Monday, November 14, 2022

What I Read in October 2022


I had another good month of reading in October. Half of the eight books I read were crime fiction; the rest were other types of fiction and one mystery reference book. 

Although the majority of the books I read in October were published after 1999, I did read a classic novel published in 1811, a vintage mystery from 1938, and a children's book from the 1960s. 

Mystery Reference

Talking about Detective Fiction (2009) by P. D. James

This is a relatively short book about British detective fiction written by P. D. James at the request of the Bodleian Library. My review here.

Fiction, Classic

Sense and Sensibility (1811) by Jane Austen

This was the last full-length novel that I had left to read by this author. I am a big Jane Austen fan but this one appealed to me less than the others. See my review.

Fiction, Short Stories

The Souvenir Museum (2021) by Elizabeth McCracken

I had very mixed reactions to the stories in this book. Some were fantastic, some were blah. But I would definitely try more stories by McCracken. My thoughts here.

Fantasy, Children's

The Ghost of Opalina (1967) by Peggy Bacon

This was a book I read for the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event, recommended by Constance at Staircase Wit. It is a children's fantasy, made up of a series of linked stories that Opalina, the ghost cat, tells to the children of the house that she has lived in for all of her nine lives. It was great fun to read. My review here.

Crime Fiction

The Man Who Died Twice (2021) by Richard Osman

This book is the second in the Thursday Murder Club series by Richard Osman. In that series, the sleuths are four men and women in their late seventies who live at an upscale retirement complex. I have now read all three books in the series and I loved them all. See my review.

The Listening House (1938) by Mabel Seeley

I picked this book to read in October for the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event because the description sounded like it would be sufficiently suspenseful and scary for Halloween, and still within the limits I will read. I am partial to a boarding house setting, and I loved such things as the list of characters at the beginning of the book and the detailed plans of the house, including the basement and the first and second floor. This book exceeded my expectations. See my full review.

State of the Onion (2008) by Julie Hyzy

This is the first book in a cozy mystery series about White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras. She gets involved with some intrigue related to a possible threat on the President's life. When she isn't busy sleuthing, she is vying for the Executive Chef position, which will be available when her boss retires. Some recipes are included. I enjoyed the book and plan to continue reading the series. 

The Gray Man (2014) by Mark Greaney

This is the first book in a series. Court Gentry is an assassin, known as the "Gray Man," who works for a contractor who vets his assignments. That type of thriller is not my favorite but I have heard good comments on this series. The Gray Man is a fast-paced story. Like the last espionage series I started, I was initially put off by the first few chapters, but got involved in the story and could not stop reading. This is not strictly a spy thriller, but a lot of the characters were former CIA employees, so it felt like one. It left me wanting to know what happens next with Court Gentry, so I am sure I will try the next book in the series to see how it holds up.

Currently reading

I am now reading A Pocket Full of Rye in this lovely new edition. Although I read Why Didn't They Ask Evans? earlier this year, I haven't read a Poirot mystery for over a year and it has been since 2018 that I read a Miss Marple book. So I am glad to get back to that series.

The photos at the top and bottom of this post were from one of our walks around Santa Barbara and Goleta. They were taken while walking on the breakwater at the Santa Barbara Harbor. My husband took the photos. Click on the images for the best viewing quality.


MI6 said...

Mark Greaney's Gray Man book is like to chalk to cheese when compared with the film. The book is a real good read but the film ... how shall we put it! I was exhausted after watching The Gray Man – if you love action packed movies it’s for you even if a tad “over-packed”! The question remains though. Do you claim to be an espionage illuminati without having read either the “Trout Memo” or Bill Fairclough’s Beyond Enkription?

Now reviews of The Gray Man are mixed but if you liked the intermittently fast and furious pace of Bill Fairclough’s epic fact based spy novel Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files series then you will love Anthony Russo's The Gray Man provided that you last the relentless pace. They both make parts of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series look like slow horses! The Gray Man is about a renegade CIA agent on the run and stars Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans; it’s based on Mark Greaney's debut novel of the same name. Fairclough’s factual stand-alone thriller Beyond Enkription is about a (real life) MI6 agent on the run from international organised crime gangs and Haiti’s TonTon Macoute from London to Nassau and Port au Prince to Miami.

The Gray Man and The Burlington Files are both musts for espionage aficionados. The difference between them is that The Burlington Files series has had mainly five star reviews, it’s full of real life characters and was written for espionage cognoscenti some of whom won’t have even heard of the ingenious spycraft tricks featured in this electrifying novel. So, if you are an espionage illuminati best visit and read Beyond Enkription.

pattinase (abbott) said...

What a great variety. I have read some McCracken (THE GIANT'S HOUSE) but not this. I would rank S & S in the middle. After Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion.

Margot Kinberg said...

You did, indeed, have a good reading month, Tracy. When you first posted about the Seeley, I remember thinking I'd like to read it. I appreciate the reminder. And I'm glad you enjoyed the Hyzy; that's a solid series. I'm also glad to see that you're dipping into some Christie, too. In my view, her work is always worth a (re)read.

TracyK said...

MI6, thanks for your comments and recommendations. I am an enthusiastic espionage fiction reader, but far from an expert on any fiction.

TracyK said...

Patti, I am finding I am happier with my reading if I have a mix of different types of books.

I will definitely read something else by McCracken. It is interesting (although understandable) the different takes people have on this book by Austen.

TracyK said...

Margot, you should definitely read the book by Seeley; we have purchased the other book by her that has been reprinted recently. And I look forward to reading more by Hyzy.

I have read almost all of the books in the Hercule Poirot series, except for the short story collections. But I still have about half of the Miss Marple series to read, and many of the standalone novels. So lots of others that will be new to me. I would not mind rereading some of them too.