Monday Reading Round-up (and book giveaway!)

I missed last week’s reading roundup, so I will herein confess that I did very little reading while on vacation.  However, I got through two novels and got going on a third.

  1. I started and finished another YA novel, The Mysterious Benedict Society.  It had been highly recommended when it first came out in 2008 and I found a copy in the checkout line at Winners just beore we left for England.  (There is a reason why they keep those lines long.) It involves a group of four children who are selected through an interesting series of tests to helpa Mr. Benedict foil some nasty business that is going down. The children are interesting and the story moves quickly.  It’s the first of a series and I hope read the rest.  I left it in the bookshelf at our inn in Folkestone with a handwritten Book Crossing ID in it.
  2. I then picked up Vita Sackville-West’s The Edwardians which I loved.  The story follows a family of nobles, in which the father has died and the mother is waiting for the son to marry and take over the estate. His sister, eighteen, is also expected to “come out” and behave as women did in those days.  The most interesting part of the book to me was not the plot (although it was good) but the description of how life was changing during that time (1901-1910) in terms of societal morés: the role of women, relationships between nobility and their servants, the advent of the motorcar, the rise of socialism, and feelings about the monarchy.  This is the first writing by Sackville-West that I’ve read, and I’ll be sure to read more.
  3. Peter Robinson’s The Summer That Never Was came next. The thirteenth Inspector Banks novel, it was as good as I expected.  Robinson is one of my favorite mystery writers and this was no disappointment.  I hope to read the next three in the series as part of my GoodReads challenge this quarter.   

When I got home, I grabbed Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville on my Kindle and breezed through that novella.  I had heard reference to Bartleby in a number of different places and decided it was time to actually read the piece.  The story of a law office and a clerk who, when asked to perform a task, says “I would prefer not to.” And the conseqences on the office of this piece of work action!

I didn’t really listen to audiobooks while I was away, but it was great on the plane trips there and back. I finished up Under the Net by Iris Murdoch and then listened to Case Histories by Kate Atkinson.  Loved the Murdoch, and as it turned out, had already read the Atkinson, but listened to it anyway as I had forgotten much of the plot.  It’s the first of the Jackson Brodie series of mysteries and I definitely plan to listen to more (which, hopeffully will actually be new to me!)

At present, I’m re-reading Fifth Business by Roberston Davies.  I think I must have read it thirty or more years ago, and that I was too young to appreciate it for more than the simple plot.  I am absolutely loving it and will be diving into the other two books in the Deptford trilogy. I’m also listening to Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down which is hilarious and moving, like much of his wonderful fictioin. I’m nearly finished both of these and so will soon by moving on to my to-read pile, which includes:

So. The giveaway. 

I would love to pass on my copy of The Edwardians. If you are interested, either leave me a note in the comments or send me an email (janet (at) berkman (dot) ca). I’ll draw for the lucky winner and contact you for mailing/delivery info. 


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