o/t: leisure reading during September

Fewer books than usual this month, but some were longer than average (one very long) and I kind of got bogged down in a couple. In terms of enjoyment it wasn’t a great month’s reading, either: nothing really blew me away, and a few left me at best lukewarm.

The links are to my hasty notes on Goodreads.

A Deadly Paradise by Grace Brophy

City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley

Spider Webs by Margaret Miller

Appleby’s Other Story by Michael Innes

Blackwater by Kerstin Ekman

Mystery in White: A Christmas Crime Story by J. Jefferson Farjeon

The Four Just Men by Edgar Wallace

The Circular Study by Anna Katharine Green

Wife or Death “by Ellery Queen” (in fact by Richard Deming)

A Dram of Poison by Charlotte Armstrong

So that’s 10 books, of which 6 are by women. One book in translation (Blackwater). Hm. I may have to do something about this latter statistic.


10 thoughts on “o/t: leisure reading during September

  1. I’m always being hectored (by my wife of course) about the non-representative sampling of authors I read. But reading for me isn’t a game of demographics… I just read what i read. And for whatever reason, I’ve yet to pick up any Chinese poets.

    • I realized at the end of last year that the male/female ratio of the authors I read was much skewed toward the males, and that a lot of the time, partly as a consequence of this, I was essentially reading the same book over and over again. So, as an experiment, I decided to read nothing but female authors in January. At the end of the month I found I’d had far more fun out of my reading than usual. So I decided that for the rest of the year I should pay a tad more attention to diversity in my reading material.

      In other words, my quick breakdowns aren’t for PC reasons (although I’m a great admirer of PC) but for selfish ones.

        • I’m lucky enough that, at least for the moment, I don’t have to read anything for review — the only person I’m having to read for, outside work-related stuff (of which there’s going to be a passel this upcoming month), is moi.

          Mind you, reviewing does have its pluses as well: thanks to it, I’ve read and discovered the value of all sorts of stuff I’d never have even looked at otherwise.

    • I keep thinking I should do a sort of Wallace binge, but I never get round to it. In an ideal world I’d read all his books and write about all the Wallace-based krimi movies in a single month, but, um. It’d take about a year, if I was lucky. I have to earn a living. Yep. Right.

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Christoph. I’ve thought about doing that, but really this is a movie site — it’s the annex, as it were, to my film noir encyclopedia — and it’s actually self-indulgent of me to be putting these monthly “reading” posts here at all. Also, quite a few of the books I read, especially but not only the nonfiction ones, have nothing to do with the the theme here.

      I may change my mind in the future, and broaden the site’s scope. But it’s a shlippery shlope, and I don’t want to find myself one day posting pictures of kittens here.

  2. I love the look of those British Crime Classics and have been meaning to try one for a while. Mystery in White caught my eye last Christmas, but your review leads me to think I might be better off trying a different one. The snobbery and unfortunate references to class would put me off. I wonder if this is a feature of a number of cosy crime novels from this period.

    • Yes, the BL’s reissues’ covers are immensely attractive. Aside from Mystery in White, however, I’ve only ever seen them on my computer screen. Next time I’m in the UK I plan to go to Foyles or the like and pillage a few, if funds will allow.

      The issues of clarse do turn up a bit in the Golden Age cozies, but some authors handle it better than others. It’s rankled for me in, say, Dorothy Sayers’s novels, but in Margery Allingham’s, even though Campion’s butler is treated humorously as a bit of yer common, it’s so affectionately done — and the character is anyway otherwise treated as admirable — that you sense Allingham is on his side, as it were . . . and in the later novels Charlie Luke, who’s definitely a diamond in the rough, becomes more of a hero than Campion.

      I certainly found myself really pissed of by it in Farjeon’s novel, though. I can’t remember if I’ve read anything else by him, so I’ve no idea if it’s common throughout his work.

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