Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Books for July

July has been a fairly good reading month for me. I haven't been too busy, plus it was rather hot for most of the month and when it's hot I do tend to spend afternoons especially, quietly reading. So, eight books read and most pleasing is the fact that half of those were non-fiction.

45. Out of the Woods but not Over the Hill - Gervase Phinn

46. A Cook's Year in a Welsh Farmhouse - Elizabeth Luard

47. In the Bleak Midwinter - Julia Spencer-Fleming

48. Travels with Macy - Bruce Fogle

49. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter - Tom Franklin

50. Speaking from Among the Bones - Alan Bradley

Speaking from Among the Bones is the author's fifth book about the young amateur detective Flavia de Luce. This is Amazon's synopsis:

Eleven-year-old amateur detective and ardent chemist Flavia de Luce is used to digging up clues, whether they're found among the potions in her laboratory or between the pages of her insufferable sisters' diaries. What she is not accustomed to is digging up bodies. Upon the five-hundredth anniversary of St. Tancred's death, the English hamlet of Bishop's Lacey is busily preparing to open its patron saint's tomb. Nobody is more excited to peek inside the crypt than Flavia, yet what she finds will halt the proceedings dead in their tracks: the body of Mr. Collicutt, the church organist, his face grotesquely and inexplicably masked. Who held a vendetta against Mr. Collicutt, and why would they hide him in such a sacred resting place? The irrepressible Flavia decides to find out. And what she unearths will prove there's never such thing as an open-and-shut case.

Not much to say about this other than it was hugely enjoyable. It was delightful to return to the village of Bishop's Lacey and see once again how brilliant Flavia is at using chemistry to solve the various murders that crop up in the village. Her family and the cast of other village characters make the books come alive and they are just a joy to read. Can't wait for the next one now.

51. A Fountain Filled With Blood - Julia Spencer-Fleming.

Another synposis from Amazon:

Nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks, Millers Kill, New York, is about as safe as it gets. That's why Episcopal minister Clare Fergusson is shocked when the July Fourth weekend brings a rash of vicious assaults to the scenic town. Even Clare's good friend, police chief Russ Van Alstyne, is shaken by the brutality of the crimes - especially when it appears that the victims were chosen because they were gay. But when a third assault on an out-of-town develo0per end in murder, Clare and Russ wonder if the recent crime wave is connected to the victim's controversial plan to open an upscale spa in Millers Kill. But not all things in the tiny town are what they seem and soon, Clare and Russ are left to fight their unspoken attraction to one another, even as they uncover a labyrinthine conspiracy that threatens to turn deadly for them both...

Oh, how I do love Clare and Russ. I think I may be reading these books as much for the progression of their relationship as for the actual crime element. The crime element is very good though, both books so far have had a long, really exciting scene towards the end to do with the landscape and conditions in New York State. I really love that real connection to the setting and love that I've found another author who does that. Others that spring immediately to mind are Craig Johnson, Nevada Barr, James Lee Burke (in the USA anyway). But Clare and Russ are fascinating. They're hopelessly attracted to each other but trying very hard not to be - Russ because he's married and Clare because she's a church minister and because Russ is married! It's absolutely fascinating. Great books, book four has arrived but book three has not. Wish it would hurry up!

52. Notes from a Big Country - Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson lived in the UK for twenty years before moving back to the USA in the mid-1990s, New Hampshire in fact. While he was there, for about 8 years, he wrote a weekly column for The Mail on Sunday about life in America, the changes he noticed, how he coped with these changes, and just really dealing with ordinary life in The States. Subjects covered are many and various: Junk food, winter in New England, Christmas, Thanksgiving, going to the barbers, American sport, politics, cupholders in cars... the list is endless. I think I found all but a couple absolutely rivetting and naturally - what you always get with Bill Bryson - 'funny'. I laughed an awful lot. He has a very witty way of putting things which appeals to my sense of humour. This book is so worth a read as long as you don't mind having gentle fun poked at you... English or American that is. I love reading about the absurdities of both nations so that was fine by me. My book was a library book but I'm going to buy it as some stage, as I did with Down Under as it was *so* darn good. Bryson returned to the UK in 2003, not sure why, but speaking as a Brit I'm thrilled to have him here. :-)

So, that's my reading for July. Pleased that I managed four non-fictions this month, I knew it was achievable if I put my mind to it. Favourite book of the month? Probably Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin, but the two Julia Spencer-Flemings ran it a close second and so did Travels With Macy and Notes from a Big Country. To be honest it really was a reading month full of quality books.



DesLily said...

wow! 8 books!.. I read 3 lol so not gunna post about them lol.. however, I am now reading Speaking from Among the Bones! I search thru my books and I have sooooooo many that are good for RIP I thought I'd treat myself!

Really nice to hear how much you like a group of books by Julia Spencer-Flemming..especially when new books keep coming out! You are like me in this respect, give me characters I adore and you can't write too many books with them in it! lol

you had another outstanding reading month!!!

Geranium Cat said...

You know, I don't think the Amazon description would have drawn me to the Spencer-Fleming book, but your recommendation certainly does. Shall see if the library has them. And the Bradley of course - though I haven't read the fourth yet.

The Elizabeth Luard sounds appealing too - I like her books.

Urdu Novels said...

I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

Margaret@BooksPlease said...

Cath, the hot weather helped a lot with my reading too!

I've never really taken to Alan Bradley's Flavia books - it was the beginning of the first book that didn't appeal, but that was then, maybe now it would appeal more, I don't know.

I love Bill Bryson's books, but haven't read this one - I hope the library has a copy.

Cath said...

Pat: Hope you're enjoying Speaking from Among the Bones? Yep, I can take any amount of books with characters I love... unless the author does something with them I hate. Luckily this rarely happens.

Geranium Cat: I hope you have better luck with the JS-F books than me. Devon libraries had one! I need to read more by Elizabeth Luard as I really like her style of writing.

Urdu Novels: Thank you.

Margaret: I don't think the Flavia novels are for everyone. Hard to suspend disbelief sometimes but I do find them fun.

I expect your library will have this BB book, most seem to as it's very popular.

Jo said...

I really much catch up with more Flavia.

Cath said...

Jo: It's a very nice series to have to catch up on, not a hardship exactly. :-)