18 books read this month including the new Lee Child which I loved, a book of short travel stories which were hilarious, a Jeeves and Wooster which made me giggle and one by Hemingway which made me sad. Quite a mixed bag and most of them were enjoyable, some of them were very much so.
Nice girls finish last – Sparkle Hayter
This is the second book in the Robin Hudson series and it was just as good as the first. Robin spends a lot of the book trying to find out who killed her gynacologist, researching S&M for a story and avoiding her judgemental aunt. There is a particularly funny moment at the end of the book when all three of those things come together into a chase scene. I literally laughed out loud. This is an excellent series.
A question of belief – Donna Leon
I missed getting this when it first came out so I recently bought this with the latest book in the series. Two Donna Leon's to read. Bliss. I love reading books that are set somewhere that I've been as I can picture the setting so much more vividly. These books are set in Venice and as this was the nineteenth book in the series, the characters were very familiar, which made the book an absolute pleasure to read. It was like settling down with a good friend. The story was great, as always but what makes these books so enjoyable is the overall feeling and atmosphere.
Optical delusions in Deadwood – Ann Charles
I only had two books in my bedside drawer this morning and I didn't feel like starting either of them, and couldn't be bothered to go downstairs to raid the TBR bookshelves. Luckily my Kindle lives next to the bed which means I currently have around 250 books to choose from, some of which are those Mammoth books of stories, giving me another 200 choices. Bliss. Crime and thriller was what tickled my fancy today, and in particular something light so I chose the second in the Deadwood series. It was actually better than the first one and I read it all in one go. She does get herself in some pickles, but that's what makes it funny. I'm contemplating book three now. Must see how much it is.
There's no toilet paper… on the road less traveled
This is a book of short stories. All funny, all about travelling in one way or another. I bought it partly as there are a couple of stories by Bill Bryson, one of my favourite authors, and partly for that title. I don't read a lot of non-fiction but when I do, I quite often read Travel writing, although usually full length books. This was excellent though. The stories were all funny, but of different lengths and all different styles. There were plenty of laugh out loud moments and several "thank goodness that didn't happen to me" moments too. And as a bonus, I've discovered several more good travel writers.
(country hopping challenge – Peru)
Gale Force – Rachel Caine
Book seven in the Weather Warden series featuring one of my favourite heroines, Joanne Baldwin. I've almost finished this series now with two books left and I'll be sad to get to the end. This one started off quietly, for the first few sentences at least and then got more and more interesting. Death, destruction and end of the world stuff. Marvellous. And it ended just where you couldn't possibly leave off so I'm about to pick up…
Cape Storm – Rachel Caine
Oh boy. Evil Joanne. That was an exciting one. Rachel Caine writes some amazing dialogue for her characters which brings the book alive. I really loved this one. Most of the story took place on a luxury liner or in the sea which was different too. And then, just as you thought everything was being wrapped up, it wasn't so I'm afraid I'm going to have to dive straight into the final book. I cannot leave Joanne and David until I know how it all ends.
Total Eclipse – Rachel Caine
Wow! This was pure action all the way through. I was exhausted by the time I'd finished it. To give you an idea of how much I've enjoyed the last three books in the Weather Warden series, I've polished them off in two and a half days. That's not bad, even for me. This book started right where the previous one left off, with Joanne and David plus the rest of the Wardens in big, big trouble. It soon becomes apparent that the whole Earth is in a bad way so off everyone goes to do their bit and it all starts to get really exciting. There are some fabulous moments in this installment and to be quite honest, at one point I had my doubts that it was going to end well but the ending was absolutely wonderful and in hindsight, couldn't have been any different. I have loved this series. I'm sorry that it's finished, but what a way to end it!
The Affair – Lee Child
I've been waiting for this to come out in small paperback for ages and finally it has. I bought it, started reading it the same day and finished it the next. What a corker of a book it was. Over five hundred pages and I could hardly bear to put it down. It takes you back to Reacher's last days before he leaves the army and gives you some explanation why he is who he is. Absolutely brilliant!
The life of insects – Victor Pelevin
This was odd. Russian Cybepunk apparently. All the characters are insects and at the same time are people. It's made up of different stories and all the stories are slightly interconnected which made it quite interesting. The one about the hash flies messed with my head a little. Maybe it was meant to. I liked it.
(country hopping challenge – Ukraine)
Woman at point zero – Nawal El Saadawi
A woman who is sentenced to death, tells her story from her prison cell. She tells how the men in her life, from her father and uncle to all the others that followed, shaped her life with their brutality. In the end she struck back and killed one of them. It was a short book, and an excellent read.
(country hopping challenge – Egypt)
How to watch the Olympics: Scores and laws, heroes and zeros – an instant initiation into every sport – David Goldblatt and Johnny Acton
I've been dipping into this over the past few weeks, mostly over the two weeks of the Olympics of course. It's not something that I'd have bought normally but I was so fascinated by the Olympics this time around that I've watched more sport, and more different types of sport than I ever have before. I've been selling lots of copies of this book at work, but I wasn't prepared to pay £9 for it. Then I spotted that it was only £1.09 for the Kindle and it was worth the minor inconvenience of not being able to flick back and forth as quickly as with a paperback. Without this I'd still have enjoyed watching all of those sports but I wouldn't have had as much idea what was going on. The rules and scoring in the Judo and Taekwondo would have remained mostly a mystery even with the explanations by the BBC, and it was interesting to read about the history of the sports and how they came to be a part of the Olympics. Lots of info, and mostly interesting although I skipped some of the sports such as football – yawn. It was definitely worth buying.
Equal Rites – Terry Pratchett
I'm sure I read this about twenty years ago when I first discovered the Discworld but apparently it's been wiped from my memory because I couldn't remember any of it. Ah well, I must have liked it the first time around as it's been sitting on my bookshelf ever since and I wouldn't have kept it if I'd hated it. I really enjoyed it this time around too, but then I do like Pratchett's books. I've fished out a couple more of his old ones that sound particularly good, and that I don't seem to recall reading. Hopefully they'll be just as entertaining as this one was.
For whom the bell tolls – Ernest Hemingway
Ok, this is now officially my new favourite Hemingway. What an amazing book this was. It was set during the Spanish civil war and covered four days as a band of partisans in the mountains plotted to blow a bridge. There was also a love story between one of the partisans and the American dynamiter who had been sent there. There was a lot of background about the civil war and the brutality of it which you learnt through what had happened in the past to the various characters. All of this in Hemingway's wonderful style. I really enjoyed it and couldn't put the book down for the last 150 pages as the story built to its conclusion. I think this is one of those books that stays with you for a little while so I may need something lighter to read next that won't take much concentration.
Thank you, Jeeves – P. G. Wodehouse
How have I managed to go all these years without reading a Jeeves and Wooster book. It was absolutely brilliant! The situations that Bertie managed to get himself into were priceless as were the solutions that Jeeves came up with to get him and his chums out of them. I absolutely have to read all of the other books now. I'm off to add them to my library wish list.
The country girls – Edna O'Brien
This was a pleasant read and was similar in style to two of the author's other books that I've read. Nothing madly exciting happens but the story ambles along and it's just a nice change of pace. I did think the ending was a bit abrupt in this one though, as in it didn't really end, just sort of stopped. It is the first in a trilogy though so maybe that's why. Apparently the trilogy was banned for a while due to the portrayals of the sex lives of the characters.
The remains of the day – Kazuo Ishiguro
I've been meaning to read this for ages as I like Ishiguro. I really enjoyed this. The butler of Darlington hall, Stephens goes on a motoring holiday to see an old friend and along the way reminisces about his old employer and life in general. You learn a lot about him. It's a beautiful book. Not quite my favourite by the author. That has to be Never let me go, but maybe second favourite.
Mort – Terry Pratchett
And onto another reread by an author that's guaranteed to make me laugh. I know I read this some years ago but like Equal Rites, I'd pretty much forgotten the plot. Bits and pieces sounded familiar but most of it was nice and fresh. It was good to have the backstory of Susan's parents filled in – again, as she has to be one of my favourite characters on the Discworld. Any book with Death in it of course is worth reading. He has to be one of the best characters ever. I love it that he likes kittens.
The ravishing of Lol Stein – Marguerite Duras
This is apparently a classic by a famous author and is one of the books on the 1001 list. Although I've found many marvellous authors and books on the list and that is the reason why I'm working my way through it, now and then I find a book that just perplexes me. This was just odd and not in a good way. I didn't get it at all. Hey ho, can't like 'em all I suppose.