Category Archives: Readers_Imbibing_Peril

Poison for Breakfast


Here’s a quote from a fun little book I read for the Readers Imbibing Peril -XVI challenge. The book, Poison for Breakfast, by Daniel Handler, was the first Lemony Snicket book I’ve read, and it made me laugh out loud and kept me highly entertained throughout. This quote, though, struck a particularly familiar chord with me, so I share it with you this morning,

I always like to have a book with me at breakfast, although sometimes I do not read much of it. Some breakfasts I do not even open the book, but it sits beside me like a quiet companion while my thoughts wander all over the morning.

Good morning, Readers!

Pietr the Latvian


Pietr the Latvian is the first book in George Simenon’s extensive series with “Inspector Maigret.” I’ve been curious about this series for years, so I thought it was about time to find out why so many people seem to like Inspector Maigret. And I discovered that I liked him, too!

According to Wikipedia, the character of Inspector Jules Maigret “was invented by Simenon while drinking in a cafe by a Dutch canal and imagining a Parisian policeman: “a large powerfully built gentleman…a pipe, a bowler hat, a thick overcoat.”  Maigret was reputed to be based on Marcel Guillaume, an actual French detective, although Simenon himself variously claimed not to remember the inspiration or that Maigret was influenced by Simenon’s own father.”

Inspector Maigret was a man that people would often underestimate. His size and his unassuming manner were a perfect cover for his keen instincts and skills.  His knowledge of human behavior, his uncanny ability to observe the smallest details, and his brilliantly deductive mind made him an enjoyable detective to follow.

Summary of this first Maigret novel from the publisher:

Inspector Jules Maigret, a taciturn detective and commissaire of the Paris Brigade Criminelle, receives notice from Interpol that a notorious conman known only as Pietr the Latvian is en route to France. Armed with a broad description and a scant few clues, Maigret plans to intercept him at the train station outside Paris. But when he arrives, he finds that there are several suspects—some living, and some dead—who meet the description uncannily well.

Who is Pietr the Latvian, truly? A vagrant, a seaman, a businessman, a corpse? Russian, Norwegian, American or Latvian?  In Pietr the Latvian, the iconic first novel of Simenon’s classic series that made Inspector Maigret a legendary figure in the annals of detective fiction, Maigret must use his every instinct to unravel the mystery and track down the truth.

There are twenty-two books in the Inspector Maigret series. It would be very easy to get caught in this series … a terrific winter reading project, perhaps?

 

Author, George Simenon

I read this book for the Readers Imbibing Peril XVI challenge. It was a book that was on my list of 50 books in 5 years for The Classics Club.

A Mystery Short Story

A Christmas Tragedy, by Baroness Orczy, was a fun and interesting short story I listened to for the Readers Imbibing Peril-XVI reading challenge. The very first audiobook I listened to (some 40 or so years ago!) was Baroness Orczy’s, The Scarlet Pimpernel. I loved that story and her writing, so I knew this would be a good choice for a quick mystery to read for my “Peril of the Short Story”.  And I did enjoy this classic who-done-it.

from the publisher:

A Christmas Eve party at Clevere Hall ends in tragedy when the host is found stabbed to death. Major Ceely certainly wasn’t short of enemies, but who hated him enough to commit the crime?

Baroness Emma Orczy (1865-1947) was an Hungarian-British author who is known for her popular series of books starting with The Scarlet Pimpernel. That series was groundbreaking in terms of introducing a hero who specialized in disguises and appeared to be just a bit of a dolt in his daily life. Sort of a Clark Kent of that time. She also created the character of Lady Molly of Scotland Yard, who was one of literature’s first female detectives.

Her books are fun to read, ahead of their time, entertaining, and are well worth reading.

I read this book for the Readers Imbibing Peril – XVI challenge.

 

 

It was also one of my choices to read 50 books in 5 years for The Classics Club.

 

Waiting Room Reading

While waiting for my husband’s radiation treatments this week, I read and/or listened to two books and a short story. In all honesty, I did not sit in the waiting room (Covid restrictions), but found a very nice bench for my waiting right outside the clinic.

I started my RIP-XVI challenge early because of this opportune time to read, and I actually enjoyed my waiting time. This challenge is divided into different “Perils” you can choose — “Peril of the Fiction;”  “Peril of the Short Story;”  “Peril of the Screen;”  “Peril of the Group Read;”  “Peril of the Listen;” and “Peril of the Real.”  So obviously, there’s room for all kinds of spooky and mysterious reading and viewing choices!

For “Peril of the Fiction,” I read another book in a fun mystery series that I’m slowly rereading.  Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Thief, by Dorothy Gilman, was the 10th book in the series. Many of the usual characters from earlier in the series showed up in this one, with some fun twists. Mrs. Pollifax, elderly member of the local garden club and accomplished spy, was up to her usual brilliant mystery solving. I laughed out loud in the scene where she karate-chopped (one at a time) a whole group of bad guys trying to push their way into the safe haven she and her colleagues were sheltering in. Mrs. Pollifax is a trained operative that should not be messed with!

For “Peril of the Short Story,”  I listened to the short story, Hero, by Susan Hill. It’s a back-story to her Simon Serrailler series, and tells the story of an event that happened when Simon was a rookie cop. I really enjoyed it. No, I haven’t read the series yet, so I thought I’d start with this short story. I’ve read a number of other books by Susan Hill and like her writing very much, so I look forward to reading this series at some point.

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In the evenings this week, Hubby and I have been watching a Korean urban dark fantasy series called “Tale of the Nine-Tailed,” and it fits right in with “Peril of the Screen.” It is a story based on Korean folklore about  “mythical nine-tailed fox, or gumiho, Lee Yeon had to settle in the city many centuries ago. Able to transform into human form, he eradicates supernatural beings that threaten the mortal world. His real aim is to find the reincarnation of his lost first love.”  It’s been a great entertainment during a busy and stressful week.

It’s Time for RIP-XVI!

It’s THAT time of year again! Time for the traditional autumn reading challenge (started sixteen years ago by Carl V. Anderson) known as RIP, or Readers Imbibing Peril.

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books (and movies and podcasts) that could be classified as:

Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.

Basically, read scary.

“Are you reading for spooky season? We need more wicked good books (and screen) in our lives, so being the rule-breakers we are, #RIPXVI BEGINS NOW. How do you play? Tag @PerilReaders, #ripxv, and #perilreaders in your Twitter and/or Instagram posts. It’s that easy. Wicked easy.”

I will be reading mostly mysteries for this challenge, not super spooky or horror-filled books. I’d like to continue on with a number of different mystery series that I started and want to get back to. Much of my reading time will be spent in waiting rooms (or in the car waiting) while my husband undergoes treatments for his cancer, so a good mystery book will help the time go by and provide an antidote to anxiety.

This post will be where I track my books read for this challenge. I will keep an ever-growing list of books read and movies watched, so check back here frequently. Just click on the R.I.P.XVI graphic in my sidebar and it will bring you here.

I hope all of you who are participating in this autumnal challenge enjoy your reading, movie-watching, podcast-listening!

Peril of the Fiction:

  1. Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Thief, by Dorothy Gilman
  2. Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley
  3. Pietr the Latvian, by George Simenon
  4. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving
  5. Bury Your Dead, by Louise Penny

Peril of the Short Story:

  1. Hero, by Susan Hill
  2. A Christmas Tragedy, by Baroness Orczy

Peril of the Screen:

  1. Tale of the Nine-Tailed

September Reflections, 2020

September reflections…

September, this year, was an unusual month. The first half was filled with smoke and anxiety due to the many fires burning here in Oregon. The air quality was at the very hazardous level, and so our family all had to stay inside even more than usual — a quarantine within the quarantine! Many (but not all!) of the fires were finally brought under control, and the air cleared, so we could begin to enjoy the outdoors again, within the limitations of the pandemic.

With all of this necessary indoor time, I filled my hours with lots of reading. I focused mostly on reading mysteries for the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge, and thoroughly enjoyed myself! But I read other things, as well, including starting the first books for my annual Holiday reading. So all in all, September was a good, and very enjoyable, reading month for me.

Readers Imbibing Peril, XV

It sort of snuck up on me this year (my sense of time is pretty confused by this pandemic), but I’m so excited that the annual challenge, Readers Imbibing Peril, is now upon us! It’s my favorite challenge of the year, and always marks the coming of Fall. This is the 15th year and it just gets better and better.

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:

Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.

Basically, read scary.

“Are you reading for spooky season? We need more wicked good books (and screen) in our lives, so being the rule-breakers we are, #RIPXV BEGINS NOW. How do you play? Tag @PerilReaders and #ripxv in your Twitter and/or Instagram posts. It’s that easy. Wicked easy.”

This post will be my “tracker” for the challenge. I will keep an ever-growing list of books read and movies watched, so check back here frequently. Just click on the R.I.P.XV graphic in my sidebar and it will bring you here.

My books read list:

The Body on the Beach, by Simon Brett.
The first book in the Fethering Village series. Recently retired, Carole Seddon, finds a body on the beach while walking her dog one morning. However, a short while later the police can’t find the body so they don’t take her very seriously. It’s up to Carole and her next door neighbor, Jude, to solve the mystery themselves. Fun!  I rated it 3.5 stars on Goodreads.

The House of Dies Drear, by Virginia Hamilton.
I really enjoyed this book, and would have loved it had I read it as a middle grade student! I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.    “The house of Dies Drear loomed out of mist and murky sky, not only gray and formless, but huge and unnatural. It seemed to crouch on the side of a hill high above the highway. And it had a dark, isolated look about it that set it at odds with all that was living.“

Blanche White on the Lam, by Barbara Neely.
This was a fun book, the first in a series that I’m looking forward to reading. I gave this first book 4.5 stars on Goodreads.   “Blanche White is a plump, feisty, middle-aged African-American housekeeper working for the genteel rich in North Carolina. But when an employer stiffs her, and her checks bounce, she goes on the lam, hiding out as a maid for a wealthy family at their summer home. That plan goes awry when there’s a murder and Blanche becomes the prime suspect. So she’s forced to use her savvy, her sharp wit, and her old-girl network of domestic workers to discover the truth and save her own skin.” 

Hearts of the Missing, by Carol Potenza.
This first book by author Carol Potenza won the Tony HIllerman Prize in 2017. I loved all the Tony Hillerman mysteries, so when I discovered that this book had won the Tony Hillerman Prize, I had to read it. It did not disappoint and was a book I’ve now recommended highly to family and friends. I gave it 5 stars on Goodread!     “When a young woman linked to a list of missing Fire-Sky tribal members commits suicide, Pueblo Police Sergeant Nicky Matthews is assigned to the case. As the investigation unfolds, she uncovers a threat that strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Fire-Sky Native: victims chosen and murdered because of their genetic makeup. But these deaths are not just about a life taken. In a vengeful twist, the killer ensures the spirits of those targeted will wander forever, lost to their family, their People, and their ancestors. When those closest to Nicky are put in jeopardy, she must be willing to sacrifice everything–her career, her life, even her soul–to save the people she is sworn to protect.”

The Clue of the Tapping Heels, by Carolyn Keene.
I am slowly rereading the original series of Nancy Drew mysteries. This one was #16 in the series, and I vaguely remember it from my early years. These books are much fun to revisit, although I can only read one or two every once in awhile. It was very different way back then. I’d go to the library and come home with 5 or 6 of them that I would read straight through.  I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.    “Challenging questions confront Nancy Drew when she attempts to solve the mystery of the strange tapping sounds in the house of a retired actress. Who is the tapper? How does he gain access to Miss Carters house, despite securely locked doors and windows? Why do the tapping sounds come in Morse code? Is there a sinister motive behind the prowlers actions? While trying to learn the answers to these and other puzzling questions, Nancy finds her investigations complicated by the dishonest administrator of a will and by a thief who steals the actress’s prize Persian cats.”

The Day of the Jackal, by Frederick Forsyth.
An old suspense thriller that I missed reading as a young mother chasing a toddler around all day. I remember hearing about this book, but didn’t have time to follow through in those days. How nice to be retired and have time to catch up on books I missed reading back then! I gave this book 3.5 stars on Goodreads.    “He is known only as “The Jackal”—a cold, calculating assassin without emotion, or loyalty, or equal. He’s just received a contract from an enigmatic employer to eliminate one of the most heavily guarded men in the world—Charles De Gaulle, president of France.”

The Sea Detective, by Mark Douglas-Home.
A new-to-me author, I really liked this first book in a mystery series by Mark Douglas-Home. It was well-written and very interesting, taking place in Scotland. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.    “Cal McGill is an Edinburgh-based oceanographer, environmentalist and one-of-a-kind investigator.  Using his knowledge of the waves – ocean currents, prevailing winds, shipping records – McGill can track where objects have come from, or where they’ve gone. It’s a unique skill that can help solve all sorts of mysteries.”

Gently in the Sun, by Alan Hunter.
This is the sixth book in the George Gently detective series by Alan Hunter. I started this series a few years ago, and thought I’d read another episode for the RIP-XV challenge. I loved the George Gently tv series on PBS, so for me, the books are enhanced by picturing the actor that played this character on TV.     “Every man in Hiverton knows Rachel Campion. She is the most gorgeous girl to have turned up in the fishing village in living memory. When she is discovered lying dead on the beach, Gently joins the throngs of summer visitors on their annual pilgrimage to the seaside in the midst of a summer heatwave – and as the temperature soars, the mystery deepens.”

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Looking Forward to 2020

With the year 2020 almost here, it’s time to share some of my plans for my reading year. I do love the planning part of a new year! On January 1st, I’ll be ready to launch right into my new year of reading!

For 2020, I’m going to continue reading books by my favorite authors and track them on my Reading Journeys page. Reading about gardens and gardening is something I love to do, so I’m making My Garden Reading a focus for the year.  I will also continue with my international reading by continuing with my Wanderlust self-challenge.

When Autumn arrives, I will welcome the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge once again. And I look forward to Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thons (no link). I know I will enjoy my continuing participation in The Classics Club. I have finished over 1/2 of the books on my list of 50 Books in 5 Years — my goal for 2020 is to read at least 10-12 more of the books on that list. And I mustn’t forget about my GOODREADS reading challenge. I keep track of all my books on Goodreads, and this year have read 143 books. It’s been a long time since I read that many books in one year. We’ll see what happens in 2020.

I’m excited about this upcoming reading year. I hope you are enjoying your planning, too!

Happy 2020 reading, my friends!

 

 

Looking Back at 2019


Looking back at 2019, I am happy with my reading year. In addition to my usual reading,  I took on a number of challenges and enjoyed the books I read for each one. I love the journey of each challenge and the exposure to new authors, genres, and ideas that really expand my world.

Turning seventy years old felt like a big milestone and I wanted to celebrate it in some special way. So I put together a self-challenge called “EMBRACING SEVENTY.”  I created a 1949 list of books and movies– anything to do with 70. It turned out to be a fun research project. Here are the books I read, and the one movie from 1949 that my husband and I watched:

”WANDERLUST” was another self-challenge I put together this year in an effort to read more international literature. I read both children and adult books and liked the glimpses into other cultures. I will continue this challenge in 2020 and beyond.

For a second year in a row, I signed up for Adam’s 2019 OFFICIAL TBR challenge. Last year I read 4 books for his challenge, and this year I did the same. That’s 8 books that have been sitting on my bookshelf for far too long, so I’m happy to have been motivated to finally read them. Thank you, Adam, for hosting this challenge. I’ll miss it! Here’s my list of books read in 2019:

Dolce Bellezza’s JAPANESE LITERATURE Challenge always calls to me, and in 2019 I read one book and watched three Japanese films. Meredith always puts together a really classy challenge! My 2019 books and movies:

Films:

I had good intentions when I signed up for Rachel’s (@hibernatorslibrary) A YEAR of SHAKESPEARE Challenge this year. I was going to read three Shakespeare plays, but I ended up only reading one (which I enjoyed very much!). But I also read a lot of different books about that play, so it really was an immersive experience, and a lot of fun. Here’s what I read for this challenge:

A Shakespeare Comedy : The Winter’s Tale

READERS IMBIBING PERIL- XIV was a great challenge this fall! It’s one of my favorite challenges each year, and I enjoy it more and more each year!  I love mysteries and suspense novels, good book series and good TV mystery series, so I had lots of fun reading and watching movies!

PERIL the FIRST:

  1. The Lost One, by Mary Stewart
  2. The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler
  3. Christmas in Absaroka County, by Craig Johnson
  4. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
  5. The Religious Body, by Catherine Aird
  6. An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good, by Helene Tursten
  7. The Case of the Famished Parson, by George Bellairs
  8. Rose Cottage, by Mary Stewart
  9. The House on the Strand, by Daphne du Maurier
  10. Trouble in Nuala, by Harriet Steel
  11. Whiteout, by Ken Follett

PERIL on the SCREEN:

  1. 4:50 From Paddington
  2. Murder at the Gallop
  3. The Mirror Crack’d
  4. Murder Most Foul 

I joined THE CLASSICS CLUB in March of 2017 and agreed to read 50 Books in 5 Years. This is a great challenge, so well organized and with fun activities. I’ve always loved reading classics so it’s a perfect fit for me. As of right now, I’ve read 28 of my 50 books list. This year I read these classics:

Having time to read is such a precious luxury for me and this year has been full of reading joy. And now I’m looking forward to my 2020 reading.

For all my reading friends, may 2020 be a year of joyful reading for you, too!

Whiteout

This week I read Ken Follett’s Whiteout. He writes the most thrilling books, and this one was another stay-up-late-and-finish-the-book read. I didn’t think it was one of his best, but it was exciting and had humorous undertones to a story about a very serious chemical warfare crisis.

from the publisher:

A lab technician bleeding from the eyes. Twelve missing samples of a deadly virus. Toni Gallo, the security director of a Scottish medical research firm, knows she has problems, but she has no idea of the nightmare to come.

As a Christmas Eve blizzard whips out of the north, several people, Toni among them, converge on a remote family house. All have something to gain or lose from the drug developed to fight the virus. As the storm worsens, the emotional sparks – jealousies, distrust, sexual attraction, rivalries – crackle; desperate secrets are revealed; hidden traitors and unexpected heroes emerge.

Although it had all the usual high tension intrigue that I like so much about many of Ken Follett’s books, this one seemed to me to have a bit of slapstick humor alongside the serious action. Nobody’s cell phone would work or was within grabbing distance. The burglary team had all kinds of trouble and things definitely did not work out the way they had planned. All of this, along with the usual thrilling suspense, made it fun to read, and I did indeed stay up really late to finish it.

 

This was another fun read for my PERIL the FIRST for the R.I.P.-XIV challenge.

 

 

It also another book read for my Holiday Reading this year.