Assignment in Brittany

We’ll never know the half of it, he thought: those of us who lived through this war in safety will never know the half of it. Even if we can imagine all the stark bloodshed which peacetime prophets foretold, we shall never guess about the little things, the little things which add up to a horror of their own.

It has been several years since I’ve read a Helen MacInnes book, probably about four. The funny thing is that I can tell you very little about them. My Dell paperbacks from the sixties give little in the way of summaries, and the titles give no additional clues, so I can pick one up and not be sure of whether I’ve read it. This doesn’t happen often; usually I have a very good memory for plots.

I just picked up Assignment in Brittany at a booksale, however, so I know that I’ve never read it before. It’s a lovely jacketed hardcover, not a book club edition but the real deal from 1942. According to the jacket biography this was only her second book.

Martin Hearne is a British Intelligence officer who has been on several covert missions, but this may be his toughest yet. A young French soldier, Bertrand Corlay, has made it to England after the battle at Dunkirk, and as Corlay lies wounded in an English hospital, Hearne pumps him for information about himself on the pretense of establishing his identity. In reality, however, Hearne will be assuming it. His superior plans to make good use of the uncanny similarity between Hearne and Corlay, so close that even he had been fooled.

France may have signed an armistice with Germany, but the British are still very interested in any suspicious German activity in the region of Brittany. If the Nazis are able to set up base along the coast here than things could get very bad for England. The Intelligence Office needs men to act as eyes, and Hearne is the perfect choice. He has long been interested in Brittany and its people because of his own Cornish descent, and even studied for a year at the Unversity in Rennes before the war. In appearances he is a doppelganger to Corlay, and can mimic the man’s Breton accent perfectly.

Under the cover of night a plane drops Hearne off in France, and he is now like any weary French soldier heading home now that fighting is done. The ancient village of St. Deodat is fortunately small, so that he will not have to pretend to know many people, and Corlay’s mother is bedridden and nearsighted. The plan is to spend the days working around the farm and the nights scouting out the surrounding countryside. Already he can tell that the Germans seems to be at work building secret air bases away from watchful eyes and well within range of the British coast.

As with any plan, however, complications arrive. Madame Corlay is none too happy that her son is content to have an armistice on German terms. Then there is the matter of Anne Pinot. It may have been arranged by their parents, but Anne had been affianced to Corlay, and though she seems to accept him she doesn’t act like he expected. Finally, even Corlay himself turns out to have been different from what he seemed. The Frenchman withheld some aspects of his life during interrogation at the British hospital, and Hearne has to do a very careful job piecing those together if he wants to keep playing this game. When the Germans arrive in St. Deodat before long, the urgency is even greater.

Hearne is a very likable hero. He has fantastic courage, stamina, and wits, a combination that sometimes reminded me of Hannay in The Thirty-Nine Steps, but he is also a really nice guy. Even though his focus is on reconnaissance, he assists and stands up for others at jeopardy to himself, like the American journalist whom he helps escape. Helen MacInnes also shows us the everyday courage of the people of France. They refuse to submit to tyranny, and stick out their necks to work for freedom even if it means exposing themselves to risk.

I do love reading about World War II, but every book reminds me again how fortunate we are. As the quote from the book above suggests, we simply will never know the everyday horrors that people went through. I can barely imagine rationing, let alone the deprivation of being an occupied country, the sorrow of kissing a loved one goodbye not knowing if it’s the last time, the constant shadows of fear and uncertainty that darkened every heart. Helen MacInnes lived in Scotland and England and traveled a lot before moving to America with her husband; she wrote An Assignment in Brittany in 1942.  It strikes me every time I read a book or watch a movie from the 1940s about the war that at the time they had no idea of the outcome. Germany could very well have launched a full-scale attack on the British coast before the book was out of a first printing. I don’t think I will ever read historical fiction about the war that is more powerful than something written firsthand.

Both the plot and the characters were well done, and drew me in so that I could barely put down the book. Even glancing through it to write this post I can still feel the uncertainty I mentioned above. My only complaint, which I recall as being true of her other books as well, is that she doesn’t do endings very well.It’s all suspense-suspense-building suspense-climax-end of climax; there’s no denouement, so that I finished the book and thought, “wait, what just happened?” I had to reread the last few pages, and I still wish she gave a bit more closure.

I have acquired most of her books over the years, and I’ll have to remember to work her into the rotation with the other mystery and suspense authors. I was looking up information about this book and came across a review that criticized the misleading Dell paperbacks for labeling this as romantic suspense, and I suddenly realized that that’s the reason I probably liked but didn’t loved the ones I had read before. They’re fantastic espionage stories with a hint of romance, whereas I think I had been expecting something more gothic. Now I want to reread the others as well.

Another review claimed that the book was given to American soldiers being sent to France later in the war. I have no idea whether or not that’s true, but if it is it speaks for the resonance and accuracy of the novel. Assignment in Brittany was also apparently made into a movie in 1943. Hopefully I’ll be able to watch it either through Netflix or TCM.

Published in: on July 31, 2011 at 11:24 pm  Comments (5)  
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Death on Demand

I received the first few books in Carolyn Hart’s Death on Demand mystery series a couple years ago, and have been planning to read them ever since. Unfortunately, my small paperbacks are three rows deep alphabetically, and anything not in the outermost row falls victim to “out of sight, out of mind.” Luckily, I recently found and read one of Carolyn Hart’s YA suspense novels, Rendezvous at Veracruz, which finally gave me the kick to pick up Dead on Demand.

After three months, Annie Laurance has happily settled into running mystery bookstore Death on Demand on Broward’s Rock Island off of North Carolina. Her uncle left her the store when he died in a boating accident and she has poured most of her inheritance into increasing its success. Death on Demand gave her a chance to honor her uncle, to remember the happy summers she spent with him on the island, and to escape her failed acting career in New York. And, maybe just a little, to also escape Max.

Broward’s Rock has become a haven for mystery writers over the years due to its secluded setting, and one of Annie’s successes has been starting monthly meetings where one writer gives a presentation to the others. The ex-cop talked about how to avoid leaving fingerprints, and the children’s-mystery-writing couple explained the Stratemyer Syndicate. [I grinned happily at this reference, especially at this book was published fairly recently after the Syndicate was sold to Simon and Schuster.] For the upcoming meeting, however, Eliot Morgan has promised to reveal the dark secrets of all the regular authors, and nothing Annie says can dissuade him. In fact, he has recently bought the island realty company and threatens to triple her rent if she interferes.

Annie’s emotions are none too stable when her wealthy ex-boyfriend Max comes to the island, having finally tracked her down, but she is secretly glad for his company and support. Especially at the meeting that night, when someone trips the circuit breaker and uses the darkness to kill Eliot. Suddenly Dead on Demand is a crime scene, and Annie the main suspect because of her motive and opportunity (and fiery temper when questioned accusingly).  Chief Saulter doesn’t seem to be willing to look much further in order to close the case.

Annie is determined to clear her name, and Max is equally determined to help. He finds this at least as interesting as any of the other careers he’s tried, and his ability to locate Annie on the island is proof of his persuasive information-gathering skills. The two need to uncover the dirt Eliot had on all other writers at the meeting. Everyone has a dark secret, but someone wants to make sure that his or her secret goes to the grave unshared.

The mystery book theme running throughout is one of my favorite aspects of Death on Demand. Carolyn Hart references more authors than I could count but does so in a way that shows her genuine knowledge of and appreciation for the genre, much like Annie’s. The description of the bookstore alone was enough to hook me. The children’s room includes not just Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys but also Joan Lowery Nixon’s fantastic YA mystery novels. She knows all the sub-genres, from true crime to romantic suspense. During the course of the book she mentions not just current best-selling authors but past pens often neglected, like the Little sisters, or Leslie Ford, or the Lockridges. It’s an aficionado’s dream.

Referencing a lot of famous and established mystery authors might make some critics scrutinize the story itself more closely, but Carolyn Hart proves that she is capable of being classed with them. Her characters are well-rounded and interesting, and the intriguing mystery plot actually has substance. I struggle sometimes to find quality mysteries, ones that are more cerebral than psychological or forensic. Death on Demand fits the bill perfectly. It’s a variation on the locked room theme with a good dose of investigation, not always legal, and Carolyn Hart keeps the latter from descending into the comical.

I also love the way Annie and Max work as a couple. Annie loves Max but doesn’t think they are right for each other, while Max is convinced they are destined for grand escapades. Each seems to need the qualities of the other. Annie (as well as some of the books reviewers) think of them as a modern Tommy and Tuppence, but there is definitely a healthy dash of Nick and Nora as well. I would say Annie is Tuppence and Max is Nick, if that helps at all. The romance, while present, is not the focus of the story; rather, the couple function as co-sleuths with nearly equal shares in the investigation (though Annie gets more POV). I like this much better than most “cozy” series where the author either escalates the romance too quickly or drags it out over more books than would be believable and constantly throws in new drama. It’s also clean without losing romance. For example, Max stays the night because he is worried about Annie but sleeps on the couch.

This series is as old as I am and still going strong, and for the most part Death on Demand has aged well. I only checked the date when a plot element involving a floppy disk depended on which characters owned the model of computer that could read it–or even owned a computer! It’s funny, in a way. I read enough old books that iceboxes and telegrams don’t phase me in the slightest. I never stop and think, “why didn’t that character just use Google to find the information?” The only things that throw me for a loop are references to recently outdated technology, like VHS tapes, or like the Nancy Drew digest book where George explained the Internet to Nancy and Bess. I guess it’s just a reminder of how much things have changed even over the course of my lifetime.

I’m glad I have the next five or so in the series already because I’m excited to continue. I had to make myself wait to finish the review for this one, however, so I wouldn’t mix up any elements. And, of course, to ensure that it actually got written. How’s that for motivation?

Published in: on July 31, 2011 at 11:23 pm  Comments (3)  
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The Sea Eagles

I started to read The Sea Eagles–described on the cover as “a novel of the American Revolution based on the exploits of Joshua Barney and the heroic part played by the American Navy–as a nod to Independence Day.  (Clearly I didn’t finish it right away.) The Revolutionary War is one of my favorite time periods, matched only by the 1940s,  so I grabbed this at the AAUW sale last summer. I was shamefully surprised at my ignorance about the Navy at this time. The only thing I knew was John Paul Jones’ famous quote; I even missed the Liberty’s Kids episode covering this battle.

The story begins in the early 1770s when Joshua Barney is in Dublin trying to book passage home for himself and his brother. He is assisted by a young Irishman named Kenny Boyle, who unfortunately during the process is tricked by the crafty captain into signing himself for indenture. (Early on we can already see there are sailors who are good, brave individuals and sailors who are only out to turn a quick profit.) When they arrive in Philadelphia Joshua buys Kenny’s indenture with the understanding (on Kenny’s part) that it will be eventually paid back.

At the Barney home in Baltimore, Kenny falls in love with Joshua’s pretty sister Barbary but feels unworthy of her because of his position. Both he and Joshua find work as sailors, Kenny especially with the goal of buying his freedom. When war breaks out, however, the friends agree to accept the posts of second lieutenant and sailing master on the Hornet, a ship newly outfitted for Maryland’s fledgling naval fleet.

I don’t really want to get into a detailed summary of the rest, because in 250 pages Jennings covers the span of the war.. Basically there are a lot of ships and a lot of naval battles. Joshua and Kenny are split up when Kenny takes command of a prize ship that is overrun by the British. Both of them are captured a lot, though Joshua is lucky enough to get a parole sentence until he can be exchanged for a British officer. While stuck on shore in Philadelphia he spends a lot of time with Robert Morris, the industrious commissioner of the new American Navy. (We like to pretend he’s an ancestor, even though the Morrises on my mom’s side didn’t come over until much later.) Morris also introduces him to Ann Bedford, whom he later marries. Meanwhile Kenny, fresh from his latest prison stint, signs with John Paul Jones aboard the Bonhomme Richard and plays a heroic role in the deadly battle against the Serapis, when Jones utters his line. Unfortunately he is gravely wounded. More battles, eventually all the characters are reunited, and finally Joshua and Kenny sail for France to pick up the peace treaty.

According to the back of the book, John Jennings served as a lieutenant in the Navy during WWII and later headed the Naval Aviation History Unit, where he “more than any other, contributed to studying any preserving for future reference the experience of the recent war.” The Sea Eagles, written in1950, is clearly well-researched. I learned quite a bit about the naval warfare tactics and the different number of guns that ships could have. Jennings also did an excellent job weaving fact and fiction; I looked up Joshua Barney on the Internet afterwards and the framework of his career matches very well. I’m glad that his story is further preserved.

I’m not big on politics but I’m very patriotic in my own way, and one of the great appeals of the Revolution to me is that it was a time of great hopes and dreams, more important to men than their very lives. Without condoning the violence involved, the ideals behind the war were very moving. In this passage, Kenny has just been exchanged after two years in Mill Prison in England. He has the chance to sail home on a private ship but is asked if he will instead take a berth on a naval ship desperately short on men, delaying his reunion with the girl he loves.

Three years ago–three long, weary years of war–the Declaration of Independence had been proclaimed. For three years they had fought and bled and many had died. Surely he had earned the right to return. He had tasted the bitter slime of defeat and known almost two years of prison. He had paid his way, and surely none could criticize him if he went home now.

And yet the independence for which they had fought had not been won. Barbary lay there to the west, where the wind came from, and he yearned to see her. But America lay to the west, too, and she put her faith in the strength and courage and fighting heart of the men who struggled for her. She looked to them to win the independence she had so proudly proclaimed. What kind of man, he wondered, would he be in his own eyes to abandon that faith for his own small dreams?

Kenny’s character is much more fleshed out that Joshua’s, and I’m glad John Jennings decided to create him. It can’t be easy to get into the thoughts and feelings of an illustrious historical figure, which may be why Joshua always came across as a little flat. Kenny’s story also allowed him to increase the suspense and include additional events at which Joshua was not present, like the Bonhomme Richard battle. This was by far the longest chapter in the book, and a very vivid play-by-play that was sometimes hard to stomach. I admit early on I thought that being in the Navy was a good deal, because the men get to spend time doing what they love anyway, but the all-or-nothing aspect that comes from being part of a ship’s crew can be just as dangerous as any other military branch.

I know that history is often retrospectively romanticized, and that men fought for many reasons other than democratic ideals. The Sea Eagles has its fair share of gruesome battles, and suffering, and despair. Nevertheless, I cannot help but admire all the courage held by Joshua Barney and all the other men and women who fought so hard to forge our nation and win the freedoms we too often take for granted.

For those interested, here is a brief biography of Joshua Barney that illustrates why his career translates so well to fiction. He certainly was unconventional and often in the thick of things.

Published in: on July 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm  Comments (2)  
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Rendezvous in Veracruz

The school I teach at was weeding the library at the end of the year and I was lucky enough to grab a couple suspense books for summer reading, including a Jane Aiken Hodge. The one I picked to read first, however, is Rendezvous in Veracruz, by Carolyn G. Hart. And yes, it’s the same Carolyn G. Hart famous for the Death on Demand and Henrie O. series. Apparently she wrote a few YA suspense novels before turning to adult mysteries. The jacket blurb actually calls her “the Helen MacInnes for young people,” which is pretty high praise.

Lin Prescott is an American student at the University of the Americas in Mexico City, and living at a boarding house run by a Senora Alvarez. Her roommate, Maura Kelly, is a cool and sophisticated junior, also an American but familiar with the city from the years her father was with the Consulate. Because of this Maura has almost a bit too much confidence, so that when a handsome man flirts with her on the bus she sees no problem in dating him.

Even though Lin isn’t sure this is a good idea, Luis’ suavity quickly wins over the rest of the girls at the boarding house. He takes Maura out to all the hot spots in the city while Maura plays the role of touristy foreigner. One date night, however, Luis shows up early, and as Lin heads down to say Maura will be ready soon, she sees him slip a note under the clock on the mantel. When she mentions it to her own date, Juan, he assures her that it is probably nothing.

Maura, however, takes the news much more seriously, and is determined that she will not be dated for the convenience of a drop-off spot. With her quick wits she manages to intercept the next note–and the $100,000 in American money accompanying it. Suddenly Maura is in the middle of a dangerous game. She flees to Veracruz to escape Luis, and sends a cryptic message to Lin asking for help. Lin is willing to do whatever it takes, but has no way of knowing who she can trust. Anyone at the boarding house could have been Luis’ correspondent, or even her own date Juan, who has been acting secretive lately. She will have to do this alone, and quickly, because what the girls have stumbled into is so big that they will be lucky to escape with their lives.

When I get a lot of new books I tend to read the first few pages of each, just to get a sense of what they’re about. I did that with Rendezvous in Veracruz and before I knew it I was already on page 70. I could barely put it down all afternoon. It reminds me a little bit of Mabel Esther Allan’s young adult suspense books, like The Sign of the Unicorn, because the characters are on the young side but still living independently and quite capable of getting swept up accidentally into intrigue. The two girls are also a good contrast to each other. Maura is a almost a Nancy Drew-type character, collected and quick-witted and out for justice both personal and political. Lin’s courage is mostly just to make sure Maura will be safe. It’s almost funny how most of the males are completely ready to overlook them, or view them as a threat easily handled, when the opposite is true.

I still have the Dead on Demand series waiting patiently on my bookshelves, and this may be just the kick I need to need to finally read them. It will be interesting to see how Carolyn Hart handles the more classic mystery setting. One thing is for sure; she can definitely write a page-turner.

Published in: on July 17, 2011 at 6:13 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Mysterious Benedict Society

I think I’ve tried to write this review multiple times and keep getting stuck, so I’m going to try the short version:

I absolutely loved The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart. It’s like a mash-up of Roald Dahl and The View From Saturday, with little bits of Harry Potter and The Westing Game thrown in. It has courageous orphans, puzzles,  useless details that turn out to be important, and mysterious characters with secret pasts. It has four unique children who are thrown into an adventure, become friends, rise to the challenge, and triumph over evil.

mysterious benedict societyReynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance all have their own strengths, and different types of intelligence. Reynie is good at puzzles, Kate is athletic and thinks outside the box, Sticky has the book smarts, and Constance…is Constance. At various points all their skills come into play, so that they are not able to succeed except as a team. They are also, despite their occasional squabbles, really nice kids. I’m not quite sure how to explain it, but even as an adult, I found myself thinking that these were characters I would trust and look up to. Reynie especially seemed to have a wisdom beyond his years.

The plot was clever and engaging. Despite the length of the book, I couldn’t put it down, barely even for meals. I was never disappointed along the way; even when I finished, I discovered that the back cover had a secret message in Morse code that I had to look up the alphabet online to decipher.

I’ve already added the next two to my Bookmooch wishlist, and may break down and buy them new if they don’t turn up after a while. This is definitely a keeper.

The back flyleaf has

Published in: on July 10, 2011 at 8:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed

Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed, by Jo Beverly, was a total impulse read. I had spotted it a few months ago at the library when I was without my card, and the few random pages I read were enough to tempt me. Now that summer’s here I had to celebrate with a Regency romance.

Society is shocked when David Kyle, Lord Wraybourne, announces his engagement to the Sandiford heiress, the only daughter of a wealthy, Puritan-like country family. After all, they have barely met, and Wraybourne was one of the most desirable bachelors on the market. Jane Sandiford herself can hardly believe her fate and good fortune, even if he seems to be only marrying her for her money. Nevertheless, she is nervous for her entré into the Society she has been shielded from, alongside Wraybourne’s vivacious sister Lady Sophie. She has few to guide her, and many who want to see her fail. Most nerve-wracking of all is the prospect of spending time with her betrothed, for Jane can’t quite explain the spell he has cast on her. Wraybourne himself is looking forward to drawing Jane out of her shell. At the same time, however, he must also attend to business for his uncle about an unknown gentleman attacking local females. The culprit may be closer than he would like to believe. And, of course, he must find a suitable suitor for his sister.

I’m always skeptical of stories where a girl gets introduced to society and falls in love with the first man she is exposed to, but for the most part Jo Beverly makes it work. Jane’s feelings for David remain strong even after she is exposed to other men who are more attractive. As for Wraybourne, he could have had any woman he chose and had no need to marry for money, so the fact that he chose Jane really does suggest that the two had love at first sight, even if they didn’t fully realize it at the time. I don’t think I really believe in that concept any more, but it’s nice to still pretend. The suspense of the romance comes from each believing the other doesn’t reciprocate as strong a feeling.

Jane is well-balanced heroine, naive, sensible, and passionate, whom we are glad to see grow confident and mature over the course or the book. To put in in Austen terms, she has ample opportunity to be a Catherine, but comes out more like an Eleanor or Jane. Wraybourne, of course, is Tilney and Bingley and everyone else rolled into one. One of my few faults with the book is that Wraybourne has absolutely none, except a vaguely hinted-at past indiscretion. He is handsome, wealthy, titled, charming, thoughtful, clever, devoted, and everything in between. To again borrow from Austen, where indeed could we find a better lover, kinder brother, or truer friend?

Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed was originally published in 1988, though Amazon seems to have a recent reissue (the cover is not how I pictured Jane). For those who may be concerned about steaminess, it has no racy elements, though there are mentions of past and present affairs. And of course the ladies’ gossip includes things they probably wouldn’t say in mixed company. Overall, it’s more passion than you would see in Jane Austen and much less than almost any modern romance, which is exactly how I think it should be.

Georgette Heyer is still my standard for Regency, and a high standard indeed, one that Jo Beverly was certainly conscious of. Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed measures up surprisingly well, especially for a first novel. It has likable, engaging characters, occasional witty banter between the leads, accurate fashion and language, and not one but two small suspenseful subplots. While the premise sagged a bit under closer consideration, Jane and David won me over in the end and were pleasant companions for an evening.

Published in: on July 1, 2011 at 11:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Being the Only Reading Challenge In Which I Partake

Let me tell you about my love for Jane Austen. For Christmas several years ago, my mom gave me the first six books in the Jane Austen Mysteries series, and I absolutely loved them. At the time I knew relatively little about Jane beyond the plot of P&P (because everyone knows it, and I’d seen it on Wishbone).  Stephanie Barron made Jane and her world come alive, and by the time I actually read Pride and Prejudice for school that year I was hooked on Austen. I even wrote my research paper on Jane’s love life, inspired by Jane and the Man of Cloth.

I read the next two in the series but eventually got sidetracked, and I know I want to reread the earlier ones before catching up on the series. This time around I will have actually read the Jane Austen novels (except for Sense and Sensibility*, but I’ve seen the movie umpteen times). In fact, it’s the perfect opportunity to sign up for the

Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011

from Laurel Ann at Austenprose

We are very pleased to announce the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011. If you have not discovered one of her wonderful mysteries, this is a great opportunity to join the challenge along with other Janeites, historical fiction and mystery lovers.

Challenge Details

Time-line: The Being a Jane Austen Mystery Challenge runs January 1, through December 31, 2011.

Levels of participation: Neophyte: 1 – 4 novels, Disciple 5 – 8 novels, Aficionada 9 – 11 novels.

I’m only doing the 1-4 level to start, but I’m so excited to go back and read these again! As an added bonus, Stephanie Barron is contributing posts to the challenge about writing and researching the books.

It’s funny, because when I was in high school I would read entire series at a time, like these or Laura Childs’ Tea Shop mysteries or Alexander McCall Smith–every book available all at once–and then never catch up afterwards. Now I try to pace myself and dislike reading a lot of books by the same author, but it seems like at this rate I will never be able to catch up. This just might be my experiment at going back to the old method!

*I will definitely play along with the Austenprose Sense and Sensibility Challenge, but it’s too late to officially join. Good year for me to catch up with Jane, I guess! : )

Published in: on July 1, 2011 at 11:18 pm  Comments (2)  

Back to the Blog!

As anticipated,  I needed to take a break from blogging for the remainder of the school year. I enjoy sharing my thoughts about what I read and books in general, but I’d rather use the sparse spare time I get while teaching to actually read books and blogs! Now that summer vacation is here I hope to get back to posting on a regular basis (though I make no promises for September).

I have still been reading, and the stack next to the shelves is books I would like to still write about before I put away. I might not get to all of them, but there should be several reviews cropping up in the next week or so. I tend to start drafts for books and never finish them (the drafts, not the books). I apologize for the influx if you read this with an RSS feed! I’ll probably keep the original dates on the posts so they appear in the order in which they were read, just for my own sake.

I don’t really have summer reading plans, though I would like to finally read books 6 and 7 for Harry Potter. (Have I said that enough times on this blog yet?) I also want to pick up with Angela Thirkell and Agatha Christie, and perhaps even start Anthony Trollope. I even have a couple challenges I’m thinking about, though I know from last year that if I don’t finish over the summer they won’t get done. As always, my eyes seen to be bigger than my stomach when it comes to books…

Published in: on July 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm  Leave a Comment