Monday, August 3, 2020

What did I read in July 2020?

I read 7 books in July. One nonfiction book about the influenza pandemic of 1918, one science fiction book, and five crime fiction novels. I read three books for the Canadian Reading Challenge. Now I just have to write reviews for them. I am not doing so well on the 20 Books of Summer Challenge.


The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History (2004)
by John M. Barry
This is the second book I have read this year about the influenza pandemic of 1918. This book did go more into the events of the spread of the flu from 1918 through 1920 than Flu by Gina Kolata. It is also much longer with about 460 pages of text and another 100 of notes and references. There is also an emphasis on the state of medicine, science, and research in the US in the 19th century, leading up to the outbreak of the flu, at the same time that the US was getting involved in World War I.

Science Fiction

Dragonflight (1968) by Anne McCaffrey
This is the 2nd book I have read in the Dragonriders of Pern series but the first book that McCaffrey wrote in the series. Pern is a planet colonized by people from Earth; the society has a low-technology agrarian lifestyle. Every two hundred years the planet is threatened by an alien fungus that falls from the skies in threads, and the dragons and the dragonriders fight that threat. That summary doesn't do the book justice, but I will be doing a post on the book soon.

Crime Fiction

The High Window (1942) by Raymond Chandler
#3 in the Philip Marlowe series. My review here.

A Trick of the Light (2011) by Louise Penny
#7 in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series and my first book for the Canadian Reading Challenge. Gamache is a likable character, a dedicated policeman yet compassionate. His team is interesting and we learn more about them in each book. This was a good entry in the series, and I enjoyed returning to Three Pines in Quebec.

Detour (1939) Martin M. Goldsmith
This is a noir novel published in 1939, and made into a film starring Tom Neal and Ann Savage in 1945. My review here.

A Necessary End (1989) by Peter Robinson
#3 in the Inspector Banks series; second book by a Canadian author. I read the first two books in this series before blogging, thus at least 8 years ago. It was a good book to pick up the series with, giving some background on Banks's family and his reasons for moving to Eastvale. I enjoy books set in the 1980s and 1990s, before so much technology in society and detecting. 

City of the Lost (2016) by Kelley Armstrong
#1 in the Rockton series and my third book by a Canadian author. Rockton is a town hidden in the Yukon where those who need to disappear can go (if accepted). Casey Duncan and her friend Diana need to escape their problems and are accepted because Casey was a homicide  detective in her former life. Although the book was gritty and disturbing at times, I enjoyed it and intend to continue reading the series.


Neeru said...

It seems you have made a good beginning for the Canadian Literature challenge, Tracy. I am not doing too well in the Books of Summer event too. Perhaps I'll change some of the books in that list:)

pattinase (abbott) said...

A very nice variety. I am reading PALE RIDER about the 1918 flu. But I have to take it in small doses.

Kay said...

This was quite a variety of books, Tracy. I'm just delighted when I can find one that holds my interest, but it's getting easier I think. Glad you liked the Gamache book. The series continues to get better, in my opinion. I've only read one book by Peter Robinson. Perhaps one day I'll read more. I think I told you that I liked that Rockton series. I've read 2 or maybe 3 books so far.

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, that's a nice selection, Tracy. Both Louise Penny and Peter Robinson write such good series, don't they? Glad to see both of them here. And my husband is a fan of Annd McCaffrey's work, and I'm pretty sure he read and enjoyed Dragonflight. Yes, definitely a good reading month for you!

TracyK said...

Neeru, I guess I am doing better on Canadian books because I had been saving them up for the challenge. I had forgotten you could change books on the 20 Books of Summer list, but I do want to read them all so I will just keep going beyond the summer months. I think the coronavirus anxieties make me more likely to be less disciplined in my reading and that is not a bad thing.

TracyK said...

Patti, I had not heard of that book (by Laura Spinney?) and I will look into that. So far I have been reading from my husband's book, he had always had an interest in pandemics. He also has a book by Catherine Arnold titled Pandemic 1918 and I will probably read that one too. I think it has more first hand accounts, which could be good or bad.

TracyK said...

Kay, luckily I have two more books by Louise Penny in house and two more by Peter Robinson. I also just ordered a copy of the next one in the Rockton series. I hope I continue to like that series. I loved reading about what was available in that small town, what wasn't, how it worked.

TracyK said...

Margot, reading books in the Pern series has been a new experience for me. Although it is based in science fiction, it has elements that feel like fantasy. I will keep reading and see where it goes. And I am glad that I finally saw the light about Louise Penny's series. Just had to get used to it, I guess.

Cath said...

I've read three of your books, the McCaffrey, A Trick of the Light and City of the Lost, all good but I still haven't got around to book two of the City of the Lost series. I will. Enjoy your August reading.

CLM said...

I have six Penny books out of the library (one I got today which is unread) and I don't want to return them. I suspect this means I will buy the whole series. It is funny that I was so unimpressed by the first book that I gave it away and now I am so obsessed.

Finally saw the light - ha ha!

Have you read about that bookstore in Scotland that people book for holidays?

It would be equally fun (except for all the murders) to work in Myrna's bookstore and stay at the B&B . . .

TracyK said...

Thanks, Cath. I am reading book 3 in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child (from my 20 books of Summer list), which is super creepy and violent so far, so I am balancing that with some science fiction and fantasy short stories. I am eager to read the next book by Penny and the next one by Armstrong, but there are other books I should read first.

TracyK said...

Constance, I had the same experience when I read the first Louise Penny book. I am amazed that I came back to the series and love it now.

I had not heard of the Scottish bookstore that you can rent. Wonderful idea. And I agree, Myrna's bookstore would be perfect for that, and I would be happy just to visit it.

Rick Robinson said...

What a nice selection of books, Tracy!

I have and have read all of Louise Penny’s books, I buy each as it’s published. I do the same with William Kent Krueger's books. City of the Lost sounds intriguing, I think I’ll see if the library can supply it.

Between the heat, kitten and having no glasses this week, my reading is just about at a standstill. Plus I’ve had a scratchy throat and nasty headache for days (no temperature!). I’m pretty much a mushroom just now. I had happily planned to read, or perhaps planned to happily read, some ebooks, which I could increase the font size, but have realized bigger also needs sharper. Duh. I do have audiobooks, but then I have to sit at the desktop iMac.

Hope you are having lovely gardening weather!

TracyK said...

Rick, I am glad you reminded me of William Kent Krueger. I thought I had already gotten a copy of Purgatory Ridge, but I haven't so I will be ordering one soon.

Very sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. I hope that clears up soon. I have never tried audio books but I would not want to sit at the computer to listen or read an entire book.

We are having very good gardening weather, cool mornings, although midday in the sun is too hot for me. I do have to pace myself at gardening though, or I overdo it and my back or shoulder hurts. We are having a frequent hummingbird visitor now that we see out the back window several times a day.

Rick Robinson said...

I could look it up, but it’s so much easier to ask you: who was President during the Spanish flu epidemic?

TracyK said...

Rick, Woodrow Wilson was President at that time. I am putting it too simply, but he didn't want the flu to keep soldiers from going to fight in the war, so he ignored the warnings from health advisors. I did not know much about Wilson before I read this book.

col2910 said...

A few authors there that I'd like to read something by. It looks like you had a decent month.

TracyK said...

July was a good month for reading, Col. Although it is difficult to keep track of what month it is anymore. It was good to read some books by Canadian authors again.