Thursday, September 22, 2022

My Reading in August 2022


This may be the latest I have ever taken to put up a monthly reading summary. August was a good reading month with six books finished. I read two nonfiction books which was unusual. The rest were crime fiction, which is my favorite genre. The majority of the books were published after 2000, which is a change for me. 

Nonfiction / Biography

Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life (2007) by Laura Thompson

I started out loving this biography of Agatha Christie. It is very readable, and the first chapter about her childhood was charming. I had some quibbles with this book, but most of it was interesting, informative, and worth reading.

Nonficton / Nature

Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear (2018) by Lev Parikian 

This is a nonfiction book about a man who decides to return to an old love, birding. He has a goal to find 200 different species in the UK in one year. I love to read about birds and I would have liked to get more about birds and less about his personal journey and the process. But all of it was good, and visiting different parts of the UK was interesting. 

Crime Fiction

The Long Way Home  (2014) by Louise Penny

I am now a big fan of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. Except by this book, the tenth in the series, Gamache has retired to Three Pines. I was still very happy with the book, and I look forward to reading the next in the series. See my review here.

The Burglar in the Closet (1978) by Lawrence Block

The Bernie Rhodenbarr series by Lawrence Block now consists of 11 books. The Burglar in the Closet is the second book in the series. Bernie lives in New York City and supports himself by burgling apartments. See my review here.

Vanish (2005) by Tess Gerritsen

This is the 5th book in the Rizzoli and Isles series. It has been eleven years since I read the 4th book in the series, but I caught up with the story easily enough. Jane Rizzoli is a police detective, and she is also pregnant and her baby is overdue. While visiting her doctor at the hospital she gets caught up in a hostage situation. I am not fond of books about sex trafficking and that was a focus here, Also, the book was a bit too thrillerish for me. However, in the end I liked the book a lot because Gerritsen tells the story well, most of the characters are strong and well-defined, and the story has a great twist at the end.

Death Around the Bend (2017) by T.E. Kinsey

This is the third book in the Lady Hardcastle historical mystery series. The books have interesting plots, wonderful characters, and a lot of humor. See this post where I discuss the first three books in the series.

Currently reading

I am currently reading Anna Karenina. I started it on September 12th and am about a third of the way through. 

We have been to the Planned Parenthood Book Sale three times already, and will go again this weekend. It started on September 16th and will end on the 25th. I have bought way too many books, so I hope I won't find too many more on the weekend. 

The photos at the top and bottom of this post are geraniums (actually pelargoniums), my favorite flower. I think it is because there is so much variety in the blossoms for various types of geraniums. Photos were taken and processed by my husband. Click on the images for the best viewing quality.



CLM said...

Not sure I have ever read a bio of Christie. I did try The Christie Affair over the summer and decided not to bother after one chapter.

I had somehow forgotten about Tess Gerritsen although she is local and I used to read her books. Not sure why I stopped!

I did read Anna Karenina a long time ago. I think I remember watching Vivien Leigh playing her as well, then Elizabeth from the original Upstairs Downstairs. I find books set in Russia in the 19th century quite fascinating but only depressing in the 20th century.

Looking forward to hearing about your book sale finds!

I like the geraniums. Those are pretty colors and they are hard to kill!

TracyK said...

Constance, although I got a lot of reading this biography of Christie, I want to see if I can find another for comparison. There is a new one out but descriptions I have read make it sound very much like this one. And there is her memoir but I think it is only about the years traveling with Max. That would be interesting but only covers some of her life.

That is right, Gerritsen's series is set in Boston. I did like this one and I have several more of them I think.

I don't know yet what I think of Anna Karenina. But I will persevere for sure.

I love geraniums because they are a dependable spot of color in early spring and every now and then in the summer. They do have to be deadheaded though and I forget.

Cath said...

Beautiful flower photos!

Agatha Christie has written an autobiography which is far better than any of the biographies I've read. It's funny, detailed, informative but quite long. But it's one of the best memoirs I've ever read and I can't recommend it highly enough. My review of it is here:

I've read Vanish and really must get back to Rizzoli and Isles as it's years since I read one too, but hearing how quickly you got back into the series is reassuring. As you know I did finally get around to book 1 of the Bernie Rhodenbarr books, and Burglar in the Closet is my next book - amusing to think you probably couldn't use that title these days.

Look forward to seeing what you bought at The Planned Parenthood booksale!

pattinase (abbott) said...

It is strange when you let go of a series and can't quite think of why. I guess it is because there are so many more books published now than ever before. And with the Internet you are made aware of them by people who read the sort of books you like. I certainly finished PD James, Christie, Sayers, Tey, Freeling and so on thirty years ago> But it is often one and done for me now.

TracyK said...

Cath, I am very glad you pointed out Agatha Christie's autobiography to me. That is exactly what I am looking for, and I will be seeking it out. I mistakenly thought that she had only written Come, Tell Me How You Live. Which I also want to read someday.

I have not been taking care of my outdoor area as well as I should lately, especially when we had the week-long hot spell, but we are still enjoying some of the flowers.

The Rizzoli and Isles series now has thirteen books in it, so I may never finish it, but I do have the next four books and I plan to read those. I definitely want to read more of the Bernie Rhodenbarr series, and will be looking for some inexpensive hard cove copies because my paperback copies have very small print.

I hope I can cut back on my purchases at the book sale tomorrow and Sunday, since I bought a lot of non-mystery fiction on Wednesday, but on Sunday everything is half price and so hard to resist.

TracyK said...

Patti, I have a lot of unfinished series, and I think you are right about the reason. So many books published, so many of them are high quality.

I also read all of PD James, Sayers and Josephine Tey, but still have a good number of Christies books to read. I did read all the Margery Allingham books too. I have only read one book by Nicholas Freeling (fairly recently) and I was very impressed with it. But almost all of the copies I have are incredibly small print and I haven't gotten further in the series.

Another type of series that I often read all of is spy fiction. Especially my favorites. But with those I do like to space them out so I don't run out.

Lark said...

I really want to try that T.E. Kinsey series! :D And good for you for tackling Anna Karenina. Just the length of it has always discouraged me from even starting it.

TracyK said...

Lark, the good thing about the Lady Hardcastle series is that the first one is a very strong book. Sometimes when I start a series, I find that the early books are the weakest.

One motivation I had to read Anna Karenina was that I had had my copy at least 12 years. Time to make a decision to read or not read. But the length was the main thing that held me back. More recently, I had it in my head that it is a depressing book, and that is not what I am after right now. It is not as difficult a read as I expected, but I do think it will be depressing overall. We shall see.

Margot Kinberg said...

I thought that the twist at the end of the Gerritsen was done well, too, Tracy. I hadn't thought of her work in a while, so I'm glad you brought it up. And you've got a Penny and a Block, too - a good month of reading, I'd say! Thanks, too, for reminding me of the Thompson. I should read more non-fiction about Christie; there are so many interesting perspectives on her life!

TracyK said...

Margot, This was the first book that I read that concentrated on Christie's life, and I learned a lot. I never have been that interested in reading about the time when she disappeared for a while, because so much is unknown. But I knew little about her life with her two husbands, and that was all interesting.

I want to read more books in Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder series too.

Clothes In Books said...

Tracy, I am always impressed by the range and quantity of books you read each month. What a collection. I read the Agatha Christie biography and enjoyed it - I met the author at an event for the book in London.

Kathy's Corner said...

Hi Tracy, Anna Karenina is a book I started many years ago but I am not sure if I ever finished it. I need to reread it or read War and Peace because Tolstoy is one of the world's greatest writers. Big fan of Louise Penny. I must read book 5 in the series the Brutal Telling by the end of this year.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Moira, I am definitely reading more varied books each month lately, whether intentional or not. I am more open to different types of books that I haven't read in the past, although more closed to very violent or depressing books, at this point.

I was glad I read the Laura Thompson biography of Christie, and it left me wanting to read other biographies, plus her autobiography (which I had forgotten existed).

TracyK said...

Kathy, I am reading Anna Karenina slowly, trying not to rush through it. I usually have to do that with longer books. I did read War and Peace long ago, and don't remember what I thought of it, but I don't think I could read it now.

It was when I read A Brutal Telling and the following book, Bury Your Dead, that I became a big fan of Louise Penny's series. I read them close together.