My 20 Books of Summer List

I love that Cathy keeps the rules for her annual challenge on the loose side; it fits my Mood Reader personality. And as an mentioned in my last post, I’m back to work, so my reading time is definitely cut short. In fact, since the last time I posted, I’ve read only 100 pages of Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women – all week! My brain feels like oatmeal with all the new procedures and spatial configurations that our library is enacting in the name of safety. On my work breaks, when I would normally read, I’m watching episodes of Bosch on my phone.

But I’m gonna trust that eventually I will get back on track, so I’m putting out my 20 Books of Summer list. I have fifteen hard copies on hand right now, and I’m gonna leave my last five books open, so I can choose some at whim. (I do have a list of options made, of course!) I’m fairly certain one of my extra five will be Michael Connelly’s latest book, Fair Warning, which is not a Bosch book but is about reporter Jack McEvoy instead.

Here we go.

  1. The Secret Adversary – Agatha Christie
  2. Poirot Investigate – Agatha Christie
  3. Weather -Jenny Offill
  4. Quartet in Autumn-Barbara Pym
  5. The Right Swipe – Alisha Rai
  6. A Murder is Announced – Agatha Christie
  7. The Blue Castle – L.M. Montgomery
  8. The Reckoning – Jane Casey
  9. Swimming Lessons – Claire Fuller
  10. How to Be An Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
  11. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
  12. The Chalk Pit – Elly Griffiths
  13. New Waves – Kevin Nguyen
  14. The Blackhouse – Peter May
  15. A Dark and Twisted Tide – Sharon Bolton
  16. TBD
  17. TBD
  18. TBD
  19. TBD
  20. TBD

I have some romances on my TBR but just don’t have physical copies of them so I will probably choose many of those to round out the list. I’d like to read The Bromance Book Club, A Hope Divided, The Unhoneymooners, and Get A Life, Chloe Brown.

Since the aim of this challenge is to clear a bunch of books from your TBR, then I will win no matter how many of these I actually finish. Good luck with your list if you’re participating, and let me know if you’ve read any of the books I’ve listed. Have a good weekend and Happy Reading!

(Not Really a Review of) Fables, Volumes 1 and 2, by Bill Willingham

This has been a really hard week.  I don’t want to get into specifics, because it’s all too fresh and too personal, but just know that I’ve been feeling some intense feelings all over the place this week.  Of course, this has affected my reading.  I’m reading four books right now but my heart is not really in any one of them.  I know, undoubtedly, that I’ll get my reading groove back again.  And probably sooner rather than later, because I’m a capital-R Reader.  It’s what I do!

One thing I HAVE read this week was Volume 2 of the comic/graphic novel Fables, by Bill Willingham.  Jenny at Reading the End recommended it to me after I wrote about how much I dug the graphic novel Nimona by Noelle Stevenson.  (She also recommended Saga and Lumberjanes but I’ve not yet tried those.)

FablesI liked these two volumes.  Fables is set in modern-day (well, 2003, I guess, when they were published) New York City.  Fairy tale characters like Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf (now in human form, known as Bigby Wolf) and Bluebeard are living incognito, in a secret society they call Fabletown, in the big city.  They and all the other folklore figures (both human and animal) have been forced out of their homelands by The Adversary.  After reading the first two volumes, I have no idea who this Adversary is.  I assume I will find out eventually!  In the first volume, Bigby Wolf (Fabletown’s sherrif) is investigating the apparent murder of Rose Red, Snow White’s sister – there’s a lot of blood everywhere in her apartment, but no body.  In the second, called Animal Farm, some of the animals of Fabletown (Three Little Pigs, Brer Rabbit, Shere Khan from The Jungle Book, etc.) are staging a revolution because they want to be able to leave the secluded farm where they live and travel the world.  After all, some of them have been stuck there for thousands of years, and unlike the human Fables, they can’t travel easily.

I’m weirdly hooked on these now.  They’re not life-changing or deep (yet) or anything.  They’re just fun!   I’ve ordered the third volume, Storybook Love, from my main library.  I used to think that I wasn’t a graphic novel person.  Well, I’m here to tell you that THINGS CHANGE.  People change!  It’s pretty exciting to me that now I’m a fan of graphic novels, and podcasts, and a freaking BOOK BLOGGER, and two years ago I was none of those things.  We are all adaptable, is what I guess I’m getting at, and even if you’re pushing forty (ahem) or fifty or ninety, it’s not too late to try something new.  We’re not the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, as a poem by Lucille Clifton reminds me:

 

i am running into a new year

(By Lucille Clifton)

i am running into a new year

and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
about myself
when i was sixteen and
twenty-six and thirty-six
even thirty-six but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me

 

 

 

An Appetite For Violets by Martine Bailey

For my final library book before the TBR Triple Dog Dare Challenge begins, I managed to finish An Appetite For Violets at approximately 12:40 AM on New year’s Day.  (Do I know how to party or what?)  That was way past my bedtime, but I simply didn’t want to put it down.  It was a page-turning, smartly written historical mystery, with intrigue, romance, and 18th-century recipes galore!IMG_2958

Our heroine is Obedience (“Biddy”) Leigh, an under-cook at a small British  country manor.  She has a genuine talent for cooking and quick mind, but she plans to marry another servant, the not-so-impressive but attractive Jem, and open a tavern with him.  Instead, her life is turned upside down when the often-absent master of the estate marries the young, brash Lady Carinna.  The Lady suddenly decides to travel to Italy for mysterious reasons, taking Biddy and a few other servants with her.  Biddy takes along an old cookbook, called The Cook’s Jewel, and the narrative is her observations of the journey.

This was one of those pleasant surprises, taken from the library shelf based on book jacket alone.  Lady Carinna has dark secrets, the other servants on the journey have their own agendas, and Biddy realizes her true passion for exploring the wide culinary world as she travels through France and Italy.  It was a fun, sensual, slightly gothic read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Martine Bailey has another novel coming out soon, called A Taste for Nightshade.  As soon as my TBR Challenge is over in April, I’ll be picking that one up!