Thursday 2 August 2018

Books Read in July

July was a fairly average reading month for me, six books read and enjoyed. All fine and dandy. Except... I really hate the month of July. And this year it was especially bad with very little rain and high (for us) temps. The countryside is all yellow and brown from lack of water and so is our grass. Veggies struggling, we have watered a bit but you can't go mad in case there's a water shortage. Horrible. I can't wait for autumn to be honest, although thankfully we've now had a fair bit of rain and it's a bit cooler.

Anyway, these are my books for July:

35. Blood on the Tracks - edited by Martin Edwards

36. Death on the Riviera - John Bude

37. The French Riviera - Ted Jones

Blurb from Goodreads: The French Riviera: A Literary Guide for Travellers is a reader's journey along the fabled coast which has provided the inspiration and setting for some of the greatest literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. From Hyères and St. Tropez in the west to the Italian border in the east, Ted Jones introduces the lives and work of writers who passed this way, from distinguished Nobel laureates to new authors who discovered their voices there. His encyclopaedic work covers them all: writers such as Graham Greene and W. Somerset Maugham, who spent much of their lives there; F. Scott Fitzgerald and Guy de Maupassant, whose work it dominates; and the countless writers who simply lingered there, including Louisa M. Alcott, Albert Camus, Bruce Chatwin, T. S. Eliot, Ian Fleming, Sylvia Plath, Jean-Paul Sartre, Leo Tolstoy, Evelyn Waugh, Oscar Wilde - and countless others.

That sums it up much better than I ever could. I enjoyed this journey along the coast of the French Riviera, reading about individual writers and their connections to certain towns. Perhaps it wasn't quite a as rivietting as I was hoping it might be, but there you go. I read it at the same time as Death on the Riviera by John Bude so I could see that the observations he made about the British expats there were spot on. I have The Riviera Set by Mary Lovell to read so that should increase my knowledge a bit more.

38. Valour's Choice - Tanya Huff

39. Busman's Holiday - Dorothy L. Sayers

40. I Feel Bad About My Neck - Nora Ephron

I'd heard of Nora Ephron but wasn't quite sure who she was. Apparently, she's a screenwriter and film director of films such as Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally. She's also a fine essayist. I really enjoyed this books of her essays, covering all kinds of subjects but especially female experiences, marriage (I think she's been married several times), and life in New York. If I'm honest I liked her writings about New York more than those about the female body. I'm not really into make-up, trying to look younger and glamorous and so on but I was fascinated to hear about the famous appartment block she lived in, what happened, and other tales of New York. I think I don't read enough of this type of book, *note to self* search out more.

Favourite book of July? Hmm, difficult as all the vintage crime yarns were terrific. But, by a small margin, I think it would have to be this:

Because, when all's said and done, who doesn't love a bit of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane?

So, that was July and now it's August and hurray for that as I can see Autumn at the end of the tunnel! Let joy be unconfined.



Peggy Ann said...

Good reading month, Cath! I only got 3 read, but my grandkids were here for half of the month, so I guess I’m excused. Can you believe I’ve never read a Sayers book yet!?

I’m all in for fall too. My favorite time of the year. Although this summer hasn’t been too bad here. We’ve had a decent amount of rain so everything is green, first time since we moved to Tennessee that our lawn stayed green! We are usually hot and dry and everything is brown. We’ve had seasonable temps in the 80’s too, not the high 90’s like the last two years.

Kay said...

Cath, sorry your summer has been dry and brown. That, unfortunately, is how summer is in my part of the world. Normally. And this has been an above normal year with little rain. Sigh. My yard is brown and brown and brown. Ah well. We have drought tolerant grass and so once there is a little moisture, it will green up. Glad you tried Nora Ephron's book. I thought it was quite clever and funny in parts. Not all the essays spoke to me, but some did. Hope your August is good. We're going to head to the mountains in a couple of weeks for some cooler weather.

Nan said...

July is usually one of my favorite months, but this one has been quite like yours. Way too hot, with no A/C because we aren't usually this hot! We did have some rain recently so Tom mowed the lawns for the first time in a month. One interesting thing is that because he didn't mow, a couple of locust trees grew up a few inches in an area that needs some shade! I love it that you read the fiction and non-fiction of the Riviera at the same time. A wonderful scholarly venture! I'm with you on Dorothy Sayers. Her worst book is better than so many other authors' best. And Nora Ephron. I wrote about the neck book ten years ago. How is that possible?? Here it is, if you want to read it. And for the first time in ages, I am in sync with you again! Also, six books.

KVS said...

My wife and I just had a long drive and took along I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron. We don't usually listen to audiobooks, preferring the paper kind, but this was perfect for the drive. The series of essays meant we could start and stop easily, listen to an essay or two and then turn the book off to enjoy the scenery.

I have to say, Ephron is hilarious. Such a fun and witty writer, able to make fun of her foibles in a delightful way. I'll have to read more by her.

Nan said...

Hey, I mentioned you on my blog today! Susan Hill shares your dislike of July!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This post resonated with me - I loved "I Feel Bad About My Neck" and miss Nora Ephron - gone too soon. I also disliked the month of July - hot, humid and I felt cranky even with AC. Hope August brings you some rain - we have had enough recently -- all at one time.

Judith said...

Hi Cath,
I recall being very resistant for a time to reading I Feel Bad about My Neck, because, I thought then, as I age I do not want to feel bad about it and I don't want Nora Ephron to give me any ideas I might not be able to dispel. I did read it and liked it very much.

Ephron's later I Remember Nothing, published here in 2010, was a scream (or so I thought at the time). I loved it.

Nora was a journalist early on, back in the 1970s. At the time of Watergate, etc., she was the "girl friend" of Carl Bernstein, an investigative journalist for the Washington Post. You probably have seen the 1976 film All the President's Men, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, among the other great actors who starred. (Still worth watching!) So, in a way, Nora Ephron was married to the Dustin Hoffman character in the movie. I don't know who played Nora in the film (just a few scenes). Ephron married Bernstein in 1976.

What a striking bookcover for Death on the Riviera--lovely. Sounds like it's right up my alley as well. I'm also interested in reading your fave for the month.

I do hope that August will shape up and give you some rain, lots of pleasant sunshine, and no super-heat.

Cath said...

Peggy: Yes, grandkids seriously interfere with your reading, my grand-daughter is here at the moment so I can testify to that. But that's fine, we're blessed to have them and must make the most of them while they still want to visit Grandma and Grandpa. :-)

Yes, I can believe you haven't read a Sayers book as I hadn't read one myself until a couple of years ago. LOL

It sounds like you've had a pretty nice summer. Ours has been hot for us and too dry but nowhere close to the nightmare temps in Spain and Portugal right now. Horrible.

Kay: Yes, I've heard how brutal Texan summers can be. All things are relative and I'm glad not to be in Spain or Portugal at the moment as a lot of Brits will be.

Nora Ephron's book was good and reminded me of how much I enjoy books of essays. I have a few on my tbr mountain so will be searching them out.

Enjoy the mountains!

Nan: Interesting that you don't have AC because it's not normally really hot. I sort of assumed most of the US got pretty warm in the summer but then you're in a mountainous area I think, so maybe not?

I rather like pairing up books on the same subject, especially a fiction and a non-fcition, gives an excellent perspective on events.

Just read your review of NE's Neck book, you summed it up beautifully. Whether I have anything common with her or not (and it wouldn't be a lot) I still feel I would like her a lot if we had ever met. (I gather she has died.)

KVS: I don't do audio books either but have started to wonder about listening to something like that, like you did, on long drives. Good idea. I'm also going to see if I can find, I Remember Nothing... thanks for the rec.

Diane: I didn't realise Nora Ephron had died. How sad.

So far no rain in August but they're saying maybe mid-week. Keeping my fingers crossed. How typical that yours came as a deluge!

Judith: I understand how you felt about reading I Feel Bad About My Neck, as I too didn't want to be encouraged to feel bad about aging. It is what it is. Luckily the book was great fun.

Thanks for telling me a bit about her. I suspect she's more of a presence in the American psyche than the British, as is the same with many of our high profile people who're not much known in the US. I'd definitely heard of her but was just not sure exactly who she was.

Death on the Riviera is one of the BLCC books and they tend to use railway posters for their covers. I'm particulaly keen on that art form so these covers nearly always appeal to me.

Dorothy L. Sayers is now probably my favourite crime writer of all time. So happy that I still have a few of her books to read and am currently enjoying all of her LPW short stories.

Thank you, they say we can expect a break in the weather mid-week. Hoping they're right.

TracyK said...

That non-fiction book about the Riviera and writers sounds very interesting, I had never heard of it. That sounds like the kind of non-fiction I could dip in and out of and enjoy it. I don't really know much about the Riviera.

Cath said...

Tracy: It really was an interesting book and yes, the sort of thing you can dip in and out of. I liked the way the author moved along the coast from one end of the Cote d'azur to the other.