First I'm Obsessed with Poetry and now Television. Where will it end?
Walnut Creek Library Pix

August & September Books Read

Blog pix 1749 Back in the beginning of August I picked up God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible by Adam Nicholson.

I like it.

It's pretty fascinating. The various knaves, the holier than thou types and the how-on-earth-did-they-get-that-gig? men that were responsible for what might very well be the only well written-by-committee work in existence. The contemporary background (Guy Fawkes figures prominently - evidently King James took it very, very personally that they tried to blow him up) and the fallout from that event are fascinating.

I just can't seem to read more than 10 pages at a time. I'm still only halfway through.

Poor Josephine: A Biography by Andre Castelot started back on...July something. I returned it to the library.

What did I read, you ask? (Huh. You're not asking? I'm telling anyway. So there.)

The Book of Spies by Gayle Lind. A book historian and restorer claims that she wasn't driving in the accident that killed her husband but all the evidence points to it. A man confides in his college friend that he thinks money is being diverted from a bank account to terrorists. The Book of Spies, a book from the legendary Library of Gold is donated by an anonymous donor and displayed at the British Museum. Is there a global conspiracy behind all this? Is the legendary Library of Gold true? If you need to ask, you're in the wrong genre. A pretty good gripping yarn but if you have to put it down, use a bookmark. I managed to miss the first encounter with the assassin, The Carnivore, and the man is practically the moral compass of the book. 

RomeoAndJuliet18 Rue and Rosemary by Seanan McGuire. A half fae/half human changeling, Toby Daye (October) lives in San Francisco, and is not only a PI but a knight of Sebastian of Pleasant Hill. I mean Shadowed Hills. (I love that it's local to me). This is big stuff for a changeling. (Being a knight, not necessarily living near me, although you can understand her excitement. If she knew). A pureblood friend of her mother's is brutally murdered and in true fae/wizard fashion, Evening Winterrose curses Toby to find her killer. I don't think Toby would let it go, with or without the curse. A cast of characters that includes Tybalt, King of the Cats (who IMO looks and sounds like Michael York circa Romeo & Juliet, 1968), a teenage changeling that hero worships her, and a water-hag help Toby in her quest. (Did I mention that she spent 14 years as a fish in the Japanese Tea Gardens?)

Let's see. I was trading genres back and forth. Spy, Urban Fantasy, Spy.

The Enemy by Lee Child, the 8th outing of Jack Reacher. Jack is still in the Army (and probably has been up to this point - I think I'm reading them both randomly and backwards). A Colonel dies in a pay per hour cheap hotel on New Year's Eve and naturally the military wants to keep in on the downlow. Unfortunately his widow is also killed that night, the hooker is nowhere to be found, there's a suspicious worldwide shuffling of CO's on various bases and Jack Reacher is curious. Curious at first, then cornered by bureaucracy, Reacher shows why red tape and paperwork is not match for on hands on skill. Walt Kelly's Pogo came up with the title. 

Hmmm. Spy, Urban Fantasy, Spy, Urban Fantasy.... 

Blog pix 1728 A Local Habitation (Seanan McMguire), Book 2 of October Daye. This time Toby's liege lord sends her to Fremont. No, she wasn't in trouble. (Although considering that she was on the case of locating his wife & daughter when she was turned into a fish and consequently his daughter was magically tormented and is now psychotic more or less........I'm not sure why he lets her live much less still love and trust her. The Fae. Their ways are mysterious.) But no, he sends her off to Fremont to check on another family member of his, his niece, January Torquill, Countess of Tamed Lightening who runs a computer company that's a Changeling think tank.Other than Toby being unbelievably obtuse at times, it was a pretty decent second outing. It helped that I liked April, the former Dryad housed in the machine and Quentin, the pureblood Fae fostered w/Sebastian that plays her loyal sidekick. More or less. 

I hope this is the last we've seen of Dare unless she finally realizes that Toby is a terrible hero. Toby seems to, but figuring eh, maybe you can save the next one, is not exactly my ideal.

Spike, her rose-goblin-cat.

Seanan has a very helpful pronunciation guide of the Fae at the beginning of the books but it'd be nicer if she gave a brief definition as well. If the singular and plural versions are identical, I wouldn't bother to list them. 

One Shot by Lee Child - I like the premise in this outing - a sniper kills four people in an area the city is trying to renovate and upgrade. At first the case seems insolvable but the culprit is quickly identified and arrested. Jack Reacher hears of the crime and sets out to the scene, luckily for the defense who are completely unable to locate him. But is it luck? A seasoned District Attorney is pitted against his daughter in one of her first cases. A loving and supportive sister is forced to confront the reality of her brother. And Jack? Is on the side of truth and justice, as usual, Reacher style.

Blog pix 1667 Persuader by Lee Child. A mistake in Jack's past chances into his path and the con is on. The DEA has muffed an arrest so badly that they're not only off the books but one of their agents has gone missing. Jack has reasons of his own to aid them but is the mountainous steroid bundle Paulie finally too much for even Jack? (Hint: not the last Reacher novel). The book was gripping as usual, I love the twists Child comes up with but I was really hooked by the twisted Beck family dynamics in this one.

The Seduction of Water by Carol Goodman. Oh, I liked this. Iris is now a 40-something NYC urban dweller, even if she grew up as a hotel brat in the Catskills in the hotel her parents managed. She has all but the ring (she's been seeing Jack for the last for ten years, Wednesdays through Saturday, a tragically scheduled romance, if you ask me),she's ABD, (all but dissertation) and the story unfolds with an assignment about fairy tales that she gives to two of her disparate classes, one for prisoners and another in the City College.

Her mother had published two out of three books about a Selkie's daughter. I admit, I was half expecting her mother to have actually turned into a seal and returned to the sea but no, the novel isn't urban fantasy but nearly as satisfying, following a 16th Century saint's necklace, her mother's mysterious past and death, obsession and love. All in all, a pretty good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.   

Blog pix 1083 A Nameless Witch by A Lee Martinez. The horror, a witch cursed with bewitching beauty and a White Knight with a pure heart forced to battle together. A cute enough story. Her demon duck sidekick was my favorite.

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child. The 13th outing of Lee Child. This time Jack Reacher is minding his own business riding the New York Subway late at night. What are the odds that he'd run across a desperate mother with ties to state secrets and war criminals? Hmmm. 

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman. Separated, with her husband being difficult about her young daughter, a Latin teacher accepts a job at her old college by Heart Lake. Secrets and a long ago pact threaten her future. Carol Goodman weaves Jane's past as a college student and her present as a teacher with great effect. I love how she mirrored the past and present and unveils the many, many secrets. Jane might be the narrator of the story but she's not the one who drove the plot.

Blog pix 1722 Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen by Anna Whitlock. Serviceable enough. A nice introduction to Mary Tudor, Elizabeth's big sister.

The History of Civilization Volume 1 by Crane Brinton. I picked this up for a little background for the 1500's but ended up reading most of it. It's been a long time since I've read anything about the Romans and the Greeks that didn't involve England or the Huns. Pretty fascinating. A little jarring to see some of the biases from 1960 when it was clear from the text that they went to great lengths to be nondiscriminatory. Signs of their times. 

Die Trying by Lee Child - remind me never to wander the woods in Montana. Holly Johnson, FBI wunderkind, is kidnapped by a charismatic nutcase and Jack goes along for the ride. I appreciated that Lee Child gave Holly a bad knee/ankle/something to explain why she couldn't just take care of the lot herself, which she darn near did anyway.

Started: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Too soon to tell but I am already in love with her sentences. Example: The mission to Rakhat was undertaken not so much secretly as privately - a fine distinction but one that the Society felt no compulsion to explain or justify when the news broke several years later.

Knitting: started Chart C on Elizabeth I. Am fooling with the cross & crown pictured to make it a felted embellished patch on a bookbag for my mother. NOT THE FINISHED PRODUCT. Not even close. The stack on the patio table is the Tailored Jacket - I didn't realize how close I was to finishing it. If I get a few minutes to take a look at it this weekend, I think I'm going to seam up the sides & shoulders and start the sleeves. 

Tattoo of Mary Wollstonecraft by Sarah Schor.



Ooh, so many good books to go check out! I look forward to hearing what you think of The Sparrow - I remember being charmed by that exact sentence. I also remember really thinking a lot after i was done with the book, so...


I love The Lake of Dead Languages! All of Carol Goodman's books seem to be a bit watery. :)

Kim D.

So not your new tattoo then???? Definitely going to have to check out that book list.

We still commemorate/celebrate/remember/???? not sure what you call Guy Fawkes Day on November 5th every year in England. We have fireworks (our only day for fireworks). The churches all have big bonfire nights where we make huge bonfires of our rubbish (read garbage) and stuff old clothes to make it look like a person tied to the stake and burn it. Goes down lovely with a nice bag of soggy fish and chips. To be honest one of my favorite British holidays but very hard to explain to the kids.

Cheryl S.

Whooo! You've been busy.
Hez looks very contented.


What a great list of books.


Urban Fantasy? I might have a writer for you.

How do you have time to knit and do all that reading? Love seeing Hez looking so happy/lazy.



I love it when you review books. Always gives me good suggestions.


I loved The Lake of Dead Languages. Is that YOUR arm with the fabulous tattoo?


HEZ!!!!! *ahem* Hi! :D


I'm so bad - I haven't read a book in months! Just no time!


Hez the Happy. Comfy quilt for the season.

Is that the tattoo I was supposed to get? :D Lovely.

I've been reading/rereading Ilona Andrews....and she just published a new one.


I really, really liked God's Secretaries. It sent me on a whole all-I-can-find-out-about-the-writing-of-the-Bible binge.

And is that a very, extraordinarily young Michael York in the floppish, foppish hat?


My favorite photo? Hez. She almost looks content!
(Not glaring at you...)


I was completely convinced that was your new tattoo! I need to go back and finish the Sparrow. I was completely intrigued and then got distracted by... who knows. Probably a shiny object. You make me feel like a total reading slacker.


You are no longer being carefully watched, as The Watcher appears to be peacefully asleep.


Carrie- can you speak to Hez about the proper way for a lady to sit?


Mary Tudor, a bastard? Really? Must pick that one up then.

Yeah, I agree with Lorraine - really Hez? You look like you're waiting for the pool boy to bring you a towel.


I loved how varied your reading list is. And am super impressed with how much you read! The Sparrow has been in the list for ages now...but some of the others you review sound interesting as well.

Hez seems to trust you now.


I was hoping that was your tattoo! either way it's gorgeous. I remember when God's Secretaties came out and thought it sounded good then but didn't go beyond that. You have resuscitated my interest in it!

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