Month in Review: October 2019

Well, I finally managed to read more than two or three books this month. Along the way, I finished my Classics Club Spin book in record time, and also managed to read two 2019 releases that are sure to be some of my favorites of the year.

You’ll hear more about one of these, Shadowplay, as soon as I can get a review posted. Of the other, Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, I don’t have much to add beyond the other glowing reviews you may have read — just that I also found it an honest and moving account of a therapist’s life “from both sides of the couch,” as it were. Yes, since the author had to fictionalize her patients’ stories to protect confidentiality, it could perhaps better have been written as fiction … but though this layer of artificiality was sometimes a bit distracting, it didn’t keep me from greatly enjoying the book.

What have you read lately that excites you, whether it’s a longtime classic, a new release, or anything in between?

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Reviews

  • The topic of Villains for Witch Week inspired me to revisit Wyrd Sisters and The Time of the Ghost.

 

Other Books Read

  • My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin – Review to come
  • The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm
  • Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottleib
  • Greenglass House by Kate Milford – Reread
  • Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
  • Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor – Review to come
  • Where the Mountains Meet the Moon – Grace Lin

 

Other Features and Events

 

Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Month in Review: September 2019

This month, along with reviewing Oliver Sacks’s ground-breaking Awakenings, I was attracted by a number of new-ish releases, most of which I enjoyed to some degree. I found Quichotte by Salman Rushdie the most disappointing, and Once Upon a River the most pleasantly diverting. The Silence of the Girls provided a relentless dose of Ancient Greek toxic masculinity, just in case you should be in need of such, and The House of Silk a quite enjoyable homage to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.

Have you read any of these? What have you enjoyed this month?

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Reviews

  • Awakenings by Oliver Sacks was a fascinating and somewhat disturbing read that brought up many questions for me. I will be reading more by this author!

 

Other Books Read

  • Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
  • Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
  • The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
  • The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

 

Other Features and Events

 

Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Month in Review: July 2019

The big news this month was that my books arrived! I have now a far reduced collection compared to what I had in the States, but it feels good to whittle down to essentials.

In the summer sometimes I feel like reading mysteries, though, and I didn’t have much on hand. If I want to read something that’s not already on my shelves, the online library remains a godsend. Some of these mysterious reads are highlighted below.

In anticipation of next month’s Robertson Davies Reading Week I read the nonfiction collection The Merry Heart, and I’ll be preparing a post about Davies’s “reflections on reading, writing, and the world of books.” I also couldn’t resist starting The Deptford Trilogy and I’m greatly enjoying it for the umpteenth time.

Are you planning to join us? Or what was your personal pleasure this month?

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Reviews

  • Summer Shorts cast a brief glance at some of my summer reading: Hag-Seed, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, Death of a Unicorn, and No Name.
  • I wrapped up my months-long journey through the second half of Don Quixote.

 

Other Books Read

  • The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham
  • The Merry Heart by Robertson Davies – Reread, review to come
  • Fifth Business by Robertson Davies – Reread
  • The Manticore by Robertson Davies – Reread

 

Other Features and Events

 

Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Month in Review: June 2019

This month I still had hardly any time to read, but I did finish one chunkster that I’ve been working on for a long time (Don Quixote), and made time for one short novel that I’ve been meaning to read forever (Hag-Seed). Alas, neither was quite as marvelous as I’d been expecting from their great press. But you can’t win them all.

Now, while waiting for my shipment of books and other belongings to arrive, I’m left with my e-reader. I should be content with the many books I already have loaded on it already, yet I can’t help looking for something new and exciting to download from the library. What would you suggest?

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Reviews

  • The Heart’s Necessities by Jane Tyson Clement and Becca Stevens was a multilayered exploration of poetry, music, and life.

 

Other Books Read

  • Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
  • Don Quixote by Manuel de Cervantes – Review to come
  • Indiscretions of Archie by P. G. Wodehouse

 

Other Features and Events

Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Month in Review: May 2019

This was another quiet month on the blog, as I am very busy packing and moving. Reading-wise, I am still doing a lot of rereading as I decide what to keep, and also just feel like revisiting old friends as they turn up …

I also found a new interest in the life and work of Helen Keller, after reading and reviewing The Story of My Life last month. Dorothy Herrmann’s 1998 biography provided a fascinating look at a story that is much more complex than the sanitized version that’s been handed down for public consumption. I recommend it for anyone who wants to delve further into the topic, as well as Helen’s own works.

I found many striking and beautiful passages in My Religion, her book about the importance of Swedenborgian thought in her life. I had little knowledge of this revolutionary pre-Enlightenment “New Church” before, aside from dismissive and inflammatory treatments by critics, but to Keller it was a message of freedom and love that seems very relevant today. It’s sad that her family and others who were in control of her legacy were ashamed of this interest as well as her avid socialism.

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Books Read

  • Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse – Reread
  • A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle – Reread
  • Thirteen to Nineteen: Discovering the Light by Julian Sleigh
  • My Religion by Helen Keller
  • Helen Keller: A Life by Dorothy Herrmann
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro – Reread

 

Other Features and Events

 

Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Month in Review: April 2019

I didn’t do much reading in April, and no actual reviews … just too busy. Now I’m back from vacation, I’ve moved into temporary housing till we leave for Switzerland, and things are settling into a new pattern. I’m still busy with lots of packing and sorting, and saying farewell; my energy for thinking in a consequential manner, let alone blogging, is sorely limited.

So things may be a bit thin here for a while, but bear with me! As you can read in The Future of ECBR, I do plan to stick around and have some new and exciting ideas. And I’m always delighted to connect with you, through your comments or on your own blogs. Thanks for staying in touch.

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Books Read

  • Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott – Reread
  • Marmee and Louisa by Eve La Plante
  • The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones – Reread
  • Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

 

Other Features and Events

 

Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Month in Review: March 2019

This was my last month of trying only to read books I already have in the house, and I cheated a little bit. Kristen’s March Magics review made me curious to reread the one DWJ book I don’t own, so I got it from the library. And my son was pleading for more Freddy the Pig books so I went to the library again, and then read one myself, infected by his enthusiasm.

But otherwise I have done pretty well. The imminent prospect of moving will probably squash any desire to buy more books, though the library is another matter. I’ve been piling up my wish list there!

What’s on your own wish list this month?

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Reviews

 

Other Books Read

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling – Reread
  • House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones – Reread
  • Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers – Reread
  • Freddy and Mr. Camphor by Walter R. Brooks
  • Little Men by Louisa May Alcott – Reread

 

Other Features and Events

  • I announced my intention to do some kind of event celebrating Robertson Davies, a favorite author who deserves more attention. Details coming soon!
  • On my other blog, I posted on the themes It’s not the end of the world and Letting go.
  • I started another chapter-a-day reading challenge, hoping to get through Part II of Don Quixote in company with Emma of Words and Peace.

 

Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Month in Review: February 2019

This month I continued to do a fair amount of rereading. I’m making decisions about which books to keep as I prepare to move abroad, and also sticking to my resolution to only read books that are already on my shelves for three months. One more month to go … but even after that, I hope to do more purging than acquiring!

How has your reading year been going so far?

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Reviews

  • I wrote about reading a poem a day from a collection created by the Poetry Foundation.
  • I read Watership Down with my son and rediscovered its universal appeal.

 

Other Books Read

  • A London Home in the 1890s by Molly Hughes
  • The Little Bookroom by Eleanor Farjeon – Reread
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman – Reread
  • A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley – Reread
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – Reread
  • How Can I Get Through to You? by Terrence Real – Review to come

 

Other Features and Events

Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Month in Review: January 2019

As I did last year, I’m trying not to acquire any new books during the first three months of 2019. With the exception of my first read of the year (a library book I already had in the house), I’ve managed to meet that goal and get through a few books that have been lingering on my shelves for a while.

As often happens, one book leads to another — I’d picked up a copy of Jane Gardam’s God on the Rocks at a used bookstore some time ago, and when I reread it I couldn’t resist going on to two more of her wonderful novels. And I could then write about one of them as part of my “First Reads” series. And now I’m going to have to resist going to the library for the ones I don’t own, and keep plugging away at my TBR shelf.

How was the first month of this year for you?

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Reviews

  • Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff was a magnificent rendering of the Arthurian mythos.
  • As mentioned above, I went back in time to revisit my first book by Jane Gardam, Bilgewater.

 

Other Books Read

  • Between You and Me by Susan Wiggs
  • The Apocalypse of St. John by Rudolf Steiner
  • God on the Rocks and The Queen of the Tambourine by Jane Gardam

 

Other Features and Events

Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Month in Review: December 2018

I’ve been doing a lot of rereading this year. Sometimes I have the urge to revisit beloved favorites such as Robin McKinley’s classic fantasies; sometimes I’m reading books that have sat on my shelves for a while to see if I really want to keep them. Such was the case with The Three Damosels by Vera Chapman, which I brought back from a trip to England years ago; I enjoyed this reread, but I think I can pass it on now.

And sometimes, even with all the books already in the house I just can’t resist starting something else. My husband (who has just gotten hooked on reading books on his phone) was really enjoying Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, which I recommended to him as a free download; and so I started rereading it as well. Then of course I had to finish it.

What leads you to your next reading adventure at this time of year? What are you looking at starting for the new year?

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Reviews

  • Drawn from Life is the charming follow-up to Ernest Shepard’s childhood memoir, Drawn from Memory — both now available from Slightly Foxed.
  • The Blood of the Martyrs, a novel about the first persecution of Christians in Nero’s Rome, is a new favorite from the always-intriguing Naomi Mitchison.
  • I completed my year-long read of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.

 

Other Books Read

  • Beauty, The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley – Reread
  • The Book of Revelation by Alfred Heidenreich
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – Reread
  • The Three Damosels by Vera Chapman – Reread

 

Other Features and Events

 

Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction