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Reading report for July 2011

The number of my read books is staying low at 8 books finished in July. Three were rereads, but the remaining 5 were all TBR books, so I am getting somewhere with that challenge.

I found one keeper among the TBR books: Bellwether, which went into the rereads shelf alongside To Say Nothing of the Dog. The Paris literary companion is also going in my keeper collection for now, as there are a few passages in it that I want to keep, but for the most part it was disappointing, with its too-strong focus on literary classics and the past. All three murder mysteries were good reads, all in different ways. I may post mini-reviews of them next week.

The TBR books:
  • Catherine Aird : A Late Phoenix. Murder mystery.
  • Ian Littlewood ( chose the passages and wrote the introductions): Paris: A Literary Companion. Literary passages describing different aspects of Paris.
  • Julie Smith : Dead in the Water. Murder mystery.
  • Janwillem van de Wetering : The Corpse on the Dike. Murder mystery.
  • Connie Willis : Bellwether.Romantic science fiction.

The Rereads:
  • G.K. Chesterton : The Incredulity of Father Brown. Short mysteries.
  • Jennifer Crusie : Anyone But You. Romance.
  • Connie Willis : To Say Nothing of the Dog . Romantic science fiction, time travel.

Finally, it is with some sadness and much relief that I hereby announce the death of the Top Mysteries Challenge. Like several other challenges I have devised for myself through the years it turned out to be simply too ambitious and I realised that in order to read the few really good books I had found on the list, I had also read some others that didn't give me much pleasure. Looking over the books I had already read, I couldn‘t see that I had given these books, on average, any higher ratings than the same kinds of books I had read that weren‘t on the lists, and therefore I decided to kill it off.
It did bring to my attention some books that I otherwise wouldn‘t have read and gave me the kick in the arse that I needed to read several others I had been planning to read, and for that I am grateful. I am going to incorporate most of the list of the remaining books into the „potential future reads“ section of my TBR list, but they will not be a priority.


Luxembourg said…
The more Connie Willis I read, the more I like her work. The tone of this book is strongly reminiscent of "To say Nothing of the Dog", so chances are if you liked that one, you'll like this one. Instead of being a time-travel story, however, it is set in contemporary Boulder, Colorado (an ideal environment for any trends researcher such as our main character, I assure you). I really got the feeling while reading this that I was present at a scientific breakthrough. All the disparate events and characters force the story gradually to a satisfying conclusion, while giving the impression that they are stumbling blocks to any progress that might be possible. Just a lovely, lighthearted book -- which may lead you to deep thoughts if you wish, but which can certainly be enjoyed on a more "surface" level.

Connie Willis' Bellwether is both amusing and thought provoking. During the course of this novel, Ms. Willis investigates the extremes to which people will go to 'fit in' to society, and how social climate can affect different aspects of existence. Even scientific research, that bastion of logic and unemotionalism, is swept up in the ebb and tide of the herd instinct.

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