So this week we finally took down our Christmas tree. We normally do this around Twelfth Night (as is both traditional and difficult to spell) but self-care demanded that twinkling lights were required for a bit longer. Sad to see it go, but it did dominate the room and it is nice to be able to fully see out of our living room window again, even if it was only to look at rain bucketing down. But I’m from the west of Scotland and rain is a way of life.
I did a lot of reading this week but only finished one book – Savage Spring by Mons Kallentoft; I’ve immediately started the next book in the series as Scandi noir is my thing at the moment, though after this one I might take a break and head off into other realms. In terms of what else I’m currently reading, no change from my last post. You can always see my Goodreads currently list in the side bar —>
The Poet by Michael Connelly – Mr B and I have been slowly working our way through the various Bosch series on Amazon Prime and on his recommendation I decided to expand into the wider Bosch universe; we recently watched The Lincoln Lawyer and I bought this book which is number 1 in the Jack McEvoy series.
Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar – my inner X-Files fan picked up this, apparently the untold story of the Dyatlov Pass incident, which is the kind of thing you will have heard of if this is the kind of thing you find fascinating.
Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan – “The devil’s daughter rows to Edinburgh in a coffin, to work as maid for the Minister of Culture, a man who lives a dual life. But the real reason she’s there is to bear him and his barren wife a child, the consequences of which curse the tenement building that is their home for a hundred years.” A new author to me and I’m intrigued by her previous novels.
The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch – The Silence of the Lambs meets Interstellar say the blurb so how could I resist?
And then there was WandaVision – so weird but such fun and a good replacement for our previous ideal Friday night’s watching (The Mandalorian and Star Trek: Discovery – welcome to nerd-central)
Coming this week – several pre-orders, my blog’s anniversary and a trip to the dentist, a bit stressful during Current Times. Hope you guys have a great week and stay safe!
Here we are almost at the end of the first full week of January and given the events of the past week I’m not hopeful that this year will be much better than the one we’ve just endured, but I can be a bit of an Eeyore so let’s hope I’m wrong.
I often am 😀
This is the first post I’ve uploaded since early October. I just wasn’t in a blogging frame of mind for the last few months and I decided that I really wanted to start with a fresh slate, so I won’t be looking back at books read and movies watched in the last quarter if I haven’t already reviewed them.
A wee look back
Having said that, I thought I would share the results of my Goodreads challenge for 2020 – I had a target of 60 books and managed to reach 66, representing 21,320 pages. I’m really pleased by the result given that I had a couple of slumps; just goes to show what being stuck at home can lead to.
Where I am now
Savage Spring by Mons Kallentoft – this is the fourth in the Malin Fors series; I read and thoroughly enjoyed but did not review the first three novels. Scandinavian noir still looms large in my TBR;
The Collected Ghost Stories of MR James – no new ghost story for Christmas on the BBC (sadly) but Mr B and I dipped into our DVD collection to watch some of the old adaptations, which led me to start a major re-read and I’m very glad that I did;
Death in the City of Light by David King – the story of the serial killer Marcel Petiot who was active in Paris during WWII and how he was caught. The guillotine might be involved….
Bought since the beginning of the year:
Marion Lane & the Midnight Murder by TA Willberg – “plunges readers into the heart of London, to the secret tunnels that exist far beneath the city streets. There, a mysterious group of detectives recruited for Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries use their cunning and gadgets to solve crimes that have stumped Scotland Yard.” [Pre-order]
Seven of Infinities by Aliette de Bodard – “When a mysterious corpse is found in the quarters of Vân’s student, Vân and Sunless Woods find themselves following a trail of greed and murder that will lead them from teahouses and ascetic havens to the wreck of a mindship“
The Man Who Didn’t Fly by Margot Bennett – “Four men had arranged to fly to Dublin. When their aeroplane descended as a fireball into the Irish Sea, only three of them were on board. [..] Who was the man who didn’t fly?“
Wintering by Katherine May – “a poignant and comforting meditation on the fallow periods of life, times when we must retreat to care for and repair ourselves.”
Cardiff by the Sea by Joyce Carol Oates – “a bold, haunting collection of four previously unpublished novellas.”
Hopefully I’ll be posting back here soon on my first completed book of the year. Hope you have a great week, stay safe!
A week late, but what a week it’s been! So many distractions, but I did still want to come on here and register my reading progress for October.
Books read = 4
Number of pages = 1401
Drum roll, please………
I have hit my reading goal for this year – 60 out of 60 books with two full months to go. To early to say how many more I will read before the end of the year, but I will be reading more that’s for sure.
Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood – New York, 1946. Lillian Pentecost is the most successful private detective in the city, but her health is failing. She hires an assistant to help with the investigative legwork. Willowjean Parker is a circus runaway. Quick-witted and street-smart, she’s a jack-of-all-trades with a unique skill-set – and together they investigate the murder of a wealthy young widow. First in a anew series, couldn’t resist.
One by One by Ruth Ware – Snowbound thriller full of tense corporate shenanigans plus avalanche. I haven’t read any Ruth Ware before, so very much looking forward to trying her out.
The Children of Red Peak by Craig DiLouie – survivors of a cult digging into their past, releasing memories and trauma that they have repressed for years. The answers will no doubt be found at Red Peak.
Last Stand in Lychford by Paul Cornell – Exploding fairies, the architect of the universe and a celestial bureaucratic blunder make this a satisfying conclusion to the ever-popular Witches of Lychford series.
That’s it from me! Hope you all have a great reading week.
Forget that you ever, ever saw me mention a no-spend policy because as you will see, I blew that plan completely out of the water. And as I have absolutely no shame, I thought I would share my purchases from mid-September to date.
The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier – “War brought the Harvest. Willa Mae Wallace is a Reaper.” Society is split along blood type lines as a result of mandatory drawing to support the war effort. There is of course a Big Secret and Willa will try to get to the bottom of it.
Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden – first published in 1939 and made into a remarkable film starring Deborah Kerr, as soon as I realised the BBC was producing an adaptation for Christmas I knew I should read the original.
That led me down a rabbit hole of classics…..
Effie Briest by Theodor Fontane – first published in 1894, this is the story of Effie, married off to a man twice her age, gets bored, has an affair with someone unsuitable which later comes back to haunt her. The consequences are fatal, of course. I will try not to think of Madame Bovary.
The Artificial Silk Girl by Irmgard Kelin – first published in 1932, this tale of Doris who runs off to 1920s Berlin to make it big in the movies but sinks into the city’s lower echelons was a huge bestseller in Weimar Germany until it was, of course, banned by the Nazis. I will try not to think of Cabaret.
The Grand Babylon Hotel by Arnold Bennett – a long time since I read Bennett’s famous Old Wives Tale, this sounds like a very different kettle of fish. Nella is refused service in the Grand Babylon Hotel, but her father is a millionaire so buys the thing for her. Shenanigans ensue. I will try not to get this confused with the Grand Budapest Hotel.
Now back to the present/near future…..
Adaptation by Malinda Lo – vast global conspiracy ahoy, involving birds, because of course it does. Reese is involved in an accident and is in a coma or similar for about a month. When she wakes up she remembers nothing but knows one thing – she’s different now……. I believe this is the first in a series. Any similarities to The Birds is coincidental, I’m sure.
Everything Under by Daisy Johnston – nominated for the 2018 Booker Prize, this is, according to the blurb, “an electrifying reinterpretation of a classical myth” and unsettling. I like unsettling.
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik – here is a confession – I haven’t read any Naomi Novik. Yet. There is a sorceress who doesn’t want to be one but has a destiny which involves changing the rules of magic. This sounds a good place to start.
Fashion on the Ration by Julie Summers – last week I was able to watch/listen to a lecture by Julie Summers via my V&A membership, talking about her latest book (which I bought earlier this year, it’s the life of the editor of British Vogue during the war years) but I was diverted by one of her anecdotes to look up this book about style in World War II and the difficulties of finding silk for your camiknickers.
Alice Diamond and the Forty Elephants by Brian McDonald – the history of Britain’s first female crime syndicate, who made shoplifting kind of glamorous, hiding the stuff they stole (fashion, jewels, furs) in specially adapted clothing and blowing the proceeds on the high life.
A Wash of Black by Chris McDonald – the first in the DI Erika Piper series, a famous actress is found dead and mutilated on an ice rink in Manchester, a copy of a scene from one of her big movies. Our heroine is now hunting the Blood Ice Killer, because of course there is a nickname; there is always a nickname.
And the first few books of October……
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton – it’s 1634 and the world’s greatest detective is being shipped to Amsterdam to be executed, but once the boat sets sail nasty things start to happen. Death, yes. Destruction, undoubtedly. But demons?
The SS Officer’s Armchair by Daniel Lee – subtitled In Search of a Hidden Life. You buy an armchair and then find a bundle of documents sewn into the chair’s cushion. They are covered in swastikas, so of course you need to set off on a quest to find out who owned the chair and presumably the documents.
Mr Cadmus by Peter Ackroyd – a stranger arrives in Little Camborne and in his wake comes mystery, revenge, murder, greed and jealousy. Everyday life in an English village. Where is Miss Marple when you need her?
Mantel Pieces by Hilary Mantel – even if she wasn’t already one of my very favourite literary people, the pun in the title would have been enough to make me want to read this collection of her essays, mostly (I think) from the London Review of Books.
Witness X by SE Moorehead – Neuropsycholgist hunts serial killer in the near future. Silence of the Lambs meets Blade Runner with a tinge of Stranger Things. Apparently.
The Girls of Brackenhill by Kate Moretti – Newly engaged. Dead aunt. Seriously ill uncle with not long to go. A mansion in the Catskills, and a sister who disappeared years ago. Nothing to see here. Move along.
I’m currently reading a second novel by Mons Kallentoft and that’s all for the moment, which is unusual for me as I almost always have more than one book on the go, and I’m sure that practice will start up again soon.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – I tried to read Jonathan Strange twice, and gave the TV series a shot (gave up on that too), but Piranesi sounds fascinating and less hyped and hopefully that will help
It has been a very quiet reading week. I’ve been spending my Me Time binge listening to True Crime Bullsh** – an excellent podcast focussing (at least in the first two seasons) on serial killer Israel Keyes.
I’m currently reading the third Robert Hunter thriller by Chris Carter, and I’m about a quarter of the way through. If you’ve been paying attention, you will know that I turn to true crime when I’m stuck with fiction, and that’s where I am at the moment. Hoping to move on this soon.
I failed at my no spend this week but I’ve kept it limited to a couple of new books:
The Quickening by Rhiannon Ward – Feminist gothic fiction set between the late 19th century and the early 20th century – an era of burgeoning spiritualism and the suffragette movement
Indecent Advances by James Polchin – A skillful hybrid of true crime and social history that examines the relationship between the media and popular culture in the portrayal of crimes against gay men in the decades before Stonewall.
It’s going to get very warm again in south west London this week so I may be hiding indoors with the aircon switched on – ideal conditions for reading.
It’s the first Sunday Salon post of the autumn and a chance to round up what I’ve been up to since my end of summer post which was only a few days ago but, you know, I have Notes.
Books finished in September so far:
Only one, The Executioner by Chris Carter, the second in his somewhat addictive Robert Hunter series. I read the first one just at the end of August and have already started the third. What can I say, if you’ve been around here for any length of time you know about me and serial killers 🙂
As well as the two I’m currently reading or about to start, the following arrived chez Bride this week:
Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling – I enjoyed The Luminous Dead which I read while on holiday in Scotland last October, and this looks like its going to be equally interesting
Written in Bone by Sue Black – Drawing upon her years of research and a wealth of remarkable experience, the world-renowned forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black takes us on a journey of revelation. From skull to feet, via the face, spine, chest, arms, hands, pelvis and legs, she shows that each part of us has a tale to tell. I admire her deeply so was always going to get this.
Mr Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal – the first of her Maggie Hope novels, recommended by a commenter on a GFY post as aoething those who like Maisie Dobbs would enjyoy.
We’ve been watching quite a bit of TV (who hasn’t) and this week said good-bye to Penny Dreadful: City of Angels which was flawed but had enough good stuff that I would have liked to have seen how the story would have developed in a second series. Sadly its been cancelled.
[Take Two – I wrote this post earlier and somehow managed to completely lose it, so here we go again!]
This has been a really good reading week, I mean, really good. I managed to finish four, count them, FOUR novels; two were complete cover to cover reads, and the rest were left over from June (if not earlier).
I feel this is a great achievement for me after several lacklustre weeks.
So, I finished:
The I-5 Killer by Ann Rule – not one of her best books in my opinion; it could have been shorter and still got all of the information across, but I was in the mood for some true crime and this caught my eye first.
True Detective by Max Allan Collins [the first in the Nathan Heller PI series]
Reviews of the last three will follow soon which is why I haven’t said very much about them here.
I haven’t picked my next book yet, but it will definitely be from my 20 Books of Summer reading list (which you can find here if you’re interested)
New books this week:
The Son and Heir by Alexander Munninghoff – full disclosure, this was a free ebook as I’m an Amazon Prime customer. What can a son say upon discovering that his father wore a Nazi uniform? Reporter Alexander Münninghoff was only four when he found this mortifying relic from his father’s recent past in his attic. This shameful memento came to symbolize not only his father’s tragically misguided allegiance but also a shattered marriage and ultimately the unconscionable separation of a mother and son.
The Truants by Kate Weinberger – this has been likened to one of my all time favourites The Secret History, so it was inevitable that I would succumb sooner rather than later. Starting out under the flat grey skies of an east Anglian university campus and ending up on an idyllic Mediterranean island, The Truants is about a group of clever and eccentric misfits who yearn to break the rules.
Relic by Preston and Child – I saw the movie version of this donkey’s years ago and though it would be fun to try out the series of novels featuring Agent Prendergast. As I am that person, I will of course start at volume 1 🙂 – Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum’s dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human…
Let’s hope this coming week will be just as productive! Stay safe everyone!
We have watched all four series of Cardinal, and was sad to see that there will be no more series; a real shame. But series 3 of The Sinner has just appeared on UK Netflix, and along with Russian Doll is keeping me occupied. Also excited to start watching the new Perry Mason series.
Hoping this week will be more productive. Stay safe everyone!
When is a Sunday Salon post not a Sunday Salon post? When it’s on a Tuesday, that’s when.
You know I had to check what day it is, right?
So here we are already in another week and I thought I’d round up what’s been going on since I last wrote here, not in the whole world because, let’s face it, there isn’t enough space in my wee blog to even begin to tackle what’s going on everywhere else. I’m just going to tackle my little bit of it.
This is not a summery illustration but it has been very oppressive and we have had quite a few thunderstorms around here over the past few days so this feels about right!
I haven’t finished any books in the past week, but I am still reading (almost) every day.
I’m happily making progress on my reading challenges, and so far:
PBB Book Club – I’m 64% of the way through Middlegame
20 Books of Summer – I’m 15% through Gideon the Ninth
They are both really excellent and I would recommend.
New books this week (excluding any pre-orders which I mentioned in my May 31st post) – all links are to Goodreads:
Where Are the Women by Sara Sheridan – a guide to an imagined Scotland, where women are commemorated in public spaces. Couldn’t resist.
Judas the Hero by Martin Davey – a recommendation by the Book God, which doesn’t happen often and is to be respected when it does, this is all about Judas Iscariot “cursed with immortality by a vengeful and angry God, [he] finds himself in present day London and head of the secret occult crime division known as the Black Museum at Scotland Yard.”
The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem – we watched Motherless Brooklyn this weekend and when I realised that it was based on a novel I went looking for the author, and this caught my eye, especially as one of the main characters has his pet opossum in his desk drawer
Devolution by Max Brooks – I adored World War Z so wasn’t going to miss this, an oral history of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre. Bigfoot is real, people!
Hopefully I’ll have some finished reads to report on next time. Take care and stay safe.