09 July 2019

52 Books in 52 Weeks 2019 - Pt.1

This post contains the books I read through from 01 January to  31 March 2019.

The number beside each book is my personal rating for the book, or audiobook, at the time of reading with the range being:
(1) = would not recommend,
(2) = some interesting aspects but not one of my recommended reads,
(3) = would recommend.
(4) = Really good, enjoyable, (or worthy) read, would definitely recommend
(5) = Excellent book, highly recommend

The next few are ongoing, sip, reads so I added them here until they are finished:
B:  KJV Bible
C:  How the Heather Looks ~ Joan Bodger   memoir
D:  The Divine Comedy ~ Dante Alighieri, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (4)  (Started April 2017, and finished 11/03/2019)
E:  The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart ~ Christine Hoover 4.5 (completed in Feb) 
As in previous posts, I haven't  included  the books I'm reading for my own extra-mural studies;  and,  the titles in green are ones I pre-read as possible reads for Daisy, or, before she does. 
The blue numbers are books read to complete the  Detectives in BooksWhodunit Bookology Reading Challenge   ....  so, I’ll be reading quite a few mystery books this year. 
I’d also like to complete a 10x10 challenge, and here are the categories I'm aiming to read through, with as little cross over of book titles as possible
  1. Scotland  (10 books)     (country or Author)
  2. Downunder  (10)     (New Zealand/Australia - country or Author) 
  3. Israel  (5)
  4. During or post-WWII (10)
  5. Non-fiction (10) + Christian N/F (10)
  6. Christian Based Fiction (10)
  7. Chunkster (5)     Books with a minimum of 500pgs
  8. Classics (10)
  9. Rinse n Repeat (10)
  10. New-to-Me Fiction Authors (20)

January:  Hercule Poirot – Agatha Christie (UK Focus)    (summer time/post op reading)

1: My standard KJV Bible: 
The Book of Luke, KJV (I combed through this slowly and noticed so many things I seemed to have overlooked in previous reads.)
Psalms  Even though I studied through Psalms last year I listened to them, narrated by Alexander Scourby, continually during the first half of January.  I love how the psalmist’s prayers are recorded in every situation, all the emotional landscapes, they are traversing through; not just joyfilled, victorious moments in their life.   Psalm 147:3  He healtheth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds

2:  The Catherine Wheel: Miss Silver Bk15 ~ Patricia Wentworth, narrated by Diana Bishop (4-
pub 1949  (audio) my  review can be found at/near the end of this post dated 01/19 

3:  Death in the Stocks: Hannasyde Bk1 ~ Georgette Heyer, narrated by Ulli Birve  (3.5)  pub 1935.  (audio)  Repeat, listen through Inspector Hannasyde books in order.  Perfect for night time listening.  I rather like the Verekers inside the setting of this book, they are so offbeat and into making literal pests of themselves.

4: The Christmas Wassail: Roger the Chapman Bk22 ~ Kate Sedley (epukapuka) (2.5) pub 2013   review  

5:  C=  Vittoria Cottage: Drumberley, Bk1 ~ D. E. Stevenson  (4+) (Rural England)  pub 1949  (audio) (WWII)  Review of all 3 books  
6:  HMusic in the Hills: Drumberley, Bk2 ~ D. E. Stevenson  (4.5(Scotland) pub 1950  (audio)   (WWII)
7: RWinter and Rough Weather: Drumberley, Bk3 ~ D. E. Stevenson (5pub 1951 (Scotland)   (audio)    

8:  S=  The Secret of Chimneys: Superintendent Battle Bk1 ~ Agatha Christie   (3+) 
pub 1925 (WWII)   It’s been years (!) since I went through this book I could not seem to recall much of anything about the story so it was like listening to a brand new Christie.  Interesting twists and turns with ‘foreigners’ as the baddies, and, as I do like Bundle and her dad a book with them in it seems more enjoyable.

9:  I=  Irena’s Children ~  Tilar J. Mazzeo, narrated by Amanda Carlin    (5)  
pub 2016  N/F (WWII)    Blogged review     

10:  E= Two Owls at Eton: A True Story ~ Jonathan Franklin   (4.5)  
N/F Memoir  pub 1960   Blogged review  

11:  TThe Talisman Ring ~ Georgette Heyer, narrated by Phyllida Nash  (5 
pub 1954    Favourite night time listen.   (book club read)

12:  The Man in the Brown Suit ~ Agatha Christie  (3
pub 1924  (audio I wasn’t in the right mood to have Emilia Fox read this to me, so didn’t enjoy it as much as the first time I listened to; it ranked as a solid 4/5 back then.

13:  Cranford ~ Elizabeth Gaskell  (4.5started in Dec, completed 27/01/19   
Classic.  Lovely audiobook. Blogged review 

14:  Plain Jane:  A House for the Season Bk2 ~ M. C. Beaton writing as Marion Chesney, narrated by Lindy Nettleton  (2)  
(epukapuka audio)  the narrator didn’t help to make the story enjoyable.  (It doesn’t help that any other modern times writers of regency stories get compared to the wit and attention to detail that Georgette Heyer invests into each story, and many fail to attain to her skill.)    Goodreads Review
15:  The Unfinished Clue ~ Georgette Heyer, narrated by Clifford Norgate  (4
pub 1933 (audio pub 2001)  Repeat listen.  Perfect narrator for this story.  Just love Lola, she’s shockingly funny in this very British setting (WWII).   Extra: emotional adultery, and, Camilla swaps favours for cash.

16:  I=   A Change of Heir ~ Michael Innes  (1.5)  
pub 1984  178pgs  (epukapuka) Goodreads review  
I did enjoy some of the words that Innes penned and are not in use in my daily vocabulary: mendicancy, senescence, cogency, exiguous, euphonious, sacerdotal, circumambulated  

17:  Symbols ~ Joseph Piercy  (3)    
224pgs  N/F   My 19yr old son's idea of a lite read for me to enjoy.  It was, and I did.  It encouraged me to go research Jim Thorpe (A Native American athlete stripped, undeservedly, of his medals.)
A 5 Star read in January
Winter and Rough Weather: Drumberley, Bk3 ~ D. E. Stevenson (5
pub 1951 (Scotland)   (audio

February:  Chen Cao Qiu Xiaolong  (Chinese focus)  (Birthday month)
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(1)  KJV Bible: Job, Hebrews, Colossians, Philippians
18:  A=   Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster ~ Jonathan Auxier  (5)   
368pgs  Juvenile Fiction (epukapuka) Blogged review  I know Daisy would flat out enjoy this book too.
Possible triggers for those with sensitive young readers: death of parents, and, another child is sold by his parents to a sweep, sacrificial love (giving one’s life to save/protect a loved one) – Auxier touts it as, reparaphrasing,  by saving others we save ourself.)

20:   E=   Stories I Love to Tell ~ Gene Edwards,  narrated by Milton Bagby (3)  
Some of the stories are interesting and inspiring, then there are a few that Edwards may enjoy telling yet they seem to read more as a tribute to the person he was talking about, I thought those ones were just okay.

21:   U=  Wings Above Diamantina: Inspector Bonaparte Bk 3 ~ Arthur Upfield (3
(library CD) (Australia)  Vintage read.  I really enjoyed Upfield’s word paintings of the Australian landscapes – beautiful.

22:  I=   Being Maori Chinese: Mixed Identities ~ Manying Ip  (3-4)   
New Zealand N/F  200pgs (epukapuka)  Goodreads review  

23:  O=   One Child:  The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment ~ Mei Fong, narrated by Janet Song   (5)  
(epukapuka)  N/F China  Goodread reviews   I wouldn’t recommend this as a read for a few IRL friends who are navigating through ’beyond coping’ circumstances – portions of it make for very tough reading. 

24:  C=  Carnegie's Maid ~ Marie Benedict, narrated by Alana Kerr Collins  (3)  
(epukapuka audio)  Blogged review     The portions of the book I listened to were definitely clean romance, not sure about the 3 chapters I skipped :D

25:  Lady Of Quality ~ Georgette Heyer,  narrated by Eve Matheson  (3
(late night, gentle, repeat listen)

26:  QQuirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Lives ~ Richard Wiseman   
N/F   Longish review Goodreads review  (splashes of ‘adult content’ and sexual innuendo, especially in chapter 5. 

27:   A.D. 30:  A.D. Series Bk1 ~ Ted Dekker, narrated by Ellen Archer  (4)  
12hrs 48m   Biblical retelling/historical fiction      Blogged review   

28:   The School at Thrush Green: Thrush Green Bk6 ~ Miss Read, narrated by Gwen Watford  (3)   Still enjoyable but not my favourite Thrush Green book.

29:   N=  Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell ~  Susanna Clarke,  Simon Prebble  (5)  Alternate British history involving magicians and fairies.  Blogged review

30:   Coming Home to Tibet:  A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Belonging ~  Tsering Wangmo Dhompa  
N/F  Memoir  Tibet/China      I was 50% done with Coming Home to Tibet and then ran out of overdrive, library loan, reading time.  I don't know when I'll get another shot at this book, so, with what I have read, I’m currently rating this book at 3.5 stars.  Dhompa has a very poetic style of writing and this book gifted me with a window into her Buddhist beliefs.

30:  H=  The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart ~ Christine Hoover (4.5Blogged review 
A 5 Star read in February
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell ~  Susanna Clarke, 

March:  Armand Gamache – Louise Penny 
(1)  KJV Bible:  Philippians,  Isaiah (audio)

32:   S=  Closed Casket ~ Sophie Hannah, narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt  (3)  
I appreciated this book more than The Monogram Murders; however, Closed Casket did seem to take a scenic route before getting the murder solved.  I like that Hannah has made Inspector Catchpole adept enough in his own right,  he’s not a bumbling sidekick to Poriot’s ‘brilliance’.

34:   Sprig Muslin ~ Georgette Heyer  (3+)   
268pgs (Heyer bookclub read)  As per usual, I skipped past the portions with the creepy, lecherous, Fabian Theale.  I think the story really takes off from midway through chapter 13.  Each time I go through this book I appreciate, and notice, just how witty Heyer’s writing is.

36:   A.D. 33: A.D. Series, Bk2 ~ Ted Dekker,  narrated by Ellen Archer  (3)  
(Christian historical fiction)  Goodreads review   

37:  The Divine Comedy ~ Dante Alighieri, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (translator)(4Classic/ Chunkster    (audio) (522pgs) (cc)
A sip read I’ve been chipping away at since April 2017, and finished on the 11/03/2019.
The Inferno is my favourite portion of this epic poem, but I’m glad I’ve at least been through the entire work once in my life, and I’m going to listen to just that portion again, another year, sometime.

38:  L=   Starry River of the Sky ~ Grace Lin, narrated by Kim MaiGuest   (4)    
Juvenile fict,  China  Goodreads review 

So, why 3 stars after saying all this in a goodreads review?; because, even though I really (!) dislike Dominic,  I still like GH’s writing style, her witty humour, and the chance to revisit with an older Justin.

41:  Arawata Bill:  The Story of Legendary Gold Prospector William James O'Leary ~ Ian Dougherty  (3pub March 15th 2010.   N/F  NZ  hist/biog  (epukapuka)
Stories surrounding Arawata Bill are steadily progressing into the realms of ‘tall tales’.  Interesting to read all the varying angles of the same stories – some of which definitely have him larger than life.  The writing style was very much about fact sharing and story comparing as opposed to a story formatted biography about Arawata Bill.  All the footnotes and cross-referencing don’t make this book the most relaxing of reads; but, I found the content interesting enough to keep reading.

42:  O=  A Grief Observed~ C.S. Lewis  N/F Memoir (Christian Classic) (5)
Poignant read. I’ve highlighted so many thoughts in this book, ones like these:
  Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.
  Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.
  Praise is the mode of love which always has some element of joy in it. Praise in due order; of Him [God] as the giver, of her as the gift.

44:  Don't Stop Believin' ~  Olivia Newton-John (narrated by the author)  (3-)  
(epukapuka) N/F  Australian Memoir    I think fans would love this, especially since Olivia reads it herself.  The author states at the beginning that she’s only going to tell the stories she wants to; the result is easy listening, though a rather sanitised version of events in her life. Almost like a damage control memoir …. not sure against what though (?).  I found the last few chapters about Olivia’s journey with repeated bouts of, that evil monster, cancer very interesting (care and recovery wise) heartening and informative.

45:   UA Name Unknown:  Shadows Over England Bk1 ~ Roseanna M. White, narrated by Liz Pearce  (3)  
15hrs 18m (434pgs)  Christian historical fiction/mystery/romance  Yorkshire/London  
The reality didn’t quite meet up to my initial expectation of this story.  The drawing out of the secrets of the main characters got wearying after a while.  Some romancey-schmancy kissing, no bedroom scenes.

46:  The Walnut Tree ~ Charles Todd, narrated by Fiona Hardingham  (3
(epukapuka)  Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh) France/ England  (Dover/ Rochester, Kent/ Midhurst, West Sussex/ Aldershot, Hampshire)   Goodreads review   

47:  The Black Ascot: Ian Rutledge Bk21 ~ Charles Todd, Simon Prebble  (4
(epukapuka)  Counties visited: Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, London, Worcestershire, Hampshire,  Leicestershire,  Lancashire, (Ullswater) Cumbria, Sussex, Dover, Kent, Canterbury, Buckinghamshire
Good escapism listening.  (I do think it's past time though, that the authors cut Ian some slack and gifted him with a lady to love of his own, one who loves and understands him.)

48:  Behold, Here's Poison:  Inspector Hannasyde  Bk 2 ~ Georgette Heyer, narrated by Ulli Birvé (3)  
I wanted to do a compare of narrators between Ulli Birve and Hugh Dickson on this story.  Birve’s edition is over an hour and a half longer, she reads sooo much slower than Dickson, both versions are unabridged.  For night time listen Birve is easier to go to sleep to ;) …… and I prefer her rendition of Randal; otherwise, if I was going to go for overall daytime enjoyment then Hugh Dickson’s version is my first choice.   Sadly, audible now only have Birve's edition available for purchase. 
A 5 Star read in March
A Grief Observed by [Lewis, C.S.]
A Grief Observed ~ C.S. Lewis  
N/F Memoir (Christian Classic) (5)

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