Thursday, February 03, 2022

2022 Reading Log

(For personal reasons, I've been forced to put an unplanned end to 
Book Chase. I do intend, however, to use the site to keep a record of my reading and will do so via this list - and perhaps other variations. Please feel free to comment in the usual manner if so inclined; I miss book blogging a lot, but I miss our conversation the most...Sam.)

5-Star Books (Ranked by Fiction and Nonfiction):
The Searchers - Alan Le May
Slow Horses Mick Herron
French Braid - Anne Tyler
The First Stone - Carsten Jensen
Trunk Music - Michael Connelly
Endangered - C.J. Box
Red Bones - Ann Cleeves
The King Is Dead - Ellery Queen
Raven Black - Ann Cleeves
The Junction Boys - Jim Dent - NF
One Damn Thing After Another - William P. Barr - NF
Stolen Focus - Johann Hari - NF

4-Star Books:
Black Ice - Michael Connelly
Crime Hits Home - Various Authors
Little Big Man - Thomas Berger
Wednesday's Child - Peter Robinson
Get Back - The Beatles
Cold Earth - Ann Cleeves
Harlem Shuffle - Colson Whitehead
Tennison - Lynda La Plante
Innocent Graves - Peter Robinson
White Nights - Ann Cleeves
Cry Macho - N. Richard Nash
Dead Water - Ann Cleeves
Red Handed - Peter Schweizer
The Anthropocene Reviewed - John Green
The Silence - Susan Allott
Murder in Mykonos - Jeffrey Siger
Open Season - C.J. Box
One Writer's Beginnings - Eudora Welty
Grave's End - William Shaw
Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers - Michael E. Newton
Pudd'nhead Wilson - Mark Twain
Last Stand at Saber River - Elmore Leonard
Rediscovering Travel - Seth Kugel
Dolphin Junction - Mick Herron
The Hag - Marc Eliot
Dead Lions - Mick Herron
Death Be Not Proud - John Gunther
Hidden Depths - Ann Cleeves
The List - Mick Herron

3-Star Books:
Expats - Christopher Dickey
The Kings of London - William Shaw
The Illusion of Simple - Charles Forrest Jones
Final Account - Peter Robinson
The Mountain Lion - Jean Stafford
The Dutch Shoe Mystery - Ellery Queen
Black Money - Ross Macdonald
Blue Lightning - Ann Cleeves
Rizzio - Denise Mina
Thin Air - Ann Cleeves
Wild Fire - Ann Cleeves 
Maigret in New York - Georges Simenon
Blood at the Root - Peter Robinson
Savage Run - C.J. Box
Indemnity Only - Sara Paretsky
1979 - Val McDermid
Old Man Country - Thomas R. Cole
The Madness of Crowds - Louise Penny

2-Star Books:
The Words Between Us - Erin Bartels
The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections - Eva Jurczyk
Shadows of Pecan Hollow - Caroline Frost
Sea of Tranquility -  Emily St. John Mandel
Tyrus: A Memoir - Tyrus
The Babes in the Wood - Ruth Rendell
The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery - Amanda Cox

 January 2022

  1. Black Ice - Michael Connelly - Harry Bosch  #2
  2. Crime Hits Home - Various Authors - Short Stories
  3. Little Big Man - Thomas Berger - Classic Western Novel
  4. Wednesday's Child - Peter Robinson - Inspector Banks #6
  5. Get Back - The Beatles - Documentary Companion Book
  6. Cold Earth - Ann Cleeves -  Jimmy Perez #7
  7. The Illusion of Simple - Charles Forrest Jones - Crime Novel
  8. Expats - Christopher Dickey - Nonfiction 
  9. The Kings of London - William Shaw - Breen & Tozer #2
  10. Harlem Shuffle - Colson Whitehead - Crime Novel
  11. Raven Black - Ann Cleeves - Jimmy Perez #1
  12. The Words Between Us - Erin Bartels - Thriller Romance 
  1. The King Is Dead - Ellery Queen - 1952 Classic Mystery
  2. The Searchers - Alan Le May - 1954 Classic Western
  3. Final Account - Peter Robinson - Inspector Banks #7
  4. Tennison - Lynda La Plante - Jane Tennison #4 - Prequel 
  5. The Mountain Lion - Jean Stafford - 1947 coming-of-age novel
  6. Innocent Graves - Peter Robinson - Inspector Banks #8
  7. White Nights - Ann Cleeves - Jimmy Perez #2
  8. Stolen Focus - Johann Hari - Big Tech impact on ADD
  9. The Dutch Shoe Mystery - Ellery Queen - 1931 Classic Mystery
  10. Black Money - Ross Macdonald - 1965 - Lew Archer #13
  11. Red Bones - Ann Cleeves - Jimmy Perez #3
  1. The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections - Eva Jurczyk - Novel about thefts from a university library 
  2. Cry Macho -  N. Richard Nash - 1975 novel & 2021 coming-of-age movie starring Clint Eastwood (brilliant book/so-so movie)
  3. Blue Lightning - Ann Cleeves - Jimmy Perez #4
  4. Shadows of Pecan Hollow - Caroline Frost - Predictable crime/coming-of-age novel set in Southeast Texas
  5. Dead Water - Ann Cleeves - Jimmy Perez #5: Jimmy is back
  6. Red Handed - Peter Schweizer - How prominent Americans are bribed by the Chinese government and what they do in return
  7. The Anthropocene Reviewed - John Green - A revealing memoir disguised as 44 short, unrelated essays
  8. Rizzio - Denise Mina - novella, 16th century historical fiction
  9. Thin Air - Ann Cleeves - Jimmy Perez #6
  10. The Silence - Susan Allott - British mystery set in Australia 
  1. The First Stone - Carsten Jensen - Danish novel about Afghani war
  2. Wild Fire - Ann Cleeves - 8th & Final Jimmy Perez novel - flat 
  3. The Junction Boys  - Jim Dent - Coach Bear Bryant's infamous 1954 football camp at Texas A&M (favorite sports book ever)
  4. Sea of Tranquility - Emily St. John Mandel - time-travel novel in which I never felt a connection to any of the characters
  5. Maigret in New York - Georges Simenon - Maigret #27 (1947)
  6. Endangered - C. J. Box - Joe Pickett #15; excellently plotted
  7. Murder in Mykonos - Jeffrey Siger - CI Andreas Kaldis #1
  8. Open Season - C.J. Box - Joe Pickett #1 - Perfect introduction
  9. One Writer's Beginnings - Eudora Welty - memoir in three parts
  10. Grave's End -  William Shaw - Alex Cupidi # 4 - well written, character-driven crime novel
  11. Blood at the Root - Peter Robinson - Inspector Banks #9
  12. Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers - Michael E. Newton - a revealing look at the American Revolution
  1. Savage Run - C.J. Box - Joe Picket #2 - modern range war
  2. Pudd'nhead Wilson - Mark Twain - slave-baby & master's-baby switched at birth - lots of social commentary of the times
  3. Indemnity Only - Sara Paretsky - V.I. Warshawski #1 - good introduction to series main characters, but mediocre plot 
  4. 1979 - Val McDermid - OK 1st book of proposed 10-book series
  5. One Damn Thing After Another - William P. Barr - at almost 700 pages, it answered all the questions I had about truth in politics
  6. Last Stand at Saber River - Elmore Leonard - excellent character-driven post Civil War novel set in Arizona
  7. Old Man Country - Thomas R. Cole - Interviews of elderly men about living into the "4th Age" - somewhat disappointing
  8. Rediscovering Travel - Seth Kugel - travel stories and tips from a professional traveler 
  9. The Madness of Crowds - Louise Penny - Unnecessarily long, dark post-pandemic novel; Penny may have "jumped the shark"
  10. Tyrus: A Memoir - Tyrus - short  memoir that completely manages to ignore the author's marriages and children
  11. The Babes in the Wood - Ruth Rendell - excellent mystery until Rendell ruins it by having Wexford recount its climax second-hand: show me, don't tell me  
  12. Slow Horses - Mick Herron - excellent tale about group of MI5 castoffs with ideas of their own - Book #1 in Slough House series
  1. Dolphin Junction - Mick Herron - collection of short stories & novellas featuring his series characters - uneven, but fun
  2. The Hag - Marc Eliot - maybe the definitive Merle Haggard bio
  3. Dead Lions - Mick Herron - "Slough House" #2 - excellent story about Soviet sleeper agents who "wake up" after two decades
  4. Trunk Music - Michael Connelly - Harry Bosch #5 in which Harry reconnects with ex-FBI agent Eleanor Wish and they marry
  5. Death Be Not Proud - John Gunther - memoir of a father who watched his son fight a brain tumor for 15 months (1947 death)
  6. Hidden Depths - Ann Cleeves - Vera Stanhope #3 (2007)
  7. The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery - Amanda Cox - heavy-handed Christian novel with boring final third
  8. The List - Mick Herron - Novella, "Slough House" #2.5 
  9. French Braid - Anne Tyler - Gradual changes in family-tightness over four generations of a Baltimore family 

Currently Reading:
  • The Splendid and the Vile - Erik Larson
  • Devil's Peak - Deon Meyer

  • E-books - 15
  • Audiobooks - 16
  • Abandoned - 3
  • Translations - 2
  • Library Books - 45
  • From My Shelves - 17
  • Review Copies - 3
  • Amazon Prime Loans - 1
  • Fiction - 52
  • Nonfiction - 14
  • Male Authors - 41
  • Female Authors - 24
  • By Both - 1
  • American - 35
  • British - 26
  • Canadian - 3
  • Danish - 1
  • French - 1

  • 2022 - 11
  • 2021 - 9
  • 2020 - 2
  • 2010s- 15
  • 2000s - 8
  • 1990s - 9
  • 1980s - 1
  • 1970s - 1
  • 1960s - 2
  • 1950s - 3
  • 1940s - 3
  • 1930s - 1
  • 1920s - 0
  • 1910s - 0
  • 1900s - 0
  • 1800s - 1
Pages Read: 
  • Jan -    3,348
  • Feb -   3,559
  • Mar -  3,326
  • Apr -   3,466
  • May -  3,316
  • Jun -    2,804
  • Total - 19,819


  1. Hi, Sam! I've missed chatting with you, and reading all your fun posts. I hope you're doing well. What did you think of The Words Between Us? I have that one on my TBR list and I'm curious if you liked it.

    1. Sorry to say that "The Words Between Us" is my least favorite read of the year to this point. It just seemed like one of those books that couldn't decide whether it was a thriller or a romance novel, and it turned out not being all that great at either genre. It did have its moments or I wouldn't have finished it.

    2. It never turns out well when I book tries to be too many things at once. I might move this one to the bottom of my TBR list. ;D

    3. It might work better for you, Lark, than it did for me. I forgot to mention that it all revolves around a used-book bookstore, too, so there's that.

    4. The used bookstore setting is why I put this one on my TBR list in the first place. Which is why I'm not discounting it entirely. :)

    5. didn't like The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections either? I've got that one on my TBR list, too. What didn't you like about it?

    6. It's just so darn negative, Lark, that I found it frustrating and even a bit depressing. Every character seems to be hiding something, is less than honest, and just out for themselves. Even the parts about how the library functions come across as negative and less than honest. Donors are selfish, books are disappearing, jealousy everywhere, etc. Just didn't see much to like in this thing.

    7. Good to know. Negative and depressing are two things I really don't need in a book right now; there's too much of that going on in the world! Have a good week. :D

  2. I'll take you any way I can get you, Sam. I miss your posts, but I understand how Things Happen. You're really getting into Ann Cleeves, I see, and I'm wondering what you thought of Shaw's Kings of London. Perhaps you could put some sort of rating with each title... +/- ? to let us know your opinion if time constraints won't let you pend much time commenting.

    1. Great idea, Cathy...I've added star-ratings to the list, and I wish I had done that every year because it would have been so much quicker to come up with my Top Tens at the end of the year. Thanks.

      Kings of London was an OK book for me, but not one that I really looked forward to picking up again after I'd set it aside. Neither Breen nor Tozer are characters that much intrigue me, and that has made it hard for me to care much what happens to them. Shaw is very cynical about the am I...but the attitude gets a bit old in the longish books.

  3. I will certainly miss your blogs posts, Sam, and am sorry for the circumstances that have led to the necessity for you to give up blogging. My best wishes to you and your wife.

    Good to see you'll be keeping a record here and, if I'm correct, every time you update here it will show up in our reading lists as a new post.

    1. Thanks, Cath. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like a problem that is going to go away any time soon, but we are making the best of it. On the bright side, I've set up a jig saw puzzle again and I have been able to snatch a few minutes here and there to unwind via puzzling again. That's been fun.

      Honestly, I don't think my edits will alert anyone automatically...don't know how to overcome that snag.

    2. I think I have this right but I may not have. When Blogger had that big upgrade we all hated I noticed something else. It was that you could no longer edit a historical post and have it stay back on that date. If you edited an old post Blogger brought it back into people's immediate reading list as a new post. Like I said, I might be completely wrong, but if I'm right we'll see it when you update. It will be interesting to see.

  4. Hi Sam, I'm happy we will at least get to see what you have been reading. Sorry about any bumps in the road you may be dealing with. I'm curious if you might consider rating your reads or whether you consider them a "read" or "pass"? Take care

    1. I like the idea, Diane, and I've incorporated it into this list. Not sure how workable this will be as a single post as the months go by; it could become too much for a single page. But for now, I hope that folks might notice it on occasion and comment on the books. I miss you guys already.

    2. Oh thank you Sam, your bookish fans appreciate and value your opinion.

  5. It was great to see Book Chase appear in my blog roll again today. You had a busy month of reading in January and I see several titles there that are very familiar to me. I've been reading a lot of Ann Cleeves as well recently - the Shetland series - and I expect to continue that in February.

    I do hope that everything works out for you so that at some point you can continue blogging regularly. We miss you. Take care.

    1. Thanks, Dorothy. I am finding, at least so far, that I like the Jimmy Perez books better than the Vera Stanhope ones. I still have six of the Perez books to go, and I plan to make a good dent in the list this year. Cleeves is a wonderful crime writer, one of my go-to authors now for sure.

  6. Hi Sam, I will miss your blog posts but so glad that you will continue to share what you are reading and I wish you and your family all the best.

    1. Thanks, Kathy. It was a tough decision, but there are only so many hours in the day.

  7. Sam, your blog is one of my favorites so I will really miss reading your posts. I wish you and your family all the best. I hope things go well, and enjoy your puzzle time (I find them very relaxing, especially with music or a podcast to listen to).

    1. I appreciate your kind words, Jeane. I will miss writing the reviews because they are such great memory-joggers when I want to go back and look at something I've read in the past. Finally figured out a way to keep a puzzle going long term, and sitting down once or twice a day to unwind that way has been a real blessing for sure.

  8. Wishing you and your family the best! Gosh, how long have we been long friends, Sam?

    1. Thanks so much, Jen. As I recall, you were one of the first book bloggers I ever spoke with, so it has to be the better part of 15 years now.

  9. I was surprised and happy to see a new post come up here. I'm glad we'll get an update here and there at least. I wish the very best to you and your family. You will be missed in the book blogosphere!

    1. Thanks, Susan. I am struggling not to lose total control of my reading...being such a number-cruncher at heart. I hope you will stop by occasionally to see what I've been reading. I do plan to stop by other blogs as often as I can, too.

  10. Sam, it is nice to be able to keep up with your progress in reading. I am glad you liked The King is Dead by Ellery Queen so much, I have been wanting to try some Ellery Queen and haven't decided where to start. I read a lot of Ellery Queen when I was younger but I don't know if I would still like the books. Some of the later books were not even written by the two men who wrote as Queen.

    1. The King Is Dead really was a nice surprise, Tracy...much more than I expected from it. I'm not sure who exactly wrote this one (it's number 23, I think, so it is late in the series) but they did an excellent job. It's one of those mysteries that have an "impossible" shooting in it, and the Queens are mystified for over a month before Ellery finally figures it out. A real puzzle.

  11. I will miss reading your posts Sam, but am glad we'll still be able to check in and see what you've been reading. Wishing all the best for you and your family.

    1. Thank you, JoAnn. I appreciate the kind words. Please do stop by and see what I've been reading; would love to chat with you about any of the books we have in common.

  12. Oh No Sam -- I'm so sorry to hear this. I've enjoyed your blog & thoughts on books which I recently found. Perhaps you will be back later in time ... down the road. Until then I will continue to check in for your lists. You have inspired me to try Cleeves sometime this year. I'm a newbie to her. stay well.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated. It's hard to know what the future holds, but I do hope to get back to reviewing and blogging again at some point. I hope you enjoy Cleeves as much as so many of us have. I just began her second Jimmy Perez novel today, and only 21 pages in, I'm totally immersed in that world again.

    2. Hi Sam / have you updated your post lately? I was looking at your February list and wonder how you came across the Mountain Lion and your thoughts on it? I have not read it ... but your 3 stars might mean it's not a big favorite. Hope you are well.

    3. I've been collecting the Library of America volumes for years, but I never seem to read from them as much as I hope to. Anyway...I have an LOA collection of novels by Jean Stafford and I wanted to try one of them out since I had never read her. The Mountain Lion started out very strongly, and the characters were really interesting. But then it sort of fizzled, for me, as it grew closer to the ending despite the tragedy that closes out its final page. I do plan to read more of this author, though, as well as getting into the other LOA books more this year.

      Thanks for stopping by. I do update this page regularly but I have to moderate the comments now that the post is over two weeks old. They don't post automatically any more.

  13. Sam, Glad to see your reading has not slipped in February. I collect NYRB imprints - well some of them -- and The Mountain Lion is one that I have (unread still but, I have it.) Sorry you didn't enjoy that one more.

    1. I've relied more on audiobooks than I normally do, but I'm still managing to read a good number of books...happy about that. I really disliked the rather abrupt, and oh so tragic, ending of The Mountain Lion. That ending, I think, deserved to be a lot longer. I do plan to try at least one more of her novels this year. I'll be looking forward to learning what you think of it if you read it this year.

  14. I'm hoping that you can expound on the two-stars for The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections...

    1. I had a difficult time liking this one enough to keep opening it back up. But it was written well enough that I kept hoping I would start enjoying it more, so I did. My real problem is with the tone of the book and how cynical and negative everything in it is...the plot, the characters, the theme. Nothing about it ended up appealing to me except the author's mechanics...she is a capable writer and story teller even if I dislike this particular story so much. Too, the identity of the thief was obvious to me very early on, and I hated being right.

    2. Then we pretty much saw it eye-to-eye. What you called negative, I got fancy for some reason and called it jaundiced. I guess I was in a yellow mood that day. ;-)

    3. I started to give up on it a couple of times because it was such a downer...just what none of us really need at the moment.

  15. Hope you can get back to blogging soon!

    1. Thanks so much. I'm hopeful but not expecting things to change any time soon.

  16. Hi Sam, miss your reviews ... so it sounds like Sea of Tranquility is a thumbs down from your reading? Some of her novels get too weird, right? Did you read The Glass Hotel? I have just started it so ... it worries me if I'll like it.

    1. I was very disappointed in this one. None of the characters could get past the "cardboard stage" for me in this one. And the plot is a little convoluted and repetitive. Just didn't do it for me at all.

  17. So glad you gave the Searchers 5 stars. It was some book. And the movie too.

    1. Kathy, I've loved the movie for years and years, but this is the first time I read the book. Now I love the book even more than I love the movie version. Great to hear from you.