June book list

The Man in the Ceiling by Julian Feiffer: Major meh on this one. I felt like the author had a weird view of children and relationships between children and adults.

The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer: I always enjoy this one, because it’s a mad adventure and who doesn’t like those, but it also seems like a bubble. Brilliant but fragile.

False Colours by Georgette Heyer: This, on the other hand, is fluff. But it’s wonderful fluff and fluff with a heart.

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon: I have mixed feelings on this one. I liked it, but I never quite connected to the main characters. Also, I started grumbling about the Girl Faced with Forced Marriage Who Will Resist To the End narrative.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey: Dark and gory, but well-done. Full review {HERE}.

Nicholas Feast by Pat McIntosh: Another very solid mystery. Introduces Gil’s mother, who seems like she’ll be a fascinating character. I hope she returns.

Maminka’s Children by Elizabeth Orton Jones: This was a childhood favorite that I re-read when I unpacked all of our family books. It holds up very well. The charming story of three Bohemian children, their mother, and grandfather, along with various aunts and uncles. It’s sweet without ever feeling saccarine.

Just Like David by Marguerite De Angeli: I love De Angeli, but this isn’t my favorite of hers. Two small boys move from Pennsylvania to Ohio with their parents.

Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor: A beautifully written story of fairies who have lost the powers they once had. Full review {HERE}.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: I read this one accidentally. No, really. My sister read Saving Francesca in May and loved it and wanted to know if there was anything else by the same author. So I got out Jellicoe Road, because it was only logical. But I wasn’t going to read it because I’d already read it twice since January. And then I got towards the end of the library stack, when there are those few books that you glanced over when you got home and realized weren’t all that interesting. So I read Jellicoe Road instead. It was just as wonderful and heartbreaking as usual. BUT I am not going to read it for the rest of the year! You all are my witnesses!

The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia McKillip: This one is a bit more magicky than some of them, but I really like the characters and the way it almost echoes Cinderella, but not quite. It’s also definitely in my favorite category of McKillip–the books that make you feel as though you were in a dream.

Court Duel by Sherwood Smith: Originally this was published as the sequel to Crown Duel. Now they are published together in one volume under the title Crown Duel. This one is definitely my favorite, with a resolution to the lingering questions from the first book (and a nice bit of romance). Very enjoyable, if a bit fluffy.

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien: I did finish TTT. I just haven’t written up the reading notes for the second half. I don’t know–is anyone interested/following along with those? I’ll probably do them eventually just so I don’t have that lingering guilty feeling. And, boy is that ending a doozy!

Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones: Mmmm, I love this book. I love Rupert. I love Maree. I love Stan. I don’t love Nick, but I don’t think he’d mind that.

Fallen Into the Pit by Ellis Peters: The first of the George Felse mysteries (my favorite Peters–I’ve never taken to Cadfael). A kind of sad and uneasy story. Beautifully written—I especially like Chad. And, of course, Dominic. Bunty and George don’t get quite as developed as in later books.

Piper on the Mountain by Ellis Peters: My room here in Indianapolis has all of the mysteries in it. So there are a LOT in the last half of the month. Just to warn you. Anyway, reading this one just after Fallen Into the Pit was a bit jarring because it takes place five or six years later. George and Bunty are not present, alas, but we get Tossa and Czechoslovakia instead.

Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers: My love for Lord Peter exponentially increases after Harriet arrives on the scene. Here we have Peter and Harriet in that uneasy stage of their relationship when he is still asking her to marry him every other page and she is still refusing just as often. It’s a rather serious book, although there are some very funny bits. Also some great quotes. Having read it before, I did feel a bit impatient with some of their deducting skills. But then I also have inside knowledge (and can’t say anything more because of spoilers).

Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers: Surely the most bitter of her books. I skipped the ending because I was reading it just before bed and didn’t want to be depressed. (I mean the very end, not the denouement of the mystery.) Still, I do enjoy some of the funny bits that come up at the advertising agency.

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle: This is a mystery to me. No, really. We have this galloping plot and characters (once Holmes and Watson get introduced properly) and then at the very end, just when all is about to be revealed, Conan Doyle sticks in this huge long section which takes place in the past and totally drags the plot down. SURELY there is a better way to reveal all of the secrets so cunningly set up before. Ah well. I shall remember and skip it next time. (Also, after re-reading this, I re-read “A Study in Emerald” by Neil Gaiman and was struck once again by how marvellous that short story is. I can take Gaiman or leave him–I like some of his stuff but he’s not on my favorite authors list–but that story is awesome.)

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle: I’ve read most of Holmes before, but somehow I hadn’t read this one. Atmospheric, creepy, and marvellous.

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle: I’m not sure exactly what to call this book. A memoir? A journal? Thoughts about writing, motherhood, religion, and personhood? I suppose that captures it the best, but it’s an inadequate description. I rushed through it, so I’d like to go back and read it more carefully and mark what I missed before.

Surprised by Christ by Fr. James Bernstein: The story of a man’s religious journey from Judaism through 1960’s Protestantism, to Orthodoxy. Very clearly written, with both an interesting personal story and some really good theological explanations. I’d really recommend this one to anyone who’s interested in Orthodoxy and how it differs from the other branches of Christianity.

The Toll-gate by Georgette Heyer: A competent hero and heroine, with the usual wild cast of supporting characters. But not my favorite. I just never quite connected with any of the characters. Note: This finishes my Georgette Heyer read-through. I have now read all of her Regency novels and all of the other novels that I wanted to.

The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer: I couldn’t resist this story, which is definitely wild, but also very sweet.

Fire-Watch by Connie Willis: As is apparently my tendency with short story collections, I had mixed feelings about this one. I loved the title story and “Blued Moon”. I enjoyed several of the others. I really didn’t like “All my Darling Daughters,” which came across a little forcefully as “all men are bad forever and ever amen” for my tastes. The writing was great for that one, however.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since it first came out, but every library I’ve ever been to has had one copy and it’s had a gazillion holds on it. Imagine my surprise and delight when the IMCPL proved to not only have it in but have more than one copy! Anyway, the book itself lived up to my expectations. It reminded me a bit of 84 Charing Cross Road. I was in a bit of an emotional state that day (I’d just watched the Doctor Who season finale) but it had some lovely bits about books combined with some really great characters (ISOLA! I love Isola!) and a bit of heartbreaking tragedy. I did wonder about some of the attitudes, which seemed a bit anachronistic, but oh well.

Artists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh: I used to read Marsh’s Inspector Alleyn mysteries all the time–after Peter Wimsey he was probably my favorite fictional detective. Then I broadened my horizons, with the result that I haven’t read much by Marsh in awhile. This is the equivalent of Strong Poison for the series. Unfortunately, the library doesn’t have the equivalent of Gaudy Night. But that’s alright. I just used my Amazon gift card and bought it!

Darkwood by M.E. Breen: A very well written fantasy. Good characterization. I liked the fact that in this day of vampires and werewolves and fairies all repeating each other ad nauseum, it actually felt original. I do wish that the big reveal had been given a little more time–that someone had asked the questions I wanted to ask. I think there were answers to my questions, but they just sort of got skipped over. The story was tied up nicely, but I could see a sequel–if there is one, maybe that will help. The only other issue I had was that the front flap said something about fairy tales, but I saw very little in the actual story to remind me of them. Maybe I’m being a little too literal, but other than a bit of atmosphere and a forest, I just didn’t see it. On the other hand, M.E. Breen has my first two initials, so clearly she is bound to be awesome.

His Last Bow by Arthur Conan Doyle: A collection of late Holmes stories. It was actually fairly weak, especially the last story. (Mystery? What mystery? It was all a bit of WWI patriotic fluff. Since when does Holmes care about current affairs?)

Thursday’s Child by Noel Streatfeild: Not at all like Streatfield’s “Shoes” series. This book tells the story of Margaret Thursday and the three Beresford children she makes friends with when they are all sent to an orphanage. Unfortunately, the orphanage is reminiscent of nothing so much as Lowood from Jane Eyre. A nice story with good characters.


Filed under bookish posts, monthly book list

10 responses to “June book list

  1. I saw Jules Feiffer speak in October! (I’d been hoping to hear about his illustrations for The Phantom Tollbooth, but it was mostly about his editorial cartooning career, which ended up being pretty fascinating.) He was a very ironic, very thoughtful, somewhat saturnine person, and he did seem to have a rather fraught view of the balance of power between children and parents.

    • Maureen E

      Really? I don’t think I would have connected him with Phantom Tollbooth!

      I don’t know, I was just put off by the slightly didactic tone of it all.

      • Yes, having read a bunch of his political cartoons, I can imagine a children’s book of his being didactic. I remember Kakaner didn’t like it much either. It’s odd, because he seemed to more strongly identify with children than with adults in many ways.

        And yes, he was the original illustrator for The Phantom Tollbooth! The one bit he did say about it was extremely amusing – basically, he and Norton Juster were roommates in New York at some point, and Juster blackmailed him into doing the illustrations by threatening that otherwise he wouldn’t do some chore for them, cooking or washing the dishes or something along those lines. 🙂

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