#20books of summerReading plans

Reading horizons: Episode 20

Reading Horizons: July 2019

What I’m reading now

The Cruelest Month

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny is book number 5 on my 15booksofsummer list which is a virtual ‘holiday’ around the world. So far I’ve visited Wales (well that wasn’t hard!); Austria, Croatia and the United States.

Penny’s novel gives me a reason to visit Canada.

The Cruelest Month is number three in the series of novels featuring  Inspector Armand Gamache from the Sûreté du Québec. There are 14 novels in the series; the 15th – A Better Man – is due to be published in August 2019.  I’ve read seven of these but not in publication order.

The Cruelest Month is set in spring in the tiny, picture-postcard village of Three Pines. Buds are on the trees and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. For some bizarre reason, some of the villagers decide this is a good time to hold a séance at the Old Hadley House, a dilapidated property where nasty things happened years earlier. They are hoping their actions will rid the village its dark past. Of course it all goes wrong and one of the group dies. Was she murdered or did she die of fright. It’s up to Gamache to find the truth.

What I just finished reading

Big Sky _ Kate Atkinson Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote was another from my summer reading list. It’s also on my ClassicsClub reading list.

It’s one of those books that I’d been intending to read for a long, long time. It’s a delightfully atmospheric novella with an unforgettable character whose name Holly Golightly is forever synonymous with Audrey Hepburn who played the starring role in the film version.

I made a temporary deviation from my 15booksofsummer itinerary when my library request came through for Kate Atkinson’s latest novel Big Sky.

It was worth the change of plan as you can see from my very enthusiastic review.  

Of course, now I have been re-introduced to her private eye Jackson Brodie, I ‘m getting an itch to re-read all the earlier books in this series.

What I’ll read next

This is always the hardest question for me because I really dislike planning my reading.

If I continue on the summer reading list, I’m due to visit Jamaica via The Long Song by Andrea Levy.

Levy takes us to her native country in the nineteenth century, a time of slavery and  sugar plantations. Her tale relates the experiences of a young slave girl, July, who lives through through the 1831 Great Jamaican Slave Revolt, and the beginning of freedom.  The Long Song won the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction and was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2010.

The reason I’m hesitant is that there are some new acquisitions which are calling to me, including the book that arrived today.

The Prison Book Club

Those are my plans – what’s on your reading horizon for the next few weeks?

This post is for WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

20 thoughts on “Reading horizons: Episode 20

  • How did you stumble upon the Prison Book Club? I’ve not seen that before now. I think if as one commenter says, the Levy is read by the Prison Book Club, you can justifiably read the PBC first and then go on to the Levy. Four books in to my own Summer of Reading choices and I am getting distracted by all the other books I want to read, as well…

    • It was via a blogger in the USA who had worked on literacy programmes in the prison service so this book was of interest to her. Yep I’m getting distracted too and keep pressing the ‘reserve’ button for library books…..

  • The Prison Book Club sounds intriguing. It gets harder sticking to that 20 Books list as the summer goes on, doesn’t it? Too many shiny new distractions…

  • Okay. This is a bit eerie: I finished The Prison Book Club just this afternoon, for 20 Books of Summer, and the Levy book is one of the ones they read. Read them both!

    • That is definitely a weird coincidence. I do enjoy books about reading though it invariably means I end up buying yet more because of all the mentions of books that sound fabulous.

  • I’m intrigued by The Prison Book Club!

  • Well I’m tempted to join you in reading The Long Song, before August comes along when I’ll be reading Women in Translation all the way through. It seems fitting to be reading Andrea Levy’s books this year, knowing there will be no more, such a tragic loss.
    I’ve been reading a few memoirs recently, Without a Map by Meredith Hall, a beautifully written account of the effect on her life of the shame of a teen pregnancy and then Never Stop Walking, the memoir of the young Brazilian girl adopted by a Swedish couple when she was 8, recounting her memories of life in a forest cave and on the streets of Sao Paulo and the culture shock of moving to Sweden with her baby brother.

    I’m also tempted by a couple of new arrivals that I bought to for a read along in July with the ‘Our Shared Shelf’ group on GR ‘Butterfly’ by Yusra Mardini and ‘Solito, Solita Crossing Borders with Youth Refugees from Central America’

    • It’s sad isn’t it that she died before she saw Small Island on stage.

  • I have all book by Kate Atkinson, apart from Big Sky. Good to know it is worth picking up!

    • You have all of them but haven’t read them? I’m rather envious that you are experiencing Atkinson for the first time

  • I’m aiming to join in with Women In Translation month (I have a couple of titles lined up) as well as All Virago/All August. Apart from that – who knows??

    • i wasn’t smart enough to include some WIT titles in my summer reading list. Must remember that next year

  • I loved The Prison Book Club, one of those wonderfully uplifting books that gives you hope.

  • Judy Krueger

    I found The Long Song to be a very good novel. I recently finished a non-fiction book about the Peace Corps, in which I also learned a good bit about England’s version of it. I am currently reading The Secret Lovers, #3 in Charles McCarry’s CIA series, Cold War fiction. Next I will reread White Teeth for a reading group and then get back to the new Janet Fitch historical fiction set during the Russian Revolution: Chimes of a Lost Cathedral which is stunning but long and as you saw on Twitter, I had to put is aside to read library books.

  • I finally managed to get my hands on The Essex Serpent … as usual I am stumbling around in the thickets of the Backlist. But worth the wait : I’m 80 pages in and enjoying – very atmospheric.

    • The Essex Serpent had masses of coverage and loads of praise but somehow I had this feeling it wasn’t for me. I could be wrong!

      • I’ll be reviewing it in due course. some of the descriptions of the landscape are gorgeous.


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