

Reading in February 2017

February was an unusual reading month for me. I committed to read mostly short stories all month. I knew I would read a book for the Crimes of the Century meme at Past Offences and I did, and I finished a novel on February 1st that I had started in January. I also completed two books of short stories. In February I read nearly 60 stories. (My lists of stories are here and here.) Some were very short, most were average length. I enjoyed my month of reading short stories immensely.

One book of short stories read and completed in February was Miniatures by John Scalzi. As the title indicates, it is a book of very short stories, most of which are humorous science fiction. The book collects Scalzi's short fiction from 1998 to 2016. A few of the pieces are published for the first time in this book.  As with any book of short stories there are stories that appealed to me and others that did not. Some of the humor was clever; others just seemed to be trying too hard. I liked the earlier stories better than the more recent ones. Overall, my opinion is that Scalzi is much better at longer works of fiction.

If you are interested in a different opinion, see this review of the audio book at the Amazing Stories website.

Crime fiction books that I read in February:

Last Rights by Barbara Nadel
The protagonist is an undertaker who has psychological problems from his participation in World War II. The story is set in London during the Blitz, and the author does a splendid job of portraying that time. I was less taken with the characters and the plotting.
Laura by Vera Caspary
This was the novel I read for the Crimes of the Century meme; the year was 1943. Check out the other books (and films) of 1943 at this link
This is another book where the film is much better known than the book. There are differences between book and movie, but basically the story is the same. 
From my post: "Although I had never seen the movie based on the book, I thought I knew the story, and assumed the story was spoiled for me. That was a mistake; even if I did know one or two main points of the story, there was much there to surprise me and I loved the way the story was told. Laura is a wonderful read and not to be missed."
Game Without Rules by Michael Gilbert
This book of stories about two middle-aged spies was wonderful. I loved every story. The book was published in 1967; the stories had been published in Argosy between 1962 and 1967. 
The protagonists only show up in two books of short stories and I am now reading the second set of stories, titled Mr Calder & Mr Behrens.

Status of Challenges and Goals

This year I joined more challenges. This can be problematic in being able to read spontaneously, especially as I don't read a huge amount of books in a year. But I will see how it goes. All of the challenges I have joined are focused on the type of books I want to read. I also have some personal goals but I seem to move on those very slowly.

This month I will just list the challenges...


col2910 said...

Good luck with your challenges, I'm still trying to complete some that are 4 years in the undertaking! I think the Gilbert book would be the one from your list that interests me the most. (I think I already said that!)

Anonymous said...

I really admire the way you're taking on these challenges, Tracy. And you've picked some really interesting ones, too. I wish you well with them.

Clothes In Books said...

Like Margot, I always admire your challenges - just keeping track of them is an achievement! I'm interested in the Barbara NAdel book you mention - like you, I love a WW2 setting. You haven't done it on the blog have you? I will look it up.

TracyK said...

thank, Col. I like open-ended challenges the best, like trying to read a book from each US state, but I did not mention those this time. I had already spent too much time on this post. For another month, I hope.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Margot, I just have to force myself to have fun with them and not get stressed if I don't keep up.

TracyK said...

Moira, I hope to post about the Nadel book in the next week or so. It is well worth reading just for the time and setting and I thought that part was very well done. It inspired me to start reading Juliet Gardiner's book THE BLITZ, and now I am about half through that book.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Tracy, I'd be interested in reading your reviews under the WWII Reading Challenge. I haven't read one in a very long time.

TracyK said...

I mostly plan to read fiction, but also some non-fiction, Prashant. It will be fun.

Peggy Arthurs said...

I think I would like to read Laura, Tracy. I've seen the movie but so long ago I don't remember what it was about.

TracyK said...

I think you would like the book, Peggy. A good read, if you can find a copy.