Thursday, June 4, 2020

Monthly Summary, May 2020

I read eight books this month and I reviewed five of them before putting up my monthly summary. That is an achievement for me. Probably not one I will continue with, because I have so many reviews from earlier in the year that I haven't done for challenges. Oh well.

I read two books from my Classics Club list, The Master and Margarita and And Then There Were None. Five books were from my TBR pile, two were borrowed from my husband, and one book I bought in March of this year.

And here is my list of books...

General Fiction

The Provincial Lady in America (1934)
by E.M. Delafield
I wrote a post on the first three Provincial Lady books, including this one, here. They are all written in diary form and are a lot of fun to read.
The Master and Margarita (1966)
by Mikhael Bulgakov
Translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
This is a Russian classic novel written in the 1930's and finished shortly before the author died in 1940, at the age of 49. The novel was finally published in Russia in 1966. It combines humor with magical realism and was a difficult read for me. My review here.

Science Fiction

The Collapsing Empire (2017) by John Scalzi
This is the first book in a science fiction trilogy about an empire of worlds connected by travel via The Flow. See my review here.

Crime Fiction

The Awkward Squad (2015) by Sophie Hénaff
Translated from the French by Sam Gordon
A police detective, Anne Capestan, has been suspended for six months and expects her superior, Buron, to end her employment. Instead he gives her a new department made up of misfits and rejects from other areas; the mission is to follow up on unsolved cases. This premise sounds similar to that of The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen (set in Denmark). This one is set in France, and it is more humorous in tone. 

And Then There Were None (1939) by Agatha Christie
Ten strangers are invited to an isolated island mansion by a mysterious unknown person who identifies himself as "U.N. Owen." See my review. When I posted my review I had completely forgotten that I purchased a copy of the facsimile first edition, so I am sharing that image here. 

Fearless Jones (2001) by Walter Mosley
First book in the Fearless Jones series. My review here.

The Accident (2014) by Chris Pavone
In March of this year, I read The Expats by Chris Pavone. I loved that book, and looked for Pavone's second book immediately. I had the same reaction to this book. I liked this book for its insights into the publishing industry. A group of people is  trying to suppress the publication of a manuscript. This isn't specifically spy fiction but it certainly reads like it, and the hunt to track down the manuscript is headed by a CIA operative.

At Risk (2004) by Stella Rimington
Liz Carlyle is an MI5 officer working in counterintelligence. In this first book in the series, she is provided information on possible terrorist activity in her area. The author was director general of MI5, so one assumes that she knows the subject. I liked it and will continue the series.


Neeru said...

The Accident seems interesting.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Love the And Then There Were None cover. I read this for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. I've seen the film adaptations and even a play version of Ten Little Indians once and I've always enjoyed it.

My wife just finished reading Diary of a Provincial Lady and enjoyed it.

I'm going to have to show her The Awkward Squad, it sounds like a book she would really enjoy.

TracyK said...

Neeru, The Accident was a fast-paced thriller, and the inclusion of the publishing people (an agent, an editor, a publisher, etc) made it feel more real. Like a spy thriller, many people in the story are not what they seem.

TracyK said...

Carl, I read And Then There Were None for the first time this year. I had not seen any of the adaptations. I was surprised that I liked it so much. I have now seen the 1945 film, and plan to see the BBC miniseries soon.

My husband has had all of the Provincial Lady books for years (for decades) and I don't know why it took me so long to try them. I guess this was the right time.

I do recommend The Awkward Squad. It is interesting and intelligent yet also humorous. My husband liked it so much he bought the 2nd book in the series.

Carl V. Anderson said...

I will definitely make sure Mary checks out the book. I'm sure I would like it too, and I may end up reading it, but I know I have enough of my own books to read that I don't often read the stuff my wife prefers, even though I trust her taste and we tend to like the same kind of stories.

You'll like the BBC version of ATTWN, I expect.

Rick Robinson said...

So you did see the 1945 film! Good for you, I like it the best of the adaptations. You're waaay ahead of me on reading, I didn't even have anything for today. I have started three books but gotten no further than 80 pages in either, only to put them back on the shelf, bookmark still in. Now I'm reading the McCaffrey, about a third way in. So much seems to be going on, with HVAC, gardening, and all the social and political what all, picking up a book and reading for more than a few minutes seems not to happen.

Our county is still closed down. We might go to "phase 1" in another week or 10 days. The whole rest of the state is in Phase 1 or Phase 2. I'm hoping the library will open by the end of June, though I have so many books here unread that I'm not (or barely) reading.

Big sigh.

TracyK said...

I have the same problem, Carl. My husband has several mystery series and nonfiction books that I would like to read, but I have so many books of my own that it is difficult to read his books too. Same for my son, except he is mostly into fantasy and I am more into science fiction (when I stray from mysteries).

Margot Kinberg said...

And Then There Were None is one of Christie's really good ones, I think, Tracy. She's reported to have really enjoyed writing that one, too. I'm a Mosley fan, so it's good to be reminded that you read Fearless Jones. Thanks for sharing your reading, and I hope June will be a good month for you.

TracyK said...

Rick, on your recommendation, I watched the 1945 film first and was glad I did. I liked it a lot. (Now our TV is on the fritz and we won't be watching anything until we get a new one.)

There is a lot of distracting stuff going on now and it is hard to concentrate. I am doing more gardening than usual and it is hard to find time for everything.

Our county is opening up more than I am comfortable with but I will just stay home as much as possible and see how it goes. (Restaurants are opening for dining with restrictions but I don't think hair salons are opening yet.) We are going to the medical center to get a shingrix vaccination today and that is a bit scary.

TracyK said...

Margot, I am amazed that Christie excelled at so many different types of mysteries. This one is certainly different from the Poirot or Marple books. Walter Mosley's books have always entertained me (so far) and I have a lot more of those to look forward to.

Cath said...

You had a good reading month and a nice varied one too. I've been surprised at how much I've enjoyed The Provincial Lady books I've read, they just make such a refreshing change from pretty much everything. Planning to read 'Wartime' this monoth hopefully.

TracyK said...

Cath, I am planning on reading 'Wartime' sometime this summer, soon probably, depending on my mood. I would also like to read some other books by E.M. Delafield but I have to research them, and find copies. So no definite plans for that.

col2910 said...

A few there that I've had for ages and not got around to. I can't remember how long I've been meaning to read Stella Rimington for.

TracyK said...

Col, for some reason I thought you had read AT RISK by Rimington and reviewed it. I wonder who that was. I have already purchased book 2 (especially because I have book 3 in the stacks) and hope to get to it soon. I think she is definitely worth reading.