Rearview Mirror: August 2015

What!?  It’s September!?!?!?  How did this happen!??!

Conveniently, I love all the seasons, and am super happy that I live someplace where each one shows up for a couple of months, because I’m totally ready for the new one when it arrives!  All that to say, another week of muggy, humid, sticky weather has left me yearning for crisp autumnal days!  I’m ready!

Not much to report.  A LOT of working (at work!) these days for both members of Team Awesome, so not a lot of adventuring, although we did manage to hit up the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh last weekend, so that was pretty cool!!

Book wise?  SO MANY BOOKS ON THE TBR!  For reals, people.  I have ZERO self control!

Favorite August Read:  Honestly, I didn’t read anything this month that just really wowed me.  Everything felt kind of meh.  I’ve been enjoying the Pern books, but not passionately.  I think I’m going with Ice in the Bedroom.  You just can’t go wrong with P.G. Wodehouse, and especially not when he’s writing about Freddie Widgeon!

Most Disappointing August Read:  Oh, Zeldefinitely.  That book was whoa creepy and 100% unsuitable for its intended audience of CHILDREN.  Ugh.

Other August Reads:

  • Death and Judgment by Donna Leon – 4/5 – this is book #4 in the Commisario Brunetti series, and I also read (but didn’t review) #5, Aqua Alta.  Decent mysteries – I’ve been enjoying the series thus far.
  • Dragonsinger and The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey – 4/5 and 3/5 – solid outings in the Pern chronicles, but The White Dragon was just trying to do a little too much.
  • The Black Fawn by Jim Kjelgaard – 4/5 – just a happy outdoorsy tail. I really liked the main character of this one.
  • Maris by Grace Livingston Hill – 3/5 – just a little too much of everything!

Random Fun:

Like I’ve said before, while I pretty much just write reviews here, I do enjoy reading other people’s bookish posts.  Here are some highlights I especially enjoyed this month!

  • Even though the BBC’s new Tommy & Tuppence adaptation isn’t a bad show, Books for the Trees says she doesn’t feel like it really catches the spirit of that indomitable duo.  Since Tommy and Tuppence are some of my all-time favorite characters in literature, I don’t think I’m brave enough to give the new show a try!  I was especially scared of the phrase “a time in their life where their marriage isn’t exactly prospering.”  What!?  I just can’t envision any point in Beresford life where the marriage didn’t prosper!  Balderdash!
  • FictionFan managed to create a poem that perfectly captures the true Pride & Prejudice spirit – bravo!
  • Even though Book Rock Betty and I read totally different books, and I consequently never really add one of her reads to my TBR, I thoroughly enjoy her reviews, especially the synopses written by her husband…  who hasn’t actually read the books!

 

Added to the TBR:

Guys, you don’t even want to know.  I am not even going to list all of them.  I am in FULL READING MODE and absolutely everything sounds so intriguing and fun!  I add them all!  No sense of self-restraint at all.  Here are just a couple of highlights…

  • Even though I’m a little scared about adding another 600 page (!!!) tome to the list, The Captive Reader’s review of Under Heaven just sounded absolutely fascinating to me.  She says:

Across a sprawling empire, Kay tracks the fates of his characters: an aging emperor obsessed with escaping death; his brilliant, beautiful consort, the most influential woman in the empire; an arrogant general; an honorary princess sent to wed a barbarian; a female warrior with a tongue as sharp as her swords; and, at the heart of it all, a young man emerging from the mourning period following the death of his father into a world of ambition, corruption, and near constant danger.

Can. Not. Resist.

  • While 746Books didn’t have time to devote a full review to it, even her minireview of Hawthorn & Child sounded really, really intriguing.  “Ridgeway has fashioned a crime novel with no real crime, a detective story that doesn’t really focus on the detectives and a novel that may be a short story collection or a short story collection that may be a novel.”  Doesn’t that sound unique??
  • Okay, so despite the fact that I’m a little scared of even “non-icky” sex scenes, Waiting for Sunriseas recommended by FictionFan, simply sounds like too much fun to pass up.
  • I was also pleased to add Secret Diary of PorterGirlanother FictionFan recommendation, to the list – especially since she says, “Something to read when the world feels grey and a little laughter is required to brighten the day!”  Well, who doesn’t need that??
  • Sometimes I am struck afresh by the fact that almost every movie I’ve ever watched is based on a book that is probably even more brilliant. This month, two books cropped up on the radar that are movies I have thoroughly enjoyed – so why not give the books a whirl??
    • Lady Fancifull recommended Strangers on a Trainalthough I am a bit worried that “Hitch[cock], unusually, made a much more saccharine film than Highsmith’s uncomfortably disturbing walk in the shadows.”  Gulp!
    • That’s What She Read reviewed Jurassic Park – one of those books that I didn’t even really realize was a thing.  Some movies are just so embedded in the culture that it seems almost shocking to remember that they are actually based on a book!  Creighton is one of those authors I always feel like I  should get around to reading, so what better place to start than with a classic?
  • Both Stephanie and Cleopatra recommended Black-Eyed Susans – who can resist a mystery coming from two excellent bloggers??
  • Speaking of taking recommendations, it’s always funny to come across an opposing review.  Last month, I added Little Black Lies to the TBR after reading Reading, Writing & Riesling’s review.  This month, FictionFan said that she felt that “ultimately … the flaws in this one outweighed its strengths.”  I am endlessly fascinated by the way everyone has different perspectives about every story they read.  Of course, Little Black Lies will stay on the list for now – because who knows where I will fall on the spectrum??
  • Peter Robinson is another one of those authors I’ve never gotten around to, and Reading, Writing & Riesling made me think that maybe I should start with one of his earlier novels??  She said that No Cure for Love was her first Robinson experience, and she enjoyed it so much that she added the entire rest of his works to her TBR!
  • Everyone once in a while, especially now that I’m married and don’t have to sleep alone, I enjoy reading a really good, solidly creepy kind of book, and In a Dark, Dark Wood sounds like it might fit the bill, since Cleo said it made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up!
  • For some reason, Bibliobeth’s description of She is Not Invisible definitely made me want to find this book – a story that she said she found engrossing from the first line to the final one.
  • The Literary Sisters pulled Little Boy Lost from the archive – a story about a young man returning to post-WWII France just really sounds engaging to me. I’ve really been trying to read more fiction set in the first half of the 1900’s, and this sounds like it will fit the bill!
  • I actually rather enjoyed Colleen Houck’s crazy tiger series (here’s my review for the first in the series), despite its many eye-rolling moments, and since Books for the Trees read her latest novel, ReawakenedI decided to add it to the list – who doesn’t want an ancient sun prince from Egypt for your hero??

Legit, that is maybe half the books I added this month.  I don’t know what was going on!  Every review sounded amazing!  I LOVE READING SO MUCH!

Thanks to everyone for blogging – I really, really, really love reading other people’s reviews and thoughts and discussions about books.  Even though I haven’t had as much time to be active about “liking” and commenting posts, I’m reading them – and they’re making my TBR spiral out of control!  Keep up the great work!!!  :-)