Friday, December 16, 2022

Reading in November 2022


I read six books in November, all fiction. Two of the books were originally published in the early 1950s, two in 2018 and two in 2022, so I am still reading more recently published books than older books. I very seldom read a book in the same year it is published. I was very happy with all six books.


Some Tame Gazelle (1950) by Barbara Pym

This is the first book I have read by Barbara Pym. At first I was a little underwhelmed because it was so quiet and a bit repetitive. But it grew on me and I began to enjoy the characters. I will be reading another book by Pym. If anyone has any favorites, I would love suggestions.

Crime Fiction

Nine Perfect Strangers (2018) by Liane Moriarty

I don't know if this really fits the crime fiction category, but it does involve a crime and it reads at times like a thriller.  It was my first read of the month and it was a 5 star read for me. My review here

The Bullet That Missed (2022) by Richard Osman

This is the third book in The Thursday Murder Club series. I liked it just as well as the second book, The Man Who Died Twice, which I reviewed here. I love the main characters, and there are a number of secondary characters who are also well defined. I like the way those people continue in following books. The story is told mostly in present tense, third person, from various viewpoints.

A Pocket Full of Rye (1953 by Agatha Christie

This is a Miss Marple mystery (#6 out of 12 novels) that I had not heard much about so I was surprised to like it quite so much as I did. It was a while since I had read one of the Miss Marple books, and I especially noticed the usual behaviors that Miss Marple exhibits: the knitting, the chats with various suspects or witnesses, and the comparisons to people in St. Mary Mead. It has a family full of (mostly) nasty people and I felt sorry for everyone related to them. And the edition I read was this one with the lovely new cover with bright colors, flowers and a tea cup.

The Maid (2022) by Nita Prose

Molly Gray is a maid in a large hotel, and she loves her job. She doesn't really fit in with the people she works with although she tries hard. She lives alone since her grandmother died and struggles with social skills. I enjoyed the book very much. Nita Prose is a Canadian author and this was her debut novel. My review here.

Safe Houses (2018) by Dan Fesperman

I love espionage fiction so this book was a comfort read for me. The story is told in two time lines, one set in Berlin, 1979, and other in 2014, in Maryland, USA. I especially enjoyed the parts set in 1979 because that was a very big year in my life, and I was close to the age of the female protagonist at that time. It is the first of a trilogy about Claire Saylor, who doesn't even show up until later in the book. I loved it. 

Currently reading

I have read three Christmas mystery novels in December and I like that the Christmas setting plays a big part in all of them. Also some Christmas short stories. Now I am reading O Caledonia by Elspeth Barker.

Since September, we have been walking in various parks and gardens around Santa Barbara a few days a week. The photos this month are from the Rose Garden across from the Santa Barbara Mission. The top photo is of the entrance to the garden area. My husband took the photos at the top and bottom of this post. Click on the images for the best viewing quality.


Margot Kinberg said...

I'm glad you liked the Moriarty as well as you did, Tracy; I think she's very talented, and I've been drawn into the books of hers that I've read. I'm glad you liked the Osman, too. I have to say I'm at all a fan of the present tense in stories, but he does tell an interesting tale. And in my opinion, you can't go wrong with Agatha Christie...

Lark said...

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym is my favorite, followed by Jane and Prudence. All of her books are pretty quiet plotwise, but also funny and character-driven.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Second for Excellent Women, which I have on my kindle right now to reread in CA. I have liked all the Moriarty I have read too although the most recent one was the weakest.

Cath said...

Lovely photos, Tracy! I've only read one Barbara Pym, Quartet in Autumn and wasn't mad about it. I've since been told that that's not a good place to start with her as it's not one of her best. I'll try Excellent Women at some stage.

I plan to read The Maid early next year. I was hoping to fit it in this month but think I might be too busy.

Love the cover on that Agatha Christie!

TracyK said...

Thanks, Cath. I hope you enjoy The Maid when you read it and I will be interested in your reaction either way. I love that cover illustration on Pocket Full of Rye also. It is strange but I enjoy a book more when the cover is especially attractive.

TracyK said...

Margot, I am glad I finally tried a book by Liane Moriarty.

I do like to mention when books are written in present tense, for those who like to avoid that. I am not so bothered by the use of present tense now as I used to be, but it depends on the writer too.

TracyK said...

Lark, thanks for the suggestions for books by Barbara Pym that you liked. Sometimes I just have to used to an author's style of writing, and after that I know what to expect.

TracyK said...

Patti, Looks like Excellent Women is one to look for when I continue reading Pym's books.

I will have to do a little more research on Liane Moriarty's earlier books. I know there were a couple that I was sort of interested in earlier, but never got around to.

Bill Selnes said...

I am going to have to get one of Osman's books. You have emphasized how many reviewers have enjoyed his books.

Love the flower photos. It is -22C this afternoon and getting colder.

stargazer said...

I am glad the third Osman book could live up to the others, I look forward to reading it. I meant to pick up The Maid, but it got rather mixed reviews, which made me reconsider. Let's see.... The cover of the Miss Marple book is absolutely gorgeous!

TracyK said...

Bill, I definitely think you should try one of the Osman books. Best to start at the beginning I think, because new characters are added in each book.

I cannot even imagine what -22C is like. I have been complaining about 40C in the middle of the night here. Our heating system doesn't handle lower temperatures that well.

TracyK said...

Stargazer, The Maid does get very mixed reviews. I took a chance and liked it but I could understand why others did not enjoy it.

I love all the new Marple covers. I have copies of all the Marple books but most are in paperbacks with tiny print that is hard for me to read, so I am happy to replace them with the new editions.

Neeru said...

Tracy, you seem to have had an interesting reading month. Recently I finished my first Moriarity: What Alice Forgot and wasn't too impressed.

TracyK said...

Neeru, I looked at the description of What Alice Forgot at Goodreads and it does sound like one I might avoid, and it is close to 500 pages. Looking at Moriarty's other books, I might try Her Husband's Secret or Truly Madly Guilty... Or anything I run into that is inexpensive.

CLM said...

Love these pictures! I hope I make it to your part of the world again some time. Going to conferences in LA does not help one see the area.

I have not read this particular Liane Moriarty but I have enjoyed quite a few others by her and her prolific sisters. I don't know how to characterize them - not exactly romantic suspense and not exactly suspense.

I haven't read the second two Osman books but enjoyed the first one.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Constance. That is a good evaluation of this one book by Liane Moriarty that I have read -- "not exactly romantic suspense and not exactly suspense". I am curious if I will like any of her other books as well as this one.

I liked the 2nd and 3rd Osman books better than the first, but the first books introduces the characters well.