Saturday, 11 October 2014

Q3 review: books I read in the monsoon months

I’m beginning to hate these quarterly reviews of books and short stories I read and occasionally review because they tell me, and you, just how little I’m reading these days. 

© Candied Crime
As I noted at the end of the first quarter and second quarter, I hope to catch up in the next quarter, which is October-December, and reach a respectable figure of fifty books and short stories each for the whole of 2014. More than fifty would be a bonus for now and an incentive for the future.

But I have doubts as I plan to renew my interest in drawing and painting, my second favourite hobby after reading and writing. Both run on either side of the family and every creative gene must be explored. I also intend to devote some time to philately which I have neglected since graduation. Sitting with one’s stamps collection is time well spent—you learn about places and events.
 

© The Book Place
I’ll let you know how all of that goes in the first week of January 2015, perhaps, with a scan or two of my intended paintings.

Although I’m not happy with the number of books and short fiction I read in the third quarter, July through September, I’m satisfied with the quality of fiction.

I read some very good stories by three of my blog friends, all very seasoned writers—The Man in the Moon, a crime mystery by James Reasoner; Green Acres and Ding Dong Bell The Kitten in the Well, two cosy mysteries by Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen; and The Education of a Pulp Writer & Other Stories, noir at its best by David Cranmer. The three covers tell their own story. While there is nothing common in any of them, every one of the stories is a standout. Check them out. 

© Beat to a Pulp
Among the other modern books I read in Q3, I strongly recommend Defending Jacob by William Landay, reviewed, and The Button Man by Mark Pryor, to be reviewed soon.

This is the full list of books and short stories I read, July-September, in no particular order.


Novels and Novellas


The Dark Side of the Island by Jack Higgins, 1963

Defending Jacob by William Landay, 2012

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, 1960 — reread

The Man in the Moon by James Reasoner, 1980

The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft, 1928

Buck Hawk, Detective by Edward L. Wheeler, 1888

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe, 1959

The Button Man by Mark Pryor, 2014

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser, 1900

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy, 1963 — nonfiction


Short Stories


Comrades by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, 1911

A Woman on a Roof by Doris Lessing, 1963

The Education of a Pulp Writer & Other Stories by David Cranmer, 2008-2014

The White Fruit of Banaldar by John D. MacDonald, 1951

Green Acres, 2012, and Ding Dong Bell The Kitten in the Well, 2014, by Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

The Adventure of the Dying Detective by Arthur Conan Doyle, 1913

Who Murdered the Vets? by Ernest Hemingway, 1935, and The Suppressed Poems of Ernest Hemingway, 1922-1929

You’ll see that I have reviewed more shorts than novels—they are quicker and less time consuming. And besides, I genuinely enjoy reading short stories and short fiction.

16 comments:

  1. Well I have zero artistic talent so drawing and painting never interfere with my reading. :)

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    1. Charles, I used to paint a lot in my teens and I want to try my hand at it again. It'll eat into my reading time, but I don't mind so long as I'm doing something creative.

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  2. I think it is great that you focus on different pursuits, and there is no need to worry about reading suffering. I am sure reading will always be important to you. At this point in my life, pursuing reading and writing about it is all I want to do (beyond working a demanding full time job), but in earlier years I pursued other interests and I let reading slow down quite a lot when that happened.

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    1. Tracy, thank you. I have too many interests and too little time. I want to do everything at the same time except I know I'll end up doing nothing. My idea is to devote a little time to painting and philately over the weekends and read through the rest of the week.

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  3. Focussing on different things is in itself creative. Imagine having only one interest.

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    1. Mystica, I can't imagine having just one interest. I already spend a considerable amount of time playing chess and scrabble on my tab, and listening to a little music every day.

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    2. I wonder how Dresier holds up. I remember reading all of his work about a million years ago.

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    3. Patti, SISTER CARRIE was a very good book. Theodore Dreiser brings alive the Chicago of late 19th century to early 20th century through its industrial revolution and labour force, and the struggling lives of its citizens including newcomers like Carrie. The description of the city and its trade is vivid as is that of Carrie, the heroine, in every aspect of her character.

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  4. Prashant, that's a decent quarter's reading - don't be too harsh on yourself. Landay and Reasoner are stand-outs for me. I'll have to add them to the ever growing list. Pryor's Button Man is waiting on the pile already. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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    1. Col, thank you. I'd planned on reading much more. I hope to read more books by Landay and Reasoner. THE BUTTON MAN was interesting and an easy read. I'll try and review it as soon as I can.

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  5. Of your read works, I have only read To Kill a Mockingbird.

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    1. Mel, I enjoyed reading Harper Lee's classic a second time. I'm surprised it took me so long to reread it.

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  6. A wonderful mixture Prsahant - I remember liking the Sillitoe a great deal, but I read it decades ago ( a great movie was made of it too). Same goes for the Dreiser of course, both authors little read today.

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    1. Sergio, thanks for your kind words. I read a great deal of Sillitoe in the nineties including SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING. Not everyone would like his books. At times his narrative might seem like a drag but that was his unique style. He was rather miserly with dialogue.

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  7. SISTER CARRIE was received coolly here when Dreiser wrote it. He did not "punish" his title character enough for making a success of herself. I read Sillitoe's novels back in the day when they were made into films in the UK. Can't remember them very well now, though if I read them again, I suspect I'd make a great deal more sense out of them. That whole period, before Britain was "Americanized," seems like another world now.

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    1. Ron, I thought Dreiser created a stir with SISTER CARRIE just as Edith Wharton did with THE HOUSE OF MIRTH or Thomas Hardy with JUDE THE OBSCURE. One can say they were all groundbreaking novels. As for Alan Sillitoe, I find it easier to digest his novels today than I did over a decade ago. I haven't read all of his work yet.

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