Sunday, 2 June 2013

May Summary

No prison will hold me!!!
Well, there you go, another month has passed us by. It's been a relatively busy month; lots of work to do, yard work accomplishments,  a new puppy to get used to (that would be Bonnie, who is so funny and cute. Can't wait for Clyde to come along in June. I still managed to get in a bit of reading, even with all the activities, although it was a bit of a flurry of completions at the end of the month.

I very much enjoyed my Focus Author, Ian Fleming, he of James Bond fame. I managed to finish five of the books in the series. For the most part these were rereads from my teen years (I won't say how many years ago that is, but suffice it to say, most of the books seemed new to me.). Of the books on my shelves (I've slowly been acquiring the Bond books this past 5 or 6 years - still a couple to get), I managed to read Moonraker, Dr. No (the movie with the iconic scene of Ursula Andress arising from the waves like Venus), Goldfinger (I'm still afraid of Odd Job), Thunderball and The Spy Who Loved Me. Of them, I think I enjoyed The Spy Who Loved Me the most. It was the most different of the stories (not at all like the Roger Moore movie, which only borrowed the title). It was more of a hard-boiled detective novel, the story of Vivien Michel, threatened by two thugs, with Bond showing up in the last half, the mysterious avenging spy. Loved it. All in all, each story was excellent and it was great fun to reread them.

For the rest of the month, I read 1000 Years of Annoying the French, history made fun by Stephen Clarke. It was an easy read, it covered English/ French history from William the Conqueror to present day and highlighted French/ English wars, differences and just overall historical facts. I was never one to enjoy history all that much in school, in fact, at the first opportunity I had, when it was no longer mandatory, I dropped it from my curriculum. But of late, I find myself drawn to well-written history books and this one was no exception. I enjoyed the novel very much, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys history.

The genre challenge for May was Award winning books. I chose The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, written by Canadian author Alan Bradley. It won him the British Crime Writer's Association Debut Dagger Award and others. It tells the story of Flavia de Luce, a bit of a throwback to those great Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy mysteries I enjoyed as a kid. Flavia lives in England with her father and two sisters and must try to keep her father out of prison for murder. She is a source of aggravation to the people she investigates and a source of amazement to the police. I enjoyed the story, at times more than others, but overall I ended up liking it very much. I also liked how the mystery was tied up in the end. I think I'd like to read more of the Flavia series to see how she grows.

My other books for May were tied into the Time Traveller challenge, from April to Jun, Ancient Times. I chose The Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles, which consists of three young adult stories about the Aquila family who settle in England as part of the Roman legions. I read the first two stories, The Eagle of the Ninth (one I'd read as a teen) and The Silver Branch, in May. I enjoyed them both very much. I liked the setting, Ancient Rome and England; I liked the characters and I liked the stories overall. The first story has been adapted for both TV and film, most recently The Eagle, starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell. I'm currently reading the 3rd story, The Lantern Bearers and it's as good as the first two; quite an excellent series by Rosemary Sutcliffe.

Overall, it was a satisfying month and I'm well on the road to satisfying my challenges. Looking forward very much to June.

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