September 2020 Reads

With the cooler weather arriving, it’s now blanket, tea and a good book season!

I’ve switched the links in my past reviews so all of them go to Goodreads or Project Gutenberg to allow you to choose where you buy from.

Fiction

Coriolanus (William Shakespeare)
So I hated this. Maybe it’s my dislike of political things, but I just found this play so tedious. Coriolanus is a tough person to read about, very unlikable. I did enjoy the fact it was the women, in particular his mother, that saves the day.

All’s Well That Ends Well (William Shakespeare)
Oh Bertram. I have no idea what Helena sees in him. I suspect she won’t after spending more time with him. I didn’t enjoy this play as much as I’d hoped. I hated Bertram, and honestly, tricking people into sex to trap them is just icky, Shakespearean times or not. It’s hard with modern sensibilities to look past that in so many of these plays. I do enjoy Helena for her pluck, but man does she have shit taste in men.

Headhunter (CSI, #11) (Greg Cox)
This is a novelization of the TV show CSI. This is an original novel (not based on a TV episode). Overall it was interesting to learn about headhunting and tsantsas since the case revolves around them. The plot was decent, the characterization was on point, and it felt authentic to the show.

Measure for Measure (William Shakespeare)
Yet another “trick a man into sleeping with someone he thinks is someone else” in this play. I honestly don’t get the trope. That being said, I did enjoy the play because of the fun of seeing Angelo called out for saying one thing and doing another. Overall, it was okay, not my favourite, but not in my list of “not reading this again” either.

The Twelfth Card (Jeffery Deaver)
The sixth book in the Lincoln Rhyme series. After the attempted murder of a sixteen-year-old black high school student researching her ancestor (a freed slave accused of stealing), Rhyme and Sachs have to figure out who is after her and why they want her dead. I still really love the twists and turns Deaver writes – there are so many tiny one-off mentions that come back to mean something later, and it’s really fun to look back and go “Oh!” when you realize it was important. I am still all in on this series. One thing about this book. It was published in 2005 and the black characters use a lot of AAVE which comes off strangely. Some of it is the passage of time–some words are just not used anymore so it really sticks out and feels dated. In other places I wondered if it was accurate AAVE (although there are a few sections where some of the intricacies are explained so I have to assume he had people verifying the authenticity). So to some, it may seem offensive, but I can’t say whether that’s inadvertent due to the passage of time or a white guy just getting it wrong.

Poetry

The Phoenix and the Turtle (William Shakespeare)
I read this poem early (it’s due for a December read) because I need to clear the decks in December. It’s a short poem, and honestly, I thought turtle meant has a shell kind of turtle, but it’s the turtle dove. A nice poem, nothing too interesting to me though.

A Funeral Elegy (William Shakespeare … maybe)
I’m in the camp that he didn’t write this, but I read it anyway. It’s a long poem for “Master William Peter” and basically waxes poetic about a man who died young. The poem was sent to his brother and signed W.S. and so attributed to Shakespeare occasionally.

Non Fiction

Irish Trees: Myths, Legends and Folklore (Niall Mac Coitir)
I was hoping this was more of a book about Celtic tree birthday stuff (like this is your tree and how it colours your personality) but it was more of a history of specific trees in Ireland, in relation to folklore, ogham and more. Interesting, dense, but not what I thought going in.

A Day To Die For: 1996: Everest’s Worst Disaster – One Survivor’s Personal Journey to Uncover the Truth (Graham Ratcliffe)
Yep, back to the 1996 Everest disaster. Ratcliffe is a British climber who was not in the two parties most affected, but was on the South Col when things unfolded. His team was scheduled to summit a day later (the 12th). After the disaster, he realizes some of the teams had access to weather forecasts predicting the conditions and went ahead regardless. While interesting to know (as this wasn’t covered in other books), I felt like that journey for answers was more for the author to come to terms with what happened. Knowing Hall and Fischer may have had knowledge about dangerous weather is just another in a long list of baffling decisions made by both team leaders and doesn’t answer any questions about what happened. Overall, I enjoyed a lot of the mountain climbing aspects and appreciated that it wasn’t just an autobiography using the disaster as a selling point.

Escaped Killer: True Story of Serial Killer Allan Legere (R.J. Parker)
This purports to be a book about Canadian serial killer Allan Legere, but at 78 pages (a good 20 of them front/back matter), this is really more of a Wikipedia article.  You can tell this was literally cobbled together from multiple, better sources to sell quickly on Amazon. There are no quotes from interviewed people, because no one was interviewed. There is no firsthand information. It was a big letdown with some errors in it as well.


Goodreads Reading Challenge
– 75/52

I’ve officially read more books this year than I ever have. I have a personal goal to read at least 25 fiction and 25 non-fiction. I accomplished it on the fiction side ages ago, but I’m at 19 for non-fiction so far.

One thing I have noticed is that my page reads are lower than I figured they’d be, then realized it’s because I’m reading lots of books, but many of them are Shakespeare plays that will have a much smaller word count than normal books.

My previous highest book count was 67 with 19,026 pages, then 66 books with 24,920 pages (!). This year I only have 14,521 pages but I have 75 books read.

.

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