Thursday 31 October 2013

Books read in October

A fairly average reading month for me this month. I had some quiet periods, one rather difficult week, and then this week being half-term is busy as well. A mixed month. Thus, it seems to me that seven books read is not bad at all. These are they:

68. The Happy Isles of Oceania by Paul Theroux. My first travelogue by this author, which seems odd given his fame and my taste for travel books but there you go. This one charts Theroux's travels, mainly by kayak, around the isles of the south Pacific. A long book this, possibly a bit over-long as it got slightly repetitive, but for all that I really enjoyed it as it's an interesting region with interesting people. I like the author's style so am currently reading his Great Railway Bazaar which is a bit more concise.

69. The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins. Liked this a lot.

70. Women in the Wild edited by Lucy McCauley. An anthology of travel stories written by women. Patchy with some average stories and some really brilliant ones such as Diving the Jungle by Denise M. Spranger, Hyena by Joanna Greenfield, Survival at Sea by Deborah Scaling Kiley and Meg Noonan and Among Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall. This book is published by the US publisher Traveler's Tales, the same people who published the river anthology I read earlier in the year. I shall be on the look out for more of their books, although the likelihood of finding many in the UK is remote. This one I bought when I was in America a few years ago.

71. Mayhem by Sara Pinborough. A jolly good spooky Victorian read.

72. Sheer Folly by Carola Dunn. Book 18 in the author's Daisy Dalrymple crime series, set in the 1920s. Up to the usual good standard and thoroughly enjoyable.

73. Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch. Book 4 in the author's DC Peter Grant crime/horror/fantasy series. Excellent.

74. Strong Poison by Dorothy L Sayers. This deserves a word or two.

Harriet Vane has been accused of poisoning, with arsenic, her ex-boyfriend, Philip Boyes. If the jury find her gulity she will hang. Lord Peter Wimsey is convinced she's not guilty. The result of the trial is that the jury cannot agree so a retrial is scheduled for a month's time, giving Lord Peter precisely four weeks to prove Harriet's innocence. The case for the prosecution seems water-tight but the real murderer has reckoned without Lord Peter and The Cattery - a group of women he has working for him.

Well, this is my first Lord Peter Wimsey book and it won't be my last. It's not the first in the series, it's actually the fifth. It might seem like an odd place to start but several people suggested starting here with the first book about Harriet Vane, so I did. It was hugely entertaining - the culprit was fairly apparent from about halfway but the joy of the book was how Wimsey and the ladies working for him set about proving it and working out how the deed was done. There was also joy in the writing, so much dry understated humour that had me chuckling all the way through. A delightful book and I'm now on the look-out for more.

So, not a bad reading month really. All books read were enjoyable, and two were non-fictions which pleases me no end. My favourite book? Well it's close, The Dead Secret, Mayhem and Broken Homes were all strong contenders but in the end I think I liked Strong Poison most of all.



DesLily said...

holy-moley! you sure have read a lot!!! My total is only in the 40's but I have to say my eyes and my not feeling well for some time now has a lot to do with it. I went thru 3 weeks where I couldn't even stay awake and was so lethargic I never got out of my chair and just sat with my eyes closed all day long... oh well.. at least I finished my last book in time for RIP! and it was a fantastic read!! had I felt better I should have read it in 2 or 3 days..but glad i finished it in time..if you read it you will be amazed at the twists and turns in trying to figure things out ! lol

Elaine said...

You will love the Vane books in the Wimsey series. Gaudy Night is my most favourite and I read it constantly

GeraniumCat said...

I agree with Elaine, Gaudy Night is wonderful, you will enjoy it so much.

Unknown said...

Wow! This is such a great list :-). Just in time for the weekend, too. I especially want to read Strong Poison. My kind of book! Another one to add to your list that you might enjoy is by Adrienne LaCava entitled, No One Can Know - - I couldn't put this one down! The story is set in the 1960s, and is a riveting mystery that includes the real events of the JFK assassination (although the book doesn’t take a position in the matter of who killed JFK).

Unknown said...

I agree, Ashley, this is a wonderful list. Thank you for your addition. Looks intriguing!

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I agree about Gaudy Night - it's a great book. I must look out for Strong Poison.

Cath said...

Pat: Sorry to hear you've been so ill and they still don't know what the heck is wrong.

I just picked up Before I go to Sleep at the library.

Elaine: I found Hangman's Holiday in a charity shop yesterday. I realise it's short stories and not all about LPW, but I grabbed it anyway. I have a couple more coming from AM - Have His Carcase and The Nine Tailors.

Geranium Cat: It seems Gaudy Night is universally popular!

Ashley: Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for that.

Molly: Thanks!

Margaret: It seems I have a treat in store with Gaudy Night. Before that I want to read the other HV books. Strong Poison is well worth getting hold of.

DesLily said...

good luck putting "before I go to sleep" down! lol

Vintage Reading said...

Ooh good review of Strong Poison. I'm slowly working my way through all the Dorothy Sayers titles, but I like the Harriet Vane ones best. I'm a little bit in love with Lord Peter!

Peggy Ann said...

Good month!

Cath said...

Pat: Thanks... sounds like I might need it. LOL!

Nicola: Dorothy Sayers is my new book project. The plan is to try and get hold of, and read, them all.

Peggy: Thank you!

Susan said...

Cath, your average month is a good month for me! lol Given all you had to get through, it's a good month all right. The best is you enjoyed most of them, isn't it?

I read Dorothy Sayers so many years ago, in my late teens and early twenties. I know I enjoyed most of the Harriet Vane/Peter Wimsey books. I can't remember if I read them all now, and one day hope to reread them. Honestly, I have so many new books to get to, and so many books to reread! there needs to be two of me, at least....

Cath said...

Susan: Exactly. I'm not really that fussed how many books I read each month but more fussed about whether they're any good. LOL!

I know what you mean about wishing there were two of you. And I seriously neglect my own books in favour of the library. I plan to put that right next year with that tbr mountain challenge. The Vintage Crime one will help me read some off the pile too.