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Monthly "Reads" > Shomeret's June Reads 3/4

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message 1: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 1371 comments 9)Midnight Riotby Ben Aaronovitch (urban fantasy) 298 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/17 Finished: 6/19

Why Read: I read about the sequel Moon Over Soho and decided to RIO in order to get the background. The book starts with an English policeman at a London murder scene who obtains information from a witness. There's only one problem with this witness. He's actually a ghost. That attracted my interest right away.

Comments: I really liked the background of the MC, Peter Grant. His father is a retired jazz musician and his mother is from Sierra Leone. This book starts off seeming like a paranormal mystery, but there's too much woo woo. So I have to categorize this book as urban fantasy. It was a good read. There's an excerpt from the sequel at the back of the book. It's much more focused on music. I think it will be even better. My rating on this one is B+

10)Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murdererby Wesley Stace (historical mystery)
384 pages. Source: Independent Bookstore Started: 6/19 Finished: 6/20

Why Read: This is a September selection for the F2F mystery group that I attend. It involves opera and songcatching of traditional folk music. A songcatcher is someone (usually an academic like Philip DePoy's MC Fever Develin) who goes to an isolated rural region to ask the residents to sing the oldest songs they know so that they can be recorded and preserved. I love songcatching, but I've only ever read about it happening in the U.S. This book takes place in England.

Comments: There isn't much songcatching. There's only enough to set up for later plot developments. That was disappointing. Another problematic aspect for readers who are less musically inclined than I am is that there is no indication that this book is a mystery until the last hundred pages or so. I really thought that it wasn't a mystery at all--just a book about Charles Jessold and his relationships with the other characters. Eventually, I realized that it is a mystery and I was almost right in my guess about whodunit. When I go to the September meeting of the F2F group, I won't be surprised to find that this book is a DNF for other members. People who are all about reading mysteries won't have patience for it. I was interested in the characters, the relationships and the music milieu. I gave it a B.

11)Requiem by Fire: A Novel by Wayne Caldwell (historical fiction)334 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/20 Finished: 6/22

Why Read: This is about the federal government forcing people off their land in the mountains of North Carolina in order to make room for a national park. This makes you wonder about the national park system as a whole and how the land was obtained. I had no idea that this happened in the 1920's. I wanted to find out more. I found this book on GR.

Comments: There is an entire range of reaction to the federal authorities in this book. The most central characters in the book are the rebellious Silas Wright who stays under the limited lifetime lease terms that the government offered, and Jim Hawkins who adopts the "if you can't lick 'em, join 'em" approach by becoming a warden that enforces the federal regulations. I found him as likable as Silas because he took the job out of love for the land and the house that his ancestors built.

The entire situation infuriated me for historical reasons. Many of the mountain people were descended from tenant farmers who were thrown off their land in Britain to make room for the grazing of sheep which was more profitable for the landowners. In the U.S. their descendants had become landowners, but they still lost the land. No one cared about these people or the lives they had built in 18th century Britain and their descendants were still considered of no account ("just ignorant hillbillies") in 20th century America. The government claims that it's protecting the land's heritage by maintaining it as a park, but heritage really belongs to people. It's the history of the individuals and families who were forced to leave, as this book demonstrates. This was the best book I read in June. I rated it A.

To Be Continued...

message 2: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14402 comments Very interesting, Shomeret! Will you read Wayne Caldwell's earlier book, Cataloochee?
Shomeret wrote: "9)11)Requiem by Fire: A Novel by Wayne Caldwell (historical fiction)."

message 3: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 1371 comments I found out that Cataloochee: A Novelby Wayne Caldwell deals with some of the same characters that I loved in Requiem by Fire: A Novel, so yes, Anne, I will be reading the earlier book. I read OOO as is my usual wont. :)

message 4: by Brakedrum (new)

Brakedrum | 1203 comments Shomeret wrote: "9)Midnight Riotby Ben Aaronovitch (urban fantasy) 298 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/17 Finished: 6/19

Why Read: I read about the sequel Moon Over Soho and deci..."

Requiem by Fire looks very interesting. I'll see if it's available at the library.

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