Sunday, July 7, 2019

Reading Summary, June 2019

This has been a pretty good reading month for me. I was concentrating on reading from my 20 Books of Summer List. I also read mostly more contemporary fiction, unusual for me, because my 20 Books list was slanted that way.

Mystery reference

Historical Noir: The Pocket Essential Guide to Fiction, Film & TV (2018) by Barry Forshaw
I know that historial crime fiction is a popular sub-genre now. I enjoy reading that type of novel. But I was surprised at how many authors write that sort of mystery. And the book does not cover every author in that area, of course. My favorite sections cover the early 20th century through the 1950s. There is a good overview of this book at Crime Fiction Lover, if you are interested. And a very interesting post at the Rap Sheet, with lots of details and an interview with the author.

Historical Fiction

Crooked Heart (2014) by Lissa Evan
This is a dark comedy, beautifully told, very moving. Noel Bostock, aged 10, is evacuated from London to escape the Nazi bombardment, shortly after the death of his godmother, with whom he had been living. He is assigned to Vera Sedge, a small time con artist, mostly unsuccessful. 

Transcription (2018) by Kate Atkinson
I wasn't quite sure what category this fits in. I consider it spy fiction; the New Yorker refers to it as a "spy novel." But on Goodreads it is overwhelmingly shelved as Historical Fiction. It doesn't matter. I loved the book, I am sure it will be one of my top reads this year. The story is set in 1940 and 1950, with a brief framing story in 1981.

Post-apocalyptic Fiction

Station Eleven (2014) by Emily St. John Mandel
The apocalyptic event in this story is the Georgia Flu, a strain of the swine flu that wipes out 99% of the world's population. The story is set primarily in Toronto, Canada and northern Michigan. My thoughts on the book are here

Crime Fiction

My Mother, the Detective: The Complete Mom Short Stories (1997)
by James Yaffe
The eight short stories in this book were originally published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, between 1952 and 1968. They are a lot of fun. Dave, a policeman, visits his mother every week and over dinner they discuss one of his cases. 

Friends and Traitors (2017) by John Lawton
This is the 8th book in the Inspector Troy series, one of my favorite series. The novels are a mix of police procedural and espionage, and are set between 1934 and 1963, with many of them covering multiple timelines. This one is set in 1958, but does have flashbacks to earlier times.

London Rules (2018) by Mick Herron
This is the 5th book in Herron's Slough House series about spies who have been demoted due to some disgrace or screw up in their jobs, and are now working under Jackson Lamb. I have liked each book in the series more than the last.

Out of the Deep I Cry (2004) by Julia Spencer-Fleming
This is the 3rd book in a series featuring Clare Fergusson, an Episcopal priest, and Russ Van Alstyne, the police chief of Miller's Kill, New York. This time the story features two timelines, one in the present and one that starts in the 1920's during Prohibition. This is another series that gets better with each book I read.

Perfect Gallows (1988) by Peter Dickinson
A story about a murder that occurs in 1944 on an estate in the UK; the estate is occupied by US forces preparing for the invasion of France. See my thoughts here.


Cath said...

I read nine too and was very pleased with that. Out of the Deep I cry was excellent. Must get back to that series as it's very good.

TracyK said...

Cath, I do have the next book in Spencer-Fleming's series and will be looking for more at the book sale in September.

Bill Selnes said...

TracyK: I hope you read Friends and Traitors. I found it an interesting though not great book. And it inspired a post on red dresses.

TracyK said...

Bill, with your comment I just realized that I put the wrong title on my post, this was my reading for June 2019. I have fixed the title of the post now. I have read the book and I liked it a lot. And you have reminded that I need to come back and read your posts related to that book (more thoroughly).

pattinase (abbott) said...

That's a great June you have there. Been meaning to read a Herron book for ages. I have the Atkinson book on my shelf and I always read library books first so I am reading BIG SKY before it. I love the idea of My Mother, the Detective so I will look for that.

Margot Kinberg said...

You have had a great reading month, Tracy. I really must read that story collection by Yaffe. I liked his 'Mom' novels very much, and I've wanted to try some of his short stories.

Rick Robinson said...

Nice list. More spy fiction than usual, I don't remember you reading that much, but my memory can be faulty. I really liked the Spencer-Fleming books, and am awaiting the next.

TracyK said...

I do recommend trying a book by Herron, Patti. I have read books from both of his series and liked all of them. I do want to read BIG SKY soon but I have A God in Ruins and so will read that first.

TracyK said...

I seemed to remember you had talked about some of the Mom novels, Margot. I want to try them too.

TracyK said...

I really like spy fiction, Rick, but usually space it out more. I seem to have gotten hooked on the Spencer-Fleming books. I wasn't sure about the series when I read the first book, but this one was especially good.

Clothes in Books said...

A good month there Tracy. I would like to get back to the Julia Spencer Fleming series. And I would like to read more of my Mom the Detective, I need to find the novels. And, am looking forward to a new Mick Herron, out soon.

TracyK said...

Same for me, Moira, I will be looking for the Mom the Detective novels and reading more Mick Herron. Also I will try the Joe Wilderness series by John Lawton.

col2910 said...

I ought to try and get caught up with Mick Herron, and try John Lawton. You had a good reading month.