Wednesday 30 September 2020

Books read in September

Before I talk about September books I just wanted to mention that I don't do the Top Ten Tuesday meme but I've loved reading all the posts others have done on their favourite bookish quotes. So I'll start this post off with one of mine and it's this: 

 “If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them – peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that if you do not know what is in them, you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them at any rate be your acquaintances. If they cannot enter the circle of your life, do not deny them at least a nod of recognition.” 

~Winston S. Churchill ~

I think that just about sums up my relationship with my books. My main body of TBR books and favourites are here in my study with my pc and before I go to bed at night I often have a change around or pick out several I want to read soon or sit and read the first few paragraphs of an old favourite. I suspect I'm not alone in doing this.

Anyway, enough rambling. I've read nine books this month and they are, as usual, a motley, undisciplined, surly bunch. These are they:

63. Smallbone Deceased - Michael Gilbert

64. Beyond the Stops - Sandi Toksvig

65. The Crime at Black Dudley - Margery Allingham

66. Travels with Tinkerbelle - Susie Kelly

67. The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter - Theodora Goss 

68. Beyond Time - ed. Mike Ashley

69. Underland - Robert MacFarlane. (To be reviewed.)

70. Silver Bullets - edited by Eleanor Dobson. I probably won't review this. It's a volume of werewolf stories a few of which were not bad but I wasn't overly smitten with the anthology.

71. Close Quarters - Michael Gilbert (To be reviewed.)

So nine months through the year (and what a year!) and it seems my average number of books read per month is no longer six but almost eight. I think this boils down to me hiding amongst my books from the ills of the world (literally). There are worse places to be. 

It's been an excellent reading month. Three or four books stand out. The two Michael Gilberts were superb and I think he's now my favourite vintage crime writer, although he didn't die until 2006 and his publishers were still publishing his books in 2011 so I'm not sure vintage is the right word, but the two I read were from 1947 and 1950. Not sure if these dates even qualify as 'vintage'.

Two non-fictions were also superb, Beyond the Stops - by Sandi Toksvig and Underground by Robert MacFarlane... which was brilliant and has given me a sudden interest in caving books. (I know...)

Also great fun was The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss. Great literature it is not but I loved its madness and energy. 

I'm currently reading these two books:


Apologies, Blogger doesn't want to give me the option of putting them together unless I change back to html. view and I'm terrified of losing the formatting of the whole post if I do that. This, apparently, is progress. Perhaps I should call it, 'The new normal'. (Sorry.) Anyway, I'm enjoying these two immensely. I started The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley because it and the author is mentioned so often in Martin Edward's book and it isn't disappointing so far.

Happy autumn reading!


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Cath, you had an excellent month and, I looked up a few of these and have added to my TBR. Like you when I'm feeling uneasy (mostly about our country) with what has been going, I seek an escape in books, although sometimes it is harder to focus unless I am quickly pulled in.

Jeane said...

I like the quote you shared. I often do just like to handle some of my books- turning over their pages, breathing in the particular scent of ink and paper (it's individual for them all). Some of my shelves start to bow over time so about once every six months I take a lot of books off the shelves in sections to flip the shelf over, and dust more thoroughly. I actually like this task as it gives me an excuse to look at all the books I've loved and think about reading them again someday!

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

An excellent reading month!Your reading average has gone up, whilst mine has gone down. I don't find it easy to concentrate on reading and writing reviews is even more difficult. And I can't decide which book to read next - I've lost count of the number of books I've started and abandoned.

Cath said...

Diane: Thanks! Pleased you found a few amongst them to look into. I think it was really hard when this all first kicked off to focus on anything but now we're all hardened catastrophe experts books are the ideal way to banish it all from mind.

Jeanne: That quote is so me and it's reassuring that us bookish folk are pretty much all like that! That actually sounds like a nice relaxing sort of task and to be honest I do need to do that with bookshelves around the house that are not touched as often.

Margaret: Thank you. I'm struggling with reviews too. Partly it's the new Blogger which gives me a different experience every time I use it. The gift that goes on giving but not in a good way. But also I do find it physically hard to keep up with reviews with all the other things I have on at the moment... harvesting from the garden, keeping the freezer full of meals in case we go into lockdown again etc. We've just bought a huge new upright freezer even though we already have a big chest one... it just won't take all the tomatoes the greenhouse is producing at the moment. You'd think we had a dozen people living here rather two old fogeys.

Susan said...

There's nothing wrong with hiding from 2020 inside the pages of a book! It's been a frightening year and we've all needed the comfort of our favorite things. I've read a number of historical novels this year about war, nuclear disaster, The Great Depression, etc. and they've reminded me that we've been through hard things before and that things always get better eventually. The thought gives me hope :)

I've gotten used to the new Blogger, but I agree - formatting pictures in a post is a nightmare! Ugh.

Like I said in my reply to you on my blog, I love the Churchill quote. Thanks for sharing it!

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Cath,

I'm still all over the place with Covid right now. I am so not used to being cooped up for so long and so inactive. I have plenty of jobs I should and could be getting on with around the house, but motivation and concentration are sadly lacking!

I feel guilty if I sit at the PC blogging and reading all day, whilst Dave continues to work hard from his home office. Consequently one day rolls pretty much into the next!

Ah Well! Maybe 2021 will be better? :)

I too, have that Winston Churchill quote on my Goodreads page, as it so sums up my love affair with all things bookish. I shall never have enough time to read all the physical books on my many shelves, but mention taking some of them away and I have palpitations!

I guess you can work out the authors from your selection I shall be adding to my own list - Michael Gilbert, Marjorie Allingham, Anthony Berkeley and Michael Edwards. Just a few more titles on a list I shall sit and gaze at longingly!

I've heard of a two car family, but a two freezer family takes the biscuit!! :)

Sam said...

Congrats on the great reading month, Cath. Your enthusiasm for Michael Gilbert has me curious enough now that I know I'll have to look into his books for myself. I've never paid much attention to him, honestly, and that sounds like a mistake on my part.

I love that Churchill quote, too. I seem to be doing more of that with a large stack of books on my desk these days. I'm back to my bad habit of trying to read too many books at the same time...and not finishing any of them, as a result. I've gradually gotten myself up to 8 books, got a surprise offer of one from the library that let me jump the queue if I agreed to a 7-day loan, and have two more suddenly ready for pick-up at the library that I really want to read. I'm like the kid whose eyes are bigger than his stomach right now...

DesLily said...

Wow! you have outdone yourself! Meanwhile your "sis" only read 2... but at least one of them was 720 pgs!! xoxoxo

Kay said...

Love the Churchill quote, Cath. Love it. And it does look like you've had a good reading month. I think many of us have either settled down and are reading like crazy or some are still struggling a bit. I'm happy to say that I'm going through book after book. Some are new and some are rereads. I go where my reading muse takes me and I'm happy with that. As to Blogger, I've decided all my photos shall just be in the middle and I'll quit fretting about putting them otherwise. Too much stress in life already. And I've also decided that a couple of update posts a month is about all I'll manage, but I'm satisfied that decision as well. I do try to get around to my visit with my blog-friends every day or so. By the way, the picture in your header is so, so beautiful. Thanks for sharing it!

Lark said...

That Churchill quote is amazing! I'm so glad you posted it. And I think a lot of us are hiding in our books this year. I mean, who wants to live in the reality of 2020? #worstyearever. :)

TracyK said...

You did read a lot of books; I think I am going the opposite direction, reading less books in a month. Not sure why, but I am still happy with my reading so that is fine.

I too love to handle my books and that may be why I don't mind having stacks of books around. That is a lovely quote. Thanks for sharing it.

So glad you are enjoying Michael Gilbert. I consider books from the 1940s and 1950s vintage books but definitions of such things are hard to pin down. I have been reading The Golden Age of Murder for a long time. I started it quite a while ago and then I would stop after a few chapters and come back now and then. So still have 2 or 3 chapters to go.

DesLily said...

In response to the Meaning of Night... I looked up when I read it before and it was 2010 also lol and I read The Glass of time in 2010 also and I've started reading it yesterday!.. Every 10 years is a good re-read eh?! lol That was a great review you wrote about it! Sorry I had to respond this way.. You would never know if I wrote on my blog!

Cath said...

Susan: You're so right, it has been a scary year and I think retreating into books is actually a very harmless way to stay sane. And fun as well. And I agree, things have been tough before, tougher than we have it now really, but always we come out of it eventually.

I'm trying to get used to the new Blogger but still do not understand why it was necessary to inflict something on us which is worse than the original.

Yvonne: We're pretty much still in lockdown too apart from shopping trips and seeing our daughters a little. But that's become harder now as two teens from our grandson's school have tested positive for Covid so we have to wait and see how that progresses. Poor chap is terrified of giving us Covid. I'm hoping 2021 will be better but suspect it won't until a few months into the year. I think we all have to hold our nerve for a bit longer.

All of those authors are excellent. :-)

Yes, we're a two freezer couple, in fact it's three as we have quite a large fridge/freezer indoors as well. Someone once said to me that she'd never come across anyone who makes as much use of our freezers as we do. Oh, well...

Sam: Thanks, Sam. I think you would like Michael Gilbert, he has a very sophisticated sense of humour. His use of language is wonderful.

LOL! I love the fact that you're reading eight books at once. A true bibliophile! I'm 'suffering' from the fact that I'm reading Martin Edwards' book about the Detection Club and it's influencing me to try new authors, revisit old favourites and yes... 'buy' more books. So the 'kid whose eyes are bigger than his stomach' applies to me too.

Cath said...

Pat: 750 pages is the same as three books in my opinion!

Once in every ten years sounds like a decent reread schedule to me. lol

I always know when someone has responded to my comment on their blog because I go back and look the next day or the day after. I'm such a nerd that I keep a note of where I've left comments. LOL

Kay: I'm going through book after book too. Mostly vintage crime or non-fiction. And the one I'm currently reading is non-fiction about vintage crime, how perfect is that!

I'm updating about once a week at the moment but I need to find a way to talk about what I've read that is not formal reviews because that is just not working for me, especially since this new Blogger came in. I think I need to go more casual as you have.

Thank you, I'm glad you like my new header pic, it's the view from the house, taken four or five years ago when we had a good autumn colour year.

Lark: The Churchill quote is my favourite because it so me. Well quite, I think 2020 is the worst year I've experienced in my lifetime (since 1953). I'm guessing people who lived through the world wars would have a different idea though. :-)

Tracy: As long as you're happy with your reading then that's what counts. I don't stress over numbers these days but quite like to look at them, guessing I'm quite mathematical.

Yes, I think of the 1940 and 50s as being vintage too (so I suppose that includes *me*) but after the 60s, not so much. I'm really loving the Martin Edwards but it's encouraging me to buy more books!

Rosemary said...

Cath - I feel the same about formal reviews (unless I've been asked to do one by the publisher or something) - I feel it's more fun for us, and probably also for anyone who reads it, to do themed posts - eg 'books featuring gardens' or 'some favourite nature writers' - that's what I'm hoping to do I think, and it will also relieve me if the never-ending guilt about the pile of unreviewed books I always seem to have! Not sure people have the concentration to read a full review anyway (or maybe that's just me...)

I wish ours was a 2 freezer house. I have one under counter one, but have been waiting for a notification from John Lewis as to the availability of the full size freezer we chose for ages. I think we might have to choose again. OH wants an upright one (I'd prefer a chest one but never mind) and I want a frost-free version. All recommendations welcome! I think it's great that you use all of your space - they're meant to be more efficient like that anyway!

Cath said...

Rosemary: Yes, I feel like I'm stuck in a rut... reading a book reviewing it, reading another one... maybe two... reviewing those in a multiple post. And I think about what I enjoy most from other people's posts and it's as you suggest, the mixed bag sort of posts. I need to work out how to post like that in an interesting way. Perhaps I need to do a post about church and cathedral type books. List a few authors etc. I shall think on it as I have a quieter week next week.

Thrilled with my new upright freezers, it's a Samsung and frost free. *Big* bonus that as I hate defrosting the chest freezer.