July's Books

July was a bumper reading month for me, as I finished reading 11 books and I’ve written about 8 of them (those in blue font link to my posts on the books). (And I’ve actually been able to spend some time gardening – when it hasn’t been too hot – or too wet!!!)

  1. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (from TBR books) Historical Fiction
  2. Searching for The Secret River by Kate Grenville (library book) Non Fiction
  3. The Drowning by Camilla Lackberg Crime Fiction
  4. Tamburlaine Must Die by Louise Welsh (from TBR books) Historical/Crime Fiction
  5. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  6. The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett Historical/Crime Fiction
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (from TBR books)
  8. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (from TBR books)
  9. The Red Coffin by Sam Eastland (from TBR books) Historical/Crime Fiction
  10. Agatha Christie: an English Mystery by Laura Thompson (library book) Non Fiction
  11. The Case of the Howling Dog by Erle Stanley Gardner (from TBR books) Crime Fiction

It’s been a good month as I’ve read 6 books from my huge pile of unread books, bringing my total of TBRs up to 20 for the year so far. I’m aiming to read as many of my own unread books as I can this year.

There are also 2 non fiction books – shown underlined – a total of 8 for the year so far. I always intend reading more non fiction but usually get sidetracked by the fiction. It generally takes me longer to read non fiction than fiction, so to read 2 in one month is good for me.

Four of the books I read are historical fiction and this means I’ve nearly reached my target of 15 books for the year.

I think the best book I’ve read this month has to be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I loved it and hope to write more about it soon.

Crime fiction is currently making up about half of my reading and this month I’ve read 5. Each month Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise hosts a post linking to bloggers’ Crime Fiction Picks of the Month.  My Pick this month is The Red Coffin by Sam Eastland.


It is 1939. The world stands on the brink of Armageddon. In the Soviet Union, years of revolution, fear and persecution have left the country unprepared to face the onslaught of Nazi Germany. For the coming battles, Stalin has placed his hopes on a 30-ton steel monster, known to its inventors as the T-34 tank, and, the ‘Red Coffin’ to those men who will soon be using it. But the design is not yet complete. And when Colonel Nagorski, the weapon’s secretive and eccentric architect, is found murdered, Stalin sends for Pekkala, his most trusted investigator. Stalin is convinced that a sinister group calling itself the White Guild, made up of former soldiers of the Tsar, intend to bring about a German invasion before the Red Coffin is ready. While Soviet engineers struggle to complete the design of the tank, Pekkala must track down the White Guild and expose their plans to propel Germany and Russia into conflict.

My view:

I haven’t read Sam Eastland’s first book, Eye of the Red Tsar, about Inspector Pekkala but I had no difficulty in understanding the background to the novel – it works well as a stand-alone. It’s a fast paced plot with flashbacks to Pekkala’s earlier life as an investigator for the Tsar. He is now an investigator for Stalin, charged with discovering the murderer of Colonel Nagorski. A nicely complicated plot, mixed in with historical facts, but as I know very little Russian history I can’t comment on its accuracy – some interesting information about the Tsarina and Rasputin, and Stalin doesn’t come across as the character I thought he was though. I enjoyed it and it kept me guessing until the end.

4 thoughts on “July's Books

  1. A good month for you! I’ll be interested to read your thoughts on To Kill a Mockingbird as, oddly enough, I brought it home for the library last week in order to read it for my Southern Lit challenge.


  2. Margaret – You have indeed had a great reading month! I’m impressed too with both the number and variety of books you’ve read. I can’t argue with your choice for best novel either. TKAM is a classic in my opinion.


  3. Oddly enough, at our annual book sale yesterday I bought a paperback copy of To Kill a Mockingbird since I haven’t read it for many, many years. I loved Eye of the Red Tsar so I’m looking forward to Eastland’s new book.


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