Already the 16th of September, but posting this month has been slow for me, and this is probably the first month this year that I haven’t written a single review in 15 days as headless-chicken mode continues. (I have been reading though so reviews should start to resume as soon as I’m more in control of my to-do list). But anyway, after posting somewhat sparsely much of this month, I’m making a start to get back on track with my reading wrap up for last month.
I spent much of August reading books from my #10BooksofSummer list, and did (almost) finish my challenge on time (the last book spilled over). I also managed to fit in a couple of my NetGalley reads for the month. August also has both International Cat Day (8 August) and International Dog Day (26 August) for which I try and pick up something; while for Cat Day this year, I did a short post on books with cat detectives in them (here), for Dog Day, I read a cute little title which would appeal to both children and adults. I did (as my reading usually is) manage a mix of genres–history-nonfiction. historical fiction, fantasy, nature, and mysteries among them.
I read six (and a little over half) of my 10 books of summer in August. Among these were Attendant Lords: Bairam Khan and Abdur Rahim: Courtiers and Poets in Mughal India by T.C.A. Raghavan, a nonfiction account looking into the lives of Bairam Khan who served as regent to the third Mughal emperor Akbar and his son Abdur Rahim, both of whom were also poets with hundreds of verses to their credit. Besides their lives and careers, this book highlighted their contributions to literature as well as the role poetry played in court life at the time(full review). The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson was an interesting combination of school story, World War II tale, and also a tale about the importance of freedom–individual and as a people. With nature playing an important role all through, the book, this novel incorporates many of Ibbotson’s own experiences (full review). Father Goose by William Lishman is another autobiographical account but nonfiction/nature this time, about Lishman a sculptor and naturalist who taught various gaggles of geese to fly with his light aircraft, and went on to participate in conservation efforts. His own life as well as his work with the geese were rather fascinating to read about (full review).
The Familiars by Stacey Halls, set in seventeenth-century Lancashire was the story of seventeen-year-old Fleetwood Shuttleworth, married four years already and having suffered many miscarriages. She hires a young woman, Alice Grey as her midlife convinced that she will be able to help. And while she starts to see Alice’s remedies do her good, Alice is accused of witchcraft and it falls to Fleetwood to clear her name. Based on the Pendle witch trials and real life characters, Halls weaves a believable and engrossing tale (full review).
Do I need to really say anything about my next book, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie; eight strangers and two people to attend to them, all stranded on Soldier’s Island with their mysterious host nowhere to be found. Then all are accused of various crimes, and one by one they start to die! The atmosphere Christie creates in this one was very very creepy and excellently done (full review).
The final book from my 10 Books of Summer list that I finished and reviewed was The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith, the fourth in the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, which sees Mma Ramotswe solving two cases–tracing down some people whom her client has wronged in the past and wants to make up to, and an errant husband, while her secretary/assistant detective Mma Makutsi opens a typing school to add to her income. A charming read with glimpses into Botswanan life and culture (full review).
The two review copies I managed to get to in August were both sequels or next in series to books I’d read and enjoyed last year. The Dragon’s Promise by Elizabeth Lim, continues the story of Shiori, princess of Kiata. At the end of the previous book, Six Crimson Cranes, a retelling of the Wild Swans fairy tale, Shiori had broken the curse on herself and her brothers (who’d turned into cranes) but was charged with returning a dragon’s pearl (in reality, its heart) to its rightful owner. Fulfilling this promise involves more than one journey and exciting though these were to read about, I felt the author my be tried to include too many tracks in one book which might have been better spread out over another volume or two (full review). The Lost Man of Bombay by Vaseem Khan was a historical mystery, set in 1950s India around the (fictional) first female police officer, Persis Wadia. The cases this time included a frozen body found in the Himalayas with a Bombay connection which finds its way to her desk, and an Italian businessman and his Indian wife murdered rather brutally. I really enjoyed the mysteries in this one, though Persis herself, I felt behaved a little too childishly even though her reasons may have had something to them (full review).
Finally there was my International Dog Day read, Mrs R Snugglesworth, Attorney-at-Law by Amy Flanagan. In this sweet and lovely read, Mrs R Snugglesworth, an English labrador wants to do more with her life than just be a dog, and after serving on the ‘dog jury’ at the local Bark Park, decides to attend law school. While she is starting her classes, she comes upon her first case, Pitter Patter who has been unfairly accused of breaking dog laws. But attending classes and investigating her first case while also living a normal doggie life is not easy and Mrs R. Snugglesworth finds herself thrown off track. Does she qualify for the bar and get an acquittal for her client? Well, that you’ll have to read to see. What made this book especially fun was that the author doesn’t anthropomorphise the characters, they remain very much dogs in their behaviour and interests but also manage to have a believable society alongside our own.
So that was my August reading. Almost all very good reads, none that I didn’t enjoy, even if there were aspects that didn’t work for me in some of these. September reading has been slow so far, but enjoyable, and I will start positing reviews as soon as I can manage. How is your September reading going so far?