Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Bunch of Books

I've been reading so much that I've become greedy and ALL I want to do is read.  More, more, more!  Leave me alone!  I don't have time for this blogging stuff!  I want to read!  But I should tell you a little about the books I've finished, just to prove that I have been reading.

I don't have photos of all the books.  Some were e-books and some didn't photograph well.  Those shiny covers on library books create such glare.  I'm still not a competent photographer either.  Apparently.

Mary Norris has been a copy editor at The New Yorker for the last thirty years.  If you know that publication, you know they are the benchmark for grammar and literacy.  In a light, amusing way, Morris writes of how she got hired there, the crazy characters who worked there, and how she became one of those characters.  She discusses the fine points of grammar, punctuation, and spelling, laced with goofy comments and stories.  She confesses to loving a particular kind of pencil.  This is a fun book, and one that might make you overly conscious of your writing.


Then it was time for some excitement.  I love this series of mysteries by Paul Doiron.  They take place in Maine, much of which is woodland, remote, and sort of spooky.  If you're the nervous sort, stay close to the coast!  Doiron's crime solver is Mike Bowditch, a Maine game warden.  Because Maine is so big and much of it is remote, game wardens function as police officers.  In The Precipice, two young women who have been through hiking the Appalachian Trail, that is, hiking from the start, at Springer Mountain in Georgia, to the end, at Mount Katahdin in Maine, disappear in Maine's Hundred-Mile Wilderness.  The Hundred-Mile Wilderness is considered the wildest part of the trail. 

Are the women lost?  Have they been in an accident?  Have they been murdered?  What's this about them being trailed by coyotes?  There seem to be plenty of suspects if they've been murdered, lots of loony people.  There's the weird ex-con who held the record for fastest unsupported through hike on the trail.  There's a family of apparently in-bred back woodsmen.  There's a strange minister.  Mike and his girlfriend are part of the search and rescue team.  

The whole book is exciting, but the ending is hold-your-breath dramatic.  


I also read an Ann Cleeves mystery, Dead Water.  A woman connected with the local police in the Shetland Islands finds a body in her boat.  They bring in an outside investigator, Willow Reeves, an odd young woman.  Inspector Jimmy Perez is still on compassionate leave after the violent death of his fiancee a year earlier.  He becomes involved with this investigation and, in the process, furthers his healing.

The dead man was a local man who became an investigative reporter.  He left the area after he got a local girl pregnant.  His family wanted him to do better and didn't want him tied down.  The girl lost the baby anyway and was about to get married to an older, local man.  Why did the reporter come back?  Someone said he told them he was onto a story.  The prospective bridegroom is found dead, and then the woman who found the first body disappears.  Who says small towns aren't exciting?


Still reluctant to return to Don Quixoite, who is still waiting in the wings, I read The Velveteen Rabbit.  Somehow, I missed this when I was a child.  All I have to say is Please forgive me for, finally, after about sixty years, throwing away most of my precious but grubby stuffed animals.  I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!


Recently I read and enjoyed Dave Goulson's book, A Sting in the Tale, a book about bumblebees.  This is his followup book, A Buzz in the Meadow.  At the end of the first book, Goulson manages to buy a small derelict farm in France.  He hopes to restore its meadow to something closer to a natural, more ecologically balanced state.

I was hoping this would be more like those 'I bought a decrepit country house in a foreign land and restored it' type of book.  It has a little of that, but, as I probably should have expected, it was more  about the insects and birds and creatures that live there when he buys the place or show up after it became a better habitat.  There are butterflies, death watch beetles, owls, and others.  It's fascinating  -  except for the parts about genetics.  Insurance, taxes, and genetics  -  I can't wrap my brain around any of them.

Goulson has some serious things to say about pesticides and the ways in which humans are ruining the earth.  I agree with him 1,000%.  It's too bad that most of the people who read books like this are people who are already concerned about what sort of world we're leaving to the next generation and what sort of illnesses we're giving ourselves by trying to control nature.


I read a few more books, but I'll either post something about them later or forget to do it.  Right now, I'd like to get back to Death Walks in Eastrepps by Francis Beeding.  It's a cracking good mystery and I may be able to finish it before I turn off the light tonight.


I hope you're all reading some interesting or entertaining books.


  1. Some great reading! I loved how excited and breathless your post is :) It is a shame that the people who read books like Goulson's are generally the ones who don't need to be convinced. But it does boost us up and gets us babbling to other people and who knows, maybe one or two of those people will learn something and make a change.

    1. I'm so lazy and on such a reading binge that I can hardly bear to take the time to write a bit of a review on the books I've read. Maybe 'breathless' should be 'slapdash'!

      I think you're right about books on nature and the arrogance of mankind in attempting to manipulate things to our benefit and the detriment of other species. I've talked to several people about Goulson's two books and hope that some of what I've relayed to them sticks or makes them curious. I think the state of the world is terrifying.

  2. Surprise surprise, you and I are having a very similar June, I'm making up for reading hardly anything in May. I must get those Goulson books out of the library.

    1. The Goulson books are fascinating and funny. He has important things to say.

      I read a fair amount in May and I'm still on a roll. But, out of the corner of my eye, I keep seeing Don Quixote and Travels of William Bartram, both interesting and entertaining books, and both only partly read. They're good and I want to finish them, but other books are more beguiling!