Wednesday 1 September 2021

Books read in August and Autumn plans

And so we see the end of August and the beginning of my favourite month of the year, September. Meteorlogically speaking I believe it's the first day of Autumn, or so the local weather forecast chap always tells us. In reality it's the 21st. I think, but you know what? I'm going with the local BBC chap, so Autumn it is. Now. *Nods*

First of all, the seven books I read in August:

56. The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson 

57. In the Market for Murder by T.E. Kinsey 

58. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman 

59. Through Siberia by Accident by Dervla Murphy 

60. Breath by James Nestor. 

Basically, breathe through your mouth and not your nose says the author. And goes on to tell the reader how bad mouth-breathing is, how it causes snoring and sleep apnea and then he gives instructions on deep breathing. Which I tried and it does actually help me get to sleep quicker. The optimum deep breath 'in' is 5.5 seconds and you should then breath 'out' for the same amount of time. Apparently respiritory illnesses were not so much of a problem until we started cooking our food until it was soft. That made our brains grow bigger but our mouths and breathing passages shrank. (He explains it better.) Millenia ago humans had to chew food for hours, giving us large jaws, straight teeth and good breathing passages. There's lot of interesting stuff in the book. The science of breathing goes back hundreds of years apparently, back to monks who knew all about it, plains indians did too and so on. This was quite an interesting book and won't fail to make you think about the way you breathe... while you're reading it, which is a bit of a distraction if I'm honest. You might get some funny looks...


61. Crawling Horror: Creeping Tales of the Insect Weird edited by  Daisy Butcher and Janette Leaf

62. A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear. Book 11 in the author's 'Maisie Dobbs' series. Another  good instalment set on Gibralter. Interesting setting, interesting plot... but I had some qualms about Maisie's personal behaviour after the events of the last four years, which you only hear about in dribs and drabs, not an actual book. It won't stop me reading the series but I took a long, hard look at her during this book. Hmm.

So, that was August. Some good books, some interesting books but not a stellar month for reading if I'm honest. Possibly because as months go I really don't care for August and my lack of enthusiasm ends up being reflected in my reading, or the way I feel about it.

So on to September, a month I do like. So I've picked out a few books not only for September but also for October, which I also like. (Click for a larger view.)

As will be seen, I want to read a few ghostly yarns, some good non-fiction and a classic I keep hearing about at the moment, The Count of Monte Cristo (to my knowledge I've not read this before but I can't be certain). Three of these are rereads... E.F. Benson's ghost stories, The Diary of Anne Frank and The Historian. I've also created a new shelf on my Kindle Fire entitled 'Autumn reads' with about 15 books on it. No way do I think I will read all of these books but that's no reason not to try.

Happy Autumn reading!



Rosemary said...

Hi Cath - another interesting post from you (of course they all are!)

I haven't read any of these books - August's or September's - though I have read a couple of other Dervla Murphys in the past.

I gave up on Jacqueline Winspear after the first few books, as I found Maisie so annoying. She just seemed too perfect, too Wounded, and fundamentally too boring, to me. But my mother really likes the books, so I still look for them in charity shops, and in fact I've just bought A Dangerous Place - and then realised it might be a useful title for the next 6 Degrees of Separation, which starts with Rachel Cusk's Second Place. I'm afraid there is no way I am ever going to read another Cusk (I tried two long ago and she just was not for me) - so I'll probably either use the Winspear or Noel Streatfeild's Caldicott Place I think. It's amazing how useful children's books often are for that challenge.

I too dislike August. I don't really know why, but it's defintely a thing. I much prefer September, so i am very glad to see it arrive. I had thought about digging out some autumnal books myself, but as it is I'm still trying to finish my 20 Books, which will now have to become 'of Autumn' instead of Summer...

I wondered if you had listened to Sarah Winman's Still Life on BBC Sounds? It was certainly one of the best things I have heard this year so far - perhaps along with Small Pleasures, The Snow & The Works on the Northern Line, and Meet Me at the Museum.

Enjoy September!

Best wishes, Rosemary

Sam said...

Breath does sound interesting, Cath, especially as that seems to be more a chore with every year that passes. Afraid, though, that I might find myself practicing some of the suggestions in front of others before I realize what I'm doing. My fellow diners (I tend to sit alone so that I can read in the early mornings) might get a kick out of that.

I see lots of short story compilations in your photo. Do you plan to read the entire collection or just read in and out from those. I tend to read the entire collection before moving on to another, but that is not always great fun. (Finally just finished Wastelands: The New Apocalypse, 34 stories and 524 pages long. That one was much better than I ever expected it would be.)

DesLily said...

I don't even remember the story anymore, it's so long ago that I read The Historian. I do remember I liked it! lol so if you read that one I hope you like it too!!

Lark said...

I'm off to the library this week to pick up my September reads. I've put too many on hold once again, but what can I say? I like to have options. I loved The Historian when I read it! But then I love that Dracula connection. Happy reading this month! :D

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

"Breath" seems very interesting and although in yoga practicing our breathing is a significant part of the session, the older we get the harder I find it to take in and hold our breath and then release it in the same measure as intake.

August and January are my least favorite months. I love September and October. Hope the fall is good for you.

Susan said...

I'm going to have to check out BREATH. I'm a mouth breather, so it sounds like it could teach me something. If those techniques can help me get to sleep faster and sleep more soundly, I'm definitely in.

September is going to be a great month for me, especially because I will be flying to the U.K. on the 29th! I can't wait to visit England, Wales, and Scotland for the first time. We'll then be bopping over to Paris, so very exciting. I can't wait.

I hope your September is lovely, with lots of great reads!

TracyK said...

I agree, I always think of Autumn starting on September 1. Something to do with the school year, and in Alabama by the end of September it actually got much cooler all of a sudden. But here in California it is warmer in September and October and portions of November so it never feels Autumnish.

Those are ambitious plans you have for September and October. I am trying to pick my books randomly for a while, we shall see how that goes.

Cath said...

Hi Rosemary. Thank you. Yes, I seem to recall you saying you'd given up on Maisie years ago. Like your mother I enjoy them but they appear to be heading into 'spy' country, so it remains to be seen whether I'll stick with them or not. I find her ideas around plots very interesting, they always make me think outside the box about issues I'd not considered. In the last book it was the fate of Indian ayahs, brought back to Britain with families in the 1930s. The families would often abandon them when the children went off to school. I had no idea about that.

I think there are a few of us who don't like August, I'm always delighted when September arrives. I think the Books of Summer challenge finished on the 31st. Aug. I didn't manage to finish it (I'll be doing a post soon) sadly but did my best and enjoyed the 12 books I read. Next time I'll go for less books, 10 probably.

I've never used BBCSounds to be honest, but with the winter coming on I may be looking for something new to investigate and that will be it. I suspect there's a lot on there I would like.

Cath said...

Sam: Yes, you would rapidly become the centre of attention at the dinner table if you were to take up chewing on a serious basis. LOL!

It depends on the collections. With the British Library ones, which aren't very long, usually 10 to 15 stories, I tend to read right through. But the huge tomes I treat differently, reading a couple of stories a day and then moving on to something else I'm reading at the same time. I've started the E.F. Benson for instance (a reread) and it's 640 pages long, so that will probably take me until the end of October, reading casually - I'm in no hurry.

Pat: I'm hoping I'll like The Historian as much as I liked it the first time around, in 2007. I can't believe it's that long since I read it.

Lark: September reads are great. It always feel like a new beginning to me when we get to this month and I love it. I read The Historian in 2007 and loved it so I'm hoping it'll stand up as a reread.

Cath said...

Diane: Yes! He talks about yoga, especially something he calls 'old yoga' which apparently differs from what you do these days.

It seems quite a few people dislike August. For me it's July and August, I don't mind January too much.

Susan: It's not always easy to breathe through your nose. I get catarrh and sinus issues in the winter and clearing that to breathe through your nose is not easy. I'm not sure I would recommend this book to you I as felt he was a trifle alarmist about mouth breathing.

I hope you have a wonderful time when you're over here at the end of the month!

Tracy: Yes, I have to say that the minute September arrives I switch to autumn mode. Summer's gone then as far I'm concerned. What a shame it never feels like autumn in California.

I'm hoping to still be able to do some 'random' reading over the next couple of months, we'll see how that works...

Vallypee said...

What a reader you are, Cath! Of all the books you’ve listed here, though, I think Breath sounds the most interesting, as does Through Siberia by Accident! I must definitely look out for that one.

CLM said...

Such variety! Nice work. I don't think I have ever read the Count of Monte Cristo and I am going to be right near Marseilles next week. However, my mother has been there already so I think we are skipping it for Nimes and Avignon.

Cath said...

Val: Thank you! Breath was definitely pretty interesting, made me think about something we all take for granted in a very different way.

Constance: Thank you. Have a brilliant time in the south of France. Hope you post about it on your blog.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

It certainly feels like Autumn now! The Count of Monte Cristo has been on my Classics Club list for more years than I care to remember and at the beginning of this year it's one of the books I hoped I'd get round to by the end of the year. That's fast approaching - so I'd better get started on it soon - it's over 1,000 pages!

Cath said...

Margaret: Well, we've had a short, sharp burst of summer over the last few days but I reckon that might be it now. We're due thunderstorms today and it's already started raining.

Yes, I think it might even be 1,200 pages, and yes, that's daunting. I'll read it in the manner that I read Moby Dick (at a mere 600 pages) by reading 40 - 50 pages a day. I suspect this might be easier reading than Moby Dick though... half the time I had no idea what Melville was talking about. I think Dumas is more accessible than that, The Three Musketeers was anyway.