September has felt like a very long month somehow, and one in which I didn’t read anything like as much as I wanted to. September saw me read just eight and a half books and few short stories from another volume. I can’t adequately describe how exhausted I am at the moment, and thus I am struggling to read as much as I want to – and I am definitely struggling with the blog – but fully intend to keep plodding on the best I can.
Following my exciting Mary Hocking news I began the month with The Climbing Frame, a book which illustrates how a minor incident can be blown out of all proportion by petty officials, newspapers and local gossip. Stranger in the House by Julie Summers, read for one of my book groups, explores the stories of the returning men and their families after World War Two. Next up was The Blackbirder by Dorothy B Hughes, a fantastic piece of vintage noir; I loved it so much I didn’t want it to end. Crome Yellow, by Aldous Huxley was my second book from publisher Vintage of the month – I have realised that I have loads of their books still waiting to be read. They really seem to publish many of the kinds of books that I love. The Lake District murder is a 1930’s police procedural re-issued in the British Library Crime Classics series. Noonday by Pat Barker is the brilliant conclusion to her second war trilogy; I bought it in hardback as I was so keen to read it – not something I do very often. I read The Big Sleep for my other book group, and due to aforementioned exhaustion didn’t make it to the meeting – however I was pretty disappointed in the book, enjoying the beginning and then getting bogged down and bored with the rest. My Career goes Bung by Miles Franklin a classic of Australian literature was the book I got drawn by the Classic Club spin; it was a re-read for me and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I also managed to read a few stories from the Shirley Jackson collection Let Me Tell You, which I will continue to review in bite size chunks, but the first few stories promise great things for the rest. I am finishing the month and beginning October a about two thirds of the way through Maid in Waiting by John Galsworthy, the seventh of the nine Forsyte Saga Chronicles, a whole new set of characters who I am enjoying meeting.
My literary highlights of the month:
1. The Blackbirder – Dorothy B Hughes – great atmosphere, superb storytelling, with twists at every turn.
2. Noonday – Pat Barker. Barker has generally written about WW1 before, but in this novel she writes about WW2 with great authenticity, laying bare the true nightmare of the London blitz.
3. My Career Goes Bung – Miles Franklin, a superb sequel to her more famous novel My Brilliant Career, by a (then) young Australian feminist.
For October I don’t have any definite plans – I will certainly be just seeing how the wind blows. I simply want to enjoy the little reading I can do, I do have a few review copies waiting, one arrived this week and the others the result of me going a little nuts requesting books on Netgalley (which I usually stay right away from for a good reason), and some of them might be just the kinds of books I need at the moment. My Mother is a River arrived this week, and some of the Netgalley books I am looking forward to include: Trouble on the Thames, Murder at the Manor and The Little Red Chairs. As ever though, no promises as to when I’ll get round to them.