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Keeping Track of my Reads

  • 11-03-2021 3:56pm
    Registered Users Posts: 47 AMTE_21

    I've been reading since I was four and love it. I thought I would try to keep track of what I'm reading and my opinions on the books. I read mostly thrillers and an occasional classic and non fiction.

    I stopped buying books as they were crowding up the house and I only read a book once, so, I now get all my reading from the library which is great. You can order online and they let you know when it's available, and it's free, well paid out of our taxes, which is money well spent in my opinion.

    I've been out sick from work and so have read a lot of books lately. When Level 5 restrictions came in before Christmas, I went to the local library and took out 11 books and I've read them all now. It was anything I could grab off the shelves so all sorts really. The last book I've just finished was Love in the Time of Cholera which I always meant to read so when I saw it on the shelf, I took the opportunity.

    I enjoyed it but not as much as I thought I would. It was interesting as it was set in Columbia which you don't read much about in books. But you would know it was written by a man. I lost track of the women he slept with and they all liked it and him, he has himself classed as a very good lover! Also towards the end of the book he had guardianship of a young girl about 14/15 who was still in school and slept with her, he was in his 70's. Very dubious.

    I'm now out of books and have reverted to Borrowbooks on the Library website. It's hard to find something to read, there's a lot of books, but hard to find one to suit. I'm reading a Kath Reichs thriller, she's OK, it'll fill in the time. I have books ordered with the Library so hopefully when the restrictions end I will be able to pick them up.



  • Just finished A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs. It was ok. Found it hard to follow or maybe it just didn’t hold my attention. It was about a body found with no clues to who it was as it was half eaten by hogs, lovely...... it involved a lot of red herrings and conspiracy theories. Next up a Graham Swift novel on Borrowbooks. Here We Are.

  • Have now finished Here We Are by Graham Swift. A nice easy read. A story set after the war in Brighton about a Magician and his assistant. Enjoyed it. Next up, the Booker winner Girl, Other, Woman by Bernardino Evaristo.

  • Finished Woman Girl Other, it was good enjoyed it. Very easy to read I thought it would be hard going for some reason but it wasn’t. The style was different. There were no full stops. There was capital letters for names and commas used so it was very easy to read. It was individual stories of black women through the ages who were connected in some way. I found it a very positive read. I think it deserved the Booker prize. Will now go searching for something else to read.

  • I’m now reading an Agatha Christie, Appointment with Death. I read most of Agatha Christie’s books when I was a teenager and loved them. Reading this for a bit of nostalgia. I think the libraries will be opening up soon so I can go back to reading “real” books again. Looking forward to that!

  • Finished Appointment with Death. It was interesting to read, the language and phrases are so old fashioned in places. “He behaved caddishly” haha...... the libraries are opening on the 10th, can’t wait. And I got an appointment with the hairdresser. Happy days.

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  • Found a short novella by Ian Rankin on BorrowBox called The Travelling Companion. I’m a big fan of Ian Rankins Rebus books. This was about a student in Paris early 80’s and his strange adventures connected to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Enjoyed it.

  • Enjoyed the Agatha Christie so read another one. Then There Were None, I think this was called Ten Little N***** when I read it the first time. Where the N word was it’s been changed to Soldiers. It was a good mystery/whodunnit and I didn’t remember the ending so it was good. The libraries open tomorrow. Happy Days .

  • You’re correct on the name change. We thought nothing of the title at the time as it was from a popular children’s rhyme! Hard to believe how much language and usage changes in less than a generation.

    Great book. Many would say it’s her best. I doubt if anyone guessed the ending.

  • Now the Libraries are open I've a wider selection of books to choose from. I've just finished An Event in Autumn by Henning Mankell, a Wallander Mystery. I think I've read all of this series, but I couldn't find this book in the library, but when I went back on Monday it was on the returns shelf so I took it out. It's only a short book but it was good. I like Wallander, he is so human and believable. Mankell wrote a short piece at the back about how he started writing the series and how he finished it, obviously not giving away how it ended! I, unfortunately, read the last one first! I didn't realise it was the last one 'til I finished it, but anyway I read the rest after that because I enjoyed it so much. I took out 5 books so don't know which one to read next.

  • Have just finished An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. It was very good 8 out of 10. It was very easy to read and could have read it all in one or two sittings only I had to get up for work the next day! Eight out of ten because I thought the job the character Celestial had was a bit weird, she made dolls to sell I didn't find it very believable I thought it would be better if she was an artist of some sort, but maybe making dolls and selling them is an American thing. Also the ending was a bit weak in my opinion. But would definitely recommend it, it was about two African Americans just married and he's arrested and put in jail for a crime he didn't commit and how it affected their marriage, which they both thought was solid. They story was told mostly via letters to each other. it was a sad book too.

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  • Read All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny. She writes crime/thrillers set in Quebec with Inspector Armand Gamache. This one is her latest and is set in Paris, where he has an apartment and his son and daughter have moved there. It was my first time to read one of her books, she's written about 20 so I might look up some more of them in the library. It was good, about an Engineering Company and uncovering dodgy dealings with precious metals and a mine in Patagonia. It was interesting with plenty of twists, you had to pay attention when reading it.

  • Have finished Cape May by Chip Cheek (great name!). It was set in 1957 in an off-season resort in New Jersey. It was evocative of the time it was set in. A good book. It was about a very young, newly married couple from Georgia who go there on their honeymoon. She, Effie, used to go there on her summer holidays when she was a child and her aunt and uncle had a summer house there where they stayed as they hadn't much money. They call in to visit a neighbour and it turns out to be someone she knew, a bit older than her, when she was a child. There's plenty of drinking, all times of the day and night, I don't know how they did it! There was plenty of sex as well as the older couple had a very "open" relationship, and weren't married to each other and eventually influenced them, or corrupted them, into their lifestyle and so put pressure on their relationship and marriage. It was good as the author brought you up-to-date with their lives later so it was finished off well, you weren't wondering what happened to them.

  • Read A Double Life by Charlotte Philby. It was about a woman working in the counter-terrorism unit in Whitehall who starts to lead a double life and a journalist trying to solve the mystery of what she thought was a girl being murdered/attacked one night on her way home from a party with a lot of drink and drugs consumed. I thought the two characters might meet up somehow and the stores might merge, but they didn't really only peripherally.

    It was quite a big book and it was an engrossing read especially at the beginning and middle, but I thought it could have been a bit shorter. But it was a good yarn. Charlotte is the grand-daughter of Kim Philby the spy from the 1960's and the book was partially set in Moscow.

  • Finished The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth Winthrop. It was about a young black boy accused of raping a white girl and the mobile Electric Chair is being brought to a small town in Louisiana to carry out the death sentence. This was a thing, they had an electric chair called Big Bertha they brought around in a truck to the various small towns to kill people! It was good, It took 7 characters and moved the story back and forth, each chapter dealt with a character and was only a few pages long, very easy too read.

  • The latest read was The Lost Man by Jane Harper. I have read 3 of her books so far this is the 3rd one the other two being, The Dry and Force of Nature. They were all set in Australia and when reading them you can sense the heat and dust of the outback, they are great reads.

    This one was about 3 brothers living in the outback on a cattle ranch, one of them is found dead in the desert miles from his vehicle, a big no-no in the Outback "Never leave your Vehicle" is the mantra. I think the first one The Dry is the best. Will keep an eye out for the next one.

  • Have finished The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo. This was a thick book but I enjoyed it. It was about a family of 4 girls and went back and forward in time starting with the eldest getting married and then told the stories of how the parents met and the ups and downs of their family. I think it could have been cut down a bit but she said in her notes at the end it was already cut from 900 odd pages to 531. She said she based the Dad in the book on her own Dad, the parents did come across as being a bit too good to be true. But it is work of fiction, and the story is very well told.

    I notice, especially with American authors/books, there's always a mention or connection with Ireland in it. In this book it was the mother of the family whose name was Connolly and they were Irish/American, of course her father had a drink problem, you don't get this with other nationalities, do you?, i.e. Italian or Spanish or French being referenced or brought into the story in some way, maybe the cliché is correct that we "punch above our weight". I think I'll make a note of any Irish references in future book reviews here.

  • Read Unto us a Son is Given by Donna Leon. I’m a big fan of these books set in Venice. The stories are quite simple but the setting in Venice is great escapism and at this stage I feel like I know the family well and she mentions the meals they’re having and he walks around Venice and you can imagine what it’s like. I was in Venice for a long weekend a few years ago so it brings back nice memories. The story was about a gay man who adopts a younger man as his son and then unfortunately dies. I will check if she’s written another one as this one was written in 2019 she seems to write one a year.

  • Finished Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. I'd read Wolf Hall the first in the trilogy and found it hard going, but this was more enjoyable, it was easier to read and more interesting as it was about Anne Boleyn and how Cromwell managed to get rid of her for Henry the Eighth. It was a very cruel time, but I suppose life was very cheap then and death was always close by. I'd read books about her before and watched the Tudors and felt some sympathy for Anne, but in this book I didn't really. I going to try get the third book in the trilogy from the library and finish the story. I think the last one will deal with his other wives and how Cromwell got his comeuppance in the end. I only recently copped that the Cromwell in her books is different to one that caused such trouble here in Ireland. This Cromwell is Thomas Cromwell, I wonder was Oliver any relation?

  • Have read Still Life by Louise Penny. It was only all right don't think I'll bother reading any more of hers. I didn't find myself getting interested in the story or the people involved. It was a whodunnit, set in a small village in Quebec, Canada. It was a bit far fetched and unlikely. She was killed by a bow and arrow and everyone in the story could have a been a suspect. There was also a story running through it about a junior office and her relationship with the main Detective that was never fully explored or finished. Maybe it will continue in her next book, but I don't think I'll be following it up.

  • My latest read was A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carre. I have a liking for spy stories and I've read most of John Le Carre's books. I saw this in the library when I was picking up some books and didn't recognise it so I took it out. When I started it I realised I had seen it on TV or as a film not sure which but I couldn't really remember the story so I read it through anyway. I enjoyed it, it was set in Hamburg and was about the rendition of prisoners, it was written in 2008. The man in question is from Chechnya and it was about his lawyer trying to get him a German passport and asylum in Germany. His father was Russian and had "accumulated" a lot of money from his time in the Russian army and left it to his son who now wanted to claim it, but not for himself, but for Muslim Charities. He just wanted enough money to become a doctor. I enjoyed it. I've read all the books in the series about Slough House written by Mike Herron which are excellent. A more up-to-date series of spy novels set in London, well worth a read if you like spy books.

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  • I've finished Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson. I really enjoyed this book and would easily have read it in one sitting if I had the time. It was obviously written by a book lover and a lover of crime novels. It's about a man, Malcolm Kershaw, who runs a book store in Boston. Years earlier he had written a blog of the Ten Perfect Murders, i.e. books where the murderer gets away with it. Then the FBI come to see him as she thinks someone is following the list and committing the murders as they are committed in the books. Naturally there are twists along the way. It is narrated by Malcolm, so it is told, and the plot revealed from his point of view. I thought it was very clever. There's loads of names and plots of books dropped into the story and I'd read some of them so it made it more enjoyable. Would recommend it. In an earlier post I said I would mention any Irish names or places in a novel I was reading, as I find it is fairly common. I'd forgotten, but even though this book is set in Boston, there are no Irish mentions in it except he occasionally drinks Guinness!

  • The last book I read was Long Bright River by Liz Moore. It was good, about a female police officer in Philadelphia. It was a hard and a sad read in places as it was about her younger sister who was living on the streets as a junkie and she had gone missing while prostitutes in the area her sister was squatting, were being murdered. All the family were from an Irish background with Irish names so the author must also have Irish connections. Would recommend it.

  • Have finished a Michael Connolly novel, The Late Show. I've read a lot of the Harry Bosch novels by him and also like the Mickey Haller novels. This is a new departure for him with a new female detective Renee Ballard. It was good about corruption in LAPD. It could have been a Harry Bosch story but I suppose he wanted to try out new characters. I think he's written a second one with this character, will try to get it out.

  • Just read the final book in the the trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, by Hilary Mantel. The other two were, Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies and her third is the Mirror and the Light. It's a doorstopper of a book 883 pages. But I enjoyed it, I found it easy to read luckily she gave a Cast of Characters List at the front to I could keep track of all the characters. I like reading books on history topics and this is mostly based on facts, except for some minor characters. What strikes me is how cruel they were and how casually they beheaded, burned and thought up ingenious ways of torturing and killing people, and the number of women who died in childbirth.

    I always thought there was no relation with Oliver Cromwell, but there is, his nephew was Oliver Cromwell's great grandfather.

    There was some mentions of Ireland in connection with there being a danger that it could be the back door for an invasion by the French.

  • Have finished The Cutting Place by Jane Casey. She is a Dublin born writer living in London. Her main character is a female detective with Irish parents called Maeve Kerrigan. I like her as a character and the stories are good. Always enjoy reading her books.

  • Have finished reading the 7th book in the series about Slough House, the spy novels by Mick Herron. I really enjoy these books and hate when I get to the end. This was was just as good as the other six. There’s always plenty of action, and one of the characters and sometimes more than one, die and so he brings in new characters. Would highly recommend. But try reading in sequence starting with Slow Horses. The writing is very good and he brings in current issues and UK politics.

  • That sounds interesting I will have to check it out. I have read a fair few of his Harry Bosch novels and a few others but not the one you mentioned with the new character so will have to get that next time I am buying some new books.

  • My latest read was, A Song for the Dark Ages by Ian Rankin, his latest (as far as I know). It was good, but I thought the ending was a bit weak. Enjoyed getting to it though. Rebus has retired and his daughter who leaves up in the far north of Scotland is in trouble, her partner has gone missing so John goes up there to visit her and, of course, has to get involved in the investigation, which in a very loose way, ties into an investigation currently being undertaken by his old 'comrade' Siobhan Clarke. I read most of the Rebus books and the earlier ones are good so it was nice to "catch up" with him.

  • I've just finished the Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton. It was good, an unusual book. Set in the 17th century. The East India Company was exporting spices from Africa to Amsterdam. The action took place on board one of their vessels. It took 8 months to sail from South Africa to Amsterdam. It set itself up as a sort of ghost story, about a devil/demon seeking revenge who has lured his victims on board to exact that revenge. It was an interesting read and was definitely a bit creepy in parts. It was something along the lines of The Terror, which I only saw on TV but didn't read it. I would recommend.

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  • Finished Tana French's crime drama The Secret Place. Really enjoyed this one and a bit different as while it is a who done it murder mystery with all the action taking place over the course of one day it is also a coming of age story too in many ways.