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.
Coles, Manning. A Toast To Tomorrow. Boulder: Rue Morgue Press, 1940.
Reason read: to continue the series started in October in honor of Octoberfest.
Spoiler Alert: In the first installment of Manning Coles’s series the reader is to think Tommy Hambledon has drowned. However, on the cover of A Toast to Tomorrow it reads “The second Tommy Hambledon book” so you know he’s in it somehow. No mystery there.
The real mystery begins within a radio broadcast. Someone is sending Morse coded messages hidden in a drama; a code that hasn’t been used since World War I. British Intelligence knows something is amiss. But what? One of my favorite parts of Toast was the different ways key people heard the broadcast and how they reacted.
But, back to Tommy Hambledon. He washes ashore in Belgium with a nasty wound to the head and a chewed up face. He can’t remember his own name but can speak German fluently. His rescuers assume he is wounded German soldier and Hambledon agrees with that identity until his memory comes back: probably the best line to sum up A Toast to Tomorrow is uttered by Hambledon: “”I am the Deputy Chief on the German Police,” said the British Intelligence Agent” (p 48). The intensity of A Toast To Tomorrow comes from German officials slowly starting to question Hambledon. They can’t find evidence of him being a soldier, or even German. The more they question the more Tommy Hambledon is in danger of being exposed. He needs to run but the question is when is it too late?
Author fact: Adelaide Oke Manning died from throat cancer.
Book trivia: the English title for A Toast to Tomorrow is Pray Silence.
Book Lust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Intriguing Novels” (p 124).
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 Woodsen – 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
Coles, Manning. Drink to Yesterday. Boulder: Rue Lyons Press, 1940.
Drink to Yesterday is based on the life of Cyril Henry Coles. Like his character, Michael Kingston (given name)/William Saunders (alias when he signed up in the military)/Dirk Brandt (spy name), Coles lied about his age and enlisted at 16 in the British army during World War I. His actions remind me a lot of my father. He too, left home and joined the service at 16.
William Saunders proves to be invaluable to the Foreign Intelligence Office when his fluency in conversational German is discovered. He goes on to have some harrowing and exciting experiences with his mentor, Tommy Hambledon. As Dirk Brandt, Saunders spends so much time behind enemy lines that he develops an entirely dual life for himself. After the war is over he has a hard time separating the two. His relationship with two separate women is heartbreaking. The end of Drink to Yesterday leaves the door open for its sequel, Toast to Tomorrow.
Reason read: Germany plays a big part in this story & October is Oktoberfest.
Quote that caught my eye, “Bill soon acquired the knack of moving quietly since it is wonderful how quickly you can learn when your life depends on it” (p 43).
Author fact: Cyril Coles was the youngest member of the Foreign Intelligence Office.
Book trivia: Drink to Yesterday opens with a list of cast of characters, much like a script for a play.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Intriguing Novels” (p 124).
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.