This month I went on vacation for two weeks to Crete (see here for pictures on my other blog). It was a most welcome and relaxing break, during which I got into rereading Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. It started with Gaudy Night, which I’ve been wanting to reread for some time, but then I realized I had to started with the first two Harriet Vane books, and then I couldn’t stop. It was perfect vacation reading, after all.
I could not get on at all with Foundation by Isaac Asimov, though. It’s the start of another series, and some say the later books are better, but I’m not interested in pursuing them. This one was too silly and too boring. Classic science fiction sometimes does have that effect on me.
What books or series have you been captured by this month?
- In search of something light, I hit on Unmarriageable, an update of Pride and Prejudice to modern Pakistan.
Other Books Read
- The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt, translated by Laura Watkinson
- Foundation by Isaac Asimov
- Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night, Clouds of Witness, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, The Nine Tailors, and Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
- Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L.Trump
Other Features and Events
- I asked, Am I an e-book convert?
On my other blog
- Land of the labyrinth: pictures from Crete
Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction
20 thoughts on “Month in Review: October 2020”
I too have found Asimov hard going: I read the first three Foundation books sometime last century and thought them unengaging; when I’ve returned to them recently thinking I may have missed something I found I really hadn’t. I shall give the second book a second go but then I think that’ll be it. If one can’t care much about the individuals, or even think of them as much more than cardboard cut-outs, then all the pseudoscientific psychohistory is just so much tosh.
On a more positive note, I’ve yet to get into Sayers, so I guess I have a treat coming!
Foundation seemed only somewhat interesting as a “psychohistorical” artifact, full of 1950s ideas about how new sciences and technologies (psychology, nuclear power) would be really wowza in the future, combined with a very conservative and reactionary sort of notion of humanity — i.e. basically the Roman Empire will keep repeating itself. Snore.
You haven’t read Sayers yet? Much more worth your time! If you want to try just one, The Nine Tailors is brilliantly atmospheric about the Fen Country and has a most ingenious plot.
Your pictures made me salivate. I’m locked down here in France, it’s windy, rainy and not very joyful ! So thanks for sharing 🙂
It was windy, cold and rainy as soon as we got home, so I feel for you. I hope you get some sun at some point in the future.
I find a lot of sci fi silly or a lot of effort to learn about a world I’ll spend a few hours in … I’ve not got into any series this last month but had some decent reading. i also had a week off but don’t seem to have done more reading than usual somehow!
I know what you mean about a lot of effort to get to know a world … if it’s a world I’d LIKE to spend time in that’s great, but I do find myself put off by those that are difficult to comprehend and extremely unpleasant.
A trip to Crete sounds lovely! Off to go look at your pictures now.
It was so lovely!
I really enjoyed ‘Piranesi’ by Susanna Clarke. I’m also participating in a reread of both the Lymond Chronicles and the House of Niccolo series by Dorothy Dunnett. Both series are wonderful.
Another book I enjoyed was ‘My Tidda, My Sister’ by Marlee Silva.
I enjoyed Piranesi too. I’d like to read Dorothy Dunnett. Maybe next year!
I read the Foundation trilogy years ago and thought the first one was the best of them, so. I’m not really an Asimov person, but when I do read him I try to remember that he was much more an ideas guy than somebody who could write characters. He was no good at people, and worse at women.
I’ve been wanting to read Have His Carcase again and it’s the ONE Sayers book I can’t seem to come across. Guess I haven’t tried that hard, I haven’t even looked at the library. I read four or five Georgette Heyer mysteries all in one go, and three Christies….can’t cope with anything heavier.
But what was interesting to you about Asimov’s ideas? That’s what I can’t understand. Psychohistory was absurd, the nuclear stuff was also ridiculous, the religious polemic was small-minded, and the political machinations were clunky. I’d so much rather read I, Claudius. Anyway, I might try the Robot books to see if they are better, but if not, then no more Asimov for me.
Hope you can find Have His Carcase. Do you not do e-books? You can get it for free from Epubbooks.
Oh, I agree with you — the idea of psychohistory was indeed absurd. I don’t remember the nuclear stuff, and Asimov was always a jerk about religion. It was about 25 years ago now and I was home for a summer with nothing to do, so I read them. I don’t know that I’d recommend I, Robot unless you want to know about the ‘laws of robotics’ — Susan Calvin was not one of his better characters.
I might be remembering wrong, but I think it was in Foundation that there was a thing about how they didn’t know what planet people had originated from, but there was a legend that the original Earth had had one large moon, and people thought that was absurd. I liked that part.
Thanks for the tip; I’ve never used Epubbooks!
It’s funny you don’t remember the nuclear stuff. To my mind it was all about manipulating society through nuclear technology/weapons. Perhaps if you were to do a reread you would see what I mean. I don’t remember anything about the “home planet” and its moon in this one but maybe that passed me by.
These comments seem to confirm our opinion of The Foundation.
I do really think I, Robot is very good, as a sociological view of humankind, with this robot who wants to become human. I’m curious to see what you think.
Wow, that was real Sayers binging!!
Yes, I could not stop! Went through everything I had loaded on my e-reader.
Beautiful pictures. I am glad you had a wonderful vacation.
Thank you, it was a lovely time.
Two weeks in Crete with lots of comfort re-reading sounds wonderful, Lory! I am rather jealous, as I sit here in our second lockdown! Last month, I only finished two books, but both were great reads. I was particularly swept up in the supernatural, historical mystery, The Firebird by the brilliant Susanna Kearsley. 👻
We just made it before things got much more strict here as well. I’ve been eyeing The Firebird, it sounds like a good book to sweep you away indeed.