Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer Reading and TV

I've been in a lazy mood all week. I think it's partly exhaustion from finishing up teaching my summer class and turning in the first draft of a law review article. I also had a little surgery that took more out of me that I thought it would. (Here's the TMI part: The surgery was to fully remove a mole and surrounding tissue from my side. The dermatologist originally just removed the surface of the mole, but the sample looked irregular in the initial biopsy, so they decided to take it all out. Thankfully, it turned out not to be melanoma and I am fine). So, I've been reading books on my ipad and binge-watching TV. And here are my reviews:
I've read three murder mystery/detective novels, all with literary touches. My favorite was The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson. I read it in less than a day! That's really unusual for me, but it really grabbed my attention. It's set in Mississippi in the late 1940's and centers on a New York African American attorney from the NAACP who goes to address racially charged crimes in a small town. Great characters and a great look at race in the post-WWII, pre-Martin Luther King era. It came to my attention because it won the award given by the American Bar Association for best legal novel of 2014. I also really liked Still Life by Louise Penny. It's set in Quebec and is the first in a series of novels about a Chief Inspector. It reminded me a bit of Elizabeth George's detective series (but not as dark) that I used to read and love. I could see myself returning to the Louise Penny series in the future when I want a well-written, light romp; perhaps when I know I'll be on a long plane flight. Finally, I read and liked In the Woods by Tana French. It was interesting and kept my attention but, ultimately, felt disappointing. It's also the first in a series, but I really don't think I would return to the series. It's darker than Still Life and more happens; I think it aspires to more. It certainly gave me more to think about. But in the end, it didn't deliver.
Next summer reads up on my kindle are:
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen
And with a more literary bent:
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini 
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scott
Any one read any of these four? Got any other books to recommend?
I know I watch way too much television, but I tell myself it's okay because I usually watch while doing laundry or other household chores. Some new shows I'm enjoying right now -
Unreal - Great show!!! Dark, twisted looks behind the scenes of a "Bachelor/Bachelorette" - style reality show. 
Humans - I want to be the cool kid who "gets" and loves Mr. Robot, but I just don't get that show. However, I do really like Humans so far - about synthetic humans and the role they play in the future. Only three episodes in so far, but I really enjoy it.

Complications - Because, yeah, Jason O'Mara makes my heart sing. Fell in love with him during the run of the U.S. version of Life on Mars. And I would watch anything with him. But also because it's fast paced and interesting.It's six episodes in and may be running out of material, but I'm hoping it figures itself out. It's from the same producer as Burn Notice.  
And two older shows that I returned to this summer:
Hannibal (loved the first season; still captivated by the second season and hanging in there for the end of season three) and Orphan Black (season 3  got off to a rocky start but ended strong).
Would love to get recommendations for other TV series people like these days (either current or available streaming).


Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

I'm enjoying Humans too. It's throwing up a lot of interesting questions and Gemma Chan plays a very convincing synth. Currently I'm streaming/catching up on Fargo and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell. I loved Life on Mars, although have only seen the UK version. Another recent series I thought was brilliant is Top of the Lake. I watched it on Netflix, but I think the UK version has slightly different content to the US. I highly recommend if you get the chance.

Eileen T said...

I loved 'And the Mountains Echoed', hope you enjoy it too.

Amy said...

Hi Rinda! How are you?
Sorry to hear about the melanoma - so many people have them here too, cutting out procedures are (unfortunately) part of our lives .... the drawback to all of our lovely sun!

I've just finished reading the Gamache series (a new one is released this August) and I thought they were outstanding. The first couple of books are a little slow (though, that is part of their beauty) but they increase with intensity, suspense and a wonderful mix of human emotion, frailty and kindness. Truly, once I got into them, I couldn't stop - I think I read all ten in a month!

Anyway, I hope you recover fully very quickly and enjoy your summer break - take care :)

Melissa said...

The Secret of Magic sounds interesting - guess I'll have to add it to my rather long to-read list! :)

I read And the Mountains Echoed last year - I thought it was somewhat disjointed and not as good as Khaled Hosseini's other books. It was a good storyline that got jumbled up & didn't have a very satisfactory ending (for me). I look forward to reading your thoughts on it.

We're not much for TV watching here, but usually have one series that we enjoy. Right now it's The Last Ship, which is currently in Season Two.

Linda said...

Sorry to hear about your minor op Rinda. Hope you are feeling better by now. I am late to the party but have just started watching 'Mad Men', and am really enjoying it! I haven't read any of your titles, but do have the Khaled Hosseini in my reading pile.

Lynda said...

Rinda, Thanks for the reviews. I love hearing what others are reading and I'll be adding a couple of your reads to my list. As for the TV I've not heard of any of those series except Hannibal - not sure where I've been!! Hope all is well with the surgery.

Jane said...

I enjoyed The Girl with all the gifts. Glad all was ok with the mole.

♥ Liz ♥ said...

Hope all is well with you after your little op.
I don't have any new books to read at the moment but I am enjoying watching Mr O'Mara in Complications. I'm only 4 episodes in and not sure where it's going to go but I'm happy to watch and find out :0)

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear the good report on the mole removal. Haven't read any books so far this summer - that's got to be a first. I'll be checking out a couple of the ones you mentioned though.