Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Summer Reading

You know I haven't been updating my blog this summer. The question is, what have I been doing instead? I did have a wedding, and a class to plan, as well as some major cleaning in the basement.
I've also been doing a lot more reading lately, which is good, because I think my Kindle was getting lonely. I thought I'd post about some of what's been on and off my nightstand this summer. I used to post about what I was reading a lot more on here, so I thought I'd try to get back to that.
by Michael Gruber

Book one in the Jimmy Paz trilogy.
Tropic of Night is a magical realism detective novel. Set in Miami, Nigeria, Siberia and the Northeast USA, this is one convoluted murder mystery. It was really interesting, though. I loved the Miami setting and it was cool learning more about West African religion. I recommend it highly, but with the warning that it falls on the graphic side of violent and does have some truly creepy moments. Not a light read. The first book in a series, but the plot is completely wrapped up in this one book.
by Colin Cotterill
Book one in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series.
The Coroner's Lunch also has one foot in the murder mystery genre and the other in magical realism. The setting is Laos, circa 1975, just after the communist revolution. The main character is a 72 year old coroner whose investigations into his patients' causes of death unravel vast conspiracies. It was a really interesting take on the whole "death investigator" genre, and I enjoyed learning and reading about the early days of Lao Communism. The first book in a series, but the plot is completely wrapped up in this one book.
The Xenogenesis Saga
by Octavia Butler
This is a three-book series.
Lilith's Brood is a science fiction trilogy by Octavia Butler and set in the near future. Humanity has been stopped from complete annihilation during our final world war by a group of aliens. In this setting, Butler examines what it means to be human, as well as meditates on colonialism and race relations. Definitely a series I wanted to talk about when I was finished.
by Gillian Flynn

Two other books I polished off this summer were Sharp Objects and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. Her third book, Gone Girl, is also in my "To Read" pile. I read both Sharp Objects and Dark Places all in one night (one night each - I don't read that fast). I had to know how they ended before I could move on with my life! I didn't particularly like the main characters - I wanted them to do well, but I wanted them to do it far away from me - but the stories were masterfully woven and I didn't lose interest for one single second.
Next on my "To Read" pile is Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I've heard good things about the book over the years, and with a movie coming out I figured I'd better get on it!
What did you read this summer? Tell me what your favorite books were!
Kathryn :D


  1. Thank you for the suggestions. I too love to read, but i find "Time" to be my enemy on this front. I did tell myself that I needed to read more of the classics, so I picked up Moby Dick. Well, after a long hard read, with the middle so so, SO long, it gets exciting. I now know more about how the waling industry worked than I ever thought I would. I am glad that I tackled this classic, so much so that I decided I needed to check off another classic with the Divine Comedy, because after being consumed by a relentless pursuit of revenge, why not stroll through the 9 circles of hell on a summer's night.

    1. I have read both of those, and I agree that "Moby Dick" is definitely longer than it needed to be, but it did have an exciting ending.

      With Dante's "Divine Comedy" I never did make it all the way through Heaven! My interest started to wander partway through Purgatory, I'm afraid.

  2. Kathryn, thanks for the update - and the new reading ideas, I love fiction and have a harder time with nonfiction and chalked my difficulties with Moby Dick up to it be so much more nonfiction than fiction! Loved Dante though -- but I read it in school with a wonderful teacher who added so much to it that it was impossible not to find it wonderful -- that and being Catholic and repeated told to pray for relatives in Purgatory made it incredibly personal! :) I'm reading Quiet by Susan Cain -- What we can learn from the Power of Introverts in a World that can't stop Talking. I'll need a lot of fiction next. I also want to say I'm having trouble with the third video of the Summer Journal and I miss like heck being part of the chat! I always have such clever things to say! Well, at least once a video anyway; just ordered the teal Simple Stories album etc., very excited for that package to arrive. Oh, and thanks for the class on a theme wedding -- it's perfect! Of course I know all of it already, but having it organized for me, the external discipline of it, somehow makes it easier. 33 years an still no wedding album! I'm not going to redo it all, but I will change some things and start again. I'll finally scan my yellowed photos and I think I'll go with black and white and keep my papers in color -- the yellowed photos make colors just too difficult; I considered using only black and white papers, but that's just not me. I think I'll use card stock for backgrounds and build up from there, still simple, but with color. I've already gone through the photos and selected stories, etc., but now I can go through it with a more confident eye. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

    1. Mary, so sorry you are having problems with the archived videos & the chat. It's always frustrating when USTREAM doesn't work properly. Have you tried submitting a support ticket to them?

      I like your idea of scanning the wedding photos so they can be converted to black & white. You can also try bringing them back to their original colors by removing the color cast (try using a color corrector in a photo editing program).

      I'm glad that the structure of the class is motivating you to work through your album in an organized way. That's one of the best things about the class, I think: a step-by-step process for getting through all the material without forgetting something important or over-scrapping the event and driving yourself crazy. :)

  3. I read Gillian Flynn's books. I really enjoyed them. Now I am reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I am not normally a paranormal reader but I like how the author portrays vampires. By your reviews I think I have to put Tropic of Night on my read list.

    1. I think you'll enjoy "Tropic of Night"! It's more magical realism than urban fantasy, so there are not as many supernatural elements and they're presented differently (rational explanations vs. mystical). It was definitely a fascinating read.

      I'll have to check out the series you mentioned for my To Read pile. :)

  4. Whoo hoo - thanks for the recommendations - esp. Gillian Flynn's books. I've read "Gone Girl" and will order the other two on my Kindle.

    1. Her books are definitely creepy, but her characters are so interesting! I always have to know what happens next with her!

  5. I'm a constant reader! But, I did have a surprisingly good read this summer. My son is an alarm technician in Orlando, Fl and he met Lee Hanson, the author of the Julie O'Hara novels. He told her his Mom was an avid reader of mystery novels so she gave him three of her books for me to enjoy. They are based in Orlando and describe the area in detail throughout the stories. Since I used to live in Orlando (before Mickey did)and raised my family there, it's fun to identify with the locations. Very good mysteries! Somewhat cozy mystery, with a little bit of spice! Loved all three: Mystral Murder, Swan Song, and Castle Cay.

    Thanks for asking what I was reading.