Monday, September 30, 2013

September Reading

September's reading was quite enjoyable even if not particularly difficult.  Lots of my favorite mystery writers had newish books that I discovered were out and that's what I mostly read.  Genre fiction?  Comfort fiction?  Commercial fiction?   Whatever.  Totally enjoyable. 

  1.  A Question of Honor by Charles Todd.   The mother/son writing duo called Charles Todd has two series that occupy the same universe.  I prefer the series about Inspector Rutledge over the series about Bess Crawford.  This is a Bess Crawford novel and so far I think it's the best in that series.  I'm not sure exactly why I liked it better, but maybe because it seemed clear that Todd is moving WWI toward its conclusion as soon as possible, possibly since it is difficult to have his main character investigate mysteries amidst her duties as a battlefield nurse. 
  2.  How the Light Gets In  by Louise Penny.  Another book in her Inspector Gamache series, we return to the little village of Three Pines, south of Montreal.  Gamache is asked to investigate why a friend of one of the residents did not turn up as expected.  Penny has moved away from simple mysteries into the psychology of her characters which makes it much more interesting. 
  3. The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde.   This is the second in Fforde's YA series featuring orphan Jennifer Strange.   Not quite as good as the first novel but still fun. 
  4. Island of Bones and Circle of Shadows by Imogen Robertson.   I realized that not only was there a newish Crowther and Westerman novel but I had missed the last one.   This series is set in the years during and after the American War for Independence.   I really like the relationship between Mrs. Westerman and Mr. Crowther and am glad that so far it has remained a working partnership and not a romance.  Highly recommended
  5. Shadow of the Crown by Patricia Bracewell.  I was interested in reading about Emma of Normandy.  She featured as a major, but offstage, character in Dorothy Dunnet's King Hereafter.   I was slightly disappointed to find that this novel tended toward the historical romance than historical fiction.  I haven't read historical romance in quite a while and this was a good one - I just am not that interested in forcing historical facts to fit the romance genre.  But I enjoyed it despite that disappointment.  Recommended with some reservations. 
  6. The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to his White Mother by James McBride.  An unusual memoir by a man about his mother.  Recommended. 
In October I plan on starting my "50th anniversary of World War I" reading.   A number of historians are beginning to release books, beginning with Catastrophe: 1914 by Max Hastings.  And I'm looking forward to the end of the month, when Margaret MacMillan's new book will be released in the USA.