September was a month with more sewing and less reading. I read nineteen books with only one particularly thick book, but that was one of my favourite books of the month – Lorna Doone. Of the other books the standouts were Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture, Theft and Ruined City. I also read some more of Rachel Caine's books and loved those.
I didn't do so well with challenges. On the plus side, the four books for the 1001 challenge was a breeze and I completed the SIY challenge with two days to go. I didn't manage my Big Read book for September though, and am only half way through my Austen challenge book. Those aren't too much of a problem as I can carry them over. And of course, I managed to acqure more books than I read, thanks to a last minute visit to The Works. Sigh.
6 x bookrings
12 x from TBR
1 x local library
10 x 1001 list
2 x Big Read
Erewhon – Samuel Butler (1001, bookring) I'm not sure about this one. With its comparisons to Brave new world and 1984 I was looking forward to it, but it really didn't compare to those two in my opinion. Parts of it were fairly engaging but some of the more obvious satire got a bit tedious after a while and that was what put me off. Still, I'm glad I tried it as generally I do like Utopian stories.
Cold Warriors – Rebecca Levene (local library) This was different. Another one recommended by Tree – thanks! Spies, magic, supernatural agencies, betrayal and twists and turns aplenty. It was quite engrossing. I shall look forward to the next installment.
Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture – Apostolos Doxiadis (1001, bookring) This was great! I was a bit worried as the people reading it before me had mentioned that it was a bit tricky navigating around the maths, but I just accepted that some things were going to be way over my head and carried on reading. It didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book though and it wasn't necessary to understand the maths to appreciate it. It was a terrific story and read so much like a bio that I had to remind myself a couple of times that it was a novel, especially when real people, such as Alan Turing, were woven in so well.
Story of the eye – Georges Bataille (1001, bookring) Well I can't say that I wasn't warned about this being very adult, but then I had already sampled some of Bataille's work before. So, yes it was definitely on the erotic side, and shocking with it, but it was also interesting in a bizarre sort of way.
A murderous yarn – Monica Ferris (bookring) The next in the needlework mysteries series. I like these. Not too taxing, a nice light and easy read. And fun too. I guessed whodunnit fairly early and I also guessed how Betsy would figure it out, but it didn't spoil the book for me. I don't mind being a smarty-pants 🙂
The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz (1001, bookring) This was different, but very enjoyable. It took a bit of getting into due the way it was narrated but I loved the character of Oscar. He was such a nerd, and I loved all the Lord of the rings and Dune references. Does it make me a nerd that I got them all?
A touch of dead – Charlaine Harris (tbr) I needed a break from bookrings and wanted to read something quick and light. This leapt out of the bookcase at me as being perfect on all counts. It contains five short stories set in the Sookie-verse. One I'd read before as it's in an anthology that I already own but it was good enough to re-read. I enjoyed all five stories and am now waiting impatiently for the paperback release of Dead in the family.
Lord of misrule – Rachel Caine (tbr) I still felt the need for something with some bite (sorry), so decided to read the next installment of The Morganville Vampires. This was book five and took the storyline into darker territory. It ended on a bit of a bit of a worrying note, and is a bit cliffhanger-ish so I might need to get book six down from the shelf sooner than planned. I do like these books, and I'm rather glad that I found the first two of the author's Weather Warden books in The Works last month. I'm hoping that that series is as good as this one.
The girls of slender means – Muriel Spark (1001, bookring) A very thin book (140 pages), by the author of The prime of Miss Jean Brodie; a book which I liked very much. I actually enjoyed this one even more but I felt I'd have liked to have known more about what happened afterwards and what happened in between 'then and now'. (If that sounds confusing, I'm just trying not to be too specific and spoil it for anyone planning to read it).
Carpe Corpus – Rachel Caine (tbr) Nope, couldn't resist reading book six just as I predicted. It was worth diving into so quickly as the story just carried on and was absolutely wonderful. There was a superb moment near the end, one of those that has your eyes going all hot and prickly. And a bonus! This UK edition had a short story at the end which was quite good too.
Fade out – Rachel Caine (tbr) Book seven of the Morganville Vampires and yes, I have picked it up straight after book six. And I do mean straight after. No break. Literally. What can I say? I was in the mood for reading and if you're going to close one book and open another within seconds, it's so much easier to stick to the same series. An unexpected villain in this one, which made it quite exciting and unpredictable. I love the way the balance keeps shifting in this series. It keeps it fresh and interesting. I'm really, definitely not going to read the last book just yet though. Must save it for later. Honest.
Theft – Peter Carey (tbr) Absolutely superb book! I hadn't read anything by Carey before so wasn't sure what to expect, but I was drawn straight into this from page one. It was written alternately from the viewpoint of the two brothers, giving two different outlooks which made it interesting. I loved the main characters – despite everything that happens in the book, you can't help but like Marlene. Brilliant story too.
Tender is the night – F. Scott Fitzgerald (1001, SIY, tbr) I thought I'd like this a lot more than I did. I loved The Great Gatsby, and I remember seeing the TV adaptation of Tender is the night a good few years ago which I thought was wonderful. Although I did enjoy reading the book, I don't think it lived up to the memory of the TV series and I didn't enjoy it as much as The Great Gatsby. Having said that, I did love all the different settings in the book which were so beautifully described that they really came alive.
The last September – Elizabeth Bowen (1001, SIY, tbr) I struggled to get into this one. It took until about page 75 to really get me interested but it was a much gentler book than I anticipated from the blurb on the back cover. I was constantly waiting for something to happen but it was all saved for the last couple of pages, and that was all too predictable. An ok book, but not one of my favourites for this month.
Lorna Doone – R. D. Blackmore (Big Read, SIY, tbr) Wow. Definitely one of my favourites this month, despite the teeny, tiny print. I think what I really loved about this book was the narrative style. The story was lovely, of course, but mostly it was the way it was told. Highly recommended.
August is a wicked month – Edna O'Brien (1001, SIY, tbr) Short but sweet. This is the second book that I've read by the author and going by these, I'd say that I'm liking her books. I shall seek out more.
The English patient – Michael Ondaatje (1001, SIY, tbr) I liked this one a lot. I enjoyed the way the story kept going back and forth in time, and between the stories of the particular characters. I did think the ending was going to be different and was pleasantly surprised at the ending it did have. I was fascinated by all the detail about bomb disposal and the desert. Overall I'd say this was a much more interesting and readable book than I was expecting. I really should learn not to decide that books are going to be dry just because they're Booker prize winners…
The picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde (1001, Big Read, SIY, tbr) A short book so a nice quick read for a Sunday afternoon. I quite liked the writing style but it wasn't a book that kept me glued to the pages. It was ok but not one that I'd rush to read again.
Ruined City – Nevil Shute (tbr) Excellent! This was a fairly short book at only 219 pages and I've just read it through in one sitting as it was so good. This isn't on any of my reading challenge lists, but when I spotted it in a second hand shop I picked it up, as Shute's On the beach is one of my favourite books. I'm glad I did and will be looking out for more of his books.