August's Books

In August I read/finished reading 8 books – seven fiction and one non-fiction. These are the books with links are to my posts on the books, where they exist (in the order I finished them):

The Crow Road by Iain Banks – this book is really good! I wrote about its explosive opening in this Book Beginnings post.

The Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill -this book has been on my shelves for ages, so it’s good to get it off by TBR list. It’s the fifth Simon Serrailler crime novel and I think you need to read them in order.  These books  whilst being crime fiction, concern moral and social issues. They also follow the lives of the Serrailler family, the main characters being Simon and his sister, Dr Cat Deerbon. There are two major themes in this book – prostitution and manic depression. It’s a complex book, but it is immensely readable. I really enjoyed it. (TBR)

Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton by Philip Kerr -another book off the TBR list! It’s historical crime fiction, set in 1696 when Newton was the Warden of the Royal Mint at the Tower of London. It’s very atmospheric, full of intrigue, murder, counterfeiters, plots against Roman Catholics, astronomy and alchemy. (TBR)

All Change by Elizabeth Jane Howard — the last in the Cazalet Chronicles series. A huge family saga. This book covers the years 1956-1958 – it was a treat to read.

The Reluctant Detective by Martha Ockley -this was a review book I was sent via LibraryThing. Crime fiction of the cosy-ish variety. Faith Morgan is a priest and who used to be a policewoman, a very likeable character. I want to read more of this series.

The Three Graces by Jane Wallman-Girdlestone – a bit of an unusual novel for me, but a real eye-opener about schizophrenia. Grace Hunter is the new Rector (coincidentally the second woman priest to feature in a novel I’ve read this month). But all is not well with her as her life moves away from reality.

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens – this is the only non-fiction book I read in August. It’s short and absolutely fascinating – a series of essays Hitchins wrote recording his reactions to death and his treatment for oesophageal cancer. He doesn’t spare any details. Most memorable for me are his thoughts on religion and prayer (he was an atheist).

Put On By Cunning by Ruth Rendell. This is a Chief Inspector Wexford novel. Another book I’ve had for a while, it’s a tale of great complexity, a tale of murder and conspiracy to murder. (TBR)

I really can’t decide which book I enjoyed the most!

Although I’ve joined several challenges I read what I like and if they fit into the challenge categories that is good. In August I’ve updated some of the challenges:

  • Mount TBR Reading Challenge – I read 3 TBRs.
  • Read Scotland Challenge – 3 books that fitted the categories for this challenge.
  • Historical Fiction Challenge – just 1 book
  • My Kind of Mystery Challenge – 4 books.
  • Reading Non-Fiction in 2014 – this is my own ‘challenge’ to record the non-fiction I read. 1 book.


  1. Such good books this month – you make me want to read every one of them – or go back and re-read in the case of Iain Banks, Ruth Rendell and Susan Hill. I wish I had the time to do nothing else but read… and I still wouldn’t get around to reading all the books I have on my wishlist.


  2. I love the Cazalet chronicles, but I’ve not read number 5. I really want to get into the Simon Serrailler series, but as you suggest, I should start at the beginning! I’ve got some, still in boxes from moving, and once I unpack them I’ll work out what I’ve got. I loved The Crow Road – Iain Banks was such a talent.


  3. Margaret – You’ve had a fine month! I’ve heard good things about The Crow Road – Good to know you enjoyed it so much. Something I’ve been wanting to add to my already-overflowing TBR…


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