As promised in the last post, My Year of Reading 2013, here is a list of my favorite books read in 2013 from July through December.
July was a good reading month with several favorites. Silent Voices, a Vera Stanhope mystery by Ann Cleeves, a British mystery series that always delivers, is a bit of a departure from the usual 'cozy' style mysteries that I read for pure comfort and escapism. The hard-drinking, brooding Vera Stanhope character and her homicide cases and the cold, Northumberland landscape are portrayed true to the books in the PBS series Vera.
Also in July, I enjoyed Sue Grafton's Kinsey and Me, which includes some previously unpublished short stories and autobiographical essays. My review can be read on the blog here.
For August, let's pick some Jersey shore beach reading: Mad Mouse by Chris Grabenstein, which finds Iraq war veteran John Cepak solving a murder on the amusement ride at a fictional Jersey shore town that sounds a lot like Seaside Heights. Read any of these mysteries based 'down the shore' as we allegedly say in 'Joisey' for a fun escape to the boardwalk. Stephanie's review of summer reading including the John Cepak series can be read here.
From the dark, brooding U.K. mysteries to the light, sunny American ones, September's pick is humorous essays by Quinn Cummings, Pet Sounds, stories about her household devoted to nurturing eccentric pets that pet lovers everywhere will appreciate. Read my review here and be sure to read Ms. Cummings Notes from the Underwire if you enjoy here comic style.
In October, I discovered a new mystery series: Sydney Chamber and the Shadow of Death, the Grantchester mysteries by James Runcie. This series of two so far is set in an English village near Cambridge in the early 1950's. The review and related recommendations can be read here. A book that goes well with the Grantchester mysteries, a memoir set in 1950's U.K.: Sunlight on the Lawn, the third in the 'Merry Hall' series, is my other pick for October. Recommended for gardening enthusiasts and possible even the legions of Downton Abbey addicts looking for period pieces about living in grand houses in England of bygone days.
In November, the publishing world came forth with something I've been waiting for forty years to read: a new Bertie and Jeeves adventure. True, it's not by the master himself, P.G. Wodehouse, but Sebastian Faulks was picked by the great man's heirs to carry on the tradition and I think he did a really good job with Jeeves and the Wedding Bells. All of Plum's fans will want to read this and I hope you agree it's great to be back in the world of Bertie's bumbling and Jeeves saving the day with his fish-powered brain. Terrific.
Finally, in December I generally read nothing but very light, escapist, funny mysteries. So I revisited the 'Peculiar Crimes Unit' series and it didn't disappoint. The Invisible Code by Christopher Fowler has the usual crazy mix of London history and eccentric police detectives from the PCU. I just reviewed that right after Christmas right before tidying up my book journal for another year.
Happy reading in 2014 everyone!