Saturday 1 July 2023

Books read in June

Looking purely at the numbers it might seem I spent the entirety of June reading books. Which is not true, so how I managed to read a dozen when I'm in no way a quick reader I just don't know. I'm trying to slow down but short of picking up several 900 pagers for the month of July I can't see that happening. I think the problem is that some of June's books were so good I devoured them in a day or two. Not exactly a terrible problem though is it?

Anyway, the books:

47. Death of an Author - E.C.R. Lorac

48. A Dark Matter - Doug Johnstone

49. How to Fail - Elizabeth Day 

50. The Hunt for Mount Everest - Craig Storti

51. The Bird in the Tree - Elizabeth Goudge 

52. The Midnight Library - Matt Haig

53. The Thirteen Problems - Agatha Christie.

54. Retreat to the Spanish Sun - Jo Thomas

55. Sea of Tranquility - Emily St. John Mandel 

56.  The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling - Lawrence Block. Good, solid, enjoyable crime yarn from 1979, set in New York. I had no idea how prolific Block was until I checked on Fantastic Fiction. I wouldn't mind trying some of his other series.

57. Marple - Various authors, can't see mention of an editor. This is a new collection of stories about Agatha Christie's 'Miss Marple'. While there were a few good stories in this one - the best in my opinion being Unravelled by Natalie Haynes and Murder at the Villa Rosa by Elly Griffiths - overall I found the collection to be nicely readable but not amazing. 

58. Dead Level by Damien Boyd. To be reviewed but I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads so that's how much I liked this crime yarn.

So, 12 books, 10 fiction, 2 non-fiction. I stayed mainly in the UK in June but with forays to Mount Everest, Spain and New York. Favourite books? Death of an Author by E.C.R. Lorac, A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone, Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas, The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge, The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie. But my overall favourite was this:

Dead Level is book 5 in Damien Boyd's 'Inspector Nick Dixon' series set in Bristol, Somerset and Devon. I think he hit his stride with book 3, Swansong, and now they're just getting better and better. I know it helps that I live in the same area but, regardless, this series is 'good'. And the series has quite a famous fan, Dana Stabenow, author of the Kate Shugak series set in Alaska.

So, we're now halfway through the year and the longest day is behind us. June flew by and I hope July does too as it's a month I don't particularly like. I hope you're all keeping well and finding some good books to read.


Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

I think I have made my choices about your June selection from your mid-month posts, but it always helps to see them all listed in one place, just in case something should slip through the net!

Damien Boyd is a new to me author though and this series definitely appeals to me, if for no other reason than like yourself, I live in the area covered by the storylines. You seem to have made a couple of random selections from the series, so would I be right in assuming that they work okay as stand alone stories? I shall definitely be adding book #1 to my wish list, that's for sure!

Happy Reading in July :)

Sam said...

You are really on a roll, Cath. That probably explains how effortless your reading feels to you right now despite the number of books you are reading. I've been lucky enough to get on a few extended good streaks a few times, but they don't often happen to me. The key is enjoying yourself - and you certainly seem to be doing that.

I haven't read Block in a good while now despite absolutely loving his Matthew Scudder series. I hadn't realized how productive he was over his long career (he's 85 now), either. A quick peak at his back catalog a minute ago really impressed I need to explore it.

TracyK said...

That is a lot of books in one month.

For Lawrence Block, I would suggest the Matthew Scudder series because he is most well known for that. I have only read the first two books and I think they start getting better at book 4 or 5. I have read a few of the Keller / Hit Man series, which is mostly connected short stories. Very, very good writing but eventually I had a problem with the "hit man" theme.

I will check for books by Damien Boyd at the book sale. It is hit or miss whether British authors will be available, but sometimes when a series has been going for a while, it will show up.

Margot Kinberg said...

I'm very happy for you, Cath, that you got such a lot of good reading done in June! I'd say that's a sign of a fine reading month. You've got some great choices here, too. I agree with Tracy, by the way, that Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series is excellent; I highly recommend it. And I must try some of Boyd's work!

Cath said...

Yvonne: No, I haven't made random selections from the Nick Dixon series, I started at book one and worked my way through to book five. There is a certain amount of backstory so it's best really to start with book one as I did. I think he hits his stride at book three but they're all good.

Happy July reading to you too. :-)

Cath said...

Sam: I agree that the key is to enjoy your reading. I think I've become quite good at judging what I will or will not like which is why I'm whizzing through books I find I'm enjoying so much. It didn't occur to me that becoming good at choosing books might mean I read 'more' rather than less!

I had no idea how productive Blck had been in his very long career either. I will try the Matthew Scudder books as Tracy and Margot have also recommended those.

Lark said...

June was a good month of reading for you! I love when I find books that are so good I race through them...of course, then I'm always sad when they're over. ;D I'd forgotten about Boyd's Nick Dixon series. I really loved Swansong. Thanks for the reminder that more books have since come out that I now need to read.

Cath said...

Tracy: Yes, it is quite a few books in one month but, as I mentioned to Sam, I think partly it's due to becoming quite good at choosing books I'm sure I'll like.

Thank you, I'll try the Matthew Scudder series, they seem to be ones everyone likes!

Damien Boyd could be a bit obscure for you to find his books in a California book sale. That said, I wonder how Dana Stabenow came across them... that really did surprise me. Plus, I notice from how many stars she awards books that she's 'really' picky, so he should be pleased she's a fan, if he even knows.

Cath said...

Margot: Yes, I'm pretty happy with my June reading. One or two that weren't great but most had a lot to recommend them.

I will indeed try the Scudder books now that three of you have recommended them. And Boyd is worth trying but bear in mind that like a lot of authors he took several books to get into his stride. Now he's there, I think he's a fine author.

Cath said...

Lark: It's so nice to find books so good you can't put them down and I know that's what accounted for a high number read last month.

Oh yes, I remember you read Swansong because of its school setting. There are thirteen books now and if you have a Kindle they're all inexpensive at the moment. You're most welcome.

CLM said...

I am always looking for new mystery series for my sister, who reads faster than I do. I have put the first Damien Boyd on hold at the library.

One of my old companies published Lawrence Block and he was very popular but I never got into that series. Just as well as one really cannot read everything!

Cath said...

Constance: It's a good series but does take a couple of books to get into its stride. You can tell your sister you know the area a little bit having been to Wells and stayed briefly with us. I know it's a little tenuous...

No, you just can't read 'everything'. It grieves me, but it is so.