Halfway through September already – where the heck does the time go?

It feels like just a few days ago that I was writing the monthly newsletter that gets sent out on the 1st of the month. Not over two weeks ago!

We’re already starting to get that typical September weather here in Kingston, ON. You wake up and it’s raining and it just continues to drizzle all day long and never stopping.

Schools went back here and they came up with a new concept for high school students; one class per month. So for the month of September if English is your 1st period then you learn English all day, every day for the entire month and that’s it. To be honest I’m 50/50 on the idea – while it could be boring and frustrating; it may help the learning experience.

My son was all ready to go back to school on September 3rd when he got his schedule in; his first period is a spare period. Meaning yep – he doesn’t have to go to school until October! He initially wasn’t a big fan of this new school schedule but yeah – quickly changed his mind when he found that out!

Speaking of – I’m still not used to the new routine. It’s 6:50am as I’m writing this and I’m sitting here relaxing thinking I’ve got all the time in the world to write this. Then it’s like “Oh crap – need to get my daughter up and her lunch ready for school!”. It doesn’t help that her entrance to school was staggered – every other day then we had Labour Day within that just to confuse things further

It’s funny how writing this newsletter can affect not just my reading but life in general. The mailbag topic this month is about your favourite books as a kid – and I mentioned Enid Blyton. Well I couldn’t get Enid out of my head and shared a few e-mails with people talking about her.

Next thing you know I spent the first week of September reading ALL 21 Famous Five books. Loved every minute of it too. They’re quite easy to read – I was reading two per day on average. I’m not done either – I’m going to start the Secret Seven books next. That was a series I didn’t enjoy as much as a kid and barely remember them – so I’m really looking forward to that and getting into some “new” Blyton.

It was also my mum’s birthday on September 3rd, and I ended up getting her a few Enid Blyton inspired gifts. A Famous Five mug showing all the book covers and a Famous Five 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle with all the book covers. Sites like Etsy and ebay are just the best.

The only “adult” book I read this month was the third book in the Carter Blake series by Mason Cross. I’ve mentioned this series a few times and in the Sep 1 newsletter covered the only real negative – the narrator switching and no idea who was talking in each chapter.

Well in The Time To Kill I am happy to report that Carter is from the first person and all others are third person. What a difference it made. I absolutely loved this book and if I had a Top 10 or even Top 5 of the year – that one made the list. So glad I started that series as it was just such a rewarding book and such a great story. Looking forward to reading the last two in that series now.

Total Power – the new Mitch Rapp book – just released today. I think I will read the Carter books before that, then jump into the Secret Seven. That’s my reading month planned out.

I had to laugh. Each month I ask a question on Facebook for people to recommend a series or author based on a specific topic then print the answers in the mid-month newsletter.

This month I asked people to recommend a short series – 5 books or less. I think it’s always nice to have little series like that to read through and get caught up on it. Feels like you accomplished something being able to read an entire book series in the course of a week.

The amount of answers I got that were “The first 5 books in the Alex Cross series” or “the Harry Bosch series” etc cracked me up. I always get a good laugh out of those monthly questions as I always get some bizarre answers. Like the person who suggested “Jack Reacher” when I asked for the best Scandinavian noir.

I’ve did my best to filter all of that out however if a few slipped through in the list below – just wanted to explain why it sometimes happens.

Each month we give away 5 prizes to 5 random subscribers of $25 each in the form of Amazon gift certificates. 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:

Mary from Az (Email starts with wmkea)
Jim H. from Calgary, AB
Teresa K. from Lexington, NC
Rick F. from Corpus Christi, TX
Dorothy L from Poulsbo, WA

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

Graeme
OrderOfBooks.com

Book Recommendations:

In this section I give 3 random book recommendations when it’s the mid-month newsletter, and 4-5 recommendations for the monthly newsletter. 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 site@orderofbooks.com 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!

Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear

This is one of those series that many readers will be familiar with – it’s been mentioned in various top lists and reader mailbags over the years. However I don’t believe I’ve ever actually recommended it within this section until now.

Christine was the reader that motivated me to add it writing “The Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear which takes place in England and it is about a former servant who starts her own business as a psychologist & investigator. It takes place at the tail end of WWI and goes through WWII.”

It’s a series that was on many readers “blindly buy” list from last month. If you haven’t read this great mystery series yet, be sure to check it out. Many of the books have been nominated or win Agatha awards with the first novel winning the Agatha for Best First Novel. Check it out!

Strip Tease by Carl Hiassen

Carl has a new novel that was just released today called Squeeze Me. If you are looking for escapism and just an all time entertaining read – Carl is the man.

One of our readers, Ruth, is a big fan and I asked her what book of his she would recommend the most. She went with Strip Tease, stating “I think i enjoyed Strip Tease a great deal because I was introduced to the crazy characters in this book for the first time. The story kept me laughing and enjoying the read.”

This is the type of book anyone should be able to pick up and read and enjoy. Check out our Carl Hiassen page for more details.

Sons of Texas Series by Elmer Kelton
I asked for recommendations on Westerns last month and Eliece submitted this series. Elmer is one of their favourite authors in this genre and the Sons of Texas series is a trilogy.

If you’re looking to get into Westerns or try out a new genre, with only three books in the series this would be a good one to check out.

The first book features Mordecai Lewis and his two sons who are riding into the Spanish province of Texas on a hunting mission. It ends up being a deadly mission for Mordecai, leaving his two sons in peril as they go up against a murderous Spanish officer and a good ol’ blood vendetta with another clan.

Top Series of 5 Books or Less

I asked our Facebook followers to recommend book series of 5 books or less. Below are the responses. Some series with 6 or 7 books I also included 🙂

(This list of series is copied ad verbatim. Authors who aren’t linked aren’t on our site yet but will be given the highest priority to add.)

  • Carter Blake (Series by Mason Cross)
  • Ryder Creed (Series by Alex Kava)
  • Peter Ash (Series by Nick Petrie)
  • Wool (Series by Hugh Howey)
  • Warlord Chronicles (Series by Bernard Cornwell)
  • The Land of Stories (Series by Chris Colfer)
  • Will Robie (Series by David Baldacci)
  • John Puller (Series by David Baldacci)
  • Atlee Pine (Series by David Baldacci)
  • Camel Club (Series by David Baldacci)
  • Lee Nez (Series by Aimee & David Thurlo)
  • Amos Decker/Memory Man (Series by David Baldacci)
  • Matthew Shardlake (Series by C.J. Sansom)
  • Red Sparrow (Series by Jason Matthews)
  • The Lord of the Rings (Series by J.R.R. Tolkien)
  • Lewis Trilogy (Series by Peter May)
  • The Time Quintet (Series by Madeleine L’Engle)
  • The Patternmaster (Series by Octavia E. Butler)
  • The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles (Series by Brenda Novak)
  • Power of the Dog (Series by Don Winslow)
  • Cormoran Strike (Series by Robert Galbraith)
  • Bill Hodges Trilogy (Series by Stephen King)
  • Jane Hawk (Series by Dean Koontz)
  • Sam Capra (Series by Jeff Abbott)
  • Twilight (Series by Stephenie Meyer)
  • Earth’s Children (Series by Jean Auel)
  • Tillerman Family (Series by Cynthia Voigt)
  • Mars Trilogy (Series by Kim Stanley Robinson)
  • The Awakening Land (Series by Conrad Richter)
  • The Arbai Trilogy (Series by Sherri Tepper)
  • The Henry Family (Series by Herman Wouk)
  • Dress Gray (Series by Lucian Truscott)
  • Wayward Pines (Series by Blake Crouch)
  • My Brother Michael (Series by Janis Owens)
  • The Magicians (Series by Lev Grossman)
  • Elizabeth I Trilogy (Series by Margaret Irwin)
  • Watership Down (Series by Richard Adams)
  • Time and Again (Series by Jack Finney)
  • Jackson Brodie (Series by Kate Atkinson)
  • Asian Saga (Series by James Clavell)
  • Bloodhound (Series by Virginia Lanier)
  • Thomas Cromwell (Series by Hilary Mantel)
  • Kane and Abel (Series by Jeffrey Archer)
  • The Clifton Chronciles (Series by Jeffrey Archer)
  • William Warwick (Series by Jeffrey Archer)
  • Children of Blood and Bone (Series by Tomi Adeyemi)
  • Cormac Reilly (Series by Dervla McTiernan)
  • Gilded Hour (Series by Sara Donati)
  • The Dark is Rising (Series by Susan Cooper)
  • Ryder Creed (Series by Alex Kava)
  • The Hunger Games (Series by Suzanne Collins)
  • All Souls (Series by Deborah Harkness)
  • Brilliance Saga (Series by Marcus Sakey)
  • Top 10 Charts:

    Notes: With the release of a new novel, Louise Penny reclaims top spot. Not too many changes this month with only Stuart Woods returning to the list.

    Notes: In a surprise – the Gamache series drops from #2 to #3 as Alex Cross continues his climb to claim 2nd spot. Based on the numbers and a new Reacher book coming out soon though he has no chance of #1. Stuart Woods also saw his Stone Barrington series move up the list. Neat seeing the Maisie Dobbs series hit the list with me also recommending it this month.

    New Author Spotlight:

    This month we are featuring John McMahon.

    John studied creative writing in college and worked in the advertising industry. In 2019, he released his first novel entitled The Good Detective.

    It was the first book in the Detective P.T. Marsh series and was well received. It was praised by the likes of John Hart, Glen Erik Hamilton and Reed Farrel Coleman. The Good Detective was a Top 10 Crime Novel of the Year by the New York Times Book Review.

    John recently released the second novel in the series, The Evil Men Do.

    P.T. Marsh was a rising star initially in the police force until his wife and son were killed in an accident. That has sent him off the rails somewhat. Such as when he beats up an abusive boyfriend one night – only to be called to a murder crime scene the next day – and it’s the man that he beat up.

    Very interesting seeing a detective series where the protagonist is a flawed character and well worth checking out. See our John McMahon page for more details.

    Each month we feature one new author as recommended by you, the readers. If you have suggestions for an author to feature in this section, please reply or e-mail site@orderofbooks.com. Only rule is that their first book can’t be more than 18 months old. (Although we may make exceptions!)

    Your Thoughts:

    If you have already responded to the reader mailbag question in the September 1st newsletter, no need to do so again.

    This month I am asking: what are the most memorable novels from your youth?

    I actually asked this question back in May 2018. I was looking at some newsletter statistics the other day and this was actually the 3rd most popular topic in terms of word count in the history of the mailbag. So hey why not dig it up again? And if you answered it back then feel free to answer again of course!

    Here’s what I wrote last time (as surprise – the most memorable novels from my youth haven’t changed in two years!)

    ——
    “Youth” can be tricky to define so there’s no set age range there – I’ll leave it up to you to decide. It can just be generally memorable novels or books, or a certain book that made you a life long fan of reading. Or maybe certain life circumstances that make you immediately think of that novel.

    For me? Well as a child I read Enid Blyton pretty much exclusively. To be honest I’ve sat here for about 10 minutes and I cannot think of one other author I actually read until I was 13 years old. Her stories were always amazing and I went back and re-read many of her series a couple of years ago and they still stood the test of time.

    I still remember winning some sort of contest at the Boys Brigade, and out of 100 random prizes I was given “Shadow the Sheep-dog” by Enid Blyton. Growing up we were very poor and I had to rely on the library for books. This was the first book of hers I’d ever owned and I just have fond memories of reading that book and never wanting it to end. 28 years later and I still own that book even if it is a bit worse for wear, and still read it from time to time.

    At 13 I read my first “adult” novel and the book that really hooked me on reading – The Client by John Grisham. I still lived in Scotland at the time but was visiting my dad in Canada (Parents divorced when I was 8 and he moved to Canada).

    The movie had just came out in theatres and we were going to see it. The day before, he gave me the book and suggested I try and read it. Well I did and I just devoured it. I stayed up all night reading it and went to the movie on no sleep. It was a great book to movie transition and honestly the whole experience of reading this book, staying up all night then watching the movie is just one of those memories that always stick with me.

    That got me onto Grisham and opened up a whole new world for me when it came to books and I’ve never looked back!

    And an honorary mention to Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter. When I was 15 I was flying back to Scotland after another trip, and my dad gave me a copy of that book to read on the plane. It was an incredible book and got me onto the “Bob Lee Swagger” series which is a “lone badass” type of book, and is now my favourite genre of books.
    ——-

    What about you? What memorable books are there from your youth? And if you want to go down memory lane check out the May 2018 mailbag.

    E-mail us your feedback to site@OrderOfBooks.com or just reply to this e-mail, and we’ll pick the best comments and feature it in next month’s newsletter. Five people will also randomly win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.

    Order of Books » Newsletter » September 2020 Mid-Month Newsletter