Sunday, December 9, 2018

Reading Summary, November 2018

I read nine books in November. One book was a fantasy; one book was a nonfiction book about books and reading. The rest were crime fiction. I started three new (to me) series, and all of those were very good.

I did make some progress on Les Miserables, which I am trying to finish by the end of the year. But I am still only about 2/3 done with that book (800 out of 1200 pages, approximately).


I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life (2018) by Anne Bogel
I love reading. When I finish one book, I am always excited about picking my next read. I have to have a book with me to read, just in case... So I appreciate reading about other booklovers. Like any other book of essays, not every one of the topics appealed to me. But overall this was a great read that I will go back to from time to time. Suggested at Kay's Reading Life; see her post for more detail.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007) by J.K. Rowling
Oh my goodness, I finally finished the last book in this series. It is a whopping 607 pages long. I am glad I read this book, I think it finished the series off very well. I just wish it had been shorter. The last 200 pages were great; the first 400 pages had too much padding. 

Crime Fiction:

The Birthday Murder (1945) by Lange Lewis
Victoria Jason Hime is a successful screen writer and novelist. Her most recent novel has been bought by a film studio and her husband, Albert Hime, is hoping to produce the film. Then, before he gets the chance, he dies of poison and Victoria is the primary suspect. I enjoyed the way the story was told, and the ending was very surprising. My thoughts are HERE.

Entry Island (2013) by Peter May
Entry Island blends historical fiction with a present-day police procedural. Both stories come together in the end, as we expect. I liked what I learned about both settings. The historical focus is on the Highland Clearances which take place on the Isle of Lewis and Harris. The current investigation centers on a death on a small Canadian island (Entry Island, which is a part of the Magdalen Islands). This was an unusual and compelling story.
The Unsuspected (1945) by Charlotte Armstrong
In this impressive, disturbing novel of psychological suspense, Luther Grandison is a famous director of stage plays and movies who holds sway over his two young female wards, one rich, one beautiful. His young secretary, Rosaleen, has recently committed suicide by hanging herself. Rosaleen's good friend Jane has taken the position of secretary to Grandison, as she suspects that the death was not suicide. There is a film version starring Claude Rains as Grandison (which I have not yet seen).

Iron Lake (1998) by William Kent Krueger
This is the first novel in the long running Cork O'Connor series, set in the small town of Aurora, Minnesota near Iron Lake and the Iron Lake Reservation. Cork, the former sheriff, is half Irish and half Anishinaabe. An influential local judge is found dead, an apparent suicide; Cork is the one who discovers the body. A young Indian boy is missing and his mother seeks Cork's help to find him. I loved this book and plan to read more of the series. My thoughts are HERE.

Never Go Back (2012) by Lee Child
This book is the 18th Jack Reacher novel (out of 23). It is the book that the latest Jack Reacher film is based on, which is why I read it now. This is only the third book in the series I have read and I loved it. 

Bruno, Chief of Police (2008) by Martin Walker
The first installment in a wonderful new series (to me) that follows the exploits of Benoît Courrèges (Bruno for short), a policeman in a small French village. This seemed like a fantasy because the life in the village is (at least on the surface) so rustic. That description makes it sound on the cozy side, and it is not that at all. Although this book is heavy on the details of Bruno's past and the setting of the series, I am sure I am going to enjoy more of these books.

Dead Sand (1994) by Brendan DuBois
As the first novel in the Lewis Cole series, Dead Sand also features a lot of backstory on the protagonist, and I liked that.  Cole's place in the community is unusual; he is a journalist who writes a regular column for a magazine but he also gets involved in helping out the local police on a regular basis. Sometimes that help is welcome, sometimes not. There are two mysteries in this book. Who is Lewis Cole and how did he come to Tyler, New Hampshire? And who is behind a series of local deaths?


Anonymous said...

Great list, Tracy. I've read none of the books. However, I do own a few of them.
I must read Lee Child even though his protagonist is a bit over the top sounds like. I started the first book in the series years ago and thought it was boring. I've heard you can start anywhere in the series. Do you find that to be true? -Keishon

TracyK said...

Those are good questions about Lee Child's books, Keishon. Yes, the protagonist is a bit over the top but it works fine for me. I read the first book years ago and was going to continue but never did. I found the two later books I read more interesting. Jack Reacher is a loner and doesn't try to fit in with society. This particular book has a couple of very violent scenes that bothered me, but fit within the context of the story. As far as reading in order, I have read both opinions. Some say it is better in order, some say just start anywhere. This particular one is "sort of" part of a 4 book arc (I think) but I read it with no preparation and it was fine.

Kay said...

Tracy, thanks for link to my post about Anne Bogel's book. I think several of my blogging friends have now read it. I still think it's a great little book for the avid reader. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you enjoyed both the Walker and the May, Tracy. I think both authors are really talented. And I do believe you'll enjoy the rest of the Walker series. It's got, in my opinion, a great sense of place and culture, and solid characters.

Rick Robinson said...

Due to your mentions here, I got the Anne Bagel book from the library and read it straight through in a couple of days. Like you, I enjoyed most of the essays. Thanks very much for telling me about the book.

You know I've read the Krueger, and all the rest of them. He never disappoints. I've read some Peter May books, but they were set in China. I'll have to try this one.

Cath said...

Glad you enjoyed your first Bruno, Chief of Police book! A good reading month for you.

TracyK said...

It is that, Kay, and the size is another thing I like about it. Not too long, full of pithy statements that we can relate to. Easy to pick up and read now and then.

TracyK said...

Both Peter May and Martin Walker are very good writers, Margot, and I expect to enjoy more books by both of them. And I learn more when I read their books, too.

TracyK said...

I am glad you enjoyed most of Bogel's book, Rick. I am looking forward to reading Boundary Waters by Krueger soon. I have read one of Peter May's books set in China and have the 2nd one on my shelf to get to some time.He has another older series set in France that I am going to read some time, too.

TracyK said...

I am glad I finally got around to reading Bruno, Chief of Police, Cath. It really surprised me, and I like that.

col2910 said...

Seems like a decent month Tracy. Nothing too much in common I'm afraid. I've read a couple of Lee Child's books but not any for a while. I did toy with reading the Harry Potter's back when my son was enjoying them, but I think the moment has passed me by now. A couple from Peter May sit on the pile, maybe not that one though.

TracyK said...

Of the books I read this month, Col, I would guess you would find Dead Sand or Iron Lake most appealing. Both are set in small towns, though, you might like big city stories better.

Clothes In Books said...

I love the sound of Unsuspected! I have just read The Weird Sisters which both you and my bother Colm had recommended, so another Armstrong sounds like a good idea. And a film too! Claude Rains always a pleasure to watch....

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

"Oh my goodness, I finally finished the last book in this series." Tracy, it's funny you should say that because I'm still trying to get through it years after I read all the others in the series. I suspect I began to lose interest in the Harry Potter series after it turned dark and sinister.

I'm glad you'd a satisfying reading month with a mixed bag of books.

TracyK said...

We just watched The Unsuspected tonight. We both enjoyed it very much. Glen had not read the book so wasn't hampered by comparisons as I was. But like you said, Claude Rains is so very good.

TracyK said...

I saw your comment at Rick Robinson's blog about reading the 7th book in the series and that sparked my desire to finish off the series, Prashant. Although it has been quite a while since I read books 5 and 6, it does seem like the series got darker and darker and a good bit of the 7th one is like that.