Weekly Reading Round-Up

Happy Friday!  With the hot, bright July weather in New York this week, I went back to some old summer favorites.

Do you have those sorts of seasonal books?  For some reason, whenever the weather gets particularly sultry, I find myself going back to Barbara Michaels’/Elizabeth Peters’ gothics: to her Ammie Come Home trilogy, to her Houses of Stone, to Be Buried in the Rain, but, in particular, to Devil May Care, a mystery set at the rambling Virginia estate of the heroine’s extremely eccentric aunt as ghostly apparitions begin to pop up.  Clearly the product of human agency– or are they?

Another favorite for hot summer days?  Anything by Angela Thirkell, who wrote gentle satires of the English countryside in the 1930s and 40s.  One of my summer go tos, which I revisited this week, is August Folly, in which hijinks and love affairs ensue around the production of a Greek play in a barn with a leaky basin.  It’s a little bit Wodehouse, a little bit Nancy Mitford, a little bit Cold Comfort Farm, and entirely Thirkell– down to a sulky donkey named Modestine.

What have you been reading this week?


  1. Sheila Churchill on July 12, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    No Time Like the Past, another volume in Jodi Taylor’s St. Mary’s series. If you like history, humor and madcap adventure, this is great. I read Thirkell’s Summer Half, which I found amusing, but just bit too non-PC for me.

  2. Pat Dupuy on July 12, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I read Eloisa James’s latest, Say No to the Duke. Then had to reread Born to be Wild to refresh my memory on some details. I just finished Dianne Freeman’s A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder. Love that series! The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren was also fun.

  3. Diane on July 12, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    You always make my TBR list grow exponentially.

    So I tried the 7.5 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle this past week. The best way to describe it was a cross between Ground Hog Day, Agatha Christie and Dr. Who. Still digesting!

  4. Heather H. on July 12, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    I had to run the YA Book Club at my B&N this week, so I read “We Hunt the Flame” by Hafsah Faizal. It was middle of the pack, but it had a lot of classic Arabian elements, which I liked. I’d recommend it for fans of Sabaa Tahir or Alwyn Hamilton. I’ve also continued my re-reads of “The Stand” (have you seen the casting news for the new limited series?) and the Dresden Files, and for my lesson plan final, I got to read DK’s “Space!” (a fact-filled encyclopedia) and Franklyn Branley’s “The Planets In Our Solar System”. I had to write a single-day science lesson plan for third grade, and I chose the solar system; those were the student texts I used in the lesson itself. They helped, and I passed my final!

    • Tara on July 13, 2019 at 7:08 am

      If you like Sabaa Tahir, you should try Roshani Chokshi and Renee Ahdieh; both writer incorporate Arabic/Indian/Asian elements in their writing, and all three are fantastic writers.

  5. Catherine Ristola Bass on July 12, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    I just re-read Devil-May-Care, an old favorite! Legend in Green Velvet is another goodie by her.

  6. JOAN on July 12, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    I’m reading the Kuragin trilogy by Constance Heaven (The House of Kuragin, The Astrov Legacy, andHeir To Kuragin. The novels take place in Russia from 1819-1846 and were written in the 1970’s. I’m enjoying them very much, but am woefully ignorant on Russian history before 1917. I didn’t realize that serfs could be bought and sold like slaves and weren’t freed until late 1800’s!

  7. Diana P on July 13, 2019 at 1:12 am

    I’m reading Daughters of the Winter Queen by Nancy Goldstone, a biography that starts with Mary, Queen of Scots and shares about so many prominent figures that influenced Elizabeth Stuart and her family. It’s a fascinating read. Also reading Next Year in Havana, which you posted about. It’s a very enjoyable read, so thank you.

  8. DJL on July 13, 2019 at 1:20 am

    Started The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (I know, am late to the party) and enjoying so far.

  9. Tara on July 13, 2019 at 7:11 am

    I’m reading Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Return of the King.

  10. Betty Strohecker on July 13, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Reading True to You by Becky Wade, first in the Bradford Sisters trilogy.

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