A Few Summer Readings

Fourth Day of the month, and I’ve already read two books, both that I named for my summer reading challenge. Need to catch up and prep for some more summer reading. I am currently reading E. M. Forster’s Where Angels Fear to Tread and will finish soon.

Through surfing, I found Arukiyomi’s 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Spreadsheet from Paul Boxall’s list. I doubt I’ll read all of those books, and I don’t think I would want to either, but the spreadsheet is handy as it calculates how much you have read. I’ve read about 63 which is 6.29% of the list. I’m sure I missed a couple because I did scroll through 1001 titles. Most of the list is comprised of books from the 1900s, and there are about 12 for “Pre-1700” which is sort of sad. I know the novel was invented in the the 18th century, but I would at least think there would be more influences for it than that.

One of the books on the list was The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndam. I tried to remember if I had read it, and I’m 75% sure I did because I also remember vaguely seeing the campy 1960s movie in school. I am 100% sure I read Wyndam’s The Chrysalids which I remember enjoying immensely in middle school. I remember having one of the best English teachers that year too. I recommend the latter for anyone wanting to read a dystopian novel.

Last week while knitting my monkey socks (slowest project ever), I listened to Stephen Fry’s audiobook of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I’ll always prefer a real book, but I’m starting to come around to audiobooks though because I find them really nice to go along with knitting. For most projects, I can’t watch a movie or a TV. I like listening to audiobooks of books I have already read and love, especially if they are well narrated as the UK HP book versions are. Mr Fry is funny, articulate, and executes some good accents. I started out with Book 1 and 6, but today, I got 2-5, and I’m sure to get the seventh when it is released. I most likely will not preorder Book 7 because as with the last few books, I just go early in the morning to Chapters and buy it there. Not once has it looked like the book has sold out the night before. I would preorder it if I knew at exactly what time it would be delivered. For all I know, it’ll come at in the late afternoon. Unlikely since I do live in a city centre. Hmm, maybe I should preorder?

Starting Saturday, I will be rereading all my Harry Potter books each week until Book 7 for the Harry Potter Read Along, and I will be making reviews of the experience with each book. It seems now that I’m going to read and listen to them too.

The Tin Princess by Philip Pullman

The Tin PrincessThe last of the Sally Lockhart quartet. Published in 1994, Pullman notes on his website how this was the most enjoyable of the books to write. This book is different from the first three books in two major ways: 1) It is not set in Victorian England, and 2) Sally Lockhart is not the protagonist and remains missing for most of the novel. The setting is a fictional kingdom in Prussia called Razkavia involving the eponymous Adelaide as one of the protagonists, Jim as the male lead, and a 16 year old named Becky as another female lead. Becky’s age reminds me of Sally in the first book, and I love that Sally has become the type of woman. I can see how much fun it must have been to write because it’s certainly less intense and in a better setting than the first three novels. It was really good to read about Jim again because I missed him when he was absent from the last book. While I liked this book as I did the others, I found that I really missed Sally. Not that the two strong female leads weren’t well written. Indeed, I was reminded in this novel about how Pullman is very good at writing female characters. I’ve grown quite attached and fond of Sally Lockhart, and it was almost jarring not to have her in this novel knowing she could be involved. This book also followed what I consider to be the most extreme of the thrillers so this did not affect me as much as a reader. Still another quick page turne, and I’ve liked every ending for the characters in the series. Pullman notes on his website that he still has ideas for adventures for these characters. Who knows if he’ll ever publish another Sally Lockhart & Co book, but the year after this one, Northern Lights / The Golden Compass was published, beginning one of the most interesting trilogies of recent years.