Happy sigh. A long weekend is spread out ahead of me--four days in which I hope to get lots of reading done. I really need this break and am not even disappointed that rain is forecast for both Sunday the Fourth and Monday. It just gives me an excuse to stay inside and curl up on the sofa with a book. I don't mind forgoing barbecues and all the things that come with them (including mosquitoes) in favor of a little solitude and reading time. I'm not especially sociable at the best of times, I'm afraid, but this weekend I just feel like playing the hermit.
I'm nearing the end of Elizabeth George's Careless in Red. And while it isn't her best book by any means it has proven to be an excellent distraction for me, which I really need at the moment. S.J. Bolton's Blood Harvest has also turned out to be a very suspenseful story. Actually it's been very creepy and I think I like it even better than her first novel, Sacrifice. I may have to save it for a rainy night since she's certainly got the atmosphere right. Maybe a little thunder and lightening will only enhance the mood? Though if I end up being home alone... After I finish these I'll be working on The Likeness in earnest. I've pulled it out in anticipation for her new book A Faithful Place, which I have already heard good things about. It's due out in a week or so and I am high up on the list for a library copy. It may not matter if I read them out of order, but I'm thinking the stories might build on each other.
I'll also be finishing Sally Gunning's The Rebellion of Jane Clarke, which I told you a little about already. As someone noted in a comment, it really is the perfect reading choice for this Independence Day weekend. So there is my nod to the holiday even if I miss the cookouts and fireworks.
I always feel bad when I do this, but I am setting John Cheever's The Wapshot Chronicle aside. It's still on my list to read and I think I will enjoy it, but the timing is off at the moment. Rather than forcing a book that I'm not in the mood for (and in the end I tend to resent those reads just a little bit--as strange as that sounds), I think I will pick something else up instead. Wallace Stegner has been someone I've long wanted to read, and as I've had several people recommend him, I've picked up Crossing to Safety, which I think will be a much better fit.
I wanted to mention also that I've been listening to audio books again. They make my daily walks to and from the bus stop go much quicker. I love walking, but walking the same route can be tedious as there is nothing new to look at. I've just finished Minette Walters's The Chameleon's Shadow. I read several of her books years ago and recall liking everything I read. She's similar to Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine in that her novels tend to be very psychological in nature as well as very suspenseful. This one was no different, though I hadn't been tempted to read it. It begins with the bombing of a military vehicle in Iraq which leaves two soldiers dead and one gravely wounded with horrible facial injuries. The soldier is damaged in other ways than just physically. His release from the hospital coincides with the murders of three gay men that he may have crossed paths with. Unsurprisingly he becomes a suspect as he has obvious anger issues and secrets buried deep in his past. I enjoyed it much more than I expected, though it isn't her best work (or at least my favorite book by her). I think what made the experience so good was an excellent reader. His range of voices and accents, even for the female characters, was so well done it was easy to keep them all separate and recognizable. I think I need to revisit or look for some unread books by her.
Now I am listening to Carol Goodman's The Sonnet Lover. I've tried to read this book twice now, and I can never seem to get passed the first chapter. Although her stories tend to be slightly formulaic (in that they always seem to have an academic for a heroine, are set at least in part in upper New York, are suspenseful with a dash of romance), I really like them and have read all of her earlier work. Don't get me wrong when I say formulaic, as when the formula works the reading experience is a good one. So far, so good, though the reader isn't quite so talented in differentiating the voices as with the Walters's audio book. Still, I think I will stick with the story and then perhaps I can move on to her last couple of newer books, which appeal to me more than this one.
I didn't meant to go on so long as I know things are going to be quiet around here with the holiday weekend and lots of people on vacations. If you are celebrating the Fourth, have a safe and enjoyable holiday. And if you're not, have a safe and enjoyable weekend! Happy reading everyone.