Posts Tagged ‘sept reads’


September is always a struggle for me – readjusting to my routine of limited reading after the long holidays. This month I have been absolutely exhausted from the first day back, with a big busy weekend last weekend thrown into the mix. I am finding myself mindlessly slumped in front of the TV more and more these days, and nodding off over my book when I do pick it up. So I have read eight books during September – and some of them were pretty small. Thankfully they were all great, I am realising I need to read according to my mood more often – though that can be hard when juggling reading events and book group reads.

I began the month with a lovely old book that I bought following a review on another blog. Victoria Four Thirty – follows the fortunes of about thirteen different characters who all catch the boat train from Victoria station, destined to link up with the Arlberg-Orient Express – each of them with their own stories in different places. I began Jacqui and Eric’s #ReadingRhys week with Quartet, Rhys’s first published novel – which I had also suggested to my very small book group – we all loved it. Before my second Rhys novel I read Death in Profile by Guy Fraser Sampson on my kindle, a novel which pays homage to the Golden Age of crime. Good Night, Midnight by Jean Rhys explores themes very similar to those in Quartet, but it is a world that she portrays brilliantly, the writing is exquisite, though there is a sad bleakness to these novels which might not be for everyone, but I must say I enjoyed both Rhys novels very much. It was also lovely seeing so much appreciation of Rhys’s work during that week. Another kindle read, No Place by Katharine D’Souza was a lovely comforting read, probably comforting because it was set in a place I know well, my home city of Birmingham. It’s a novel that explores what it is to belong, the characters’ realistic  people you really care about. For phase 5 of #Woolfalong I read  Three Guineas, I had read A Room of One’s Own last year. I enjoyed the first two thirds very much indeed, the final third dragged a bit for me – still I found lots to admire in an essay which is still very relevant today, and which is naturally beautifully written. The Feast by Margaret Kennedy – another fabulous old book which really should be re-issued by someone – was my favourite book of the month. There is something about books set in Hotels – all those disparate groups of people thrown together. I finished the month reading a book I was only given last weekend at that bookcrossing weekend I wrote about here. Pigeon Pie by Nancy Mitford, effervescent nonsense, world war two spies and first aid posts during the very early days of the Second World War before anyone realised just how terrible everything was going to get. A review of that one in a day or two.


So October is here already, and I am looking forward to my next book group read and the 1947 club. (Remember what I said about juggling reading events and book group reads.) How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis is our next book group read, a collection of essays which takes a look at literary heroines such as Jane Eyre and Cathy Earnshaw. I have three books set aside for Karen and Simon’s 1947 club but if I am going to read them all I had better start early.

a-chelsea-concertoa-footman-for-the-peacockHowever, before I get stuck into those – I am going to read the first of two titles I was kindly sent by Dean Street Press’s new imprint: Furrowed Middlebrow – their collaboration with Scott from Furrowed Middlebrow blog has resulted in nine fabulous looking titles published on October 3rd. A Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell, is a memoir of the London blitz. A Peacock for the Footman by Rachel Ferguson was the other title I was sent which I may get to this month as well – we shall see. I am also planning on reading A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf for #Woolfalong.

As always I would love to know what you’ve read this month that I should know about, and what your reading plans for October are.

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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:

the blackbirdernoondaymy career goes bung2

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.

my mother rivertrouble on the thamesmurder at the manorthe little red chairs

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inthemountainsthe pastor'swifeHarvestAlegacy






Time for my monthly round up post, which I confess I am writing in a tearing hurry as I know I am out three evenings this week and will have no time much for blogging. As I have already talked about in a previous post, September is always a slow reading month for me. Nevertheless, most of what I have read has been brilliant. The first book of the month I read hasn’t been reviewed here, but a review of it will be popping up on Shiny New books early in October. As well as the books listed below I did read a few pieces of non-fiction from my Truman Capote Reader, a volume I am still loving but struggling to get through, I will finish the entire thing one day – I promise.

The list:

89 Jeeves and the Wedding Bells (2013) Sebastian Faulks (F)
90 In the Mountains (1920) Elizabeth Von Arnim (F)
91 The Military Philosophers (1968) Anthony Powell (F)
92 The Four Graces (1946) D E Stevenson (F)
93 The Odd Flamingo (1954) Nina Bawden (F)
94 A Legacy (1956) Sybille Bedford (F)
95 Harvest (2013) Jim Crace (F)
96 Claudine’s House (1922) Colette (F)
97 Gone Girl (2012) Gillian Flynn (F)
98 The Pastor’s wife (1914) Elizabeth Von Arnim (F)

I have been trying not to buy books during September – I caved in and bought one right at the end of the month, still not bad for me, and so maybe I should allow myself one book purchase a month from now on. Due to not buying books I ventured into the library instead, having so many books at home I don’t go all that often, and then when I do I get a bit library obsessed again for a while. My library acquisitions included my first ever Colette, which was wonderful, I have now been back to the library and taken out two more Colette books and a Margaret Kennedy for Margaret Kennedy reading week – (October 6th – 12th) hosted by Fleur in her World – I hope a lot of you will be joining in with it. MKreadingwweek

My stand out reads for this month:
My two Elizabeth Von Arnim books: In the Mountains and The Pastor’s Wife – I want to read everything else by her now – (although I felt like that a couple of years ago and didn’t manage to get around to doing so). Harvest by Jim Crace and A Legacy by Sybille Bedford.

During October I am looking forward to reading more Colette, some Margaret Kennedy (who I haven’t read before) my next Anthony Powell, and I fancy a bit of old fashioned murder on the side possibly too. Other than that I will see what the mood takes me, and read accordingly.

Let me know what you will be reading – I always love to know.

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autumn leaves

It’s probably the whole going back to work after the long summer break thing – but September has felt very long, I have been very tired, and it seems I’m finishing the month off with a cold. I have read nine books during September and I’m part way through another – that is a little under my average, and one of the books was very short.

94 Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891) Thomas Hardy (F)
95 House-Bound (1942) Winifred Peck (F)
96 Remember, Remember! (1999) Winifred Holtby (F)
97 A Room with a View (1908) E M Forster (F)
98 Welcome Strangers (1986) Mary Hocking (F)
99 The Pre-War House & other stories (2013) Alison Moore (F)
100 The Thoughts &happenings of Wilfred Price… (2012) Wendy Jones (F)
101 Crampton Hodnet (1985) Barbara Pym (F)
102 The Fatal Eggs (1925) Mikhail Bulgakov (F)

As you can see – there is no non-fiction on the list again, I’m seriously off non-fiction these days. However I did read quite a variety of things, including six books from my classic club list. The literary highlights of September were: Tess of the d’Urbervilles a re-read for my Hardy challenge, A room with a View, another re-read, for the classic club spin, and Persephone book House-Bound. I read two books of very different short stories with some stories as ever being better than others. Welcome Strangers was an excellent final instalment to Hocking’s Fairley family trilogy, lovely Crampton Hodnet felt like vintage Pym while Bulgakov took me right out of my comfort zone.

2013-08-20 00.08.41So on to October – I have decided it’s pointless putting together a pile of books to read during the month – as I seem to be getting worse at sticking to it. I do have several on my horizon – including the books I pledged to read this month then didn’t get around to, and several hardbacks I had meant to read in the summer but didn’t. There will be another Pym too, this time one I haven’t read before rather excitingly. But from now on I think I will be guided by my mood. I feel strangely liberated by that – no more piles (of books that is). Now October is when autumn proper hits – to my mind – and I do sometimes fancy something with a gothic element – all swirling mists and horse drawn coaches racing through the night – and I may have something to fit the bill. So what will you be reading –as the nights really start to draw in?

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September reads

Ten books read this month – and I can honestly say that on the whole they have been fabulous. I didn’t manage to read any non-fiction during September, but I have ceased to worry about my lack of non-fiction reading. The pile of books that I had set aside for reading during September took a bit of a battering after the Booker shortlist was announced and I set about reading the four I had left, one of those I have still to go.

94 A Laodicean (1881) Thomas Hardy (F) SEPT
95 The House in Paris (1935) Elizabeth Bowen (F)
96 Prophecy (2011) S J Parris (F)
97 Painted Clay (1917) Capel Boake (F)
98 The Garden of Evening Mists (2012) Tan Twan Eng (F)
99 Died in the Wool (1945) Ngaio Marsh (F)
100 Swimming Home (2011) Deborah Levy (F)
101 Hester Lily & other stories (1954) Elizabeth Taylor (F)
102 A Pin to see the Peepshow (1934) F Tennyson Jesse (F)
103 Narcopolis (2012) Jeet Thayil (F)


Special mention then should go to these books: –


1. The House in Paris

2 Painted Clay

3 The Garden of Evening Mists

4 A Pin to see the Peepshow





They were each so memorable, well written and come highly recommended – from me.



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September Reads

85 The good apprentice    Iris Murdoch  (F)
86 Spilling the Beans    Clarissa Dickson Wright (NF)
87 The Sanctuary Seeker    Bernard Knight (F)
88 Schindler’s List    Thomas Keneally (F)
89 Murder on a bad hair day    Anne George (F)
90 Every Light in the House Burnin’    Andrea Levy (F)
91 The Rain Before it Falls    Jonathan Coe (F)
92 High Wages    Dorothy Whipple (F)
93 The Nine Taylors    Dorothy L Sayers (F)
94 Her people     Kathleen Dayus (NF)
95 Agatha Raisin and the Day the floods came    M C Beaton (F)

Special mention should go to:

The Good Apprentice – Iris Murdoch – a really good Murdoch –
Murder on a bad hair day – Anne George  a great cosy mystery from the US deep south

High Wages – Dorothy Whipple – a great Persephone book – one of DW’s earliest books .

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94 Diana Mosley

Anna de Courcy NF

95 Divisadero

Michael Ondaatje F

96 Shades of Death

Aline Templeton F

97 The Duchess

Amanda Foreman NF

98 The Emigrants

W G Seablad F

99 Agatha Raisin and the vicious vet

M C Beaton F

100 The Country Girls

Edna O’Brien F

101 An Obedient Father

Akhill Sharma F

102 A Glass of Blessings

Barbara Pym F

Been a slow month this month, but although I may not have read that many this month I have read some lovely books.

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