November was a stressful month. The injury that sidelined me for the last half marathon of the season continued to plague me & myself but I pushed through it – ran 70 miles for the month. I don’t think I have ever mentioned this here but…back on January I was a dumbass and agreed to a 1000k challenge. By November 1st I had 267k left to go. I’m now down to 151k. Almost 100 miles. But enough of that. It stresses me out to even think about it.
Here are the books finished for November:
- Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton. I thought of this as a short story because it’s less than 100 pages long.
- Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
- The City and the City by China Mieville (AB)
- Advise and Consent by Allen Drury – confessional: I knew that a fictional political book might bore the crap out of me but what I didn’t expect was outright disgust after the election. I couldn’t stomach the contents of Advise and Consent.
- Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright. (AB)
- Love Songs From a Shallow Grave by Colin Cotterill
- Toast to Tomorrow by Manning Coles
- Living Poor by Moritz Thomsen
- Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn (audio and print)
- Baby Doctor by Perri Klass
- The Fifties by David Halberstam
Postscript: it came in too late for me to mention here, but I DID get that Early Review book that I was pining for. I’ll review it next month.
Cotterill, Colin. Love Songs From a Shallow Grave. New York: SoHo Press, 2010.
Reason read: I started this series in May 2016 in honor of Laos and Rocket Day. It’s with mixed emotions that I announce this is the last book on my list. While the series goes on for me, it ends here.
Dr. Siri is just trying to watch a movie with his lovely wife, Madame Daeng, when he is rudely called away to examine the naked body of a young female security officer found in a sauna with an epee through the heart. In quick succession two more women are found murdered in the same manner. Dr. Siri can’t just be the national (and reluctant) coroner. He needs to find out who did this before the wrong man is condemned in public court. There is one problem, Dr. Siri is the only one who believes they have the wrong man and he’s locked up in a Cambodian prison.
It is always great when a series has strong supporting characters that only get stronger with each installment. Madame Daeng, Inspector Phosy, and best friend Civilai are back.. Even Mr. Geung, Dr. Siri’s assistant, is in the action. We learn in this installment that he gets his hair permed by Nurse Dtui.
Quotes I liked or laughed at: “To find a young crocodile with a good mind among the flock of flamingos was a rare delight” (p 8) and “Not knowing what’s going on makes my teeth curl with frustration” (p 35). Here’s a couple of not so funny ones to make you think: “Hungry people made poor environmentalists” (p 70) and “And what you don’t find you don’t lose” (p 298). Right.
Author fact: What have I told you thus far about Colin Cotterill? I mentioned his website twice (because I love it so much). I also told you he lived in Thailand and has taught in Australia. New info: he has a wife named Jessi and has a bunch of dogs.
Book trivia: this is book seven of the Dr. Siri Paiboun series. However, there are four more not on my list. Boo.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Laos” (p 128). Sad to say that for the last time!
I am trying to move into this month without cracking up or breaking down. I’ve lost the run temporarily and even a small interruption sets me back. You know it is with a mental stability that isn’t quite that solid. I don’t want to say anything more than that.
Here are the books. Nonfiction first:
- Living Poor: a Peace Corps Chronicle by Moritz Thomsen – in honor of the month Ecuador’s civil war for independence ended.
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn – (AB) in honor of the holidays and how much they can stress you out. I’m reading this and listening to it on audio.
- The Fifties by David Halberstam – in honor of finishing what I said I would.
- Baby Doctor by Perri Klass – in honor of National Health Month.
- Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton – in honor of National Education Week. This should take me a lunch break to read.
- Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – in honor of Gaiman’s birth month.
- Advise and Consent by Allen Drury – in honor of November being an election month (and is it ever!).
- Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright – (EAB = electronic audio book) to continue the series started in September in honor of Enright’s birth month.
- A Toast To Tomorrow by Manning Coles – to continue the series started in October in honor of Octoberfest.
- Love Songs from a Shallow Grave by Colin Cotterill – to END the series started in May in honor of Rocket Day.
If you have been keeping up with me, myself and moi then you know we love Halloween. Odd. Odd because we can’t watch Walking Dead or go to Fright Fest without peeing our pants. What I love about Halloween is the potential for witchcraft, darkness & something intangibly spooky, if that makes sense. I love mysteries and there is no greater mystery than death. Right? Jack-o-Laterns glowing on doorsteps. Ominous crows watching silently from the trees. Candlelight shadows wavering on the wall. Cemeteries shrouded in the fog…I love it all.
In other news, I bailed for the first time ever on a half marathon but made it home-home to put up a ceiling for my mother. And speaking of Monhegan, we almost got caught in Hurricane Matthew! Somehow we managed to get out just in time.
Having said all that, unrelatedly here are the books:
- The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright – to continue the series started last month in honor of Enright’s birth month. Took me two days to read.
- Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill – to continue the series started last May in honor of Rocket Day. Took me two days to read.
- Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau – in honor of magical realism month. Took me the entire month and I still didn’t finish it.
- A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell – an audio book in honor of Halloween (this was my favorite story).
- Drink to Yesterday by Manning Coles – in honor of Octoberfest in Germany. Another really short book.
- The Ape and the Sushi Master by Frans de Waal – in honor of Gorilla month being in October.
- The Aeneid by Virgil – in honor of Poetry month (celebrated in Great Britain).
- Hush by Jacqueline Woodson – an audio book in honor of kids. This was only three discs long.
- The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani because I saw it in a running magazine.
For LibraryThing: nada
Cotterill, Colin. The Merry Misogynist. New York: SoHo Press, 2009.
Reason read: to continue the series started in May for Laos Rocket Day.
To bring everyone up to speed: The year is 1978 and Dr. Siri Paiboun is 73, soon to be 74. He has married 66 year old Madame Daeng, a noodle shop owner. When we first connect with Siri and Daeng they are trying to outsmart the Department of Housing. The overbearing department is after Siri for living with Madame Daeng instead of in his own, government issued house. His own home is filled to the gills with wayward characters, a puppet master, a widow with two kids, two supposedly reformed prostitutes, a supposedly nonpracticing monk, a blind beggar and his granddaughter and let’s not forget the two twin babies Siri offered to look after from the last book, Curse of the Pogo Stick . But, that’s the least of Siri’s problems. A serial killer prowls the neighborhood, looking for his 6th wife to kill. He has connections to Vientiane which makes him a problem. Siri can’t resist playing wannabe detective.
All of the usual suspects are back (including Siri’s dead dog, Saloop!). Nurse Dtui helps Siri play detective in an effort to find missing Crazy Man Rajid and catch the serial killer.
One of the best parts of The Merry Misogynist was getting to know Madame Daeng better. She and Siri are meant for one another. She shares his sense of humor and wit. He has definitely met his match in this woman!
Lines I liked, “His accent was so think, it would have stuck to the wall if you’d thrown it” (p 62), “If a hornbill with a machete had run across Siri in the bush and hacked him to death, he would have succumbed in good grace: a victim of the survival of the fittest rule” (p 109), and two lines together: “‘Dtui, get my gun,’ said Siri. Siri didn’t have a gin but Dtui ran off to get it anyway” (p 117). Funny!
Author fact: I can’t remember if I mentioned this before but Cotterill has his own website here.
Book trivia: this should be a movie, but it isn’t. Not yet, at least!
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter simply called “Laos” (p 128).
October is…another half marathon. Maybe another trip to Monhegan (not sure yet thanks to it being hurricane season) but what I’m sure about is definitely reading more, more, more books!
- Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau – in honor of magical realism month
- The Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill – to continue the series started in May in honor of Laos Rocket Day
- A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell (AB) – in honor of Halloween
- Toast to Tomorrow by Manning Coles – in honor of October being the best time to visit Germany. Note: just found out this is the second Tommy Hambledon book in the series so you will probably see A Drink to Yesterday before A Toast to Tomorrow.
- Ape and the Sushi Master by Frans de Waal – in honor of October being Gorilla Month
- The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright – to “continue” the series started in September in honor of Enright’s birth month (yes, another series read slightly out of order).
- The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani. Don’t ask.
If there is time I would like to add Aeneid by Virgil in honor of Great Britain’s poetry month.
September was a cool month. On the 10th I ran a half marathon (2:10:16), was able to get to Monhegan (and introduce the island to some new people), and get to a lot of reading:
- Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill
- Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng
- Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
- Consul’s Wife by W.T. Tyler
- Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry (AB)
- Life and Death of Edwin Mullhouse by Steven Millhauser
- Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright
- Best Game Ever by Mark Bowden
- The Trial by Franz Kafka
- Which Side Are You On? by Elaine Harger (ER)
- Which Side Are You On? by George Ella Lyon (for fun)
AB = Audio book
ER = Early review