Monthly Archives: September 2017

What I Read August

I am okay with my reading in August. I am still in something of a slump. But I am getting out of it. Now on to the books I read.

I have already written about Dark Valley Destiny and Blood and Thunder in my last post, so I won’t repeat what I have already written.

There Your Heart Lies by Mary Gordon is the first novel I completed in the month of August. It is a tale of one woman’s experiences during and years after the Spanish Civil War interspersed with her relationship with her granddaughter. I like the novel well enough. But the remembrances aren’t visceral, there is an insurmountable remove from the memories of the past.

Next, I completed two Poirot novels by Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun and Peril at End House. I really enjoyed both novels quite well.

Following Christie, I decided to tackle one of the novels on my much neglected Historical Fiction Challenge by reading The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory. Oh my. That book was just not for me. I’m not sure giving Elizabeth Woodville the voice Gregory gives her is the best idea. It immediately put me off. Probably won’t return to her work.

Next up, and again following my Historical Fiction Challenge (I think) came Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. I like it better than The White Queen, but I think it drags. And I am not fond of the characterization.

For a change of pace, I read Street Angel After School Kung Fu Special by Jim Rugg et al. I am not in the target audience. I didn’t see a point to the story. Nice art though.

By this point in August, I yearned for some contemporary literary fiction. So, I checked out The Ministry of Utmost Hapiness by Arundhati Roy. The writing is good. But I wasn’t feeling it at the time. I may return to it later on. Or not.

I had the same feelings for Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing. Just not for me.

The bright spot of August must go to Elizabeth Mowry’s Landscape Painting in Pastel. An amazing instructional work. I really should buy it when I get the money.

I wanted to get a fantasy series read in the month of August, so I chose to finally read The Sundered Realm by Robert Vardeman and Victor Milan. Okay. I wish I had paid more attention to who the publisher was. Yikes. This novel is bad. From poor characterization, cartoon villains, bad plotting, and so much more, I still marvel how I finished the novel.

August also saw me interested in returning to literary criticism. I chose to read one of my favorite literary critics from my first literary theory anthology. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the time to dive into R.S. Crane’s work.

I finally watched Stranger Things in August. Given that Stranger Things has been compared to Paper Girls, I decided to give the later a look. I did not like the series at all. Nothing to really recommend it, in my opinion.

The last novel I read in August wass The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro. I really wanted to love this novel. But I don’t think the novel really works all that well.

The final book I read in August was The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce. This is an amazing, thought provoking book. It certainly opened my eyes to an interpretation of the malaise that has swept the “West” since the end of the Cold War. My one complaint is that Luce posits a hypothetical war with China as the opening of his chapter titled “Fallout” that doesn’t truly advance his thesis. Rather, it detracts from it. But over all. The Retreat of Western Liberalism is a must read, even if it will enrage the reader.

And so ends what I read in August. September is already looking to be a better month. But we will see.

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