Saturday, August 19, 2023

Books Read in July 2023

I had a good reading month in July. No complaints at all. I noticed that I read no vintage mysteries at all, this month or in June. I guess that is because I chose only one of those for my 20 Books of Summer list, and mostly I have been sticking to that list.

And now to the seven books I read:


The Book of Forgotten Authors (2017) by Christopher Fowler

This is a reread. I read this book first in October 2020, and read it again this year for the Bookish Books Reading Challenge, hosted by Susan  at Bloggin' About Books. Christopher Fowler was interested in finding out about forgotten authors, and wrote a column on that subject in a British newspaper for many years before this book was published. Fowler's essays are entertaining and opinionated, and this is a book well worth reading. 

Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Book Covers (2014) by Margaret C. Sullivan

This book compiles two hundred years of book covers for Austin's six novels and her other writings. It cannot cover every edition ever published but with over 200 images it is very impressive. The book also includes historical commentary and Austen trivia. I also read this book for the Bookish Books Reading Challenge.

Historical Fiction

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2009) by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This epistolary novel set in London and on Guernsey in 1946 depicts the German occupation of Guernsey during World War II from the eyes of the residents. This was another book I read for the Bookish Books Reading Challenge. My review is here.

Science Fiction / Alternate History

SS-GB (1979) by Len Deighton

SS-GB is an alternate history in which England has been invaded by Germany. Len Deighton is one of my favorite authors and I was not disappointed in this book. My review is here.

Crime Fiction

The Nature of the Beast (2016) by Louise Penny

This book is the 11th in the Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny, and is set in Three Pines, Quebec in Canada. I like these books no matter where they are set, but when they are in Three Pines, it means that some of my favorite characters will feature: Ruth, Clara, Olivier and Gabriel, and Myrna at the bookstore. My review is here.

Disco for the Departed (2007) Colin Cotterill

This is the 3rd book in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series. This series is especially interesting because of the setting: Laos, in 1977, when the Communists are in power. My review is here.

Murder Most Fowl (1994) by Bill Crider 

This is the seventh book in Bill Crider's longest running series, the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series. This one provides a picture of rural Texas in the 1990's. The series has 25 books total and the last book was published in 2019. My review is here.

Garden Plants in August 

The photos at the top of this post are of Tibouchina heteromalla (Silver leafed Princess Flower) plants in our front flower beds. We just started seeing purple blooms on the plants in the last week. The foliage is also lovely, all year round. 

The top photo immediately above is the red lantana that is planted beside the Princess Flower. Those plant started blooming in late July which seems awfully late to me. 

Directly above is a volunteer strawberry plant that somehow grew in a pot of our succulents out front.

Photos taken and processed by my husband. Click on the images for the best viewing quality.


CLM said...

I've always meant to try that Bill Crider series!

My brother and his family spent several days in Louise Penny country last week. If he had told me what he was planning, I might have joined them or at least persuaded them to listen to the first book as they drove. I have not seen him since he got back but I had dinner with two of his teens tonight. They said politely they were glad they had gone but there wasn't much to do and the food was disappointing. I think you and I would like it, however!

TracyK said...

Constance, I do think that you and I would have had fun visiting that area. But I can also understand why two teenagers might not.

I hope you try the Bill Crider series someday. However, I know that there are always more books and authors calling to be read. We cannot read them all.

Cath said...

You had a nice varied readig month in July. I like the sound of the forgotten authors book, it never ceases to amaze me how excellent writers were 'lost' like that.

The Jane Austen covers book looks like my kind of thing too. I just read her novella, Lady Susan, very different to her normal fare but very entertaining.

MI6 said...

Talking of murder most fowl !!! reading Beyond Enkription is a must. If you think any of the Cambridge Five lived exciting lives think again! In an article published last week it was revealed that the spy Bill Fairclough (MI6 codename JJ aka Edward Burlington) who was unceremoniously refused an Oxford University scholarship survived 50+ near death experiences including over two dozen "attempted murders for want of a better expression".

You can find the article dated 7 August 2023 in the News Section of TheBurlingtonFiles website (which is refreshingly advert free). The reason he survived may well have been down to his being protected by Pemberton’s People in MI6 as explained in another fascinating article dated 31 October 2022. It was for real. It is mind-boggling as is that website which is as beguiling as an espionage museum in its own right.

Margot Kinberg said...

I love those flowers, Tracy! They're so beautiful and you took excellent photos of them. As for books, I am glad you enjoyed The Guernsey Literary.... I thought that was done very well, and captured the era as well as the characters. And of course, Crider's work doesn't really disappoint. Neither, usually, does the work of Louise Penny. It does seem that you had a good month of reading! I hope the hurricane won't get as far north as where you live; if it does, stay safe!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Lantanas are my favorite flower and those are the reddest I have ever seen. Bill would be happy to see you were reading his books.

TracyK said...

Patti, I was lucky with these lantana plants that I bought in an eight pack about three years ago. I did not realize that they could get so tall, I was expecting shorter plants. And the red is gorgeous.

I always think of Bill when I am reading the Dan Rhodes books. I never met him, of course, but you could tell from his blog posts and comments what a good person he was.

TracyK said...

Cath, I enjoyed rereading the book about forgotten authors, but many did not seem that forgotten to me. The author did cover more authors from the UK, so maybe more would be familiar to you.

The book about Jane Austen covers was good for me since I haven't read much about Austen. It provided just the right amount of information. Lady Susan does sound interesting and different, and I will be looking into it.

TracyK said...

Margot, Guernsey Literary ... Society was a different type of read for me, I haven't read many books using letters to tell the story. It exceeded my expectations. Crider's book and the Louise Penny were variants on the police procedural subgenre, which I enjoy.

Sam said...

I'm really curious about the book on "forgotten" authors. It seems to me that being forgotten is the ultimate destiny of the vast majority of authors as the decades after their deaths go by. I often wonder just which of my favorites will even still be read 75 years from now, much less 100 years or more from now. Tastes change, formats change, and in this age of e-books, I wonder what will happen when libraries discard the last available physical copies of so many books. It's only a matter of time. And that's not even to mention how many new books are published every week. Has to be a little depressing to authors, all in all.

Did you pick up on any authors you want to try for the first time from reading this one?

TracyK said...

Sam, your point that there are inevitably forgotten authors over time and will be many more is good. I think the author enjoyed finding more in-depth information about the authors, and sharing it.

I was more surprised by how many authors he included as forgotten authors that seem not to be forgotten at all to me. Perhaps defining a forgotten author is as subjective as many other distinctions, such as whether a book is humorous or not. There were many authors I marked as worth a try, but none that I would rush out to find a book by. There were a good number that I have been meaning to read something by but haven't followed through on it.

Bill Selnes said...

Lovely flower photos. A few yellow leaves now upon our lawn. Fall is not far away for us.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Bill. I always enjoy the flowers that bloom later in summer and into fall. In September and October, and sometimes even into November, we get some really hot weather here in the Santa Barbara area, even near the coast.