Reading Round-Up: January 2020, Part Two

Reading is my oldest and favorite hobby. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love to curl up with a good book. Here is part two of two posts sharing my reads for January, 2020

Country Boy, by Richard Hillyer – One of the greatest delights of my reading life in recent years has been finding Slightly Foxed, and I have enjoyed every reading experience this gem of a publisher has provided me.  Country Boy, a memoir of growing up desperately poor and falling in love with books, was no exception.  Hillyer’s writing about his country neighbors was sensitive and loving, but honest too.

Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: The Just War, by G. Willow Wilson – I am a fan of everything Wilson does, and I anxiously awaited her take on my favorite superhero, Wonder Woman.  As expected, she delivered a wonderful story, with nods to mythology and legend, and clearly Diana Prince is safe in Wilson’s capable hands.

Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey #1), by Dorothy L. Sayers – Wanting to catch up on some of the golden age crime novels I hadn’t yet read, I downloaded the first Peter Wimsey to my kindle and read it on the plane, en route to New Orleans for a business trip.  It was good fun, although I like the Harriet Vane novels, and The Nine Tailors, better.

The Siren Years: A Canadian Diplomat Abroad 1937-1945, by Charles Ritchie – I picked up this recommendation from The Captive Reader, and it was a joy to read.  Ritchie knew everyone, and his insights into war and the nature of diplomacy were as interesting to read as his accounts of country house weekends.  I can’t wait to continue on with his diaries.

Madensky Square, by Eva Ibbotson – I actually had a hard time getting into Madensky Square, and ended up leaving it home in favor of my kindle while I was in New Orleans on business, then picking it up again when I returned.  It was beautifully written, uplifting in parts and heartbreaking in others, and I ended up loving the characters – Frau Susanna, Gernot, Nini, Daniel, little Sigi, the Schumacher family, and all the residents of the Square.  (The people want a book about Nini and Daniel!)

Murder in the White House (Capital Crimes #1), by Margaret Truman – I have had Margaret Truman’s DC mystery series on my list for the longest time.  Truman was the daughter of President Harry S. Truman, so she was well-placed to write about the inner workings of the Washington scene, and she does so in a completely captivating way.  (She also gets her DC details right, obviously, and as longtime readers know, nothing irritates me more than authors who get their facts wrong about my adopted hometown.)  This first installment was a lot of fun.

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, by Jenny Odell – I picked this one up because President Obama loved it.  Of course, as we all know, President Obama is a genius and the rest of us, mostly, are not.  How to Do Nothing went almost completely over my head, except for the parts about birds, which I did understand.  It might have been a case of right book, wrong time – coming at the end of a long, busy and stressful month at work and at home – but I found it a bit opaque.

The Lager Queen of Minnesota, by J. Ryan Stradal – I had loved Stradal’s debut novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, but was pretty underwhelmed by this sophomore effort.  The premise was good – Grandmas brewing beer! – but the characters were wooden and the ending felt clunky and rushed.  I’ll still read Stradal’s next book, but this one was a miss for me.

Whew!  That wraps up a big month of reading.  I had a wonderful month of turning pages, I really did.  The clear highlight from the second half of the month was The Siren Years, which I devoured.  But it’s always fun to visit with Lord Peter Wimsey and Wonder Woman (there’s a sentence I never though I’d write) and to curl up with another Slightly Foxed Edition.  And now – onward to February!  I have a stack of library books to get through, but I’m also enjoying reading from my own shelves more often, so expect another mix of both next month.

What are you reading these days?

4 thoughts on “Reading Round-Up: January 2020, Part Two

  1. Have you read Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers? It is my favorite of the books without Harriet in them. I read The Siren Years on Claire’s recommendation as well and thoroughly enjoyed it. She always adds to my TBR!

    • I think I read Murder Must Advertise years ago, when I was first discovering golden age crime beyond Christie – but before I had Goodreads, so I can’t confirm! It sounds like one that I would have read, though. I made it through most of Sayers back in the early 2000s. And agree – Claire is great/dangerous for the TBR!

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