Saturday, 30 June 2018

Books read in June

Despite other things going on this month (the garden, a holiday, grandkids) I also managed to read 7 books so that's not at all bad really. Of course that's helped by the current heatwave. I hate being outside when it's hot so at the moment I'm to be found indoors in the afternoons, windows and doors open, reading.

These are my 7 books for June:

28. The Enchanted April - Elizabeth Von Arnim

29. Travellers in the Third Reich - Julia Boyd

30. Dog Will Have His Day - Fred Vargas

31. The Dark Vineyard Martin Walker

32. Between the Woods and the Water - Patrick Leigh Fermor.

This is second part of the trilogy which charts the author's walk from England to what was then Constaninople and is now Istanbul. In this part he walks through Hungary and Transyvania stopping off at intervals to stay with various contacts or friends of friends. It sounded idyllic but always you're aware that this is the mid-1930s and within a few years the whole region will be changed beyond recognition by the war. There're beautiful descriptions of the mountains, the old towns, and a wonderful carefree atmosphere pervades the whole book. The people are friendly and thrilled to have an Englishman staying with them. A beautiful book but I found it impossible to shake the sense of impending doom.

33. Maigret and the Flemish Shop - Georges Simenon

34. A Wild Herb Soup - Emilie Carles.

Emilie Carles was born Emilie Allais in the year 1900 in the village of Val-des-Prés, in the Haute Alpes region of France. It was very remote and isolated and the Italian border was just a few miles away over the mountains. The family were of peasant stock and proud of it but life was hard, hard, hard. Emilie lost her mother when she was six, she was gathering in crops when she was struck by lightning and killed instantly. Her father, Joseph, then had six children to bring up on his own so all the children had to pull their weight. Work was a way of life because if you didn't work, you didn't eat. Simple as that. But somehow through all this Emilie managed to get herself an education and become a teacher. It's an incredibly inspiring story, heartbreaking in places - a sister died in childbirth because she didn't know what was happening and wouldn't let anyone near her, her husband being away fighting in WW1 - but through it all Emilie's spirit shines. What an amazing person she must have been... a thinker, a reader, a campaigner, a teacher in the best sense of the word. When I read about the hard lives of women like this I realise that these days we hardly know we're born.

It's so nice to have a reading month like this. Lots of really good books with different settings which have taken me all over Europe... Italy, France, Germany, Hungary and Romania, that's not bad!

It's very hard to pick a favourite. The French crime yarns were all excellent, The Enchanted April is a delightful book, and I loved reading about Emilie Carles's life in a remote region of France. But really the book I found the most interesting and 'unputdownable' was Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd:

And this is where I spent a few days earlier in the month: Arundel in West Sussex. One of the prettiest counties I've been in... rolling hills and pretty villages galore. We had a super time.



BooksPlease said...

You've had a good month - reading and holidays etc!

I can't stand much heat either and if I try to sleep outside I just fall asleep. Glad you found Between the Woods and the Water a beautiful book. I've only just read a few pages, but will get back to it.

Dog Will Have His Day was actually on the library shelves when I went on Thursday! That doesn't happen very often.

Judith said...

Hi Cath,
Between Woods and Water sounds so interesting, especially the author's travels through Hungary and Transylvania. On the radio or maybe it was the New York Times, I read a description of how unspoiled Transylvania is today, and a discussion of how the people there are trying to boost their tourism.

DesLily said...

Holy cow! There's no stopping you !! I will never know how you do it.. but then I don't know how you do so many puzzles either! lol.. I just started one that I know you read, The Essex Serpent. I hope it's good!!

Peggy Ann said...

Excellent month! I’ve managed to read a measly two books 😢 we have been working on a hard puzzle and had company though.

Cath said...

Margaret: Yes, all told, it's been quite a nice month. West Sussex was definitely lovely!

One thing I forgot to say about Between the Woods and the Water is that, history-wise, it does ramble on a bit. That might sound like a good thing but there's so much info it's hard to take it all in.

Oh wow, that doesn't happen to me very often either... enjoy!

Judith: I'm not at all surprised to hear that Transylvania is unspoilt still. It's very remote and mountainous so I imagine communications can't be easy. I imagine what tourism there is is Dracula based too. LOL

Pat: I seem to have had a lot of spare time this month. It won't last, the kids break up from school in 3 weeks. LOL

The Essex Serpent is a slow burner. The first time I tried to read it I gave up, second time I loved it.

Peggy: Jigsaw puzzles and company are really nice. Impossible to do everything you want at the same time and your books aren't going anywhere.

BooksPlease said...

oops - I meant to say: I try to read outside I just fall asleep!

I found Patrick Leigh Fermor included so much detail in A Time of Gifts that it was not an easy read! I wondered if he had done the same in Between the Woods and the Water.

Cath said...

Margaret: Yes, I assumed that's what you meant. :-)

A Time of Gifts had quite a few words I didn't know the meaning of... there were fewer in BtWatW. On the other hand he put a lot more history in BtWatW, too many facts and dates eventually go right over my head and I found myself skipping a bit. The actual travel elements, the landscape and people he met, that was all excellent. I have his biography by Artemis Cooper to read now, should be interesting.

TracyK said...

I am probably repeating myself but I have not read any of the Three Evangelists books or the Martin Walker series. I could read either a book by Simenon or one by Walker for the European challenge. I am leaning toward Bruno, Chief of Police.

You had a very nice reading month, especially with so much going on.

Cath said...

Tracy: Yes, the Bruno book would do for France for the European challenge. How are you doing with that?

TracyK said...

I am doing fairly well. I have books for four countries read and reviewed (but not all linked to the challenge). I have books for six other countries read but not reviewed. I hope to do more. And I hope to get all the reviews written. Regardless, I have enjoyed all the books.

Cath said...

Tracy: You are doing well! Ten is excellent. I've read five so far but like you plan to read a few more if I can.