Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Reading Roundup

August is so hot in South Florida it's unreal.  In our neighborhood, Larry and I are one of the few people who are year-round residents -- everyone else trots back up north so as not to suffer through the heat. Well, I suppose that sort of backfired on them this year, since it was just as hot up north and then they had Hurricane Irene to contend with.  It was scheduled to make landfall here where I live, as a Cat 2, but it moved along, sending us only two full days of much-needed rain and some wind gusts that at one point picked up my kickboard and sent it sailing around my patio. I really hate saying I dodged that bullet, because many people up north weren't that fortunate, but to be truthful, I'm glad it didn't hit here. Not that I am not ready for a hurricane, but the thought of no air conditioning because of the power outages is not a pleasant one. Anyway, my original point was going to be that August is so hot here that it's very conducive to either sitting in my big comfy chair inside or dangling my feet in the pool outside and reading.  And read I did.  This month my main project was to start with books longlisted for the Booker Prize, which continues on into my September reading plan.  I don't know if I want to do this again next year, but then again, I say that every year. So -- here's the summary:

Canadian Fiction
The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt  (booker prize longlist)
Half Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan   (booker prize longlist)
Far to Go, by Alison Pick  (booker prize longlist)

Fiction from the UK
Derby Day, by D.J. Taylor  (booker prize longlist)
A Cupboard Full of Coats, by Yvvette Edwards  (booker prize longlist; just finished, so I'll stick the review  into September)
Hangover Square, by Patrick Hamilton

translated general fiction
Once again, English-language books were the star of my reading show, but I've been stockpiling more translated works to squeeze in between the others. So there is nothing in this category this month.


  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and An American Family in Hitler's Berlin (not reviewed yet; will also being going into September reviews)

  • A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Faith, Deception and Survival at Jonestown, by Julia Scheeres (not yet reviewed because of later release date, but watch for it).  My thanks to the good people at Simon and Schuster for the ARC 


scandinavian crime fiction
Misterioso, by Arne Dahl  
Outrage, by Arnaldur Indridason
Anger Mode, by Stefan Tegenfalk
Keeper of Lost Causes, by Jussi Adler-Olsen (read, not yet reviewed)

spanish crime fiction
Tattoo, by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

italian crime fiction
To Each His Own, by Leonard Sciascia
The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro, by Antonio Tabucchi

.....totaling 14  books for August.  I'm currently reading The Pledge, by Friedrich Durrenmatt (crime fiction), and next up in the longlist is Jamrach's Menagerie.  In nonfiction, I'll be starting Death in the City of Light, by David King -- this book comes out in September, and I have my copy courtesy of the publisher.

other book-related stuff:
1) my book group is on hiatus until the end of September, and I've got the rest of today to figure out what the hell we're going to read before sending the group email around tomorrow a.m.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! The sooner the better -- and none of us read chick lit.

2) Added to the Amazon wishlist this month

Farewell Song, by by Rabindranath Tagore 
The Hangman's Game, by Karen King-Aribisala
The Vices, by Laurence Douglas
The Dead Women of Juarez, by Sam Hawken
Skylark, by Dezso Kosztolanyi
Five Spice Street, by Canxue
Season of Ash, by Jorge Vulpi Escalante

3) Books bought this month:

  • Cain, by Jose Saramago (October) 

  • Shards, by Ismet Prcic (October) 

  • The Prague Cemetery, by Umberto Eco (November)

  • The Boy in the Suitcase, by Lene Kaaberbol (November)

The Devil's Disciple, by Shiro Hamao

The Name of a Bullfighter, by Luis Sepulveda
 Bunny Lake is Missing, by Evelyn Piper
The Nanny, by Evelyn Piper
Cyclops, by Ranko Marinkovic

The History of History, by Ida Hattemer-Higgins
A Summer of Drowning, by John Burnside
Last Man in Tower, by Aravind Adiga
Day is Dark, by Yrsa Sigurdadottir
All Yours, by Claudia Pineiro

4) Indiespensable (from Powells Books) and the First Editions book club at BookPassage ended up once again sending me the same book -- this time Erin Morgenstern's Night Circus.  A) I see another giveaway in my future and B) these guys need to coordinate their act. Seriously!

5) Melville House sent me a download of Conrad's The Duel which is now ready to read on my Kindle, so I'll be writing about that shortly. Last month they offered a free download of Death and the Penguin, but I already own a paperback copy. That's coming in September as well.

That's it for August.  Over at the other blog, The Crime Segments, I'm currently finishing up my little mini-series I call "What would Montalbano Read," based on authors and book titles found in the Salvo Montalbano series by Camilleri.  The last two are both from Durrenmatt -- as mentioned earlier, there's The Pledge, and then The Inspector Barlach Mysteries. 

Even I think I read off-the-wall stuff sometimes! Looking at my list of books both on the wishlist and bought, I'm convinced of it.



  1. I haven't read any of your books, but international crime fiction always interests me. I like the sound of all the ones you list! Nice roundup.

  2. thank you! Any suggestions for my book group?

  3. Nancy, you are always so productive, and your reading choices are so interesting! Hope your September is just as rewarding. The History of History is such a great title -- I have to look that one up.

  4. Col: I don't feel productive at all -- I always wonder why I don't get as much done as I want to. But thank you!!


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