Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Book Chase: The December 2020 Reading Plan

 I only realized a few minutes ago that this is December 1, so I'll give a briefer than usual update on my reading plans/schedule for this last month of 2020: 

I've been looking forward to getting my hands on a library copy of this new Inspector Rebus novel for a while now. I was finally able to pick it up yesterday, and I've read the first couple of chapters already - and feel right at home being back in Rebus's world. I have to admit it was a bit of a shock to see that Rebus was in the process of moving from his longtime upstairs flat down to a ground-floor one in the same building because of the progression of his COPD. Why are all my favorite fictional detectives getting old at the same time? Don't answer that.

I am just over halfway through this 440-page Civil War novel now, and I'm enjoying the ride. I Jonathan is a recounting of the war through one man's eyes, a young man from Boston who found himself stranded in Charleston, South Carolina, when the war broke out. It has been interesting to watch the evolution in his thinking about the War and its causes. The story is being told by an elderly man to his great-nephew over a period of several visits by the nephew to a nursing home. 


A Share in Death was the very first Kincaid and James mystery, and it goes all the way back to 1993. I'm actually listening to the audiobook version of the novel right now, and it will probably be the first thing I finish in December. The novel is a good introduction to the Duncan Kincaid character, but I'm almost done with it and Kincaid and Gemma James have still not seen each other face-to-face despite her being one of his direct-report staff. The plot seems a bit old-fashioned both in its details and in its execution.


I'm a big fan of Robert Dugoni's writing, but I've never read one of of his Tracy Crosswhite books. Because this is already the eighth book in the series, I'm hoping that jumping in right here is not a mistake. Apparently Tracy is just returning to the Seattle Police Department where she is reassigned to the department's Cold Case unit. The problem she faces is having to investigate two cases at the same time: the kidnapping of a 5-year-old girl and the disappearance of a female jogger who never came home.


Strongheart is book number three in Jim Fergus's "One Thousand White Women" series. The books follow the lives of several hundred white women who went to live with the Indians as a gesture of goodwill and peace. The women all supposedly volunteered to move to the West and become Indian brides, but most all of them were found in prisons, insane asylums, and houses of prostitution. The women prove to be  surprisingly strong in body and spirit, however, and most of them thrived in their new lives. I've enjoyed the first two books.


Stillicide is a strange book I discovered in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review. It is a glimpse at one possible future for the world that we'd best avoid. After a worldwide draught, water has become a commodity, and countries are competing for their share of what's available. Whoever controls the world's water supply is in a position of power. As the novel begins, a huge iceberg is headed for London but terrorists are determined to damage or destroy the city's water pipeline. That can't be good.


I feel like I've seen about a dozen books with this cover-style in the last few months, but it's another one I just discovered on the NYT Book Review a couple of days ago. It's the memoir of an "indigenous" woman and it was a bestseller in Canada. The U.S. version has supposedly been updated to make it more applicable to readers here, and I'm curious to learn more about the lives of modern Native Americans and what kind of racism they have personally experienced. 


I didn't manage to get to Dark Passage in November, so I'm moving it to my December list. Part of my reading goal coming into 2020 was to read some of the novels published during the middle third of the 20th century, and this one fits nicely into that goal. Movie fans may remember this as a movie starring Humphrey Bogart - one I think I must have watched at some point in my life but, if so, I remember nothing about. David Goodis is described as someone whose style helped "transform American culture and writing," so I'm expecting a lot from this.

These are my first selections for December reading. It's not likely that all eight will get read, but it's a start. I have at least a dozen books on hold at the library, so anything that comes in with a shorter time fuse will bump some of these all the way into my 2021 reading. 

15 comments:

  1. I enjoy both Crombie and Dugoni. Crombie's series gets better and better as it progresses. I began Dugoni's Crosswhite series at the beginning and I'm only on the fourth or fifth book, so I'm not sure what to tell you about jumping in at the deep end of the pool.

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    1. I totally agree about the Crombie series. I started about midway in the series and I'm just now going back to read the earlier ones. This first one would probably not inspired me to search for the follow-ups, however.

      I've read a standalone of Dugoni's and several from another of his series, so I'm expecting good things from this one...if I can keep up without having the backstory.

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    2. That first one was very different from the rest!

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  2. I actually own One Thousand White Women and didn't realise it had become a series. I've liberated it from its hiding place and put it on my 2021 shelf. Not sure how long I've had it but it could easily be ten years. I must get back to Deborah Crombie too.

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    1. I'm not entirely sure that One Thousand White Women was originally intended as a series, but it was just the natural thing to do by extending their story into succeeding years. This one gets a lot of criticism that I can't agree with. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books.

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  3. Those library holds always seem to rearrange my reading plans, too. Overdrive has a newish feature that allows you to postpone the hold for 7, 14, or 21 days. I've found that helpful for ebooks and audiobooks. Now if I could only manage the physical book holds!

    I enjoyed One Thousand White Women years ago - pretty sure it was a book club selection. I had no idea it was the first of a series. Off to investigate...

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    1. Yep, it's the physical books that cause the problem. My system gives me a week to pick them up, but because most of the ones I request are new and "popular," I can only keep them for two weeks. When three or four of them show up at the same time, that becomes a problem.

      I can vouch for the second book in the series, especially if you enjoyed the first one. I'm hoping the third book brings everything to a satisfying, well-written conclusion. I'm betting that's exactly what will happen.

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  4. I've got to stop reading these monthly posts of yours about the books you're hoping to read next because I always end up adding at least half of them to my already too full TBR list. And this post is no exception. ;D

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    1. Love it!

      And I know exactly what you mean. I have taken to keeping a written list of books I learn about from the rest of you guys, and I've read dozens of them in the process. It's scary to think about how much "good stuff" I would have otherwise completely missed out on.

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  5. I agree those library books always have a way of changing my plans LOL I read 4/6 HUSH Prime series books now and have the other 2 on my Kindle. I really enjoyed these as I can start and finish one before bed LOL - BTW = your lists always make me change my plans as well. I now have Birdwatcher waiting for me at library.

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    1. I've still only read two of the Hush books, but I have three others on my Kindle for later.

      Birdwatcher goes all the way back to a post that Cathy made. She mentioned Birdwatcher as the first book of a series for which she was reviewing a later book - stressing that Birdwatcher really needed to be read before trying one of the later books.

      And that's the beauty of book-blogging. The word gets out and it spreads all over. And that's really pretty cool.

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  6. As always, I am amazed (look at all those words beginning with A) at your planning and your lists. I rarely know what I am reading next!
    Do you read at certain times of the day? In certain places? Do you and your wife read at the same time? I love to know when and where people read. I wish more people would blog about that!

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    1. I suppose I've always been a list-keeper, Nan. That goes back as far as I can remember. The best example of my obsession with list is that reading list I've kept active since February 1970, a list of books read, etc. that is almost 3600 books long now. Not sure how healthy that is. LOL

      I have to squeeze in reading-time wherever I can find it. Especially these days when the tutoring pace has really picked up as we fight the calendar all the way to my grandson's graduation from high school. That's often frustrating, but my wife is very good about giving me the private time when i can find it. My page-count, though, is dropping like a rock in the ocean these days.

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  7. Intriguing picks! I'd like to check out Strongheart and A Mind Spread Out on the Ground. Happy Reading!

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    1. I'm looking forward to Strongheart, but I probably won't get to it for another 10 days or so. I've started A Mind Spread Out on the Ground (I'm about 40 pages into it), and I'm intrigued by the author's voice and experiences. She's already listed a bunch of writers "indigenous" to North America, and that's a list I want to look into at some point.

      Thanks for stopping by. I looked at your blog, and plant to return. We seem to have a bit in common...I was a school "sneak reader," too. :-)

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