Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Reading summary, December 2018

I had another very good reading month in December. I enjoyed all the books I read, although some were more challenging than others. I finished up the year with 112 books, many more than I expected to read.

Classic Fiction in December

A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens
This was a wonderful read. Not only is the book a pleasant and humorous read, while giving us a beautiful story of redemption and finding new happiness, it also shows us today what life was like in the 1800's. See more on the book here.

Crime Fiction in December

Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry (1966) by Harry Kemelman
This is #2 in the Rabbi Small series and a re-read for me. I read the early books in the series back in the 1970s and 80s, and I remember liking them a lot. Today, the attitudes and behaviors in the book are surprising to me, but this is a good picture of those times. And a great way to learn more about the Jewish religion and laws. I will be reading more of them.
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow (1992) by Peter Høeg
A very young boy that Smilla has befriended is dead as the result of a fall off a building. The death is almost immediately declared to be accidental, but Smilla disagrees and pushes for an investigation. This was also a re-read and I appreciated it even more the second time. For my summary and thoughts, check here.

At Ease with the Dead (1990) by Walter Satterthwait
Joshua Croft is a Santa Fe private investigator working for the Mondragón Agency, owned by Rita Mondragón. He is hired by a Navajo man to find and return the remains of a Navajo leader who died 100 years earlier. He heads to El Paso, Texas, where the investigation stirs up a lot of trouble. This is the second in a series of five books. I love the books for the combination of a serious mystery with humor and local history.

Salamander (1994) by J. Robert Janes
This is #4 in the St-Cyr & Kohler series. Set in the days leading up to Christmas 1942, in Occupied France. For more on this book, see this post.
Corridors of Death (1981) by Ruth Dudley Edwards
This is the first book in a series of 12 books about Robert Amiss, a low level member of the British civil service. In this book, his boss, a devious and despicable man, is killed during a meeting of many government officials and businessmen.  Amiss offers to help the police inspector in charge of the murder case with some background on how the civil service works and provide his insider knowledge. The mystery is secondary to the humor and the picture of the civil service and government at the time. Another very good read.
A Time to Kill (1989) by John Grisham
I have watched the film based on this book several times, but I resisted reading the book for many years due to the length and the subject matter. This is a story of revenge, about a black man who kills two white men to avenge the rape of his ten-year-old daughter, and is tried for that crime in a small town in Mississippi. It is not an easy read, but I was very impressed with the book, especially since it was Grisham's first novel.


Kay said...

I read A Time To Kill a long time ago. I really enjoyed many of Grisham's earlier books, but it's been a while since I read one. Looks like you had a good month and good year of reading Tracy! Here's to 2019 and some more good books!

Cath said...

I have the first Rabbi book lined up to read in January. You and Nan both love them so I'm really looking forward to trying them. Happy New Year, Tracy!

TracyK said...

Kay, The Pelican Brief is the only other Grisham book I have read, and I read that one twice. I love the book and the movie. I have a few others to try, but it is usually the length that makes me reluctant to pick up the books. I am looking forward to more reading in 2019.

TracyK said...

I do hope you like the Rabbi Small book, Cath. The first one is especially good, setting up the characters. Happy New Year to you, too.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Tracy, 112 books is a great achievement — congratulations! And a very Happy New Year to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

You read some excellent books, Tracy. I agree with you about the Grisham. It is not an easy book to read, bit it's powerful. And I'm glad you enjoyed Corridors of Death. I liked the wit in it, too. And the Kemelman series is engaging, even if some of the attitudes aren't exactly 21st Century.

TracyK said...

Happy new year to you and your family, Prashant. I hope this reading year is good for both of us.

TracyK said...

I am glad I finally got around to Corridors of Death, Margot. It has been on my shelves a long time.

Clothes In Books said...

A nice collection, Tracy, as always with you.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Moira. Definitely a different mix than usual, with no mysteries before 1960.

col2910 said...

A decent month Tracy. Hoeg and Grisham for me I think - that's what is in the stacks already!

TracyK said...

I agree, Col, I think those two are the ones you would like most from this set. All the rest are too tame for you, except for Salamander.