My reading goal for 2019 was to read 100 books and I thought based on the fact that I read 99 books in 2018 that it wouldn’t be much of a stretch. Well. I got a promotion at work that included a car so now instead of 2 hours and 40 minutes of reading available to me on the GO train I have…none of that. But I am not deterred!
I re-read Deborah Harkness’ ‘All Souls Trilogy’ every year so I was thrilled when she announced she was extending that universe to a new series beginning with Times Convert (still just available in hardcover). This is mostly the story of Marcus and Phoebe, but Matthew and Diana and the whole gang all make appearances. You really need to read the original trilogy to enjoy this one. Nothing will ever replace the experience of reading A Discovery of Witches for the first time, but I am happy to add this to the re-read pile.
I’d like to take credit for bringing Stella Rimington’s excellent ‘Liz Carlyle’ series to the store all those years ago, but I could be misremembering. At any rate, it’s not often a series has one of it’s best iterations at book #10, but she’s done it with The Moscow Sleepers. I would best characterize this series as ‘Gentle Spy Thriller’. It’s not to say there isn’t excitement and even violence, but the matter of fact way Rimington writes is so easy to read and her knowledge of the current espionage climate is second to none. Also still just available in hardcover, I would still recommend this to anyone who has an interest in spy thrillers or the current political climate. No need to have read the previous nine, although we have a handful in store.
Speaking of transformative reading experiences, Gail Carriger’s Soulless,the first in her ‘Parasol Protectorate’ series, just enthralled me (we have a single copy in used if you haven’t had the pleasure). I devoured all five books in that series. Less so her YA ‘Finishing School’ series. By the time Prudence, book #1 in the ‘Custard Protocol’ series, came around, Soulless seemed like a distant memory. It’s hard to imagine Alexia and Lord Maccon as crotchety older folk with their daughter Prudence as the heroine. Still, I finally got around to reading Competence, the third in this series, and the same Carriger magic is there. Indeed, I was delighted to see there was a fourth book, Reticence, coming in hardcover in August. I am also inspired to go back and reread Soulless.
Really, all I want to do these days is re-read old favorites and that got me back to Sarah Caudwell’s ‘Hilary Tamar’ series. I have re-read these four books probably 10 times each. I didn’t even realize until a few years ago that we actually never discover whether Hilary Tamar is a man or a woman. At any rate, we’ve got all four in store and I could not think of a more delightful series to dig into on a rainy Spring afternoon. You needn’t read them in order, they are all equally wonderful, although the technical order is as follows: Thus Was Adonis Murdered, The Shortest Way to Hades, The Sirens Sang of Murder, and The Sibyl in Her Grave.