Hi everyone and welcome to October.

September wasn’t my best reading month. I mentioned in the mid-month newsletter that I was reading the much-hyped The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman.

It ended up taking me forever to finish it. I’m not sure why as it really wasn’t a bad book. I ended up enjoying the characters and found the whole thing quaint. It just didn’t get its hooks into me like most books and it took me about two weeks to actually read.

I had similar issues with audiobooks where I tried multiple books, listened to them for an hour or so, then gave up.

There was one specific book that really bothered me. I’m not going to mention the name as I don’t feel right being negative about an author – I respect them so much because I could never do what they do.

In this one, it was about this female protagonist who was so extremely weak, and it was such a turn-off. She had experienced trauma in her childhood home many years ago and moved away. She was the one earning the money and had this dominating and manipulative husband.

He ended up using her money to buy a house in the area where she grew up and experienced that trauma. Without telling her! He got the tip from a female friend with hints that he may be cheating on his wife with her. He was trying to force her to move there and trying to force her to work in a room that had a big window looking onto the forest where her childhood trauma occurred.

And she was just meekly going along with it! It was so frustrating to read and I gave up at that point. It may have been a good book but I just couldn’t handle a protagonist being written in that manner.

Funny as I am sure I have read books featuring weak protagonists before.  There was just something about this one where even though I knew what the author was trying to accomplish, it was such a turn-off.

Luckily the month wasn’t all bad for reading. I inhaled Enemy at the Gates, the latest book in the Mitch Rapp series. I actually read it in the course of one night. Just couldn’t put it down.

I’ve also started listening to Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica. It was a little bit difficult to keep track of initially as the story is told from multiple perspectives, covering three different timelines but I’m really enjoying it so far.

Not sure what I’m going to read next. I spent the last two days just browsing through my Kindle, glancing at my “priority” to-read list and unable to pull the trigger on any particular book. Hopefully soon.

I did watch a TV show in the past month which is rare for me. I love TV, but it’s low on the priority list behind reading and watching sports. I watch a ridiculous amount of sports. Just yesterday my day was made up of Japanese wrestling, European soccer, PGA golf, MLB, and NFL.

The show I binged was Ted Lasso. Really enjoying it although man – that is one emotional show.

That’s about it for me – let’s get on with the rest of the newsletter.

Each month we give away 5 $25 Amazon gift certificates to random subscribers.

To win all you have to do is be a subscriber. Nothing more! When we go to hit “Publish” we take a list of all of our subscribers, throw them into a random draw and those are the winners.

Our winners this month are:

Dawn G. from Carson City, NV
Jerry H. from Phoenix, AZ
Enid M. from Oakland, CA
Rich M. from Bristol, England
Colin K. from Ireland

All of you have been e-mailed. If you don’t see anything, check your junk folder or contact me.

Graeme
OrderOfBooks.com

Quote of the Month

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”

– From “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr.

Submitted by Pam. Submit your own quotes; just hit reply.

Book Recommendations

In this section I give 5 random book recommendations. They can be old books, they can be new. But either way – I recommend you read them if the type of genre they are in appeals to you. Feel free to e-mail suggestions to [email protected] as many of the suggestions each month are from our readers. If you wish to add a description for the book around the same size as the ones below that’d be great too! I should note we also have a huge backlog of recommendations so if you don’t see one that you recommended then don’t worry – it’ll show up eventually!

A Bend in the River by Libby Fischer Hellman

Libby is mostly known for her crime mystery series, however, she stepped outside her comfort zone with A Bend in the River last year to many positive reviews.

Taking place in 1968, it is the story of two young sisters in Vietnam, who flee their village after it is burned to the ground.

Thanks to Randi for the suggestion, who wrote: “the book follows two sisters in Vietnam during the war. It puts things in a whole different perspective from what we were seeing here at the time.”

For more details, see our Libby Fischer Hellman page.

Max Dexter Mystery Series by Chris Laing

Always nice to recommend Canadian authors in the newsletter. The first book in this series was a finalist for the Best Crime First Novel in the Arthur Ellis Awards.

Funnily enough – looking at his bio, he lives in the same city as me (Kingston, ON). Small world.

Sharon wrote in to recommend this one, stating “Chris is originally from Hamilton, Ontario, now living in Kingston. The series is set in Hamilton in the late 1940s. Max is a just returned war veteran with a slight disability. Previous to the war he had been RCMP, but the war injury disqualifies him from any law enforcement, so he opens his own detective agency and so begins the story.

I am originally from Mississauga, recently moved to London, so I know a bit of the area in the books. I was born in the early 50s and feel that the times are well captured. Even the Mafia characters were real people.”

For more details, see our Chris Laing page.

Detective Max Rubert Series by Allen Eskens

There are currently five books in this series, and Patti e-mailed in to recommend the first book, The Life We Bury. Here is what Patti said about it:

“GREAT book! A young college student interviews a convicted murderer for an English assignment, and he gets a bit more than he bargained for. I enjoyed it immensely, and I’m looking forward to the next 4 in the series. I highly recommend.”

Allen is a winner of numerous awards such as a Barry Award and Rosebud Award. For more details, see our Allen Eskens page.

Nic Costa Series by David Hewson

David is a UK author who writes Crime fiction and mystery novels. Costa is a young detective based out of Rome in Italy.

Taryn wrote in to recommend this one:

“David Hewson’s latest Nic Costa series is a love song to the very tip of the Italian boot. Mr. Hewson’s descriptions of the land, the sea, the people inhabiting this remote paradise is a thing of beauty. The history of the area and it’s melding into the present is guaranteed to hold one’s attention as well as the suspenseful story unfolding that places Nic and his team in the thick of it.”

A Season for the Dead is the first Nic Costa novel by David Hewson. Sara Farnese reads through some ancient texts in a reading room in the Vatican. Little does she know, elsewhere, a brutal murder takes place in a church. Then, a man enters the Vatican with a bloody bag and shows Sara the contents, and before she knows it, she becomes linked to a series of murders. Two detectives, Nic Costa and Luca Rossi, are charged with tracking down the killer before he can make Sara his next victim.

For more details, see our David Hewson page.

Joe Grey Mysteries by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

A cat-themed mystery series. I know we’ve got lots of cat lovers out there so if you love mysteries too, then this will be right up your alley!

Christine wrote in to recommend this series.

“I have a series to recommend for the Book/Series section. Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s Joe Grey mysteries. Think a stump-tailed gray tomcat and his tabby lady who suddenly discover they can speak–and become the best-trusted police snitches in a little coastal California town (based on Clint Eastwood’s Carmel–he even makes an uncredited appearance in one of the books!). Lots of interesting (good) humans and creatively murderous bad ones, plus the cats’ commentary on human foibles, and hints of magic too.”

October 2021 Book Of The Month (1st-15th)

The Chaos Kind by Barry Eisler

Our book if the month is The Chaos Kind by Barry Eisler, the 11th full length novel in the John Rain series.

That is a series that has been on my to read list forever, and I’m yet to get around to it.

The series initially featured John Rain, a half-Japanese, half-American, ex US Special Forcers member.

The author is Barry Eisler who used to work for the CIA. If you were a fan of The Killer Collective then you will be happy to hear the assassins are back in this new one.

And this time – it’s chaos!

10 More Notable Books Releasing Oct 1-15

October Charities

While I appreciate all offers of donations to show your appreciation for the site and newsletter, I’d much rather you do that by supporting some great causes. Each month I pick a few select charities broken down by our most popular countries that you can support instead. Thanks! And please note you’re not restricted to the country you reside in of course – pick any you wish to support!

USA: Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s
UK: Hospice UK
Canada: Canadian National Institute for the Blind
Australia: The Smith Family (Children’s Charity)

Carol also wrote in with a suggestion that I felt was a bit too niche but wanted to mention for anyone interested. Here is what she wrote:

“Gal’s Guide is the first lending library dedicated to women’s history in the United States. It is a community hub as well as a destination pilgrimage for those around the world. The Gal’s Guide library is a small but mighty community place where men, women and children can escape their hectic lives, where they can feel welcome and inspired.” https://galsguide.org/

I rotate this list each month. Feel free to suggest a favourite charity – hit reply.

Classic of the Month: Jerome K. Jerome

This month we are featuring Jerome K. Jerome. Jerome lived from 1859 to 1927 and was from Caldmore, Walsall, England.

Jerome was most well known for Three Men in a Boat which features himself and two of his friends encountering humorous situations while floating down the Thames in a small boat.

James has written a good amount of novels and Three Men in a Boat is a comic masterpiece well worth reading.

Audiobook Arena

We have a lot of audiobook fans and invite book listeners to write their own column every month, or just write in a few audiobook thoughts. Want to discuss audiobooks or a favourite narrator? Hit reply and write and we’ll feature your column in a future newsletter!

By Marianne

Just a quick comment on American Dirt. I listened to it as an audiobook and it was even better than the printed version. What appealed to me was that the woman who owned the bookstore had attended a family party with her husband and son. When the cartel arrived with machine guns blazing, mowing down every person at the party, she had hidden herself and the young boy, Luca, away in a closet. Many hours after the gang members left, she finally escaped. This is the very first opportunity she has to head for the border and away from the ardent admirer, that killed their loved ones. It’s important to understand that she was actually a single mother, traveling by old school bus, rickety old truck, produce trucks, and trains with her young boy. And without the protection of her husband. Her many trials of escape would have read VERY differently if her husband had been with them.
I felt deeply for her as she was trying to figure out the whole crossing the border thing and the fear she carried with her was palpable.

———————-

By SL

Please remind audio book lovers that their library is a great resource. I use the libby app and have a great selection just by having a library card. My schedule, my time, and without having to go anywhere!!!

(So true! Check your local library. Many of them work with Overdrive / Libby or Cloudlibrary and you can get lots of great audiobooks via them).

Last month I asked what two book universes you would like to see cross over. The replies are later in the newsletter.

This month’s question:

What childhood memories do you have involving reading?

It could be the first book you read, or when you first fell in love with reading or just your favourite memories from reading as a child.

Many of you have written to me in the past and shared your stories as a child reading. Walking miles every day as a 6 year old just to go to the library and get a pile of books etc. I always enjoy reading those.

As for my own memories? The one that always sticks out to me involves my favourite childhood author, Enid Blyton. Like many, I grew up poor and couldn’t really afford to buy books. I had to rely on the library. Their collection was poor though and also popular. They only had 13 Famous Five books out of 21 for example, and they were often borrowed.

I remember I would stand outside a bookstore at our local shopping centre, just looking in at a bookshelf they had on display in the window. It had EVERY Famous Five book on it, as well as all the books from her other popular book series.

I remember standing there many times, looking in and wishing I could just read them all, never mind owning them. Every time we’d go to the shopping centre, I’d honestly stand there for about 30 minutes staring. Maybe I was just hoping someone would feel sorry for me and buy me one ha.

I had to stand outside because I started to go in and read the books on previous visits, and was yelled at by the staff to get out if I wasn’t going to buy!

And don’t worry – I own all of them now!  I actually went back and re-read every single Famous Five and Five Finder-Outers book a few years ago, and it was the greatest time of my life! They were worth the wait.

Tied into that – I was a member of the Boy’s Brigade growing up, which to cite Wikipedia was an international interdenominational Christian youth organisation, conceived by the Scottish businessman Sir William Alexander Smith to combine drill and fun activities with Christian values.

My main memory from that is they gave out awards and prizes at the end of the year. They spoke to the parents to ask what the best gift to give their kid would be. Many got GI Joe figures, other remote control trucks etc.

I was given Shadow the Sheepdog by Enid Blyton. I remember my mum was all apologetic after that saying she had told them to get me some Famous Five books. But as a dog lover I didn’t mind, and as a book lover who owned very few books, I was over the moon. I remember going home that night and staying up all night long and reading it.

Just such a great memory, and that’s a book that has traveled with me over the last 30 years. It resides on my bedside table, and is just a nice little reminder of one of the most positive experiences in my childhood.

Although funnily enough – I don’t think I have read that book since that initial reading.  I recall it doesn’t end well – and whenever I pick it up to read I shake my head and think “I’m not ready for this”.  I’m going to change that this month.

E-mail us your feedback to [email protected] or just reply to this e-mail, and we’ll pick the best comments and feature it in next months newsletter. Five people will also randomly win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.

Reader Mailbag:

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