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Monthly "READS" > July 2011 reads

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message 3: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 211 comments Since it was so hot in July I barely left the house which led to lots of reading time. Here are my July reads:

Top Reads

Crime of Silence by Patricia CarlonCrime of Silence
Patricia Carlon
While not the most realistic of the books by this author that I have read this one had me on the edge of my seat and turning the pages as fast I could to find out the ending. Patricia Carlon is a master of creating tension and suspense while using a subtle and economical writing style.

The Power of the Dog by Don WinslowThe Power of the Dog
Don Winslow
A great read. The plot revolves around the war on drugs and while, at times, grimly violent the action and characters were unfortunately all too believable.

One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night by Christopher BrookmyreOne Fine Day in the Middle of the Night
Christopher Brookmyre
A hilarious page-turner set during a class reunion that is taking place on an oil rig turned luxury resort off the coast of Scotland. No one combines the totally absurd with graphic violence better than Brookmyre.

Good Reads

The Moving Target (Lew Archer, #1) by Ross MacdonaldThe Moving Target
Ross Macdonald
Very enjoyable first book from a classic hard-boiled PI series. The plot moved along at a brisk pace and even though it was written back in 1949 it did not seem dated at all. Listened to the audio which was performed with just the right amount of grit by Tom Parker.

Those Guys Have All the Fun  Inside the World of ESPN by James Andrew MillerThose Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN
James Andrew Miller
Massive oral history of the origins of ESPN and its subsequent rise to the top of the sports entertainment world. A bit too long and loosely focused but, for a fan, a worthwhile read.

Publish and be Murdered by Ruth Dudley EdwardsPublish and be Murdered
Ruth Dudley Edwards
Robert Amiss finally gets a job on his own at a conservative journal where he is hired as a manager charged with trying to cut costs without upsetting the staff too much. As with all the books in this series, the mystery plot takes a back seat to the over the top characters, situations, and humor.

Shades of Grey  The Road to High Saffron (Shades of Grey, #1) by Jasper FfordeShades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron
Jasper Fforde
For the most part, an amusing (though quite dark at times) look at a future world that is governed by the rules of the chromatic scale. Lots of inventive world building and a wry outlook make up for a bit of an unfocused plot and lots of dangling threads that were left at the end. I listened to the audio version read by the always capable John Lee who seemed to be having quite a good time with the text.

Blanding's Castle by P.G. WodehouseBlanding's Castle
P.G. Wodehouse
Collection of short stories that includes six set at Blandings Castle (all of which were fun), one featuring Bobbie Wickham, and five about the Mulliners of Hollywood (funny enough but a bit too repetitive).

The Raven in the Foregate  The Twelfth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael (Brother Cadfael Mysteries) by Ellis PetersThe Raven in the Foregate: The Twelfth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael
Ellis Peters
King Stephen is back on the throne of England but Brother Cadfael and company are more concerned with a local death. This is the first book in the series that I have actually read and, while I did miss Patrick Tull's narration, the mix of history and mystery along with the great characters made it an enjoyable and quick read.

Black and Blue  The Golden Arm, the Robinson Boys, and the 1966 World Series That Stunned America by Tom AdelmanBlack and Blue: The Golden Arm, the Robinson Boys, and the 1966 World Series That Stunned America
Tom Adelman
Entertaining account of the 1966 baseball season and the World Series that seems to have been forgotten by all but the most ardent of baseball fans.

A Personal Devil  Magdalene la Batarde Series, Book 2 by Roberta GellisA Personal Devil: Magdalene la Batarde Series, Book 2
Roberta Gellis
An enjoyable audio historical mystery (read by Nadia May) set in England during the reign of King Stephen. I really liked all the characters and the plot had enough twists and turns to keep my interest.

Lacking something

The Midnight House (John Wells, #4) by Alex BerensonThe Midnight House
Alex Berenson
Not nearly as good as the previous books in the series. John Wells, super agent for the CIA, seemed to be off his game and just kind of floundered around during the entire book. The ending was a bit flat and, I thought, highly predictable too. Listened to the audio version read by George Guidall who did his usual excellent job.

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne #1)  by Mark HodderThe Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne #1)
Mark Hodder
Sir Richard Francis Burton must cope with a myriad of strange occurrences after being commissioned as a King's Agent in an alternative England. Lots of interesting ideas and uses of historical characters but the writing was not really up to the story. Info dumps abounded (with lots of telling not showing) and quite a bit of the weird and different technology just seemed to be garnishments and not really all that integral to the plot.

Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilvaRogue Island
Bruce DeSilva
While this was a decent enough debut I was expecting a bit more since it won the Edgar for best first mystery this year. The best part of the book was the Providence setting and the various descriptions of inner workings of the state. The plot started off well but the lead character took his time putting the pieces together and the pace was bogged down by the never ending listing of the lead character's musical choices (including all of his cell phone ring tones).


message 2: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited Jul 31, 2011 06:31PM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
RE-POSTING Schemerguls's July 2011 list:

4837. Washington A Life, by Ron Chernow (read 6 Jul 2011) (Pulitzer Biography prize in 2011) I read Chernow's books The House of Morgan (on 14 June 1994) and Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (on 22 Nov 1999) and Alexander Hamilton (on 27 Nov 2004) and found them all full of interest so when I saw this book on Washington won the Pulitzer Biography prize this year I knew I would read it, even though I read a seven-volume life of Washington (by Douglas Southall Freeman) in 1968. When I read that I figured I would not read any more on him, but 1968 is a long time ago and so I was glad to read this book. It is very detailed and some of the more trivial things are not too interesting, and much of what I read I knew, but still it is well put together and usually held my interest. It does not hesitate to show Washington's faults--he was not a brainy guy but had many good traits and was courageous and totally devoted to this country's interests. He did not win many battles but his steady role had much to do with the Revolution's success. He could be harsh, and of course had a slave-owner's mentality--though he did free his slaves in his will. I thought this a good book to read , and I am glad I read it, and it is as good a one-volume life of Washington as I bet there is.

4838. The "Double Indemnity" Murder Ruth Snyder, Judd Gray, and New York's Crime of the Century, by Landis MacKellar (read 10 Jul 2011) I was sheerly fascinated when on 21 May 1946 I read Frederick Lewis Allen's history of the 1920's, Only Yesterday, and I think that is when I first heard of the Snyder-Gray murder of Albert Snyder on March 19, 1927. This book on that murder was published in 2006 by a man who. while not a lawyer, did much research on the case. It was a very dumb murder, and the pair's effort to avoid liability collapsed very quickly and each gave detailed confessions quickly. The trial is well described with much quotation from the trial records. It took the twelve men 31 minutes to find both Snyder and Gray guilty. The trial ends when the book is only half done--the rest of the book tells of the events leading up to the electrocution of both Snyder and Gray on 12 Jan 1928. It is one of the three famous murder trials of the 1920's, the others being the Loeb-Leopold case (I read a book on that trail on 29 Dec 1957 and a good fictionalized treatment of it, Compulsion, on 12 Oct 1997. and the Hall-Mills case (I read a book on it by William Kunstler on 15 Feb 1966.) The publicity on the Snyder-Gray case is hard to understand, since there was little mystery about it and the guilt was obvious. But news coverage was insane. This book does a thorough workmanlike job on the case, though the author is no Truman Capote.

4839. David Balfour Being Memoirs of His Adventures at Home and Abroad, by Robert Louis Stevenson (read 12 Jul 2011) My daughter Sandy gave me this book published in 1907 of this novel, which was first published in 1893. It is a sequel to Kidnapped, which I read 8 April 1970. The hero of Kidnapped in this book is seeking to save his friend Alan and the first 265 pages of the novel tell of David traipsing around Scotland. The exact situation which he is seeking to have his friends cleared of is not very clear and these pages are of minimal interest--and there is much Scot dialect which is a pain to read and try to make sense of. But in the final third of the book David goes to Europe with the girl he smitten by and that part of the book is full of interest and a joy to read--partly because it is much better than the first 265 pages. It is great to read fiction where the characters are moral and which of course has a happy ending. The book is a good example of the wisdom of not quitting a book even though the first 265 pages do not grab one.

4840. K. by Mary Roberts Rinehart (read 14 Jul 2011) When I was a freshman in high school I was much taken by mysteries by Mary Roberts Rinehart and read six books by her. So when Sandy gave me this 1915 book by her I was very glad and I was eager to see what I would think of it. But it is a syrupy novel laid in about 1913, revolving around a street and doctors and nurses. Sydney is an 18-year-old girl who rejects Joe and K. LeMoyse comes to room at her home. Sydney takes up nursing, becomes engaged to a philandering doctor, and finally on the last few pages sees that K., who is actually a doctor, is the man for her. The book was No. 5 on the 1915 best seller list! I felt the writing was unbelievably bad and plot creaky and predictable.

4841. The Storm of War A New History of the Second World War. by Andrew Roberts (read 22 Jul 2011) This book does a good job telling of World War II, although he does discuss some things more as you would expect an English author to, and some things less than one than one would expect an American author would. But I think his views are balanced and fair. He convincingly sets out the errors of Hitler: letting Dunkirk happen; invading Russia before conquering England; declaring war on the US; refusing to allow German retreats at Stalingrad and elsewhere, etc. His final chapter summing up the war and why it went the way it did is masterful. It is a good book to read, even though I I have read so much similar work (A World at Arms on 31 Dec 2006, Delivered from Evil on 4 Feb 1989, The Good War on 8 Mar 2002). But it is good to read again of the greatest event in my lifetime and to be grateful it turned out as well as it did.

4842. Looking Far North The Harriman Expedition To Alaska 1899, by William H. Goetzmann and Kay Sloan (read 24 Jul 2011) This is a 1982 book about an expedition to Alaska organized and funded by E. H. Harriman, father of Averell Harriman (who was 8 and went along on the ship, as did his 2-year-old brother). They left from Seattle, went up to Wrangell and Sitka and along the south coast of Alaska and even across to Siberia. Many specimens of birds, etc., were collected The book was better than I expected, though it was amazing how blithely some of the people on the trip shot and killed birds and animals.


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
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