Chit Chat -  July was a good reading month (88 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: MerlinsDadAug-1 9:50 AM 
To: All  (1 of 7) 

July was a good reading month, although not all of the books I read were good.  It’s been very hot, and we’ve had a lot of rain in July, mostly afternoon thunderstorms, so again I’ve had the opportunity to spend time inside reading.  I got through 9 books with one DNF in July.

*Brendan Slocumb, The Violin Conspiracy (2022)

DNF G.M.  Malliet, Augusta Hawke (2022)

Louise Penny, A Rule Against Murder (2008)

Attica Locke, Black Water Rising (2009)

Ragnar Jonasson, Outside translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb copyright 2021, English translation copyright 2022. 

Sara Paretsky, Overboard (2022)

Denise Mina, Confidence (2020)

NF Steve Brusatte, The Rise and Reign of the Mammals:  A New History (2022)

Nev March, Peril at the Exposition (2022)

Martin Edwards, ed. Guilty Creatures:  A Menagerie of Mysteries  British Library Crime Classics (2022).  An anthology of 14 short stories with animals playing a role in each story.

July totals: 3133 pages read;  average book length 348 pages


Of that group, I awarded two 5 stars (The Rise and Reign of the Mammals, A Rule Against Murder), three 4 stars (Guilty Creatures, Black Water Rising, The Violin Cospiracy), three 3 stars (Peril at the Exposition, Confidence, Overboard) and one 2 stars (Outside)

One was a translation:  Outside translated from the Icelandic

One was non-fiction: The Rise and Reign of the Mammals

One was an anthology of mystery short stories:  Guilty Creatures

Two were debut novels:  The Violin Conspiracy, Black Water Rising (technically this was Attica Locke’s debut novel, although I had already read another of hers, Bluebird, Bluebird).  Both are good reads.

4 of the authors are American:  March, Locke, Slocumb, Paretsky (2 are African-American:  Locke and Slocum; 1 is Indian-America:  March); 1 Scottish writer: Mina; 1 Icelandic writer:  Jonasson; 1 Canadian writer:  Penny.  The editor of Guilty Creatures is English).  The writer of the non-fiction, Steve Brusatte is an American, teaching in Edinburgh

4 are set in the US (2 in Chicago, 1 each in Charlotte, N.C., and Houston, Texas); 1 is set in Iceland, 1 in Quebec, Canada, and 1 in Scotland and other locations,

1 is an author I read for the first time:  Slocum.  I had read nothing edited or written by Martin Edwards before

I will read all the authors again because many of them were already familiar to me:  March, Mina, Paretsky, Jonasson, Locke, Penny, Brusatte.

Five authors are female (Mina, Locke,Paretsk, March, Penny); and four are males (Edwards, Brusetta, Jonasson, Slocum)

The genre or subgenre is an interesting mix:  I’ve mentioned that one is non-fiction (The Rise and Reign of the Mammals) and one is an anthology of mystery short stories with animals prominent in each (Guilty Creatures).  The other seven are classified as mystery novels, but A Rule Against Murder is the only one that I would call a murder mystery.  The Violin Conspiracy deals with the theft of a Stradivarius Violin; Overboard,  deals with the abuse of the voiceless and helpless by the rich and powerful, a usual theme for Paretsky;  Peril at the Exposition deals with the threat that the World Exposition of 1893 might be blown up by radicals;  Black Water Rising is a lawyer novel but is really about someone coming to grips with his past in order to mature and act against the influential forces which threaten the helpless and unvoiced;  Outside is just screwy, dealing with internal strife of four friends; Confidence deals with an elaborate con game.

The Violin Conspiracy is an interesting and entertaining debut novel.
A Rule Against Murder is an exceptional mystery novel.
Overboard had too many miraculous escapes and was not one of Paretsky’s better efforts.
Peril at the Exposition was an interesting study of labor unrest; the main characters however are weak.
Black Water Rising is an interesting and entertaining study in the maturation of an adult
Confidence is quirky but entertaining because it moves so fast.
The Rise and Reign of the Mammals is a good study in the evolutionary history of mammals
Guilty Creatures contains 14 short stories, some good, some not so good.  It’s entertaining.
I usually enjoy Jonasson’s work, but Outside was a very weak study in evil.


From: Marci (marcinmin) DelphiPlus Member IconAug-3 12:22 AM 
To: MerlinsDad  (2 of 7) 
 8258.2 in reply to 8258.1 

I read a couple of Sara Paretsky novels many years ago and now I'm going back to the beginning of the V.I. Warshawski series via audiobooks. I finished the first one in the series and started on the second one. I've read or listened to all the Louise Penny novels featuring Armand Gamache

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From: Marci (marcinmin) DelphiPlus Member IconAug-3 12:25 AM 
To: MerlinsDad  (3 of 7) 
 8258.3 in reply to 8258.1 

Here is my list: I enjoyed all of the books, although Young Rich Widows was a bit silly - it was a free Audiobook.

July, 2022

  1. Someone Knows, by Lisa Scottoline
  2. One Perfect Lie, by Lisa Scottoline
  3. Tell Her Story, by Margot Hune
  4. Blacklight, by J.M. Dalgliesh
  5. Young Rich Widows, by Kimberly Belle
  6. Indemnity Only, by Sara Paretsky

From: MerlinsDadAug-3 8:40 AM 
To: Marci (marcinmin) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (4 of 7) 
 8258.4 in reply to 8258.2 

I haven't read everything Paretsky has written, but I've read more than ten of them.  I've also read her essay Writing in an Age of Silence (2007).  I like her as an author and have tremendous respect for her defense of the downtrodden and voiceless.  Warshawski is one of the best characters in mystery fiction because of her compassion and willingness to involve herself in situations to aid the defenseless.

I hope you will post comments on Paretsky novels as you listen to them.

I don't know that I've read everything by Penny but again I've read more than ten of them.  Gamache is also one of the best characters in mystery fiction -- in serial fiction of all genres.  Like Warshawski, he operates from a deep compassion for and sensitivity to the human condition.  Picking up a line from James Lee Burke's Every Cloak Rolled in Blood, "Your enemies know your weakness, Pops.  That's not good . . . You believe in your fellow man (221)," a comment which could apply to Warshawski and Gamache.  All these characters perceive the pervasiveness and power of evil and attempt to combat it.


From: MerlinsDadAug-3 8:49 AM 
To: Marci (marcinmin) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (5 of 7) 
 8258.5 in reply to 8258.3 

Thank you posting.

I've not read anything by Scottoline or Dalgliesh.  I've been tempted by some of Dalgliesh's, but my library doesn't have any of his in the collection.

I just read a summary of One Perfect Lie on the library website.  What is your opinion of it?



From: Marci (marcinmin) DelphiPlus Member IconAug-5 10:04 AM 
To: MerlinsDad  (6 of 7) 
 8258.6 in reply to 8258.5 

MerlinsDad said...

I've been tempted by some of Dalgliesh's, but my library doesn't have any of his in the collection.

I've run into some of the same issues with new authors I want to try not available via Libby. I also have Audible, so I can find anything I want there, but of course have to pay. I regularly check deals they have available.

I've read/listened to all of the Peter Grainger police procedural novels set in Yorkshire & this Dalgliesh novel is similar so I wanted to try the first novel in the series and liked it.

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From: MerlinsDadAug-7 7:40 AM 
To: Marci (marcinmin) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (7 of 7) 
 8258.7 in reply to 8258.6 

I suspect my library system is having problems determining who to allocate monies between books and ebooks.  Downloads are becoming more popular, but because of the checkout limitations publishing companies place on them, they're more costly.  The library system buys books and readers can check them until they fall apart, but downloads are rentals with limited checkouts.  I'm seeing more and more authors I want to read being published only as an ebook. 

To add to those woes, counties keep cutting back on funding so there is less money to spend on new acquisitions.  Public libraries are definitely in trouble. 


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