Sunday, January 31, 2021

January Book Facts

To save myself doing so much work at the end of December, I am really going to try and do the stats each month.

Read 9 books

children's books - 5 

mysteries - 4

Kindle - 6

print - 3

by men - 3

by women - 6

By the years:

1900-1909 - 1

1940s - 2

1950s - 1

1960s - 1

2010-2019 - 1

2020 - 3

January books

January - 9

1. The Purple Onion Mystery (aka Murder on Friday) - book 7, and last, in the Spike Tracy series 

by Harriette Ashbrook

mystery 1941

Kindle

finished 1/2/21

Sorry to say farewell to Mr. Tracy. I've so enjoyed these books.

2. The Theft of the Iron Dogs aka Murderer's Mistake - book 28 in the Robert Macdonald series

by E.C.R Lorac

mystery 1946

Kindle

finished 1/10/21

One of my favorite books in the Macdonald series. He goes back to an area, and sees some of the people he met in a previous book, Fell Murder. Such good characters, and she was a really good writer. I've read she's getting a lot of acclaim since being re-introduced through the British Library Crime Classics series. She deserves every bit of the praise.

3. The Railway Children

by Edith Nesbitt

children's fiction serialized in The London Magazine 1905, published as a book in 1906

Kindle

finished 1/14/21

Best book of the month! I loved it so much. She is a great writer, and I plan to read more of her this year. Wonderful family relationships. Realistic children. Life in the "olden days" when kids could pretty much live their own lives during the long days. 

4. The Owl Service

by Alan Garner

children's fiction 1967

Kindle

finished 1/16/21

I really wanted to like this, but I mostly felt it was odd. I don't want to say too much because it is a good story to come to fresh. I am interested in the mythical stories about old England and Wales, but this one just didn't strike my fancy.

5. Murder in Vienna - book 42 in the Robert Macdonald series

by E.C.R. Lorac

mystery 1956

Kindle 

finished 1/21/20

Still loving Lorac so much. What a terrific character Macdonald is. It is one of those series where you don't see him at home, or with relatives. It is just him on the case, yet readers get to know him as a person.

6. Kamala and Maya's Big Idea

by Meena Harris; illus. by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez

Children's book 2020

print

finished 1/24/21

7. Joey  The Story of Joe Biden

by Jill Biden; illus. by Amy June Bates

Children's book 2020

print

finished 1/24/21

8. The Fatal Flying Affair - book 7 in the Lady Hardcastle mysteries

by T. E. Kinsey

mystery 2020

Kindle

finished 1/27/21

I love this series! It is historical fiction set in the pre-WWI years. Awfully good relationship between two women, both of them strong and interesting. 

9. The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse

by Charlie Mackesy

illustrated fiction for adults and children 2019

print

finished 1/27/21

My main print reading is a very big (and wonderful book) about Churchill and the Second World War but I did read a few children's print books this month. 

I heard about The Boy...  from The Duchess of Cornwall. And then I saw it everywhere, so I bought it. I must be missing something. I think it is a perfectly fine children's book, but I am not one of the many adults who've written about how wonderful it is. I thought it rather simple and bland and not surprising or interesting. Probably I'm the only reader in the world who thinks this, but there you go. 

The book about President Biden was really quite wonderful. We got it for all the grandchildren for Christmas. It is quite detailed about things in his life. I think it will show children that ordinary people can do great things as children and may even be President someday.

This book about Kamala Harris and her sister, Maya written by Maya's daughter was based on a story the writer had always heard. It isn't necessary factual but is a good story. I didn't care for the illustrations. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Duchess of Cornwall reads "My Heart's in the Highlands" on Robbie Burns' birthday.

I've been all over trying to find a video to show you here, but this is the best I can do. I so hope it will work. It is also on Facebook if you are there.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKeso1nAvIN/

The Duchess of Cornwall reads Robert Burns' "My Heart's in the Highlands". He was born 262 years ago today.

There's a nice piece about him here

Tom and I drove to Cambridge, Massachusetts many years ago in a snowstorm driving a red Dodge truck to go to a "Burns' Night". It was great fun. In those days, we were big fans of Jean Redpath. She was there, as was Norman Kennedy. The host was Robert J. Lurtsema, who I wrote about on the blog here. In fact, someone commented on that post just last month!! It warmed my heart. I just reread it and saw that I had mentioned the Burns' Night, and the red truck!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Followup about The Simpsons

 This is quite mind-blowing. Because I copied and pasted right from the site, you have to scroll over a bit to read it all but it is worth the trouble. Wow!

'The Simpsons' seemed to get it right again -- by predicting part of the inauguration

Social media users noted the parallels between Vice President Harris' inauguration outfit and Lisa Simpson from a 2000 episode.

(CNN)First things first: No, "The Simpsons" cannot actually predict the future.

Yet, as the longest-running sitcom in US history, the timeless series often finds itself aligning with "life imitates art" moments that happen years after airing.
This week, for example, users on social media couldn't help but wonder at the latest coincidence between Vice President Kamala Harris' outfit during the inauguration and Lisa Simpson's outfit in an episode from 2000.
In "Bart to the Future," Lisa assumes the presidency and asks the now-viral line, "As you know, we've inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump."
    Lisa Simpson as president in the 2000 episode "Bart to the Future"
    In the episode, Lisa wore a purple jacket and pearls. At Wednesday's inauguration, Harris wore a purple jacket and pearls. With Harris serving immediately after Donald Trump's presidency, comparisons by viewers were readily made.
    The similarities with the inauguration didn't stop there for Simpsons fans. Actor Tom Hanks appeared as a host during a virtual concert Wednesday evening, which aimed to keep with President Joe Biden's theme of national unity in a time of crisis.
    In "The Simpsons Movie" from 2007, Hanks in a cameo role pitches a proposed new Grand Canyon at Springfield, the hometown of the Simpsons.
    "Hello. I'm Tom Hanks. The US government has lost its credibility, so it's borrowing some of mine," he says.
    At the end of the scene, he says, "If you're gonna pick a government to trust, why not this one?"
    Speculation over the show's prescient abilities is nothing new. Fans claim the show predicted, among other instances, the Siegfried and Roy tiger attack, smart watches, "murder hornets," and Disney buying 20th Century Fox.
    The show's longevity and its exhausting of possible sitcom scenarios have even been referenced in other comedies, including the "South Park" episode, "The Simpsons Already Did It."
      When asked in 2016 about predicting a Donald Trump presidency so far in advance, writer Dan Greaney told The Hollywood Reporter, "It was a warning to America."
      "And that just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was pitched because it was consistent with the vision of America going insane," he added.

      Thursday, January 21, 2021

      Today's picture seen on Instagram

       I laughed so much when I saw this.



      Sunday, January 17, 2021

      Quote du jour - Goodnight Sweetheart

       I've just started watching my DVDs of Goodnight Sweetheart - third time I will have seen it, I think. 

      A woman in 1940 lights up a cigarette. A man who has time-traveled from the 1990s says it is "very bad for your health." 

      She says, "Everyone knows they're good for your nerves. And there is no point worrying about a cough carrying you off when a bomb could land on you any second."

      Friday, January 15, 2021

      It was a year ago today...

      ...that we picked up the kittens. 


      And you can see them now in the blog header! We are so thankful for Gemma and Maisy!

      Wednesday, January 13, 2021

      The Reading Room on instagram

       


      If you are on instagram, you might be interested in this reading group! To find her, just type into the search 

      duchessofcornwallsreadingroom 

      I've read that one of the books is The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charles Mackesy. 

      Sunday, January 10, 2021

      2020 Book Facts

       2020 was my year of discovery! I discovered several new writers, and raced through their work.

      Harriette Ashbrook. Who has heard of her? Yeah, I thought not. Well, she writes a terrific series starring the younger brother of the Manhattan District Attorney. As is the case with so many fictional second sons, this man lives a very different life from his successful sibling. Spike Tracy is a bon vivant, a boulevardier as Bertie Wooster is. He is also a brilliant detective, who sometimes sits unnoticed while noticing everything and everyone. I really like him. She wrote seven books starring Spike and I loved each one. She has another series as Susannah Shane with Christopher Saxe as the detective, but just one of the books is available. She lived to be only 47, and it is very hard to find much information about her. I did find a blog piece here

      E.C.R Lorac, whose real name was Edith Caroline Rivett, is much more famous, yet was unknown to me. I began reading her work last year, and am still going strong. Not all is available, but I read what I can. You may read more about her here

      A more modern writer I discovered only to find out she had died in April 2020 is Sheila Connolly. It made me so sad for her, and for her myriad readers. There is a very nice tribute here, in which the series I read, one right after the other, is featured.

      I only have two posts about the 1920s here and here, but I've had quite a great year reading. I read seven books published then, and one about Hadley Richardson. You will read in the first link that we had planned to visit her grave in Tamworth, New Hampshire but that went the way of so many things in the year of the virus. It will be one of the first outings when this thing finally ends! I've also kept on a special shelf all the books I have that were published in or are about the decade and hope to continue each year reading more. 

      I hardly ever write about one book that was my favorite or the best, but for 2020 it is easy. Electric Eden by Rob Young. I have owned this book for a very long time, and decided I would read it with my breakfast every day instead of a magazine, and then I began reading it other times of the day as well, and then there were times I couldn't put it down, though it took me two months and twelve days to read! And I bought four books that were referenced: News From Nowhere by William Morris, A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Houseman, The Celtic Twilight by W.B. Yeats, and The Owl Service by Alan Garner. I also bought a vinyl version of an album I had bought on iTunes years ago, Vashti Bunyan's Diamond Day. There was much stopping and looking up all kinds of music and musicians. You Tube was a tremendous place to find most everything. I felt like I was in college again, really studying and really learning. 

      I loved reading some James Herriot books, some of which I had read a long time ago. And Galsworthy's Forsyte Saga was so excellent. I can't praise those books enough.

      And I am delighted that I read 17 print books this year. 

      I read a few books published in 2020. The 2020s have begun! 

      Without further ado, as they say, here are my stats for the past year. And, note to self - this year do these stats each month instead of tallying at the end of a year.

      In 2020, I read 70 books. 

      3 Children's fiction

      11 Fiction

      2 Graphic nonfiction

      41 Mystery

      13 Nonfiction

      53 Kindle 

      17 Print 

      22 by men

      48 by women

      By the years:

      1 - 1900-1909

      7 - 1920s

      6 - 1930s

      5 - 1940s

      4 - 1950s

      3 - 1970s

      4 - 1980s

      4 - 1990s

      3 - 2000-2009

      26 - 2010-2019

      7 - 2020s

      I'm not bothering to count rereads or library books anymore. I hardly read any of the latter, and the rereads are so few that it doesn't matter to me how many there are.

      Tom's 2021 Reads

       Only a collecting post

      Saturday, January 2, 2021

      Books Read in 2021

      January - 9 

      1. The Purple Onion Mystery (aka Murder on Friday) - book 7, and last, in the Spike Tracy series 
      by Harriette Ashbrook
      mystery 1941
      Kindle
      finished 1/2/21

      2. The Theft of the Iron Dogs aka Murderer's Mistake - book 28 in the Robert Macdonald series
      by E.C.R Lorac
      mystery 1946
      Kindle
      finished 1/10/21

      3. The Railway Children
      by Edith Nesbitt
      children's fiction serialized in The London Magazine 1905, published as a book in 1906
      Kindle
      finished 1/14/21

      4. The Owl Service
      by Alan Garner
      children's fiction 1967
      Kindle
      finished 1/16/21

      5. Murder in Vienna - book 42 in the Robert Macdonald series
      by E.C.R. Lorac
      mystery 1956
      Kindle 
      finished 1/21/20

      6. Kamala and Maya's Big Idea
      by Meena Harris; illus. by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez
      Children's picture book 2020
      print
      finished 1/24/21

      7. Joey  The Story of Joe Biden
      by Jill Biden; illus. by Amy June Bates
      children's picture book 2020
      print
      finished 1/24/21

      8. The Fatal Flying Affair - book 7 in the Lady Hardcastle mysteries
      by T. E. Kinsey
      mystery 2020
      Kindle
      finished 1/27/21

      9.The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse
      by Charlie Mackesy
      illustrated fiction for adults and children 2019
      print
      finished 1/27/21

      February - 5

      10. A Shot in the Dark - book 1 in the Mydworth mysteries
      by Matthew Costello (with Neil Richards)
      mystery 2019
      Kindle
      finished 2/6/21

      11. A Pint of Murder - book 1 in the Madoc and Janet Rhys series
      by Alisa Craig 
      mystery 1980
      Kindle
      finished 2/20/21 

      12. The Old Woman Who Named Things
      by Cynthia Rylant
      illustrated by Kathryn Brown
      children's picture book 1996
      print
      finished 2/22/21

      13. A Little Night Murder - book 2 in the Mydworth mysteries
      by Matthew Costello (with Neil Richards)
      mystery 2019
      Kindle
      finished 2/24/21

      14. Murder at Melrose Court - book 1 in the Heathcliff Lennox series
      by Karen Baugh Menuhin
      mystery 2018
      Kindle
      finished 2/27/21

      March - 4

      15. The Black Cat Murders - book 2 in the Heathcliff Lennox series
      by Karen Baugh Menuhin
      mystery 2019
      Kindle
      finished 3/5/21

      16. The Splendid and the Vile
      by Erik Larson
      nonfiction 2020
      print
      finished 3/15/21

      17. The Curse of Braeburn Castle - book 3 in the Heathcliff Lennox series
      by Karen Baugh Menuhin
      mystery 2019
      Kindle 
      finished 3/19/21

      18. Inked Out - book 2 in the Snug Harbor series
      by Karen MacInerney
      mystery 2021
      Kindle
      finished 3/23/21

      April - 5

      19. Sable Messenger - book 2 in the Inspector Knollis series
      by Francis Vivian
      mystery 1947
      Kindle
      finished 4/2/21

      20. The Threefold Cord - book 3 in the Inspector Knollis series
      by Francis Vivian
      mystery 1947
      Kindle
      finished 4/8/21

      21. Something in the Water
      by Catherine Steadman
      mystery/thriller 2018
      Kindle
      library book
      finished 4/10/21

      22. The Swiss Summer
      by Stella Gibbons
      fiction 1951
      Kindle
      finished 4/20/21

      23. Convenience Store Woman
      by Sayaka Murata
      translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori
      fiction 2018
      Kindle
      library book
      finished 4/22/21

      May - 6

      24. The Plumley Inheritance - book 1 in the Ludovic Travers series
      by Christopher Bush
      mystery 1926
      Kindle
      finished 5/4/21

      25. High Wire in Nuala - book 9 in the Inspector De Silva series
      by Harriet Steel
      mystery 2020
      Kindle 
      finished 5/7/21

      26. Dandelion Cottage
      by Carroll Watson Rankin
      children's fiction 1904
      Kindle
      finished 5/9/21

      27. Sweet Bean Paste
      by Durian Sukegawa
      translated from the Japanese by Alison Watts
      fiction 2017
      Kindle
      finished 5/12/21

      28. Before the Coffee Gets Cold - book 1 in Before the Coffee Gets Cold series
      by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
      translated from the Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselo
      fiction 2015
      Kindle
      finished 5/17/21

      29. The Consequences of Fear - book 16 in the Maisie Dobbs series
      by Jacqueline Winspear
      mystery 2021
      Kindle
      library book
      finished 5/23/21

      June - 3

      30. Cold Case in Nuala - book 10 in the Inspector De Silva series
      by Harriet Steel
      mystery 2021
      Kindle
      finished 6/15/21

      31. Citizens of London
      The Americans Who Stood With Britain In Its Darkest, Finest Hour
      by LynnOlson
      nonfiction 2010
      print
      finished 6/7/21

      32. A Shropshire Lad
      by A.E. Housman
      poetry  
      Dover Thrift Edition published 1990
      first printing was 1896
      finished 6/18/21

      July - 4

      33. The Affair of the Christmas Card Killer - book 1 in the Lord Kit Aston
      by Jack Murray
      mystery  2018
      Kindle
      finished 7/3/21

      34. The Whitstable Pearl Mystery - book 1 in the Whitstable Pearl mysteries
      by Julie Wassmer
      mystery 2015
      Kindle
      finished 7/11/21

      35. Murder-On-Sea - book 2 in the Whitstable Pearl mysteries
      by Julie Wassmer
      mystery 2015
      Christmas
      Kindle
      finished 7/20/21

      36. The May Day Murder - book 3 in the Whitstable Pearl mysteries
      by Julie Wassmer
      mystery 2016
      Kindle
      finished 7/28/21

      August - 4

      37. Murder on the Pilgrims Way - book 4 in the Whitstable Pearl mysteries
      by Julie Wassmer
      mystery 2017
      Kindle
      finished 8/6/21

      38. Disppearance in Oare - book 5 in the Whitstable Pearl mysteries
      by Julie Wassmer
      mystery 2018
      Kindle
      finished 8/13/21

      39. Murder Fest - book 6 in the Whitstable Pearl mysteries
      by Julie Wassmer
      mystery 2019
      Kindle
      finished 8/24/21

      40. Murder on the Downs - book 7 in the Whitstable Pearl mysteries
      by Julie Wassmer
      mystery 2020
      Kindle 
      finished 8/28/21

      September - 5

      41. Strictly Murder - book 8 in the Whitstable Pearl mysteries
      by Julie Wassmer
      mystery 2021
      Kindle
      finished 9/2/21

      42. Dear Hugo 
      by Molly Clavering
      fiction 1955
      Kindle
      finished 9/7/21

      43. A Study in Stone - book 1 in the Devonshire mysteries (a short novel)
      by Michael Campling
      mystery 2019
      Kindle
      finished 9/8/21 

      44. Valley of Lies - book 2 in the Devonshire mysteries
      by Michael Campling
      mystery 2020
      Kindle
      finished 9/17/21

      45. The Colors of All the Cattle - book 19 in the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series
      by Alexander McCall Smith
      mystery 2018
      Kindle
      library book
      finished 9/21/21

      October - 

      46. "Murder Isn't Cricket" - book 4 in the Doctor Harry Manson series
      by E. and M.A. Radford
      mystery 1946
      Kindle
      finished 10/3/21

      47. Murder Between the Tides - book 3 in the Devonshire mysteries
      by Michael Campling
      mystery 2020
      Kindle
      finished 10-19-21

      Friday, January 1, 2021

      Quote du jour/John Lennon

       "... happy new year. Let's hope it's a good one, without any fear."

      John Lennon (1940-1980)