Sunday, October 9, 2022

September Books

Hi everyone.  Happy weekend.  I also want to wish anyone from  Canada a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, and those of you from the US a nice Columbus Day/Indigenous People Day holiday weekend.

It is time for my monthly book post already.

September was a good reading month, but maybe not the biggest number of books since we were traveling. I did seem to end up having too many books going at once though. 

The Book of Two Ways is the first novel by Jodi Picoult that I've read in a few years. My daughter was listening to this one, and when she explained the plot to me, I decided to listen to it also. In this book Dawn Edelstein survives a plane crash. After that event, she looks at her life differently. When she was younger, Dawn was a student at Yale working on her PhD in ancient Egyptian archeology. On the spur of the moment, she decides to go back to Egypt where she had spent several summers working at a dig site. Of course, this sounds great and like it might be the easiest thing to do, but Dawn is married with a life, family and career in Boston.

 Picoult always poses interesting moral questions or dilemmas in her stories.  This time the questions were:  Who would you be if you could go back and redo a part of your life? And if you could redo a part of your life, would you make the same choices you did the first time around?

I especially enjoyed all the parts about Egypt and the info that went with them. And I learned what a death doula was too. Dawn's career is as a death doula.  I found that part of the book sad, but I couldn't stop listening. At times I was practically crying, or when she related to her childhood dog dying, I was crying. Only I had to know more about Dawn and what her choice(s) would be.  Would she go back to her life in Boston, or would she chuck that aside to follow her dream to study ancient Egypt?

And as different as the 2 choices seem, Picoult brings the story together.

If you want something that might really make you look into your own soul, and if you are up for something that might possibly even be a bit heavy, then I recommend this book. I did very much enjoy  this novel, especially the last couple of hours,  even if it parts of it made me sad.

A Midsummer's Equation is book 3 in the Japanese mystery series where physics professor Yukawa helps the police solve a murder. This time the murder does not happen in Tokyo, but instead in a seaside community called Hari Cove. As the economy is bad in this area, a mining company wants to come in and begin some underwater mining. There are public hearings, and there are plenty of people who don't want the under seas mining.  A retired Tokyo police officer is murdered, and that is how the police in that city (with the characters you get to know in the first 2 books of this series) become involved with this crime.

Besides the detectives also introduced in the first 2 books of this series, a delightful (smilechild Kyohei is also introduced. Kyohei is visiting his aunt and uncle in this novel, and they run the hotel where both the murdered man and where Professor Yukawa were/are staying. The author does a great job portraying a young teenage boy, and he does really add something to the story, even when he is being a grumbling typical early teen of that age. 

With plenty of twists and turns, this is another very good book in this detective series. I didn't see how the pieces fit together until the very end of the story. I was very surprised with how the author pulled everything together because the pieces didn't seem like they could be brought together.And that is a good thing in a mystery, isn't it?  This is a recommended read if you like mysteries or are interested in Japanese culture.

While we were on our western vacation, we visited the homestead of Josie Bassett (which is in Dinosaur National Monument). Reading about her at the site, I became curious. By 1914 Josie Bassett had divorced 4 husbands and lost a fifth (she might have poisoned to get rid of him), and then after that, she lived alone and ran her own small ranch until she was into her 90's. 

At a park bookstore I came across this book, about Josie, her mother and her sister. The family had ties to some of the famous wild west outlaws (Butch Cassidy is one example), and the women ran a cattle ranch on land up in the northern  corner of Colorado along the Utah border. These women were unique for their time, and from what I learned, became local legends. When I saw this book I knew I wanted to read it.

Although not a speedy read, this book is an interesting history of the times and also a well done biography of these 3 women.  Life was certainly a lot of hard knocks and hard work, and people had to be on top of events around them. For example, there was the battle between the Cattle Barons and the little farmers. Stealing cattle on the open range was not an unusual thing, even if the cattle were branded.  Once the railroads opened up the west, it brought in the Cattle barons and also many settlers, and cattle stealing was only one way living in the west could be difficult.

I'm learning a lot about life in the west starting in the late 1800's through this book. And I love to learn new things. This book is a comprehensive volume, not only focusing on the 3 Bassett women but also about the times. I have just a little more left to finish in this book, since it is a more indepth read, but I thought I would include it here as I read almost all of this book during September.

And my last actual book for September, started during my travels and finished when I returned home, was the newest book by Lucy Worsley. 
This latest volume is a biography of Agatha Christie. 

I have become a big Lucy Worsley book fan. I like how she writes and her take on a subject. It is not at all dry material, and Worsley has a nice way of being  complete but not boring. She also has no problem interjecting her opinion (of course letting the reader know where it is her opinion.) She has a very accessible style.

I very much enjoyed this story. Not only is there the story of Agatha Christie's life, but the author makes some very good hypotheses about other events in the author's life. Worsley also relates the books/plays Christie wrote during these  various periods of the author's life to the author's actual life story and the times the books were written in. Now I really want to pull out some of my old Christie paperbacks and reread a few more of those old mysteries, especially some of those mentioned in this biography.

I had one more listen this past month after I finished The Book of Two Ways.

I'm not a big biography reader, and this month I read/listened to 3 bios. My last one is by Stanley Tucci. Tucci is an actor who loves cooking and food. He wrote a very nice biography that not only tells stories of his life, but focuses those stories around food.  In the Audible version that I listened to, he read the story.

Besides being hungry throughout much of the listen, he also made me laugh. He starts with  growing up within an Italian immigrant family, but really that part of the story is about being a kid in 1960's and 1970's America. I did the same,  only from a mostly Scandinavian immigrant family, so I could very much relate to much of the book, even though I was not  Italian and my Mom wasn't making some of the yummy dishes his mom made. It makes me wonder if being a grandchild of European immigrants in the 1960s and 70's was less of what molded us than the fact that we grew up during the time period we did.

Tucci then moves on in his life, but food is still the star of this book. If you like to eat and enjoy listening to someone's story of how food makes a location, then this is a book for you. I enjoyed this story, liked how Tucci read it himself, and how it made me think of some of my more memorable meals and the locations I had them. Plus, as a bonus, there are lots of yummy Italian dishes in this story, and I wish my Mom had been as much of a cook as his was.

And lastly, I picked up a new knitting book at the very end of August. This book  is something a knitter might like, especially if you are a national park lover too. I definitely wish I'd had this idea, because it is really clever.  Nancy Bates came up with some fantastic hats. She used a photo from each park to design a hat for that park. 

Most hats could be made whether you want to relate it to the specific park or not, because none of the parks have names knitted into the patterns, and many of the images would work for other places as well.

You don't have to have visited any one of these parks  to make any hat, and you don't even have to follow her color schemes.  And the best part is that hats don't take very long to knit, so you could (or I want to) make a lot of the hats in this book.  There are hats similar to the ones on the cover. There are hats that use texture as a design. And hats that use both texture and colored designs. All the hats are of the same general style as you see on the cover, so one thing this book does not have is a variety of hat styles. Yet almost every hat does have a nature inspired design. 

I came home and ordered a bit of yarn, and I have just started making one of the hats in the book. More about that project in a later post. 

That's my September book post. 
Thanks for visiting. 



Words and Pictures said...

That looks a really interesting collection. I think Lucy Worsley is an excellent writer (I find her a little irritating on television, but the writing is really good), and any post with Stanley Tucci will win my heart! Thanks so much for your visit and lovely comment.
Alison x

kathyinozarks said...

Good morning I always enjoy reading through your book list the Bassett Women sounds interesting and what an awesome book for knitters
Happy Sunday

CJ Kennedy said...

For traveling, you managed an awful lot of reading. I wish I knew how to knit as the knitting book looks like fun. Hat and mittens for today, or at least when I got up when it was 36 oF. 🥶Stay warm and have a great day!

Divers and Sundry said...

I used to read... :( I'm not sure what happened to steer me away from that, but I want to pick up my books again. You inspire me.

Iris Flavia said...

Oh, help me!!
I admit. I just scrolled through as fast as I could (sadly).
I need time...
Great ones again ( I bet!!) hugs!

Christine said...

Interesting reading. I like biographies myself.

Mae Travels said...

I’ve loved some of those books, including several of the Inspector Galileo series — reviewed the one you mentioned:

Tucci’s Taste is also a favorite read of mine! And I visited the ranch inside Dinosaur National Monument and was intrigued, but didn’t read about Josie Basset other than the info placards. Similarly, I am an Agatha Christie fan, currently watching a ton of Miss Marple on streaming, but I haven’t read that book. I’m intrigued — should read about both of those women, as your reviews are very tempting.

Thanks for all the great book ideas!

best… mae at

Lowcarb team member said...

That book for knitters sounds so good.

All the best Jan

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Nice assortment of books that you read. (I still haven't gotten back into reading. I used to love it.)

Jeanie said...

I have to read that Lucy. I adore her. I love her television shows, her way of presenting and her way of writing and with a subject like Aggie, how could she go wrong. I'm on my fourth Christie of the season and it's fun to revisit her.

I love Tucci, too, and that's a book I'd definitely be interested in. And the Japanese mystery, too. I always really love your book lists!