Tuesday 12 April 2022

A bit of catching up

I'm several books behind with reviews so I thought I'd do a 'brief review' kind of catch up. Well that's the plan...

My last read of March was Voices in the Ocean by Susan Casey. This was a random Kindle buy after I'd enjoyed the dolphin section of James Nestor's book, Deep.

The author, Susan Casey, has a surprise encounter with dolphins off Hawaii which she can't get out of her head and this leads to all of the investigations within the pages of this book. It's thought that as humans we share a unique bond with dolphins, people swim with them and find it life-changing but no one can really explain why. They're vastly intelligent of course, in fact in one section of the book it's speculated that when scientists are interacting with them they often get the feeling that the dolphin is finding them mentally slow. I love the idea of that! The tragedy about dolphins though is how certain people in certain countries (Japan, Norway, The Solomon Islands etc.) treat them. There are some awful things recounted in this book and I mean truly appalling. Brace yourself if you want to read this. It's 'well' worth it though as I think we all ought to know what goes on but also there's much that's fascinating and wonderful. Dolphins are one of the few species who recognise themselves in mirrors for instance. There are even people who think that dolphins know how to travel between dimensions and it's thought that the author, Douglas Adams, must've been aware of this when he wrote Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy... 'So long and thanks for all the fish' and all that. Excellent book. I want to read more about dolphins now.

Next I read, Stop Worrying, There Probably is an Afterlife by Greg Taylor. I'm blaming Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea for this current fascination of mine as she started it by reviewing After by Bruce Greyson (who does actually get mentioned in this book) which I read and was instantly hooked. I love the mysterious and unexplained (thus, one of my favourite books last year was The Cold Vanish by Jon Billman) and am always looking for serious discussion on these strange topics. This one was an excellent exploration of Near Death Experiences, Death Visions, Mediums and so on. Not everyone's cup of tea but I enjoyed it.

After that I read The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow of course. (Read this book!!!)

And then, Endangered Species by Nevada Barr which is book 5 in her 'Anna Pigeon' series, wherein Anna is a US National Park ranger who moves around to various parks and ends up solving murders. As you do.

This takes place on Cumberland Island NP which is just off the coast of Georgia. Anna is there protecting the island as part of the fire crew but also does other things such as being present to help when turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. She's there with, as always, as motley a bunch as you could imagine including an eccentric scientist, other rangers and crew, their wives and various other volunteers. A light aircraft that's there to patrol for drug inforcement comes down in the forest on the island and the two men aboard are killed. It's thought to be an accident but naturally they soon find out it wasn't - Anna shouldn't get involved but then there would be no book so of course she does. All manner of secrets come out of the woodwork and life gets exciting and dangerous for her. I've liked all these books so far and this one is no exception. Anna is an interesting 'detective' character, a loner really, she lost her husband years ago but has never really got over it. I like that she's not girly and is very independent and able to look after herself. Good series. 


So, I'm currently reading two books. First, True Crime Addict by James Renner.

Not being American I'd never heard of the strange disappearance of Maura Murray in New Hampshire in 2004. The author is an investigative journalist who specialises in unexplained disappearances and starts looking into this case in 2011. I'm finding the book fascinating but am not sure how I feel about the author. Plus, the seedier side of humanity is very much on display here and I always find that a little hard to take. I don't 'think' I'm about to become addicted to True Crime books, but we'll see... I'm very odd. LOL!

And the second book I'm reading could hardly be more different. 

The School at the Chalet by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer was written for girls in 1925! Heavens above, that's nearly 100 years! Wow. For some reason I didn't read these when I was a young teen but I know they're popular with women now because I've seen them talked about on Youtube and blogs. Finding a couple that must've belonged to one of my daughters I thought I'd give them a go. Enjoying it so far.

So that's my reading for the first 12 days of April. I hope you're all well and finding some good books to read.


Sue in Suffolk said...

I missed out on the Brent-Dyer books too plus many others!

Not sure I fancy any of your others. Crime fiction is still my favourite but crime fact I'll happily manage without.

Lark said...

I love how widely you read! I think that's why we get along so bookishly. ;D I know I've read at least one of Barr's Anna Pigeon books, but I can't remember which one. Still, I should revisit that series. And The School at the Chalet looks very cute; I love old-fashioned kid books like that. Happy reading!

Cath said...

Sue: I think part of the reason I missed out on Elinor Brent Dyer was because I was obsessed with Enid Blyton. Famous Five and all that, she wrote so much that there wasn't time for much else!

Cath said...

Lark: Yes, one of things I enjoy about your blog is the variety of genres you read and review. And that's certainly why we get along so bookishly.

The Anna Pigeon books probably appeal so much because it's the USA... my favourite country, and I learn something every time I read one.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Cath, I love these catch up posts and I just checked out: Stop Worrying, There Probably is an Afterlife by Greg Taylor (2013). It's not in our library system but I see Amazon has the Kindle for $4.99. I've read a few of the Ann Pigeon books and enjoyed them a lot.

I'm very behind on reviews and trying to motivate myself to post something:) Meanwhile, I am reading so that is always a good thing.

TracyK said...

Both of the first two books you mentioned sounded interesting, but I would be more likely to try Stop Worrying, There Probably is an Afterlife.

I really want to read more Nevada Barr. Are you reading them in order? I think my only hope in reading more of them is to ignore order but not sure whether it makes a difference. I like all the different locations.

I never heard of the disappearance of Maura Murray in New Hampshire in 2004 either. I have always avoided true crime but it certainly is getting popular.

That is a lot of good reading so far in April.

Cath said...

Diane: Thank you, I'm glad you enjoy my catch-up posts. Stop Worrying was excellent and he interviewed Bruce Greyson which I thought was interesting.

I love the Anna Pigeon books. I had a long gap before getting back to the series but am so glad I went back to them.

I think at the moment you need to do what makes you happy and not worry about posting and so forth. You take care.

Cath said...

Tracy: Stop Worrying surprised me in how readable and how seriously he treated the subject. I never thought such a subject would interest me so it only goes to show.

Yes, I am reading the Anna Pigeon books in order. There is a 'bit' of character development and history but I think you could easily read them out of order. The books are very much foccussed on the NP and the cast of characters rather than a huge backstory.

I've always avoided true crime too but this book was not bad. I has issues with it though and am not now going to read a load of TC books, not really my thing. Good to try these things though.

Susan said...

I love books about the unexplained as well. Near death experiences aren't something I've ever really been interested in, but my husband and son are OBSESSED with them. They just find them endlessly fascinating!

Jeane said...

I definitely want to read the dolphin book, as you know! I've read quite a few accounts of dolphins and the connection humans feel to them, although the mystical or supernatural abilities some people ascribe to the animals, I can't quite wrap my head around that.

As for true crime books, not really my thing but then maybe I never tried the right one. I attempted to read a Truman Capote book way back, and it just did not sit well with me . . .

Margot Kinberg said...

I like the way you vary what you read, Cath. I think that makes for an even better reading experience (even if one's disappointed at times!). I'm glad to hear that you like the Nevada Barr series, too. I like her Anna Pigeon character very much, and I think she does a solid job of evoking place and atmosphere.

Cath said...

Susan: I'm with your husband and son and am finding books about NDEs fascinating. I'm not even sure why apart from the fact that I like reading about the unexplained and to try to make sense of it in my head. Reading is brilliant in that respect.

Cath said...

Jeane: Brace yourself for the dolphin book, there are some tragic things in it which will make you angry. Of course you may already know from previous reading about dolphins and whales.

I haven't read Truman Capote at all, perhaps I should look into his books.

Cath said...

Margot: Thank you. I think I crave variety in my reading but also I'm interested in so many things, although that's common in readers I think and is why a lot of read so much.

I agree, Nevada Barr does indeed do a solid job of evoking place, I'm only on book 5 but have already learnt a lot about the more obscure NPs in the USA. Obscure to 'me' anyway, living as I do in the UK. We only hear about famous parks such as Yellowstone and Yosemite. I had no idea there was a Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia and that it's a NP. I love this about reading.

CLM said...

I was wondering why I hadn't heard of that New Hampshire case (it's less than 90 minutes away so we get their news) but then saw it happened while I was living in New York. It is odd that even those of us who don't read True Crime, as it is called in the US, are exposed to quite a bit of it. I guess it is too real for most of us to enjoy and those who read only in that genre probably think the mystery/suspense fiction we like isn't real enough!

I did read the first Nevada Barr and liked it. She certainly creates a great sense of place. Maybe it was just too outdoorsy for me to enjoy. I am an indoor bookworm, I guess!

Glad you are enjoying The School at the Chalet. While I always preferred Blyton's school stories, it is always fun to read something that has devoted followers. The two lovely women who run Girls Gone By Publishing also run a Chalet School fan club and when I visited them many years ago, I was entranced not only by their library but also by the nearly lifesize dolls they had wearing different versions of the Chalet School uniform.

I admired how the girls at the Chalet School mastered English, German, French, and Italian, as I recall!