37. Crocodile on the Sandbank - book 1 in the Amelia Peabody series
by Elizabeth Peters
Nook book 11
I was surprised to see that my 37th book in 2010 was read just about this time of year, and it was the last in the Amelia Peabody series. And here I am two years later reading the first in the series. I first listened to it on Recorded Books unabridged tape maybe fifteen years ago. Is that possible? I adore these books, and I adore the characters. In Crocodile on the Sandbank, Amelia has inherited money from her father, and decides to go traveling. She is a most independent woman. She hates fashion, believes in comfortable, wearable clothes for women, isn't afraid to express how she feels, and is all about rights for women - not all that common in the late 1880s. Amelia meets a down and out young woman named Evelyn, and hires her as a companion. They travel to Egypt where their adventures and their new lives begin. They meet brothers and ultimately fall in love and marry. Amelia discovers a passion for pyramids, and Evelyn a talent for drawing. The story continues through 19 books, as they age, have children, suffer heartache and tragedy. Yet through it all Amelia is a bulwark of strength, and as they say, a force to be reckoned with. One of the all time great fictional characters.
38. Corduroy Mansions - book 1 in Corduroy Mansions series
by Alexander McCall Smith
library book eight
Nook book 12
It's hard to write about this book. There were the usual Alexander McCall Smith moments of insight and musings about the world. There was a strong sense of the London setting. But the stories and many of the characters were just so 'out there' to me. I felt this about many of the Scotland Street series characters as well. And yet, I continue to read them, as I probably will continue to read this series. You probably know that the book was presented in a most interesting way - serialized in the Daily Telegraph. Wonderful idea. And it was also recorded by Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel on Fawlty Towers.
40. That Affair Next Door - book 1 in the Amelia Butterworth series; book 7 in the Ebenezer Gryce series
by Anna Katharine Green
Kindle book 16
I first heard of this writer when Peggy sent me an email saying That Affair Next Door was available for free on the Kindle. She has a wonderful post on the author and her books. Well, I loved this book. Look at the publication date! That's a long time ago, and yet, I was as interested as if Anna Katharine Green had just written it. There's a site here which talks about Agatha Christie's Jane Marple and Anna Katharine Green's Amelia Butterworth. Amelia is a well-off spinster living in New York City. She is very intelligent and curious. One evening she looks out her window and sees an odd occurence. From this episode springs a quite intricate mystery. There are many twists and turns, but Amelia helps us out by recapping every once in a while. Oh, I had so much fun reading this book. Highly recommended.
41. Best Staged Plans
by Claire Cook
library book nine
Nook book 14
I have Marcia to thank for getting me back on the Claire Cook reading path. I had read Must Love Dogs years ago, and so enjoyed it, as well as the movie. But that's it. Well, after reading a few of Marcia's reviews at Goodreads, I was reminded that I want to read more by this author. I really liked this book. Sandra Sullivan is around 50, her kids are grown - one married, the other a college graduate living at home, and she is ready for a change. She wants to fix up their old Victorian house by the sea in Massachusetts, and then sell it. This fixing up to sell has a name. It is called 'home staging.' It is much, much more than just baking cookies before a prospective buyer comes for a tour. It's all about selling a dream. People buying a house apparently don't want to see a junk drawer just like what they have in their own homes. They want to see such a space nicely organized. They want to see an exercise room with machines and dvds and a mat on the floor to encourage them in the belief that once they move, they will begin an exercise regime. Sandra's job is a home stager so she knows what she's doing. She gets annoyed with her husband that he isn't taking the renovation work seriously, and so accepts a job working on a 'boutique hotel' in Atlanta. She says not to call her until the work is done. This part seemed a bit contrived to me. She seemed too upset with her wonderful family, but I let it go, and of course she sees the error in her thinking later in the book. There was a lovely section about helping a homeless woman get a job, showing readers how any one of us could end up in that situation with just a few twists of fate. The book has humor, lightness, great characterization, and seriousness all at once. Pure delight.
Book 39 is missing from these notes because I wrote about it in a separate posting; Cleo Coyle's French Pressed.
This year I've bought a lot of books. I now own plenty of fiction and nonfiction. Beginning tomorrow, August 1, I am not going to buy any books for an entire year. The exceptions will be gift books, and possibly buying some for the Canadian Challenge. I own a few, and will try to get more from the library, but if I can't, I will buy them. The other exception will be ebooks for bedtime reading, if I am not able to get them through the state library's downloadable books.
Tom has announced his retirement for next June, and that means we are going to have a lot less money coming in. We should be okay because we live quite simply. I don't buy clothes unless necessary, I don't buy furniture unless ours is worn out, we haven't traveled in years. Tom hardly ever buys anything unless it is a necessity. But what I buy is books. I love hearing about a book, buying it, unwrapping it, and putting it on my shelf. And that is the rub. I put it on the shelf. And all too frequently it stays right there. A book I just had to own sits and sits. Often the hardcover I bought as soon as it was published remains unread. And then I see it is out in paperback, and feel a bit ashamed. Right now every shelf in the house is full of books. I've read a few but the vast majority I haven't.
If I read about books on Goodreads or on blogs, I will either bookmark the post or jot down the title in this cute little notebook a friend gave me.
If I truly 'can't wait,' I'll borrow from the library. Those of you who love buying books will understand this is not an easy endeavor to embark upon. But I shall persevere.