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What are we reading in July?

2018 Category Challenge

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Jul 2, 9:33am Top

About halfway through last month, I realized I never posted a "What are we reading in June?" thread, and I honestly missed it! I like seeing what you all are reading now and what you're planning to read next. So, what are you reading in July? I'm still finishing my book for the June MysteryCAT, The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief by Ben Macintyre.

Jul 2, 11:07am Top

Actually finished this in June ....

The Terra-Cotta Dog – Andrea Camilleri
Digital audio narrated by Grover Gardner

Book two in the Inspector Montalbano series has him solving a 50-year-old crime. The dying words of one man lead the detective to a secret grotto in the mountains, where the remains of two young lovers lie in an embrace, watched over by a large terra-cotta dog. As he works to solve this old mystery, which has him delving into the island’s past and the horrors of World War II, he also has to deal with modern crime wave, shoot-outs, betrayals, a complicated love life and the politics of the police department.

Camilleri populates the novel with an assortment of colorful characters, from mafioso crime bosses, to intimidated shop owners, to faithful partners on the police force and a bevy of beauties that complicate Montalbano’s life.

Montalbano himself is a wonderful lead character. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly, nor sweat the small stuff. He’s intelligent, a loyal friend and is always ready to find the humor in a situation, no matter how dire.

This particular plot had me somewhat confused given the historical nature of the central mystery. But it was interesting, engaging and entertaining. I’ll keep reading the series.

Grover Gardner does a fine job performing the audios. He really brings these characters to life, and even does a passable job of voicing the female characters.

A few pages of notes at the end of the text version explain the various references, historical and modern, the Italian police / military / political system as well as the exchange rate of lira to US dollars (at least at the time the novel is written). Very helpful to this reader! This is not included in the audio version.

Jul 3, 4:59pm Top

I'm currently reading a couple of things right now - Calypso by David Sedaris, Mission to Paris by Alan Furst, and CivilWarLand in Decline by George Saunders.

Jul 3, 6:04pm Top

Just finished Who's There: The Life and Career of William Hartnell, by Jessica Carney. It's the biography of first Doctor Who actor William Hartnell, by his granddaughter.

Jul 3, 9:51pm Top

Mostly reading Murder on the Leviathan by Boris Akunin at the moment. It's pretty good.

Jul 8, 5:35pm Top

Continuing the Doctor Who theme by sneaking in a Tenth Doctor novel: The Eyeless, by Lance Parkin. I gave it to a friend for Christmas many years ago and read it this afternoon when I went over to plant-sit ;)

Jul 9, 4:48am Top

I've got 4 main books on the go at the moment. I'm reading Jambusters for this month's RandomCAT, and enjoying it a lot. Also Among the Russians by Colin Thubron, Upbeat by Paul MacAlindin for this month's 75ers non-fiction challenge (about the formation of the Iraqi National Youth Orchestra), both of which I'm also enjoying, and an LTER book, Backpacking My Style, which in all honesty I'm enjoying much less.

Jul 9, 8:50am Top

Call the Midwife – Jennifer Worth
Digital audiobook narrated by Nicola Barber.

Originally titled: The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times. This was renamed to coincide with the popular television series. And in case you haven’t seen the TV show, the subtitle is really all the synopsis you need.

Worth was a 22-year-old young woman, with no particular religious affiliation, who found herself assigned to Nonnatus House, a convent, for her training as a midwife. She got an excellent education, more practical experience than she bargained for, and an appreciation for the spiritual beliefs that helped the sisters cope with the realities of their work.

Worth has been criticized for how brutally honest and graphic some of these recollections are. But I was not particularly bothered by this. She was working in an impoverished area of London, in the 1950s. Times were hard, many buildings were still in dilapidated condition following damage sustained in WW2, prostitution was rampant, and tenements were crowded. I felt that the gritty reality of her experiences added to the memoir.

She also makes time to show the tenderness of a loving marriage, parents who are devoted to raising their children despite their limited resources, and friends / colleagues on whom one can rely. I think she did a good job of honestly recollecting her experiences during this time frame.

The printed book includes a Appendix that addresses the difficulties of “writing the Cockney dialect” and a glossary of terms. These are not included in the audio version.

Nicola Barber does a fine job narrating the audiobook. I’m sure that my devotion to the TV series helped, because I clearly pictured the scenes/actresses from the show.

Jul 9, 9:03am Top

I finished History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund. I really liked the way this book started and that it has such a strong sense of place, but I don't think she brought together all the threads well, and the last scene honestly baffled me. (3/5)

Jul 9, 10:26am Top

>8 BookConcierge: I read that last year and agree completely with you. I've never got into the TV series (simply because I just knew I'd be weeping every week!), but was aware of the actresses. As I read the book it was just so obvious that Miranda Hart was born to play Chummy!

Jul 9, 12:40pm Top

I'm reading too many books at the moment, but I'm greedy like that! The Sympathizer, Windigo Island, I Was Anastasia and Anatomy of a Scandal.

Jul 9, 2:17pm Top

I'm in the middle of rereading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and enjoying it! I'll probably move right on to Chamber of Secrets next.

Jul 9, 5:57pm Top

Started a thriller, but not sure I'll stick with it: The Dying Light, by Henry Porter.

Jul 9, 8:09pm Top

I just finished Circe by Madeline Miller and it was fabulous.

And I just got to the front of the long library line for Stephen King's The Outsider, so that's what I'm reading now, so I can get it to the next person in line.

Jul 9, 9:47pm Top

Currently in bus reading: The Twisted Sword, by Winston Graham.

Edited: Jul 10, 3:19pm Top

I'm about to wrap up Death by Darjeeling which has been fairly enjoyable so far. Then on to Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster.

Jul 11, 11:04pm Top

I am reading Sea Witch by Helen Hollick which is a YA sea adventure story with touches of magic. Also I have just picked up Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas by Judy Parkinson a fun non-fiction book that explains where popular expressions come from.

Jul 12, 4:09am Top

I am really really not enjoying the LTER book I am currently reading. Looking at reviews, this seems to be a common experience, and a few of them confessed to not finishing it. And now I've read that other people didn't finish, I'm *so* tempted to abandon it. But then I feel mean because it was offered freely. What to do, what to do...? (tell me what to do! :D )

Jul 12, 6:13am Top

>18 Jackie_K: life's too short to read bad books.
I'm the last person who actually takes that advice, of course, and have ploughed through any number of dire books.

Jul 12, 2:33pm Top

>19 Helenliz: Thank you, I feel slightly better about abandoning it! (review on my thread). I still feel a bit guilty, so maybe I'll come back to finish it some time, but with 400+ other books that need reading it won't be any time soon.

Jul 12, 9:11pm Top

I totally missed this thread so far this month. I've finished The Rosie Project, Dog Songs, By the Time You Read This, Another Man's Moccasins, and Call For the Dead. Now I'm reading A Murder of Quality.

Jul 12, 9:31pm Top

Finished The Twisted Sword yesterday and am now reading Castrovalva, by Christopher H. Bidmead. This is a novelization of the first story to feature the Fifth Doctor.

Edited: Jul 13, 4:53am Top

Cast your vote for the Nobel literature alternative prize:


The original link died, so here is a new one. It is working at the moment.

Jul 14, 3:55pm Top

Finished Crimson Snow, a collection of winter mysteries edited by Martin Edwards.

Started my next bus book: The Man in the Yellow Raft, by C.S. Forester. It's a collection of stories set on the US destroyer Boon during WW2.

Jul 15, 3:07am Top

Just finished my daytime book The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah for RandomCAT. Another daytime book that I'm currently reading is Exit West by Mohsin Hamid and my night book is Cat Out of Hell by Lynn Truss that is weird enough to keep me awake. I've also started an Early Reviewer book Quid Pro Quo by Vicki Grant.

It appears I've bitten off more than I can chew this month, which is leaving me very little time for anything else.

Jul 15, 3:23pm Top

Money and work have both been big distractions this month, so I haven't gotten much reading done. I'm still reading Rise the Dark and Snow Crash both. I'm loving Rise the Dark, but just not finding much time for it. I think Snow Crash may be suffering (for me) because I don't have as much focus/concentration as I need for it.

Jul 15, 3:38pm Top

Preparing to start Broad Band, by Claire L. Evans. The subtitle bills this as "the untold story of the women who made the Internet".

Jul 15, 10:40pm Top

We are having a heat wave this week so I haven't been doing much beside reading. I am currently reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick and Endangered by Eliot Schrefer.

Jul 16, 5:28am Top

I've been reading Those Who Save US by Jenna Blum.

Jul 16, 10:46am Top

I've begun Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers.

Jul 16, 8:40pm Top

Finished The Man in the Yellow Raft, so tomorrow I'll be able to start a new bus book. Next up is Witness the Dead, by Craig Robertson, a lucky find at the office "little free library".

Jul 16, 10:05pm Top

The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morton
Audiobook performed by Caroline Lee.

In 1913 a little girl, only 4-years-old, is found alone on the wharf in Australia. She’s taken in by the portmaster and his wife, who are childless, and when no one comes to claim her they keep her and raise her as their own. Decades later her granddaughter tries to unravel the mystery of her grandmother’s origins.

What a magical story. The action moves back and forth in time, from the late 1800s to 1913 to 1975 to 2005. The four women central to the story are Nell, Cassandra, Eliza and Rose. Some of the sections are told from the perspective of a child, while others from the perspective of an adult. No one has the full story and anyone who has key elements is sworn to secrecy, so it’s a long, complicated and tangled tale that Cassandra tries to unravel and reveal.

I was engaged and interested from beginning to end. This is the first book by Kate Morton that I’ve read. It won’t be the last.

I don’t think I would have used the magical realism tag, but several other people have, probably because of the fairy tales that are a central plot point, and one brief mention of a ghost. (Eliza is an author and several of her fairy tales are related in the book; they are truly magical.)

Caroline Lee does a fantastic job of voicing the audiobook. She has a lot of characters to handle (most of them female) and I was never confused about who was speaking.

Edited: Jul 17, 7:15pm Top

Jul 17, 7:49pm Top

I'm finishing up three library books in preparation for our annual beach vacation. I'm reading Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, Census by Jesse Ball and The Outsider by Stephen King. Getting these read and organizing supplies and food for seven people for two weeks at the beach is proving challenging, but it's not like we can't just buy what we need once we're down there.

Jul 18, 10:33am Top

Need to finish The Windfall and The 12:30 from Croydon but for some reason I'm stalled on both. Did start Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George which is moving along much faster.

Jul 18, 12:59pm Top

Currently I am reading The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans for the Pink ColorCat and about to start Emperor of Eight Islands by Lian Hearn.

Jul 18, 2:07pm Top

I'm currently reading Dead Souls by Ian Rankin, Quid Pro Quo by Vicki Grant and just started Glass Houses by Louise Penny. All three are mysteries, let's hope I don't get the plots confused!

Jul 25, 10:41am Top

I finished Tangerine by Christine Mangan. Set in Morocco in the 1950s, it alternates between two unreliable narrators, one woman who may be losing her mind and another who is obsessed with her. This noir-ish thriller hearkens back to the writing of Patricia Highsmith and Dorothy B. Hughes. While it does exhibit some signs of being a first novel, this was a refreshing change from the twisty, unbelievable thrillers that are the trend right now. I'll be looking for future novels from Mangan.

I am nearly finished listening to Her Body and Other Parties, which will be getting five stars from me unless it takes a sudden unexpected dip in quality near the end.

And I started Isaac's Storm for my real-life book club.

Jul 25, 12:37pm Top

I am currently reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and Monkeewrench by P. J. Tracy.

Jul 25, 7:02pm Top

On the bus I'm re-reading The Honourable Schoolboy, by John le Carré, so that I can return it to my parents when I see them next month. I borrowed it an embarrassingly long time ago...

My current library read is The Story of English in 100 Words, by David Crystal. His writing is good as always, but I think I like his longer books better; the chapters in this one are just a bit too bite-sized for me. But that's not the fault of the book.

Jul 28, 11:52am Top

Using my Saturday morning to finish up two library books (I have more holds to pick up, eek): Conan Doyle for the Defense, by Margalit Fox; and Postcards from the Boys, by Ringo Starr.

Next book off the library shelf is Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World's Strangest Brains, by Helen Thomson.

Jul 28, 11:57am Top

>38 sturlington: Her Body and Other Parties is amazing.

I'm at the beach, trying to read as much as I can while family members interrupt me. I'm reading Kudos by Rachel Cusk, which is superlatively good, Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor, Elmet by Fiona Mozley and Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. Clearly, I am well supplied for this vacation.

Jul 28, 12:13pm Top

>43 RidgewayGirl: I did finish it and gave it 5 stars. That last story was incredible.

Jul 28, 3:32pm Top

I seem to be on a series book binge and have read One Shot by Lee Child and Mistletoe Man by Susan Wittig Albert. Next up I've decided to start one of my Aug Cat books All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming.

Jul 28, 3:39pm Top

>42 rabbitprincess: Welp, I've already finished Unthinkable. On to The Commitments, by Roddy Doyle.

Jul 29, 1:48pm Top

In the mood for something light, I picked up Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer and I have started The Samurai's Wife by Laura Joh Rowland for August's MysteryCat.

Jul 29, 3:27pm Top

I read Clock Dance in one day. I think my favorite Anne Tyler will always be Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, but this one was pretty good. I always enjoy her quirky characters.

Aug 2, 1:03pm Top

A few years ago I bought The Hireling's Tale by Jo Bannister at a library book sale. Although I'd never heard of the author before I was attracted by the fact that she is from Northern Ireland, like me. Neither the title (what is a "hireling" anyway?) nor the dreary cover inspired me to pick it up so it gathered dust on my bookshelves. At last I started it this month and at the halfway mark, really enjoying it. I wonder what other gems I have lurking on the shelves.

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