This month I’ve managed to chip away at my To Be Read mountain. I’ve read nineteen books and over half of those were from the shelves. Only one was on the Kindle, and that was a short story. The rest were from the library. Of course the TBR mountain doesn’t actually look any smaller, but at least all the books do fit on the shelves now. I was having to use an overflow strategy a few weeks ago. This is never good.
The little village school – Gervase Phinn
I made a point of reading one of this author’s books just before meeting him when he came to do a book signing for the store I worked for. I loved it, and thought the author was hilarious too – a really nice chap. Since then, I’ve read his whole series of autobiographical books and so was delighted when I saw he’d written a novel for adults. This was brilliant and obviously drew heavily from his experiences as a school inspector. It was a great story, well written and it even made me a little tearful at one point. A really nice feel good read.
The safety net – Heinrich Boll
This is the third book by this author that I’ve read. I loved the first one, but just liked the second. I enjoyed this one much more. I think a lot of it may have to do with the quality of the translation. This one was about the head of a family who was surrounded by security intended to protect him and his family from terrorists. The security actually causes loss of freedom and disrupts his life making you wonder if it’s worth it. There’s plenty going on within the family. It’s a fascinating tale and gives you a good flavour of life in Germany around the time when the book is set.
Odd Apocalypse – Dean Koontz
I really enjoyed this. I like the Odd series as they’re quite different to anything else by the author and by anyone else that I read. Despite the horror and gore in them, there’s a niceness to them which is hard to explain. Plus, Odd is just a lovely character. I hope at some point he gets the resolution that he desires.
Franny and Zooey – J. D. Salinger
This was very short but quite enjoyable. It was written as two shorter stories, first Franny’s story and then Zooey’s which was a continuation but with Zooey as the main focus. There was a lot crammed in considering how short it was and despite being something that I’d normally avoid, I rather liked it.
Right Ho, Jeeves – P. G. Wodehouse
I read the Jeeves and Wooster novel that was in the 1001 list last month and absolutely loved it. It’s the first one of them that I’d read but after trying that one, I’d decided to read more and it seemed with all the short stories that are scattered about, the best way to go about it is to get hold of the omnibus editions. They have a couple of the novels in plus a collection of the short stories. At the moment I have omnibus #2 out of the library and Right Ho, Jeeves was the first novel in it. I laughed out loud on the first page. It was priceless. Everyone should read these.
Drawing conclusions – Donna Leon
I always enjoy this author’s books. The Venice setting is wonderful and so realistic. I love the characters and have watched them develop over the years. The stories are always entertaining. They don’t necessarily need to be high profile crimes. Sometimes, as in this book, just one death that may or may not be murder can unearth all sorts of interesting things when Brunetti is on the case. This was one of those books that was hard to put down. I loved it.
Dove in the window – Earlene Fowler
I’m back in Cozy mystery mode, I think. I spotted this on the shelf and it called to me. I really enjoyed it too. Benni and friends seemed very familiar despite the few months since I last read one of these, and the story was interesting with plenty going on. I’m planning to dive straight into the next book while I’m in a Cowgirl mood.
Mariner’s compass – Earlene Fowler
I loved this one! It started off a little bit differently, with Benni looking back on the past, from a viewpoint set about forty years in her future. It gave you a small taster of how the book would develop, but the story itself was different in that it wasn’t a murder mystery. I really enjoyed it as it developed Benni’s character as well as those of her husband and others in her family. I’ve really got a taste for these again. I’m debating whether to read the next one or if I should maybe pace myself. There are some other very tempting books up on those shelves…
Joy in the morning – P. G. Wodehouse
This was the second book in the huge omnibus that I borrowed from the library. It tells of the escapades of Bertie and friends down in the country where some people get engaged to people that they don’t want to, while others pine for the ones that they love. It’s all very tangled and Bertie has to do more and more odd things in order to get himself and his friends out of various fixes. All at the orchestration of Jeeves, of course. Brilliant.
Carry on, Jeeves – P. G. Wodehouse
This is the third installment of the omnibus and I may by now be getting a slight overdose of Jeeves and Wooster and I’m also reading the stories out of order which usually irritates me. Reading the books in the omnibus versions though, is the only way to get my hands on the short stories, which is what Carry on, Jeeves is. It’s a collection of the short stories that are set in New York, plus a couple of others. The last one is told from the viewpoint of Jeeves and gives the details of a story that Wooster refers to occasionally, where he had to give a talk to a girl’s school. I really loved them all. Wodehouse is just so funny!
The Vesuvius Club – Mark Gatiss
I recently did another book box swap with Tree and this was in the huge box that I received. I have so many lovely, fascinating books to go through now. I’m in seventh heaven. This one was calling to me as soon as I unpacked it, partly because I remembered Tree mentioning it, and partly because of the wonderful cover art. It’s Art Deco with a skull, flowers, a pistol and one of my favourite fonts. Once I’d got as far as the inside of the book, it was just as good. It’s about a spy with a difference, called Lucifer Box. He seems to be somewhat depraved, and the book is decadent and full of witty dialogue. I laughed out loud several times. It was great fun and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.
Oranges are not the only fruit – Jeanette Winterson
I liked this. It had a bit of quirkiness about it. I loved some of the church women. They were marvellous. Maybe not my favourite one by the author, but definitely a good read.
The end of the affair – Graham Greene
I really enjoyed this. I love Greene’s books for the way that the characters are so real. You can almost hear them speak. Brilliant writing.
Seven Sisters – Earlene Fowler
These books seem to have got under my skin as yet another one was calling to me from the TBR shelves. I’ve really got involved with all the characters in the books. They’re so interesting and feel so real. This book introduced a couple more characters and had another great storyline.
Gabriel’s Gift – Hanif Kureishi
Gabriel’s parents have just split up. His father is a rock musician, lost in the seventies. Gabriel just wants to draw and maybe make films. His mother wants to move on and gets an au pair for Gabriel so she can work. It’s a fairly short book at only 200-ish pages but was interesting and amusing.
Arkansas traveler – Earlene Fowler
I was really curious about what happened next to a couple of the characters in this series so I felt it necessary to read the next book. This one was situated away from the usual location in California which gave it a different slant. Benni was trying to deal with a couple of situations, knowing that she’d be going home in a few days and leaving the problems behind her. I really enjoyed this one and it gratified my curiosity about those characters. Might need to see what happens next though.
The black house – Peter May
This is another of the books that was in the overflowing box that Tree sent me recently. I was prompted to read it after Tree mentioned again how good it was and that book two in the trilogy was available for the Kindle for the bargain price of 20p. I grabbed book two and started book one yesterday and finished it about half an hour ago. It was a bit of a page turner. Just as I was promised. The detective in the book is excellent. I loved the setting and all the characters. There is lots of back story being filled in, and I found that I was really looking forward to those parts. The ending is superb. I don’t think it’ll be long before I read the bargain book that’s sitting on my Kindle. Thanks Tree!
Friend request – David Wailing
This was a short story on the Kindle. I really enjoyed it as it gave a taste of what the future could hold if technology carries on as it has been doing. A slight glitch in privacy settings causes chaos at a party when everyone can see each others secrets with their smart phones. Interesting reading, and very entertaining. I’d quite like to read more by the author.
Revenge of the cootie girls – Sparkle Hayter
Oh so funny! This is a short extract, just to give you an idea of what this book is like:
It was completely deserted under the elevated underpass between Asser Levy place and the East River. Even the hookers who worked this area had gone to bed for the night. A car alarm went off a few blocks away. “I’ve been tampered with, I’ve been tampered with,” the car alarm said, over and over. I made a note to get myself one and hang it around my neck from now on.
Granny was still out like a light.
The events that had led to Robin being under the underpass in the dead of night with a granny were wonderfully bizarre, especially as they’d taken place at Halloween. What I love about these books, apart from the madcap stories, is the throwaway lines, such as the car alarm one. And the casual mention of Granny. I’ve got one more of these to read on Mt. TBR. Wonder if there are more…