Sunday, December 29, 2019

Six in the Second Six - 2019

I did a post in July called Six in Six - 2019. I've been looking at the blog where the idea came from to see if she did a similar post for the second half of the year, but I can't seem to find one.

Anyhow, I thought I would write about July through December, using the same questions she asked for the original Six in Six. As in the first post, some books, series, and/or authors are mentioned in more than one category.

1. Six Authors Who Are New to Me

H.Y. Hanna
I finished her Oxford Tea Room series, now up to 10 books! I read book one in the English Cottage Garden series. And I read the three books in the Tender series. These were quite different from the other two series. The books were set in Singapore. They were more suspenseful and I did like them, but they were a bit darker than I usually care for. I don't know how she can write so many books! I'll read them as fast as she writes them.

Susan Branch
Although I've bought her cookbooks, birthday books, address books, stickers, etc. for years and years, and I read her blog and follow her on Instagram, I have never read a book by her. I read all three of her memoirs, filled with her wonderful drawings - The Fairy Tale Girl, Martha's Vineyard Isle of Dreams, and A Fine Romance  Falling in Love with the English Countryside. She actually wrote the last one first, and then went back to her beginnings in life, and her move to the Vineyard. I read them all in September and was a happy, happy reader. I loved them so much.

Kathi Daley
I read more of her Holiday Bay series books, and have bought three more. I do enjoy the people and the Maine setting.

Elizabeth Spann Craig
I read the first in her new Village Library series. I really liked it, and look forward to more.

Laurie Frankel
I read This is How it Always Is about a family whose son feels like he is a girl from a very young age. The author's own child experienced this so she knows what she's writing about. This is a very important book about a subject no one really knew about a short time ago. It was an excellent book. We get to know the family, their reactions, their strategies, their strengths and weaknesses. The love is so evident among these people. There is a cool corresponding tale the father tells the children at night. I loved this book.

T.E. Kinsey
I am wild about his Lady Hardcastle series. I'm on the 6th, and last so far. The woman and her maid move to the country, and murder finds them. We get hints of their past adventures. The maid and the Lady are really strong friends, though the former still does "maid-ly" type things for her. Set in the early 1900s. The sixth book is in 1910. I hope this series goes on and on. There is humor and warmth, and the mysteries are good ones.

2. Six Authors I Have Read Before

Stewart O'Nan
I read his latest, Henry Himself and then went back to read Emily, Alone. I love these books.

Karen McInerney
I love her Gray Whale Inn mysteries, and read them as soon as they are published. There are nine so far, with more coming next year!

Terry Shames
I've read a few of her Samuel Craddock mysteries, and really liked them. But then I didn't. I read one that was very difficult, and then the next one didn't appeal to me, so sadly I am finished with the series. I think I am a bit more fragile in my reactions to upsetting books just now, and I am a firm believer in reading just what I want to, what pleases me. I can't always figure out why I like something, but not something else, and really I don't even try. Reading is perhaps the only thing in one's life that is strictly our own choice!

Agatha Christie
I read a couple I hadn't read before, and as always, I was so impressed. She was an incredible writer, and one of those rare cases where the hype is true. She should be popular because she is so very good!

Susan Hill
I had read her two books, Howards End is On the Landing, and Jacob's Room is Full of Books, but had never read The Magic Apple Tree, which I just loved. I'm not interested in her mysteries or ghost stories, but I do love her nonfiction.

Fannie Flagg
I went on a four book spree in November. I had read Standing in the Rainbow in 2003, but it was the second in her Elmwood Springs series, and I decided to read them all in order, including Rainbow again. Well, I couldn't have been a happier reader. She is such a good writer. And this series is tremendous. 1998, 2000, 2006, and 2016 is when she wrote the books. I don't want to give away anything so you can experience the magic yourselves. Really special and unique. I just loved these books.

3. Six Authors I Read Last Year But Not So Far This Year.

In the January through June Six in Six, I mentioned Radha Vatsal, but I did read her second book in the Kitty Weeks series in November and liked it so much.

Jessica Ellicott - her Beryl and Edwina mystery series. I read the first one from my state's downloadable books site. I just checked at Fantastic Fiction and she has written two more, which the state isn't carrying so I guess I shall buy them, and soon. Loved the first one.

Cleo Coyle - I have loved her Coffeehouse mysteries, and got the latest two in the series. I had to quit one part way through because I just couldn't stand the subject matter - internet dating. It was just unbearable to read of people swiping through other people on their screens like choosing paint. I will go on to read the latest in the series.

Jacqueline Winspear - I haven't read the latest Maisie Dobbs yet. I'm balking at paying 12 dollars for a Kindle book. Part of me wants to really splurge and buy the whole series in paperback. I think of doing that with Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe series as well. I probably never will but I love thinking of a whole section of my shelves with these books there! I just checked and the state library has it so I put my name on the holds list.

I haven't read any of the old English mysteries authors I read last year - George Bellairs, E.R. Punshon, or Cecil Freeman Gregg.  I'm not sure why. I seem to be on a modern, cozy roll this year, and a newly written historical cozy roll.

4. Six Books From the Past That Led Me Back There

Other than Agatha, my books have been new this second half of the year.

5. Six Series of Books Read or Started

The ones not mentioned in the first six months -

Elmwood Springs by Fannie Flagg
Lady Hardcastle by T.E. Kinsey
Village Library by Elizabeth Spann Craig
English Cottage Garden by H.Y. Hanna
Tender series by H.Y. Hanna
And I suppose one could count Susan Branch's memoirs as a series about her life!

6. Six Favorite Places to Read

Exactly the same as in the earlier Six in Six post except I did bring a second chair into the kitchen which has become my reading place of choice!

This has taken a while to put together, but I wanted to have some kind of chronicle of my reading this year. One of my New Year's resolutions is to really try and write more about what I'm reading. The little ones are all in school now, and I would like to get back to this. It has been a long time.


  1. I love this idea! I might have to do the same. Happy New Year, almost.

  2. What a great idea for a post. I think you have the making for several posts here, really.

    The best thing about this one, though, is that you reminded me about how good a writer Fannie Flagg is. I think she's very underrated.

    1. My daughter saw all the Christmas books I put out in early December, and was looking for something to read. She chose FF's A Redbird Christmas, and said how she loves her. That reminded me of the Elmwood Springs book I had read so long ago, and I checked the state library and they had all of them, so I went right to town! I didn't know she was underrated. I thought people loved her!

    2. I probably should have said underrated by male readers. Most guys know her only for her television comedy.

    3. I think you are a rare male reader. You read such a variety of books. I don't know her from comedy, only her books.

  3. Five of these authors are going to the top of my must try in 2020! And of course it took time for you to put this together, Nan, but thank you for doing it. And I hope you do get to write more about your reading now that the littles are in school. Wow, how did that happen so fast?

    1. Ooh, which ones???
      I was telling someone that grandchildren get older faster than children! I think because we are so busy with our kids, and also we don't see the grands so often.

  4. What a wonderful post. I've a feeling Jo only does it in July but am not certain... I could be wrong.

    So pleased to see Susan Hill on your lists, I haven't read anything at all by her this year so must find something for 2020. Perhaps there's more non-fction I haven't read yet. And I too have been loving the Maisie Dobbs books and will continue with those in 2020.

    1. Thank you!
      I think you are right. Do you have the SH books I mentioned in another post - the ones I bought used? Through the Garden Gate and Through the Kitchen Window. You may have been the one who told me about them. haha

    2. No, I don't have those and don't know them so it wasn't me. Will be sure to have a look at them later though.

    3. I bought nice used copies at amazon.

  5. I am so happy you chose to write about your reading at this time of year. I will be doing a lot more reading in the coming months. I always finds something good to read from your posts.
    I like your reading spot too. That good day light to read by can't be beat.
    Your header photo looks cold. We are going through a weird warm spell. It just isn't normal to be in the 60's during this time of year.

    1. I'm happy you find books you like from my posts. I hope there will be more next year.
      It has been rather springlike lately but snow is coming.

  6. Such an interesting collection of bookish facts about you, dear Nan.
    But of course you won't be surprised to read that first and foremost, I love the picture of your reading chair most about this post. I just want to make myself comfortable there with a good book and a cup of tea or hot vegetable broth (a favourite winter "drink" of mine).
    Of the books you mention, I know hardly anything except for what you have mentioned before on your blog. My book reviews are four behind - I hope to catch up with blogging in the New Year. Right now, there is still some travelling back and forth between my place and O.K.'s lined up.
    Happy New Year to you and yours!

  7. Hello, Nan! It feels nice to revisit your blog after so long. Except for Agatha Christie and Elizabeth Spann Craig, I have not read any of the other authors, but now I have plenty to choose from. I also like your kitchen — it's warm, cozy and lovely.

    Happy New Year to you and and your loved ones, Nan!

  8. Loved this, Nan! It gives us all a good overview of your reading for the year. If you do decide that you want to get a series in paperback, you might take a look at Thriftbooks. They have books in print usually quite reasonably and if you purchase $15, shipping is free. Just a suggestion. I've gotten a lot of older books from them. Some are library discards and some are from other sources. I've been thinking of reading all Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse books this year. I already reread the first one and I bought the latest one. Now my dilemma is whether to go ahead and read the latest and then go back or wait. Decisions, decisions...ha!

    Happy New Year to you and your loveys!

    1. Thanks for the book info! I prob would have to add on a room if I bought all the Maisie and Mma books. haha. I think the Cleo Coyle's are better read in order. Stuff happens and changes, and it is really quite lovely to see the progress over time. A wonderful series.

  9. I loved Laurie Frankel's book, as well. So well written and such an important message. I also loved Henry, Himself and Emily, Alone, but was not as fond of Wish You Were Here. I will re-read the other two someday, though.

    Lovely post and a wonderful photo of your reading room!

  10. Such an interesting post. I realize we like many of the same books...

  11. I do love the way Stewart O'Nan writes and really enjoyed his Emily series. This is How it Always Is sounds like a book I'd enjoy as well.

    Isn't it funny how different it feels with all the kiddos in school full-time?


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