Archive for May, 2017

Reading 2012

I had a slow start to the year with my reading but thankfully, by the end of February I finished a book and then kept on reading. It wasn’t until summer that I picked up some momentum and have been enjoying the time I’m making for more steady and consistent reading.

Out of Africa

Simplicity Parenting

Playful Parenting

The Sherlockian

This was a Christmas gift from my mother- and father-in-law. It was a fun read and the ending left me indignant at a choice one of the character’s made. I loved that the author could bring out such a strong reaction in me.



The Man Who Went Up in Smoke

The Man on the Balcony

The Laughing Policeman

My mother- and father-in-law both read the Martin Beck series in Ireland a few years ago. After they moved her to Seattle they loaned the books to James and now I have the set of 10 books in the series. The main character of the books is Martin Beck, who is a Swedish police detective. The books are considered classics in crime fiction and what I love about them is their slow, steady pace and tight writing. There is no sensational scenes or amazing discoveries during the investigations. What Jowall and Wahloo have created are stories about the procedural nature of detective work, the plots of the books and the characters tick along and while I reading I have come to care about the main character and his world.

While attaching links to the titles I noticed that the covers on Amazon are not the same as the covers on the ones I’m reading. I’m reading the Harper Perennial editions and love the covers. I managed to track down images of these strikingly simple covers and have included them above. I also like that when the 10 books sit on the shelf, side-by-side and in order, they spell out Martin Beck. Nicely done.

Francesca’s Kitchen

Villa Mirabella

I discovered a new author, Peter Pezzelli, whose books I am enjoying. I like Francesca’s Kitchen the best of the two and both were light feel good summer reads.

A Year in Provence

On Rue Tatin

When summer rolls around I find myself wanting to read travel biographies. This summer I decided to reread two of my favorites, both set in France. One related to Normandy where I lived one summer as a teenager, the other was set in Provence an area I’ve longed to visit.

Full House

Star Sullivan

Last month, while researching whether there were any new books out from some of my favorite authors I spotted that Maeve Binchy wrote two novellas that I hadn’t read. So I ordered them, thrilled that there was still some of her work to enjoy. Tragically, I learned of her death just before my newly ordered books arrived from Europe. I read them feeling sad that one of my favorite authors and fellow country woman was no longer in the world. A new novel will be published post-humously in October and then there will be no more. The sad passing of a lovely lady with a wonderful talent. What I loved the most about her books were her characters. She had an amazing ability to create people who stay with me long after I finish one of her books. They seem like real people, resembling people I knew, or could expect to bump into, in Ireland.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

I never read this series and have wanted to read it aloud to my children. I had an opportunity in August to read this out loud as the girls while they were helping my friend Laura by punching out some appliques that will be used for her Glittersweet bags. Even Ethan at 3 years old really enjoyed the book and would ask me afterwards to read to him from “the wardrobe book”. Very sweet.

Simplicity Parenting

I reread this excellent parenting book this summer, which I’d first encountered it at the start of the year. It continues to inspire the efforts I have been making to ensure that our family life is as simple as we can make it, without lots of stuff or activities complicating our home life and lots of down time to enjoy together.

A Visit From the Good Squad

I read this for the September meeting of my bookclub and was disappointed with it. I had the bizarre experience of being drawn into it while I was reading it but in between reading I had to force myself to pick it back up. Each chapter is like a separate story for a character in the book who is somehow connected to the two main characters of Bennie and Sasha. There are also chapters for back story on Bennie and Sasha. Some of the chapters were better than others.

There is a quirky chapter that comprises slides which is the slide journal kept by a young girl about her family. I actually liked that chapter. By nature of the way the book is written (with the chapters varying in both central character and timeline) I expected to have to work a little to piece the sections together and figure out how this person related to the main characters. However it felt very choppy.

The biggest difficulty I had with the book is that I didn’t care about the characters or the world they inhabited. I was interested in them while I was reading but when I put the book down I didn’t care to find out what happened to them. I’ve never had that experience before where I was interested while reading but didn’t care about it between readings. Very strange feeling.


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