Monday, January 8, 2018

Second half of 2017's reading

I posted my first half of 2017's reading here. Now, I'll try and talk a bit about the rest of the books.

A real stand-out of the last six months of the year is Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. How many times have I read this? 3, 4, 5? It never dims. It is always interesting and is so beautifully written. This book is about how one young girl changes her life, and the lives of two older people. If you've never read it, you really owe it to yourself to give it a try. It is a wonderful, wonderful story.

I remember where I sat in the library when I first picked up this book. I remember the way the book looked. Green with no cover. No kidding.

The whole Anne Shirley series is available on kindle for peanuts.

A recent book that was a real favorite is Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. He may rival Alexander McCall Smith in how prolific he is! You can read about MM all over the internet, so if you are interested in the plot, you can do a search. I knew nothing when I began, and am so glad. I loved every page of this completely unique book. 'Nuff said.

I really like a new series by Triss Stein set in Brooklyn, featuring an historian, Erica Donato. She is not a usual 'cozy' amateur sleuth. Yes, trouble does seem to follow her around, but so far she hasn't been a damsel in distress. She's intelligent with way too much on her plate - a teenage daughter, a job, a dissertation she must write, and all the cases she gets involved in because of her historian knowledge. She brings Brooklyn history alive just as Cleo Coyle does all of New York City in her Coffeehouse series (I also read two more in her series, and enjoyed them, as always). I so love a sense of place. Really a great series. I read three of them in 2017, and the last one this year. The way it ended could have meant the end of the series, but we'll see.

The Perfect Summer - England 1911, Just Before the Storm by Juliet Nicolson was a perfect book. I may have mentioned sometime that I always wished I could have had a college course that studied all facets of one year - art, literature, politics, home life. This book does that. She did a beautiful job of bringing that year, that time alive to me. In addition to the things I mentioned, the reader also learns about royalty, fashion, sport. I cannot praise this enough. Nonfiction.

I read two more in the Alan Grant series by Josephine Tey, including what many think is her best, The Daughter of Time. She was such a good writer. I'm quite sure it is Cath who really got me interested in these books. Go to her blog and search for JT if you'd like to read some really good book reports.

I wrote about a Phyllida Law book here, and have now read another, How Many Camels Are There in Holland? Dementia, ma and me. I think she is a wonderful writer. Her personality comes right through every sentence, and her honestly and humor make her books a joy to read even though there is sadness in them. You may know her as the actress, also mother to Emma and Sophie Thompson. I hope she continues to write such charming little books. I know there is a new one, and I'm off to buy it now. There's a wonderful recent article about her here.

I'm really liking the Inspector Richardson series by Basil Thomson. It makes me wonder how many other older writers I've never heard of. I don't love all of them that I read, but this series is very good.

The 18th(!!) in Alexander McCall's No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, The House Of Unexpected Sisters may just be the best one yet. How does this man do it? He keeps the characters alive and fresh, and makes the reader, at least this one, wanting more. I also read the latest Isabel Dalhousie, A Distant View of Everything, which I liked.

I read more Brendan DuBois, and just have the latest in the Lewis Cole series to read. I'm such a fan of these books.

I read more Bobby Owen books by ER Punshon. As much as I do like these books when I am reading them, afterwards I can't remember any details. They are slow and quiet and lull me to sleep, but the plots are lost to me. Read a couple more Michael Gilbert's which I like even better, but again seem to have trouble remembering the stories.

Reading A Maigret Christmas and Other Stories reminded me I really do want to read more Simenon books.

I reread three books this year which pleases me - A Rumpole Christmas, Anne of Green Gables, and Miss Read's Battles at Thrush Green.

After having traveled the world last year in my reading, 2017 didn't find me much further than England and Scotland, with an occasional foray into the US, and one each into Canada, France, and Denmark.

So, I guess that's it. I do miss my long book reports with photos and links, and hope to get back to them someday. Maybe this year?

18 comments:

  1. I thought I must read the new Ladies' Detective Agency novel, and then found I have only read to no 14. The others seem to have been published without much publicity! Glad you had such a good reading year.

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    1. I will never understand why his books don't get the attention when books that I think sound pretty terrible are always top sellers. Probably he is too nice.

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  2. I also very much enjoyed Phyllida Law's Notes to My Mother-in-Law https://www.exurbanis.com/archives/6812#notes but tried How Many Camels Are There in Holland early in 2017 and just couldn't get into it. Perhaps I'll give it another try.

    I've read only three of the Ladies' Detective Agency books and I need to get cracking on them! I find them delightful.

    The book I remember like that from my childhood is Mrs. Mike by Benedict & Nancy Freedman. It was in our Grade 8 classroom "library", a three-shelf bookcase that hung on the wall -- next to my desk!!! I remember taking it from the shelf that first time - and then several times again that year. Of course, as an adult, I have my own copy, and find delight in it every time I reread it. Thanks for stirring the memories.

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    1. I can't believe you mentioned Mrs Mike! I started it before Christmas and put it aside for Christmas books, and now another one, but I'll get back to it. I am SO enjoying it.

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  3. I am currently reading Magpie Murders at your recommendation. I thought the author's name was familiar and when I read his bio I knew why: Foyle's War! A fabulous series. I have the latest from McCall Smith on the reserve list. It's a popular one. I usually buy these so I have them to read again which I have but not lately.

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    1. Hope you continue to like it. Everyone is different, and I'm sure some don't care for it. And, yes! Foyle's War. That's the first time I'd heard of him. I'm glad the Mma Ramotswe is popular.

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  4. Maybe this year?
    If the feeling strikes, it should only be enjoyable and because you want to.

    What a great year of reading! There are so many mystery series to try. You keep mentioning ones I've not heard of. I completely agree about your comment on sense of place that can really make a series.
    The latest Precious Ramotswe was wonderful, as usual. And Magpie Murders was excellent, really excellent.

    And I can't leave without mentioning Anne. I have reread them recently and agree, obviously. Every version (book, play, movies) are always great. I am planning to watch the Netflix version this winter. Love, love Anne.
    Happy New Year friend!

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    1. Thanks. You are exactly right. I will remember your words when I'm feeling like I 'should.' I so love hearing from fellow fans of Mma Ramotswe. I love her, and her life. Did you reread all the books? That's my future plan.

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  5. My mystery group did MAGPIE MURDERS for the January meeting. Sadly, I missed it, but talked in emails to several of the group to see what they thought. I really liked it when I read it last summer. Looking forward to the next book by Anthony Horowitz, which will come out this summer at some point and is already out in the UK. I also read that first book by Triss Stein. Think you might have liked it more than me, but I still want to continue the series. And, I need to get back to Cleo Coyle's coffeehouse series. Not sure where I left off, but will check that.

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    1. I think the AH is available at Book Depository. I have my eye on it. You are the reason I began the TS series! And I do so love CC.

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  6. Your summary makes for some great ideas, should I run out of reading material (which won't happen anytime soon, I guess). The one I am most interested in is the "England 1911" book. It sounds exactly like my kind of non-fiction.

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  7. I always look forward to your book mentions. I find something good to read each time. I have watched the Anne at Green Gables on the PBS station this winter. It reminded me that I should read the books and here you are talking about them...a must read.

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  8. You had a great reading year in 2017. So many interesting books. I'm so glad you introduced me to Triss Stein's Erica Donato mysteries. I'm a Brooklyn girl, after all, and just borrowed the first one from my library. I loved reading the Anne Shirley books when I was young, but I'm afraid to reread them - so often childhood favorites disappoint in adulthood, although you seem to have enjoyed them again.

    Have a Happy New Year, Nan, and another good reading year.

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    1. I like them better as a grownup. I understand the older people better, and am more aware of the PEI surroundings. And I think in many ways this is more an adult book. Happy you are trying the TS books.

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    2. I love reading them as an adult as well - you see Marilla so differently than you did as a child. I love Marilla!

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    3. It's so true. And I understood better about the bank situation (don't want to give anything away if someone has not read it!) I like the name Marilla. That would be a good one to name a little girl - not common at all.

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