The summer is winding down and I thought I’d take a look back at what I’ve read. It’s been a wild mix of indie, conventional, classic and new, in a range of genres from historical & paranormal mysteries to literature and non-fiction, with detours into romance, science fiction and fantasy. Once again, my Kindle has proven to an indispensible travel companion. Torturous airport delays and jetlag inspired sleepless nights are so much better with an entire library in my bag. Almost as good as afternoon coffees in cafes and time set aside just to read. That’s what I call reading for pleasure!
The season began with a couple of stellar biographies: ‘Daughter of Earth and Water: A Biography of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley by Noel Gerson and ‘Shakespeare: The World as Stage’ by Bill Bryson. I also enjoyed ‘The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine’ by Michael Lewis. Read it even if economics and finance give you a headache
When I hear ‘Charles Dickens’ my thoughts go to ‘Oliver Twist’ and “Great Expectations’ but Dickens was the pulp maestro of his time, often paid by the word to churn out fiction. I stumbled upon ‘Hunted Down’ and enjoyed revenge Dickens style. ‘The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald’ by David Handler was another kind of period piece. It’s the vintage publishing world of the mid 1980s in NYC, so it’s sex, drugs and literature. Pre-social media, it’s almost tame, but still a fun romp.
I indulged my childhood Sherlock Holmes obsession with a few NEW Sherlock books including ‘Art in the Blood’ by Bonnie Macbird. In the realm of paranormal romance, I enjoyed Eve Paludan’s take on beauty & the beast—set in a magical land with a werewolf beast and vampires. I also reread the mystery ‘Painting in the Dark’ by Russell James and it held up. A book that’s better the second time around is a true summer surprise!
I’ve decided not to dwell on the books that were awful. I pushed myself to finish some and abandoned others after valiant attempts to conquer hapless prose, predictable characters or flabby storylines. I’d rather sing the praises of the two best summer books (as of August 22)…
‘The Mannequin Defense’ is the start of a new series for paranormal mystery author Kirsten Weiss. It’s a fabulous page-turner. Read it!
I adored ‘The Elegance of the Hedgehog’ by Muriel Barbary—a delicate confection about love, art, friendship & the meaning of life. It’s brilliant. I sent a copy to a friend for her birthday!