Thursday, September 3, 2020

What did I read in August 2020?

I read eight books in August. As usual most of them were crime fiction or related books. I did not finish all the books on my 20 Books of Summer list but I did read 12 of them. One was a DNF, and I will read the remaining 7 books in the next two months.

Mystery reference

The Crown Crime Companion  (1995)

Annotated by 0tto Penzler and Compiled by Mickey Friedman

This was a reread. The book lists 101 favorite crime novels as chosen by members of the Mystery Writers Of America. There is some commentary on each book on the list and there are interesting essays on various crime genres. My favorite essays were "The Historical Mystery" by Peter Lovesey and "The Cozy/Traditional Mystery" by Margaret Maron. I also liked the Hardboiled/Private Eye essay by Sue Grafton, titled ""An Eye for an I: Justice, Morality, the Nature of the Hard-Boiled Investigator and All That Existential Stuff."

Historical Fiction

Young Bess (1944) by Margaret Irwin

First book in a trilogy about Queen Elizabeth I. The story was beautifully written, vividly describing details of the life at that time.  My review here.

Science Fiction and Fantasy / Short Stories

Clarkesworld Year Five (2013) edited by Neil Clarke and Sean Wallace

The stories in this collection were published in Clarkesworld Magazine between October 2010 and September 2011. Some are science fiction, some are fantasy and some I wasn't sure about. Almost all of them were good reads. I will be doing a post on this book later. Rick Robinson at Tip the Wink generously sent me this short story collection, plus two others.


Crime Fiction

The Queen's Man: A Medieval Mystery (1996) by Sharon Kay Penman

Justin de Quincy is the illegitimate son of a Bishop, Aubrey de Quincy, and Justin has just discovered this as the book opens. He leaves the Bishop's house but realizes he doesn't have any money. He does have his horse, Copper, and his sword. On the road to London, he surprises two men attacking an older man, a goldsmith from Winchester. The man dies but he lives long enough to ask Justin to deliver a letter to the Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. He succeeds at delivering the letter and the Queen asks him to find out who killed the goldsmith and why. This novel, the first of three about Justin de Quincy, is a very nice combination of history and mystery.

Tripwire (1999) by Lee Child
#3 in the Jack Reacher series. I like Jack Reacher and I enjoy the way the author tells a story, but the level of violence in this one was too much for me. My review here.

Shooting at Loons (1994) by Margaret Maron

#3 in the Judge Deborah Knott series. There was a lot to like about this book and I will continue the series. My review here.

Other Paths to Glory (1974) by Anthony Price
This is the fifth book in the Dr David Audley & Colonel Jack Butler series. Audley and Butler are part of an British intelligence group working for the Ministry of Defence. I love this series. Each of the books has some historical theme and this one was connected to World War I and the Battle of the Somme in 1916. This book won the Gold Dagger award of the CWA.

Fall of a Cosmonaut (2000) by Stuart M. Kaminsky
13th book in the Porfiry Rostnikov series. This is another favorite series. Chief Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov of the Moscow police heads a small team of investigators. This time the group has three unusual cases: a missing cosmonaut, the theft of a film, and a death at the Center for Paranormal Research.


Cath said...

A good reading month, Tracy. I like the sound of the sci-fi anthology and it reminds me that I have a few I could read too, they would make a change from violent murders. LOL!

TracyK said...

I have more science fiction anthologies, too, Cath, but they are mostly by authors writing in earlier decades. I will have to read those and see what the differences are.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Clarkseworld definitely publishes some good stories. When I read it more consistently I would always find a few good stories in each issue that I would highly recommend, so their collections definitely have to be stellar, pardon the pun.

Rick Robinson said...

I'm continually amazed at the level of reading and number of posts you manage to do. I'm struggling a bit to do either.

I've read something by Penman, but long ago and don't remember what. I've also read some Kaminsky, but again long ago and don't recall a title. Glad you enjoyed the Clarksworld anthology.

Margot Kinberg said...

You have a nice variety of books there, Tracy. I always like how many different sorts of books you read. And you've reminded me I haven't read a Kaminsky in too long. Thanks for the reminder.

TracyK said...

Carl, the Clarkesworld anthology was a good change of pace for me. And I learned of at least one author that I want to continue reading, Yoon Ha Lee.

TracyK said...

Rick, writing posts keeps my mind off of less pleasant things. But I need to split up my efforts and spend more time on gardening and cataloging my books... since I buy too many.

The Clarkesworld anthology provided much good reading and introduced me to newer science fiction stories, and I thank you again for sending it my way.

TracyK said...

Margot, I have gotten more interested in other genres outside of mystery in the last year or so, but unfortunately that also pushes me toward acquiring too many books.

I have focused on the Kaminsky series set in Russia lately, but I have books from his three other series that I want to read. The Toby Peters series that is historical fiction, and the Lieberman series (I have read one of those), and the P.I. series set in Florida that I haven't tried yet.

Katrina said...

August seems like a good reading month for you. I think I'm most drawn to the Sharon Kay Penman book with the combination of history and mystery.

TracyK said...

I do plan to continue the Justin de Quincy series, Katrina. I would like to read Penman's historical fiction about Eleanor of Aquitaine, but they are so long, I cannot decide whether I want to invest my time in the books.

col2910 said...

Child and Price are the two standouts for me Tracy. I keep meaning to read both series, but never seem to get around to it. Too many books, I'm afraid.

TracyK said...

Same problem here, Col. Too many books, and I want to keep adding more. I am doing a little better, buying less.

Price I will definitely keep reading until I have finished all of his books. With Child's books, I will try to read in order because I think that works best in this series, but may end up jumping around.