Saturday, October 15, 2022

My Reading in September 2022

I had a nice month of reading in September. Only fiction and mostly crime fiction. I did read one cross-genre book, the first one on my list below.

I noted that most of the books I read were published after 1999; the same thing happened last month. I seem to be tending in that direction lately. Not sure why.

And these are the books I read:

Science Fiction / Mystery

Head On (2018) by John Scalzi

This book qualifies as both science fiction and mystery and in this case the mystery actually supersedes the science fiction, in my opinion. It is the second book in a two-book series set in the near future. The story begins about 20 years after the world-wide epidemic of a virus which causes Lock In syndrome. Technological breakthroughs have been developed to the point where the victims of the disease can use a robotic device to move around, talk, and function in society while their bodies are lying in a bed elsewhere. See my thoughts on the book here.

Crime Fiction

The Tenderness of Wolves (2006) by Stef Penney

I read this for my Canadian Reading Challenge. Set in 1867, primarily in a small settlement in the Northern Territory. There are treks into even more remote areas to search for a murderer. This is a historical mystery, but the crime and the investigation are not primary to the story.  The focus is even more on the setting, the prominence of the Hudson Bay Company, and the treatment of Native American trappers. There are a lot of characters to keep up with. I loved it and the ending worked well for me.

Crazybone (2000) by Bill Pronzini

I have been reading the Nameless Detective series by Pronzini since the mid-1970s. I introduced my husband to them in the early 80s after we got married, and he became a bigger fan than I am. He has read all 41 books in the series. I have only read the books up to and including Crazybone, and I still have 15 books left to read. They are short and quick reads; serious stories and sometimes dark. There is humor along the way and the main character ages and develops. Getting back to reading this series seems like meeting an old friend that I haven't seen for years.

The Sanctuary Sparrow (1983) by Ellis Peters

This is the fourth Brother Cadfael book that I have read, but it is the seventh book in the series. The setting for the books in the series is between 1135 and 1145 in England and Wales, primarily. Brother Cadfael takes care of the plants for the monastery and is an herbalist. If this book is typical of the series, it seems like they can be read in any order. However, I plan to get back to reading them in order when possible.  

A Killer in King's Cove (2016) by Iona Whishaw

This is a historical mystery set in British Columbia, Canada right after World War II. The heroine, Lane Winslow, has just moved to Canada from the UK, following World War II, and lives in a small town in a home she purchased. After Lane has settled down in King's Cove, a stranger is found dead in the creek that feeds water to her property. Eventually the death is determined to be murder and Lane Winslow appears to have a connection to this man. Another book which was read for the Canadian Reading Challenge. See my review here.

Spycatcher (2011) by Matthew Dunn

I purchased this book at the book sale in September, knowing nothing about it other than it was the first book in an espionage series. It was a fast-paced, action packed story, one you can imagine being turned into a film. A bit too much like the James Bond movies for me, but in the end I enjoyed it and plan to give the second book in the series a try. My main complaint was that the first two or three chapters introducing the protagonist and his handlers were awkward and unconvincing. But I am a sucker for any type of spy fiction, and the rest of the book was much better and held my interest. I have purchased the second book in the series.

Currently reading

Last night, I finished reading The Listening House by Mabel Seeley, a mystery published in 1938, set in a boarding house, one of my favorite settings in fiction, along with hotels and trains. I chose to read it in October because the eerie atmosphere would fit the mood of the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event. I haven't picked my next read yet.

I am still reading Anna Karenina, and I doubt I will finish that book before the end of October. 

We have started walking in various areas around Santa Barbara a few days a week. This week we went to Stow House, a historic site in Goleta. My husband took the photos at the top and bottom of this post on our walk. Click on the images for the best viewing quality.


CLM said...

Oh, I like the look of Stow House. Is it open to the public? That porch would attract any reader! It was unexpectedly nice out today so I took my book outside briefly. Walking is very underrated - it is healthy and gives you lots of time to think (or converse, if you are with someone). I did a lot more walking when we were allowed to work remotely because I often borrowed my brother's dog, who would come remind me it was time for a walk.

I have always meant to read Bill Pronzini but not got around to it. I went to a library book sale today but it was disappointing, mostly recently published discarded library books. I was about to buy three books, then looked at them and put them back, figuring I could just get them out of the library instead, and went to the grocery store. This was a first! But maybe it was because they just weren't very exciting.

I own The Tenderness of Wolves and I am thinking you may have mentioned you were planning to read it because I moved it higher on my TBR (but I guess not high enough).


TracyK said...

Stow House is a very nice house. I think it is only open for special events, and we have been through it several times. There used to be more special events there, pre-pandemic.

I would be interested to see if you liked the Bill Pronzini books. It is a long series though.

The Tenderness of Wolves is a wonderful book and I think you will like it when you get to it.

Kathy's Corner said...

I read the first book in Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfei mystery series. I always meant to go back and read more because I enjoy mysteries set in the middle ages and I enjoy novels about monastic life and here you get both. Plus Ellis Peters did a good job with the writing so I have try another book in the series.

TracyK said...

Kathy, I have always like novels about monastic life, but I never thought I would like mysteries set in the 1100s. But I was wrong, it is all interesting and I have learned a lot about the various parts of the UK and the history of that time. Brother Cadfael is a wonderful character.

Cath said...

Glad you enjoyed A Tenderness of Wolves. I loved the Canadian wilderness setting of that one and thought it was overall unusual and different for a mystery novel. Well done on such perseverance with Anna Karenina. I finished Persuasion a couple of days ago, it's not half as long or as complicated as AK but I'm still a bit adrift after it, trying to choose and settle to a new book.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A charming house. Nice place to have a small wedding reception or baby shower. Bill Ponzini with his wife Marcia Mueller will be at the virtual Noircon next weekend. They won one of the awards being presented. For $39 you can watch three days worth of panels and discussions.

TracyK said...

Cath, A Tenderness of Wolves took me a long time (relatively) to read, but definitely worth it. Got confused at times with who was who in the town, but the various hikes across the country were fantastic. And never boring.

I remember enjoying Persuasion a lot, and especially the end. I rate it up there with Pride and Prejudice. I am not sure about Sense and Sensibility, which I finished in early October. I could not get into the characters, which is an important part of the book for me.

TracyK said...

Patti, the house is lovely, outside and in. They do rent the grounds out for weddings, although I haven't been there for one. And small events, on the grounds. And they have tours of the house on Saturdays and Sundays now, which I did not realize.

I bet that Noircon will be interesting. I saw that Megan won the David L. Goodis Award, well deserved.

Lark said...

You read some great books in September. There are several on your list that I want to check out.

TracyK said...

Lark, it was a good mix of books this month. I hope you find a couple to try out.

Sam said...

That's a nice selection of crime books. I don't think I've read any of these, but I'm familiar with some of the authors. I read so many series books anymore that I don't find myself experimenting with new writers to see if I can find a new "favorite" or two, and that bugs me. Lately, I've been reading less crime and more in the way of literary novels and westerns (sometimes they are both, believe it or not).

TracyK said...

Sam, I am actually trying more recent fiction and new-to-me series, both crime fiction and general fiction, now. I am not sure why. I concentrated on crime fiction for so long and then I added classics a few years ago.

I agree that westerns (or any genre fiction) can be literary. I have read a few westerns but not many.

stargazer said...

It looks like a good reading month. I only read one book in September, but it's going much better in October. The Nameless Detective series is new to me, but I am always on the lookout for good crime fiction, so I might give it a try. Is it one of these series, which benefits from being read in order or is it fine to dive in randomly?

TracyK said...

Stargazer, I would recommend reading Pronzini's Nameless Detective series in order; at first he is mostly a loner, then he becomes more social and has a partner and gets in a serious relationship with a woman. Mostly all of that is in the background but sometimes it plays a big part in the story. On the other hand, I had no trouble picking up the story after a good number of years of not reading the books, so I think most of the books stand alone well enough.