Saturday, December 5, 2020

Reading Summary for November 2020

We are getting close to the end of 2020, a year that has been challenging for all of us in many different ways. This month I read my third book about the 1918 pandemic, a new interest for me. I also participated in Nonfiction November and picked up lots of suggestions for nonfiction reading in 2021. I read a couple of Christmas mysteries and more short stories than usual.

Science Fiction / Fantasy

I Love Galesburg in the Springtime (1963) by Jack Finney

A short story collection. All of the twelve stories in the book are magical, with unexpected, lovely endings. A few included some variation of time travel, and all had some fantastical element, although the setting is our everyday world. See my full review here.


Pandemic 1918 (2018) by Catharine Arnold

The subtitle of this book is "Eyewitness Accounts from the Greatest Medical Holocaust in Modern History." This was the type of book I was looking for originally when I read the other two books on the 1918 flu pandemic. So this book expanded what I had learned before and for the most part was not a repeat of information from the other books.

Crime Fiction

Escape Velocity (2017) by Susan Wolfe

Georgia Griffin has just arrived in Silicon Valley from Piney, Arkansas, with very little money and some training as a paralegal. Her father is a con artist and she also has talents in that area. However, Georgia's father is in jail, she is trying to leave that part of her life behind, and she wants to bring her teenage sister to Silicon Valley to live with her and have a normal life. She gets a job at a software firm, and works towards trying to fit in and helping the company by weeding out inept or harmful employees. This is an excellent legal thriller about the workings of a software company and the challenges in that field.

Murder In Mesopotamia (1936) by Agatha Christie

This is a Hercule Poirot mystery set in Iraq, at an archaelogical dig. One of the members of the expedition is murdered. Poirot happens to be passing through the area and is called upon to look int the death. The story is narrated by Nurse Leatheran, and that is what I liked best about the book. 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) by Agatha Christie

I read two books in the Hercule Poirot series this month, because we are watching the Poirot TV series and I want to read each novel before watching the adaptation. I had read this one before but it was long long ago. This was written early in Christie's career and was successful at the time. It is still considered one of her best mysteries.

Murder for Christmas
(1949) by Francis Duncan

Mordecai Tremaine receives an invitation to spend Christmas at the country estate of Benedict Grame. Enclosed in the invitation is a brief note from Grame's secretary, Nicholas Blaise, asking Tremaine to join the Christmas gathering because he has a sense that trouble is brewing. There are lots of characters: relatives, business acquaintances, villagers. And a romance or two. This is a twisty, fun Christmas mystery.

Do Not Murder Before Christmas (1949) by Jack Iams

Another fun vintage Christmas mystery. This one is kind of hard to describe. In some ways it is light and romantic, in other ways it is a hard-boiled tale of crime in the city. 

Moonflower Murders (2020) Anthony Horowitz

This book is the sequel to an earlier book by Anthony Horowitz, Magpie Murders. See my review here.


pattinase (abbott) said...

The Finney book must be very rare. Both hc and pb are a fortune on Amazon. I love what I have read by him but have never heard of this one.

TracyK said...

You are probably right, Patti. Glen searched for it for ages years ago and then finally found it on Ebay at a reasonable price. There is another short story collection with the title ABOUT TIME that has some of the same stories that are in I Love Galesburg. But I don't know if it is easy to find or not.

Cath said...

A good reading month, Tracy. I love the way Christie set a handful of her books in the Middle East that she knew so well because of the digs she went on with her husband. My favourite so far is They Came to Baghdad, a standalone.

Margot Kinberg said...

Both of the Christie books have some really strong aspects about them, Tracy, so I'm glad that you read them. I agree that having Amy Leatheran as the narrator adds a lot to Murder in Mesopotamia. You've reminded me, too, of the Horowitz. I read the first and am glad I did. I haven't (yet) read that one, though; I've heard mixed reviews of it. Overall, it looks like you had an interesting reading month.

TracyK said...

Cath, now you have got me interested in They Came to Baghdad. Lately I have been trying to read a lot of Hercule Poirot novels and not even in order any more (which really doesn't make any difference in this case).

TracyK said...

Margot, It is strange that watching the Poirot TV series has enhanced my enjoyment of the Poirot novels. I think the portrayals of Poirot and Hastings are so good. Of course the adaptations are not completely faithful to the novels, but I read the novels first anyway.

Bill Selnes said...

Glad you enjoyed Escape Velocity. I thought it was an excellent book. I hope Susan writes more legal mysteries now that she is retired from practising law but I am doubtful.

TracyK said...

Bill, I agree, it was a very entertaining book once I got used to the main character being so good at conning people. I loved learning all the legal aspects and getting a good picture of lawyers and the work they do.

col2910 said...

A decent month's reading, nothing I'm overly drawn to though (which is good). I must try and get back to doing my own monthly round ups. I think I've done one this year!

TracyK said...

That surprises me, Col, that you have not done monthly wrap up posts. But you have reviewed many many books. I leave a good number of books unreviewed. I know I cannot review all of them, but I do hope to up the percentage.