Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fall reading

The calendar reminds me that the official First Day of Autumn is September 23rd, the weather is only a degree or two cooler, and we still have another 4-6 weeks of prime hurricane season here on the Gulf Coast. But still, it suddenly feels like we've turned the corner, that summer is coming to an end. And not just because the Halloween candy is already in the stores!

This year September 23rd also brings Deborah Crombie's newest book, To Dwell in Darkness, which I've been anticipating ever since the cliff-hanger that closed the last. The date is marked on my calendar, as is her signing here in Houston later the same week.

In addition, in the next couple of months there are four fall reading events that I'm really looking forward to participating in.  The first, which has already started, is the 9th season of R.I.P., or R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX, hosted by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings.  It runs (appropriately) through Halloween.  This year again I am signing up for "Peril the First," to "Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature," defined as "Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, Supernatural."

Ms. Crombie's new book would qualify.  Here are some others I am considering, from my TBR stacks:
  • Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
  • Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (I'm currently stuck 1/3rd of the way through)
  • Monica Dickens, Closed at Dusk
  • I.J. Parker, The Convict's Sword
  • Mary Stewart, Touch Not the Cat
  • Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • Patricia Wentworth, The Chinese Shawl

Next up is Mary Stewart Reading Week, hosted by Anbolyn of Gudrun's Tights.  This will run September 14-21, and it is open to anything related to the author or her work.  I collected quite a few of her books last year, with the first reading week, and I still have several on the TBR shelves.  I am planning to read The Last Enchantment, to finish the Merlin trilogy.  I also have a copy of Geoffrey of Monmouth's The History of the Kings of Britain, a source of many Arthurian legends, which Stewart recommended in an afterword to The Crystal Cave - not as history, but as entertaining fantasy disguised as history.  I'd like to read Touch Not the Cat, which a Mary Stewart quiz suggested as the best match for me.  My friend Susan also told me recently it's her favorite of Stewart's novels.  Reading it would overlap with the R.I.P. challenge, but I think that's allowed.  I am also tempted to re-read The Ivy Tree, just because it's so damn good!

The next event is A More Diverse Universe, hosted by Aarti of Book Lust.  It is a challenge to read and review one book by a person of color during the last two weeks of September (Sept. 14-27).   This year it's open to books in any genre.  From a recommendation I read on Book Riot this morning, I picked up a copy of Secret Daughter, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, at the library this afternoon.  I know I'm not going to be able to wait to read that one.  I am still making a list for this challenge, but again just from my own TBR shelves I have several possibilities:
  • Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower  [another challenge overlap!]
  • Amitav Ghosh, The Glass Palace
  • Susie King Taylor, A Black Woman's Civil War Memoirs
  • Gail Tsukiyama, The Samurai's Garden
  • Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy - I couldn't finish this in two weeks, but if I start if early, I might could finish it in time to qualify!

As well as the second month of R.I.P., October brings Margaret Kennedy Reading Week, hosted by Jane of Fleur in her World, running October 6-12.  I consider Jane the one who really introduced me to Margaret Kennedy, with her review of Lucy Carmichael, a book I loved almost beyond words (my review is here).  I already had a couple of Kennedy's books on the TBR stacks when Jane announced the reading week.  I took that as an excuse to find still more, so I have a ridiculously wide range to choose from for the week, including The Feast, Troy Chimneys, Act of God, Not in the Calendar, and The Wild Swan.  I also have a very battered second copy of Troy Chimneys that I'd be happy to share, if anyone is having trouble finding her books.  I will be resisting the urge to buy the new Virago editions, as I have (so far) with the new Angela Thirkell editions.

The next couple of months should be rich in reading!


  1. I'm thinking of re-reading The Ivy Tree too for Mary Stewart Week -- such a good read.

  2. Spring on the horizon in this part of the world. :-)
    Definitely going to be a busy few weeks with all these events and lots of good reading ahead.

    I was also thinking of The Glass Palace - been sitting on my shelf far too long.

  3. There is so much going on reading-wise in the next month or two, I'm not sure I can fit it all in! I'm kicking of RIP with an Agatha Christie, hope to join in for Mary Stewart week, and am still working my way through An American Tragedy, too.

    A Suitable Boy is excellent.

  4. vicki, I think it will be fun to re-read and see how MS does it, being in on the secrets this time.

    Cat, I see your RIP post is up, so I'm off to check out your list!

    Jo Ann, I tried reading A Suitable Boy many years ago - probably when it first came out - but I didn't get very far. I've got a lot more experience with sprawling family sagas now!

  5. We've been promised really warm and summery weather this coming week but it doesn't matter. there is something about the light that says we have really tipped into Autumn however warm it may get. There is a poem by Elizabeth Jennings which has the last line "When I said Autumn, Autumn broke" and I think that's so true. Seasons are as much a matter of mindset as anything else.

  6. I'm taking part in all of these events too. It's going to be a busy two months! I haven't decided which Mary Stewart book to read yet, but I'm tempted to try The Crystal Cave.

  7. We have the same programme of events, but some different books.

    I do hope you'll read The Feast, which runs Lucy close as my favourite Kennedy to date. Though I have The Wild Swan (my own) and The Oracles/Act of God (from the library) on hand to read soon, and I love the look of both.

  8. Alex, usually the summer heat lasts well into September, and it really isn't cooler yet - though it helps we had a slightly cooler summer this year. But I love the line you quote, and it does feel as if Autumn is breaking.

    Helen, I like it that there's so much leeway in these, but I will still have to plan my reading!

    Jane, The Feast is one of the first I collected, after Lucy. I don't know why I haven't managed to read it yet. It's definitely high on my list for October!

  9. Crazy that Halloween candy is in stores already. Makes you want to think twice about all the chemicals in it that make it stay "fresh" that long, lol!

    The temps here don't make one thing of Autumn either, but the day will come. Hopefully soon.

    Thanks for being a part of this.

  10. Carl, it could be worse: I saw a picture someone posted of Christmas stuff on sale! Thanks for hosting us again - I'm really looking forward to it.

  11. Cannot WAIT to see all the books I'm going to want to read after the More Diverse Universe event. I anticipate many, many awesome recommendations.

  12. Jenny, I am making lists now, and I will be adding even more to them later!

  13. I've been meaning to sign up for this challenge but haven't had time to put together a list.

    I loved Woman in White--I've read it twice and the second time was the 150th anniversary of its publication and I followed the serialization schedule, which was a fabulous way to read the book. Hope you like it.

    I'm a Mary Stewart fan but haven't read Touch Not the Cat yet, despite its being recommended many times. Maybe that should go on my own PERIL list!

    Good luck with your reading lists and happy fall. :)

  14. Jane, happy fall to you as well :) I need to pick The Woman in White up again. I just lost steam with it - though I did have to peek at the end, because I had a very bad feeling about one character's fate.


Thank you for taking the time to read, and to comment. I always enjoy hearing different points of view about the books I am reading, even if we disagree!