10 March 2014

A whole lotta somthin

You would think having read so few books this year that I would have more time for reviews/reviewlets/blurbs about what I have managed to read. But I guess the same thing that was keeping me from reading was keeping me from jotting down my book thoughts as well. To rectify that situation here is an update on those books I have read so far this year but have yet to write about.

I put them in order of how much I enjoyed them from most enjoyable to least.

Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym
Photo credit: A Captive Reader
It will be no surprise to regular readers that I loved this Pym novel. It was the first thing Pym wrote and published after she was rediscovered in the mid-1970s. It is definitely darker than her other work but it is still full of her charm and wit and every sentence is a joy to read. The more I read and reread Pym the more I think she may be my favorite author.  Four office mates, two male and two female, are nearing retirement age and trying to figure out what that means. If you are new to Pym, I wouldn't recommend starting here, but if you have liked Pym I don't think you will find this to be an exception. My favorite read of the year so far.

Still Glides the Stream by D.E. Stevenson
Summerhills by D.E. Stevenson
I am lumping these two together because I enjoyed them almost the same amount with Still Glides the Stream slightly edging out Summerhills. As with all other Stevenson that I read, it hardly matters what the plots are. Just expect chaste romances, inheritances, devoted servants, and houses being put right. Perfect escapist reading.

The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas
If you like The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo you will like this much, much, slimmer Dumas tale with maybe 50% less swashbuckling. Political intrigue and tulip piracy in 1670s Holland. What more could you ask for?

Sweet Danger by Margery Allingham
Last winter on vacation I read Allingham's The China Governess, like this one, an Albert Campion mystery/thriller. As I mentioned before there is something about an old green covered Penguin mystery that seems to beg to be taken on vacation. Although I didn't dislike TCG, I think I actually did like Sweet Danger. Unknown European royal line, pretenders to a title, secret messages, crazy doctor, red herrings, and a minimum of blood. Mainly because no one seemed able to hit their target. If it had been today rather than the 1930s, it would have been a blood bath.

Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I think everyone knows this tale. It certainly is a part of popular culture. I knew all about it without ever having read it or seen the film version. Definitely one of FHB's children's books. So while I enjoyed it, there is only so much I can enjoy something written for that reading level. No offense to 12-year olds.


  1. Did you think Quartet in Autumn was rather Brooknerish? I think it was the grim setting. And it was one of my favourites of last year, definitely.

    1. Yes indeed I did.Less than the setting I think it was the rather hopeless wind-down to death that made it seem Brooknerish to me.

  2. The Count of Monte Cristo is a favorite of mine so I really need to read The Black Tulip.

  3. TBT will take you about two minutes to read. I think it is fewer than 200 pages.


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