Thursday, August 11, 2022

Books Read in July 2022


I read thirteen books in July, many more than any other month this year. Some of them were short books. Also, a couple of books I had read parts of earlier in the year. But there were some longer books too.  So I was surprised by how many books I read.


My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (2012) by Ronald Rice (Editor), Leif Parsons (Illustrator)

In this book about independent bookstores throughout the US, 84 authors have written essays about one bookstore that has been special for them. In some cases the reader learns more about the author also. Some were more interesting than others but any reader (at least in the US) would have some favorites. 

Snippets of Serbia (2015) by Emma Fick 

At Goodreads: "This is Emma Fick's illustrated journey through the weird, the fun and the unique adventures to be experienced across this small Balkan country." Her illustrations are lovely and personal. Some pages have a good bit of text, others just have titles, so it is a very quick read. She records various memories and experiences that she had on two visits to Serbia. Lots of pictures of food. 

General Fiction 

The Bookshop (1978) by Penelope Fitzgerald 

Having never read anything by this author, I had no idea what to expect from this book. The cover led me to think this was a light-hearted book about a bookshop, and it wasn't that at all. I did give it a high rating, because I liked the writing and I think the author was expressing exactly what she wanted to, and did it well, but in the end it was too depressing for me. I do want to read more by this author.

How the Penguins Saved Veronica (2020) by Hazel Prior 

The original title of this book was Away with the Penguins. I learned about this book from a booktube reviewer, Bookworm Adventure Girl, and I learned about the booktuber from Cath at Read-Warbler (see her review). The two main characters are a curmudgeonly old woman (Veronica, 86 years old) and her grandson Patrick, who she found only late in life. Veronica and Patrick both have poor social skills (that is putting it mildly), and they don't get along initially. Veronica takes a trip to Antarctica to spend time at a research station for penguins. I loved the book, every bit of it. 

Fiction / Classic

The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This was the book I read for the latest Classic Club Spin. The story is told beautifully, and the buildup to the conclusion is done well, but I was disappointed in the book. My review here.

Historical Fiction

The English Wife (2020) by Adrienne Chinn

This was the second book I read for the Canadian Reading Challenge. The story covers three time periods: during World War II, in the UK and in Newfoundland; 2001, at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when many planes coming into New York were rerouted to Newfoundland; and ten years later in the town of Tippy's Tickle, Newfoundland. It was a very good read and I liked the ending. This book was recommended by Constance at Staircase Wit (review here), and she generously sent me her copy to read.

Crime Fiction

Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express (2001) by Stuart Kaminsky

This book is part of a series by Stuart M. Kaminsky, set in Russia under Communist rule (to begin with) and later in Russia, following the breakup of the USSR. I started reading the series in 2005 and now only have two books left to read. My review here.

In the Market for Murder (2015) by T. E. Kinsey

The premise of this series of mysteries, set in the early 1900's, is that Lady Hardcastle and her maid solve mysteries while living in the English countryside. The key is that the lady and her maid are more friends than employer and employee. I was ready for a cheerful, upbeat read and this was perfect. This is the second book in the series, and I am now reading the third, Death Around the Bend.


Box 88 (2020) by Charles Cumming

Charles Cumming is my latest favorite spy fiction author. (I have a lot of them.) Box 88 is a new series featuring Lachlan Kite, an agent for a covert spy agency. Kite is abducted, possibly by terrorists, after leaving the funeral of an old friend from boarding school. It turns out that the abduction is related to an event in the late 1980s when Lachlan was just out of boarding school, visiting his friend in France. At that time Lachlan began spying for the Box 88 group, and there are flashbacks to his introduction to the craft of spying. I loved this book.

Dead in the Water (1983) by Ted Wood

This was the second book I read for the Canadian Reading Challenge. My review here.

An Elderly Lady Must not be Crossed (2020) by Helene Tursten 

This is a book of five short stories and one novella by the author of the Inspector Irene Huss series. Helene Tursten is Swedish, and the stories were translated by Marlaine Delargy. I reviewed the first five stories here and the novella, "An Elderly Lady Takes a Trip to Africa", here.

(1999) by Stuart Kaminsky

Stuart Kaminsky is one of my favorite authors, due to his Inspector Rostnikov series set in Russia (see above). I had never tried his Lew Fonesca series set in Sarasota, Florida. Fonesca is not legally a private detective; he works as a process server. But in this book he takes on two cases: a runaway teenage daughter and a missing wife. I loved the book, and it is a plus that the writing style is entirely different from the Inspector Rostnikov series. There are five more in the series and I will be getting to the next one soon.

The Man from Berlin
(2013) Luke McCallin

A historical mystery, set during World War II, in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. The protagonist is Gregor Reinhardt, a German officer in counter-intelligence, stationed in Sarajevo during German occupation. Sarajevo is now the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which shares a border with Serbia. Serbians are mentioned a lot in the book, so it was interesting to be reading it at the same time as Snippets of Serbia.

Currently reading

Death Around the Bend by T.E. Kinsey

Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

The photos at the top and bottom of this post are of Tibouchina heteromalla (Silver leafed Princess Flower) plants in our front flower beds. We have lovely flowers and foliage on these two plants this year. Photos taken and processed by my husband. Click on the images for the best viewing quality.


Cath said...

Wow you had a good reading month in July. I'm glad you're enjoying Jolene's Bookworm Adventure Girl channel. I'm getting quite addicted to a few of these channels, I ought to do a post recommending some. And thanks for the shout out.

I have to agree about The Bookshop, like you I read it expecting a cheery read. Nope.

I'm glad you're enjoying the Lady Hardcastle books too, Death Around the Bend was one of my favourites despite me not being at all interested in motor racing. The suffragette one is excellent too.

CLM said...

Glad you enjoyed The English Wife. It reminds me of the new-ish musical Come From Away which is also set on 9/11 in Newfoundland, not that I have seen it yet.

Exciting to learn there is a new Charles Cumming! And that you liked it. I will look forward to it but did swear a solemn vow that I would not put anything else on reserve at the library (obviously not counting books already checked out) until I had made some inroads on the piles here. I am hosting my book group on 8/22 and my house is a mess. Luckily, they want to meet outside but someone is bound to helpfully carry in dinner dishes or use the ladies room. My shame will be revealed! At least they are all readers but most do not work plus have cleaning ladies.

TracyK said...

Cath, I would love it if you did a post on booktube channels that you would recommend. I have a hard time finding time for one channel, but it would be fun to try others out.

I am enjoying Death Around the Bend by Kinsey, it is interesting to read about cars when they were scarce and slower. It is nice reading them so close together so I don't have to refresh my memory on characters.

TracyK said...

Constance, I had heard of that musical about the planes landing at Gander, but don't know much about it. I would love to read more about the events on that day ... someday.

The only Charles Cumming book I did not like was The Trinity Six, and that put me off reading his other books until later. Big mistake. I haven't read all of them yet, but I will.

Your book club meeting sounds very nice, if you were not stressed about the state of your house. You should not worry about it, just have fun.

Dorothy Borders said...

Thirteen is a lot of books to read in one month, even one with thirty-one days! I'm generally doing well to read half that many. Moreover, you have some quite interesting titles there.

(I noticed your blog on my visit to Bibliophile By the Sea.)

Lark said...

I thought The Bookshop by Lively was VERY depressing, too. I didn't keep my copy of it because I knew I'd never read it again. But I can't wait to read How Penguins Saved Veronica! That book looks like a lot of fun. :)

TracyK said...

Dorothy, thanks for visiting and commenting. I will come by and visit your blog.

Thirteen is a lot of books in any month, and I was very surprised. In June I read seven, which is normal for me, and in May I read only four, much lower than usual. But a few of the books in July were just ones I was finishing up from prior months. I was happy that my reads were a balance between mystery and non-mystery books this month, and I would like to keep it that way.

TracyK said...

Lark, I am not going to keep my copy of The Bookshop either. I have only myself to blame, because I try to go into a book knowing as little as possible. But I never would have imagined such an ending. Now that I am forewarned, I will try one or two other books by the author.

How the Penguins Saved Veronica was wonderful and uplifting, without being syrupy sweet at all. I usually don't say this (I know reading tastes are all different), but I know you will like it.

Margot Kinberg said...

I really like it that a few books on your list have to do with bookshops and book lovers, Tracy. I always have a soft spot for those characters and settings. I'm impressed, too, with the breadth of your reading - lots of variety here!

TracyK said...

Thanks, Margot. I was very happy with the variety of my reading this month.

I also love novels where characters talk about what they are reading or the characters are shown reading books. It adds an extra dimension to the characters.

stargazer said...

13 books - that is very impressive! I normally read around 4-5 books per month. Glad to see you have discovered Lady Hardcastle. It's one of my favourite cosy mystery series. If you get on with audiobooks, you should try that. The narrator is doing an amazing job and it really adds another dimension to the story.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Stargazer. It looks like I am slowing down this month, I have only read 3 books as of Aug. 17. But that is fine.

I am enjoying the Lady Hardcastle series, and I lucked into finding more of them at a good price on Kindle. I can imagine that those books would be good on audio with a good narrator, but I haven't ever tried audio books. I need to do that someday.