Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Reading Summary for February 2023


I did not read a lot this month but I enjoyed all of my reading. I was reading The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Nancy S. Lovell throughout the month, off and on; it was a very slow read for me. I recently finished that book (on March 10) and I have already started reading The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters (which is over 800 pages).

Nonfiction / Books about Books

Books for Living (2016) by Will Schwalbe

On Goodreads, in his author bio, Schwalbe describes Books for Living as a book "about the role books can play in our lives and how they can show us how to live each day more fully and with more meaning." Each chapter focuses on a book that he has read that is special to him, and what he learned from it. This book can also be categorized as a memoir, and those parts of it are interesting also. This book counts for the Bookish Books Reading Challenge hosted by Bloggin' 'bout Books.

Graphic novel

A Man and His Cat, Vol. 2 (2018) by Umi Sakurai (Writer and Artist)

This is a short graphic novel from Japan about a widower who lives alone and decides to get a cat for the first time. This second volume provides some hints to his life with his wife and flashbacks to his childhood and continues to emphasize his love and enjoyment of his cat. I have started reading volume 3. Per Goodreads, there are now 10 books in the series.  

Cartoon Collection

Revenge of the Librarians (2022) by Tom Gauld

I have seen Tom Gauld's cartoons from time to time on the internet, but this is the first collection of his comics that I have read. Some are about librarians and libraries. Some are about the writing process, or TBR piles, or bookshelves. Not all of them are about books but a large percentage of them are. Some of my favorites are lockdown humor from during the pandemic. This book also counts for the Bookish Books Reading Challenge

Crime Fiction

The Cover Wife (2021) by Dan Fesperman

This is the second book in an espionage series by Dan Fesperman. The main character in this book is Claire Saylor, a CIA agent stationed in Paris who is sent to Hamburg, Germany to pose as the wife of an academic. I will definitely be reading the third book in the series, which returns to an earlier time in Claire's career. See my review.

Bullet Train (2010) by Kotaro Isaka

I read this book for the Japanese Literature Challenge hosted at Dolce Bellezza. The book was adapted to film and I saw the film first. I liked the book a lot, and the train setting was a plus. My review here.

Fender Benders (2001) by Bill Fitzhugh

This is a humorous mystery about the county music business in Nashville. There were many things I liked about it, including reading about the country music business, but almost all of the characters are very unlikable. Yet I still found this to be a compelling read and I had to know how it ended.

Currently reading

In addition to reading the letters of the Mitford Sisters, which I am sure I will be taking breaks from, I am also reading The Mask of Memory by Victor Canning. This is the 3rd book in an espionage series about a "dirty tricks" department in British Intelligence. 

Status of challenges

  • Fender Benders by Bill Fitzhugh was my first read for the 2023 TBR Pile Challenge.
  • I have now read two books for the Bookish Books Reading Challenge.
  • Four of the books I read in February count for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge, for a total of 10 (out of my goal of 48).

We recently revisited the grounds of Stow House, on a rare day when we had overcast skies, which is great for taking photos. The images at the top and bottom of the post were taken on that walk. It was in late January after the rains and the area was so much more green and beautiful.

My husband took the photos. Click on the images for the best viewing quality.


Cath said...

The Mask of Memory sounds quite good, I wasn't aware of that series by Victor Canning. The one book I read by him was more of a humorous type thing, Mr. Finchley Discovers His England. I just checked Fantastic Fiction and he wrote quite a number of books! I didn't realise. I'm having a slow reading month this month as my current read is 900 pages long. Luckily, I'm 600 pages in so getting there slowly.

TracyK said...

Cath, I am enjoying The Mask of Memory a lot, Canning writes so well. The story is a bit dark, but I liked the first two books so we will see. I remember when you read Mr. Finchley Discovers His England, and I want to read that one too. So far I have only read his espionage / adventure books and I want to try other types of books by him. Since I started the letters of the Mitford sisters, I am expecting March and maybe April too will be slow reading months.

Kathy's Corner said...

Hi Tracy, A few years ago I read Will Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Book Club which I recommend. It's about the books Will and his mother read during the last two years of her life. His mother had cancer and they both knew it was fatal and yet it's not a depressing book and that's because of Will's Mom. She was a woman with spirit, accomplished and involved all her life in worthy causes. Both Will and his mother were passionate about reading and the discussions they have about the books they have chosen to read very interesting.

TracyK said...

Kathy, I read Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Club two or three years ago. I agree with all you say about it. I liked it better than Books for Living, probably because I did like reading about his mother and their relationship. Each book has different things to offer.

Margot Kinberg said...

Revenge of the Librarians sounds great, Tracy. Books, TBRs, librarians... all appeal to me, and it'd be great to see how they show up in cartoons. Fender Benders sounds like fun, too. I'm not, admit, a big country music fan, but I do love music, and I respect really excellent country musical artists. And, hey, sometimes a lighter book is just what's needed.

TracyK said...

The Tom Gault book of cartoons is very nice, Margot. I have read some of his cartoons but it was nice to see a lot of them together. I know I will enjoy rereading it. I am also not a huge country music fan, but I do have my favorite singers... mostly older ones like Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson. So I can appreciate the Nashville country music background in this novel. I also recently read a country music mystery I liked even better by Donald Westlake, Baby Would I Lie?

Lark said...

Revenge of the Librarians looks hilarious! :D

TracyK said...

It is, Lark, and it is so easy to identify with a lot of the cartoons.

CLM said...

When Avon Books launched its hardcover list, Bill Fitzhugh's debut novel, Pest Control, was part of the lineup. I doubt I wanted to read a book about an exterminator but it was funny and the art department created a very quirky cover. Glad he is still writing.

TracyK said...

Constance, I will have to try another one of Fitzhugh's books and see how I like it. I would like to see if all his characters in his books are unlikable or if this one was an aberration.

CLM said...

I don't remember it well enough to say but I do prefer at least one likable character. Also, I swear the word looks better with an e, although I know that is wrong! Maybe the British spelling is likeable?

TracyK said...

Constance, I am sure other readers of this book would have differing opinions, but I found that the only likable characters had relatively small parts, although they were important to the plot. But overall it is a good book, just not really my cup of tea.

That is interesting about the spelling of likable. There are many words like that where the most commonly used spelling is different in the US and the UK, and I get confused from seeing both spellings frequently. From what I read, either is correct in both countries in this case.