Another quite busy reading month for me - nine books read and Carl's once Upon a Time challenge finished and completed with nine books under my belt. Looking forward to R.I.P. now, in September, but in the meantime I have two other challenges that I ought to crack on with, I've read half the books for one and and a third for the other. No problem really but it would pay me to get another couple read this month for those.
Anyway. I am, as usual, several books behind with reviewing. In fact it's four. So I will list my books and then do a quickie review of those four as I get to them at the end.
36. The Iron Duke - Meljean Brook
37. The Whisperers - John Connolly
38. Death Without Company - Craig Johnson
39. My Animals and Other Family - Clare Balding
40. The Bell at Sealey Head - Patricia McKillip
41. Kindness Goes Unpunished - Craig Johnson
Loved this to bits. It's always fun to take a main character out of their familiar setting, 'Crocodile Dundee' style, and this was no exception. It's clear Walt is a real fish out of water and struggling to cope, not only with his daughter's predicament, but the city itself and the kind of people who live there. Great stuff. I have two more of these on my tbr shelf and will definitely be getting them all.
42. A Dog Abroad - Bruce Fogle
Anyway, this is a travel book. The author decides to take a trip in his camper van, along with his dog, Macy. The route is across The Channel, through the top part of Germany, into Denmark, across to Sweden, Finland and back in huge loop through Baltic countries such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Bruce Fogle is a Canadian, living in the UK, but with Eastern European, Jewish roots, and he wishes to discover more about those roots and see exactly where his people came from.
What an enjoyable book! I like a good travel yarn anyway, always have, but this is so very personal somehow. Macy, the labrador is adorable, and the author is very, very good at describing landscape and atmospheres. The 'Great Plain' of Europe came alive in this book and the feel of it is still very much with me, even though it's over a week since I finished it. I loved hearing about the forests and mountains of Scandinavia too, the characters of the inhabitants of each country, his own adventures, the dog, all of it. This book was a joy, and I'm delighted to discover that Bruce Fogle has written a similar book about America, Travels With Macy, so I'll be grabbing that as soon as I can.
43. A Point of View - Clive James
Many, many subjects are covered: Global warming... Clive is a sceptic... politicians of all countries, Prince Harry fighting in Afghanistan, Wimbledon, the film world, books, feminism, The Olympics, the list is endless. Clive is an amazing writer, absolutely amazing. Some of these subjects sound a bit dry but handled by him they never are. His observations are always razor sharp, delivered with astuteness and always, always, with humour. I laughed and laughed all the way through. Several times my husband asked me why on earth I was cracking up, unable to stop giggling... yes, the book is that funny, but it also has a lot of serious points to make and will make anyone who reads it think about things from a different angle, and just plain think to be honest. I think that achievement alone would make Clive James a happy man.
44. Dog On It - Spencer Quinn
Well, this is an unusal book in that it's written from the point of view of Chet, Bernie's dog. Quite the brilliant idea really as this means we don't get the full facts as a human would know and understand them, we get a dog's view of the world and what he makes of the things he hears. From that the reader has to deduce for themselves what is going on and why. We also get to know about Chet's world, how a dog reacts to various stimuli, his needs, and how he reacts to the people in his life and strangers. What struck me in a couple of places is how helpless dogs are at times, how reliant they are on us for their wellbeing. An obvious point, but brought over very strongly in this book. I always like it when books make me think about something I'd previously taken for granted or not given any thought to whatsoever. This is book one in the author's 'Chet and Bernie' mysteries and I already have book two on reserve at the library.
So that's my June in books. The thing I'm quite pleased about is that of the nine books three were non-fiction. That's much better than I've been doing in recent months. I do enjoy both fiction and non-fiction but tend to neglect the latter in favour of the former. Silly really. It's just a case of finding the right non-fiction for me, but that's the case with fiction too; I've become very skilled at choosing that for myself, I just need to become as clever with picking factual books.
Happy July reading.