Wednesday 30 September 2015

Books read in September

September is always a busy month for me as it's the main harvesting month for produce grown in the garden. At the moment we're peeling heaps of shallots for the freezer but also preparing tomatoes, courgettes, apples and more... also for the freezer. It's sometimes an exercise in logistics finding room in it... in fact a friend refers to our freezer as The Tardis. LOL! Anyhow, I still found some time to read and this month read five books. These are they:

42. Little Beach Street Bakery - Jenny Colgan

43. Death du Jour - Kathy Reichs

44. River Marked - Patricia Briggs

45. Terra Incognita - Ruth Downie

Roman Medicus, Gaius Petreius Ruso, finds himself heading north from Deva (modern-day Chester) to the borders of England and Scotland, a wild and lawless area where his housekeeper, Tilla, originates. Expecting a quiet time, Ruso is of course quickly disabused of this fanciful notion with an accident on the road which is not an accident, the appearance of a sinister antlered individual whom Tilla thinks is a god, and the murder of a Roman soldier. It's a real can of worms and Ruso soon wishes himself back in Deva as the powers that be assume he, with a track record of solving a murder, can help solve this one. Really enjoyed this second instalment of this 'Roman Empire in Britania' series. The sense of place is very strong, it seems to me that plenty of research has been done as to landscape, buildings, costume, conditions and so forth, plus the books are good mysteries with quite a lot of wry humour. Poor Ruso's life is endlessly complicated by people constantly taking advantage of his honourable nature and also by the wonderful Tilla. I will definitely read a lot more of this series.

46. The Violins of Saint-Jacques - Patrick Leigh Fermor

The narrator of this story meets Frenchwoman, Berthe de Rennes, on an island in the Aegean. She's lived a long and interesting life and likes to talk about it... and the narrator becomes interested in the time she spent on an island in the Caribbean, Saint-Jacques in the Antilles. Newly inpoverished, she had gone there to distant relations to be a governess to the family's children. Berthe becomes immersed in their way of life, falls in love and is fallen in love with, and all against the backdrop of a stunningly beautiful volcanic island. That basically is the book. There isn't a huge plot, just the intricacies of people's lives and how their dramas all come together at the annual Mardi Gras ball... about which there is a lot of detail. What raises this book above the ordinary is the contents of the last 20 pages. I suspected the outcome but wasn't prepared for the brilliant and devastating way in which it was written, which of course made it even more shocking than it might otherwise have been. I was going to give the book a 4 on Goodreads but made it a 5 because of the ending. Patrick Leigh Fermor is best known for his travel writing of course, I'm not sure if this is his only fictional book, I think it might be, which is a real shame. Parts of this book will live with me for a long time.

So that's it. Today is the last day of September and I can't believe how quickly this month has flown by. I intended to read more but didn't do too badly all told. The mix is interesting - no one book was like any other which is probably a bit unusual for me. I don't have a favourite book, all of them were very good and that makes me a happy bunny.

We're well and truly into autumn now and October is one of my favourite months for reading so I'm looking forward to it. To close here's a photo of my favourite of the jigsaw puzzles I completed this month. Click for a larger view.



DesLily said...

holy cow! you do more than one puzzle a month??!!! wow you must be super good at them. I know my girlfriend is too but I will have to ask her how many she does a month! lol I can't believe how much you read and do puzzles and do all the "freezer" food!!! You have way more energy than I do!!! lol

BooksPlease said...

Wow! How on earth did you manage to read 5 books, write reviews of three of them AND deal with all that produce AND complete a beautiful jigsaw??!!! Do you ever sleep? Seriously I am most impressed. I think I'll have to look out for the Patrick Leigh Fermor book. And read his Between the Woods and the Water, his follow-up book to A Time of Gifts. It might just the change of genre I need right now.

Jeane said...

That puzzle sure is full of lush color and texture. I've been doing about one a month since I started into it again- fall and winter seems to be puzzle time for me (less work to do in the garden outside)!

Kay said...

Love the puzzle. So pretty. You have been very busy, Cath. Just think of all those lovely vegetables when the weather is cold. And remind me what courgettes are? Hope your October is just as productive and fun.

Val said...

Oh I just finished Terra Ingognita by Ruth Downie too and I've a feeling you put me onto the series. I'm really enjoying them ..I so agree about sense of place and wry humour . This month I actually read more than one book ...there may be hope for me
The garden riches sound lovely ...I haven't had shallots in ages. I managed Runner beans, Raspberries and Rhubarb this year and only because they look after themselves I can't claim much gardening credit there.
If you have spare apples I can recommend this recipe's both easy and rather yummy

Cath said...

Pat: Just out of interest I checked my jigsaw photos file. Apparently I did 10 jigsaws in August, only 3 in September and 1 almost finished for October. I've always been pretty quick at doing them.

Bear in mind it's a *lot* cooler here than Florida. The humidity there would kill me and I wouldn't get a thing done. LOL

Margaret: Well, I suppose my days are quite full. I'd like to read a bit more but somedays - like today - it just doesn't happen. I've done apples and tomatoes today and cooked a large bowl of mixed berries and nectarines for crumbles and pies. Also had a visit from family so no reading or jigsaws today.

I was lucky and picked the PLF book up for pence at a library sale. I really enjoyed A Time of Gifts but have not read Between the Woods and the Water yet.

Jeanne: The puzzle was 1,500 pieces and took me a couple of weeks to do as there's heaps of detail. It's one of the nicest I've done and I was lucky as it was very cheap from a charity shop.

Kay: Yes, the veggies are absolutely wonderful in the winter. We make endless soups and casserole meals with them. I *think* courgettes are your zucchini. I tend to grate them and store them in the freezer to go into soup.

Val: I'm glad you're enjoying the Ruth Downie books. Could've been me as I reviewed the first book recently.

I assume the growing season is very short in Alaska so I reckon you did quite well. I'll check out the recipe in a moment. My daughter gave me one for apple and carrot cake which I intend to try as well.

Jeane said...

You're lucky on that. I used to pick up puzzles secondhand, but too many turned out to have missing pieces. I won't risk it now unless the box is still factory sealed.

Cath said...

Jeanne: Yes, I've been quite lucky with my charity shop buys, most of the puzzles have been complete. I don't mind doing them with a piece or two missing as long as I know about it beforehand. If I'm expecting it to be complete and it's not, that's disappointing.