Friday, July 28, 2023


The Sky is the Limit

What is your favorite summertime reading? Reading for me is more than a pleasure. It gives me a chance to hold the mind of a writer in my hands. I look for lyrical, well-edited writing, but every book takes me into another world.

Mysteries carry me through the year and I'm always looking for good recommendations. I like the character development, the suspense, and the puzzle presented of a who-done-it. Two mystery series I enjoyed this past month:

Billy Boyle, a series about a rookie Boston police officer, who serves in the military during World War II as an investigator. The author James R. Benn puts the reader right in the middle of historical events as well as in interesting places like Tunisia and Sicily.

I've just finished Joe Country, part of Mick Herron's series about Slough House, the dumping place for British spies who have made mistakes and are no longer trusted by their government. Herron's writing reminds me of John LeCarre, with his painstaking minutiae of the life of has-been spies who somehow still get involved in solving crises.

In the last year, I have also been drawn to books about libraries and bookstores. This interest started with The Midnight Library by Matt Haig and The Library Book by Susan Orlean. I just finished The Echo of Old Books by Barbara Davis and The Librarian of Burned Books by Brianna Labuskes, which is especially parallel to what is happening at libraries and schools today. 

Two other recommendations:
Lady Bird Johnson, Hiding in Plain Sight by Julia Sweig, a fresh look at an important woman and
I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys, a novel portraying life in Romania under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu.

My goal this year has been to complete a blog post each Friday in the midst of packing and moving. Each blog post becomes a way for me to find insight into day-to-day experiences. Though I haven't had as much time to spend working on each post, I find that having a chance to continue even while upturning our lives has been a respite for me as well as a way to understand how I feel each day.

Lighthouse at Santa Cruz


  1. Favourite summer time reading! Choosing which beach for a break is bad enough but just because Fleming wrote his stuff in GoldenEye Jamaica by a beautiful beach doesn’t mean you shouldn’t research what to read on your chosen beach on your next holiday whether in Britain or elsewhere. One non-Bond fact based espionage thriller has been made to measure just for you in this regard and Ian Fleming even knew the MI6 handler of its author (MI6 codename JJ) in real life.

    So when choosing a beach holiday, do try the unadulterated noir spy novel Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files series. Why? It features Copacabana Beach, Nassau and Governor's Beaches in the Bahamas, Miami Beach, Plages de Saint Tropez, the Palm Beach casino in London and even Beachy Head! If you’re into all things espionage you’ll love this curious fact based book. It's the first stand-alone novel in The Burlington Files series. It’s a true story about an accountant who unwittingly works for MI5 and MI6 who is later hired “eyes wide open” by the CIA. It’s set in 1974 not only on a beach near you but also in London, Nassau and Port au Prince.

    PS I would have recommended Runswick Bay in Yorkshire. If the weather is clement it beats all those crowded exotic beaches by a nautical mile or two! The trouble is The Times wrecked it by getting it voted in as the best of British beaches.

  2. MI6 -- thank you for such a thorough group of suggestions to read this summer. I'm going to have to come to Runswick Bay sometime too!

  3. From Letty by email: I think your idea of writing a blog every week through your hurried trying times will be most beneficial in the years to come when you look back at how did I ever survive that?
    I am an avid reader, and went through the mystery. Detective story spell 30 to 40 years ago. I I am reading books about libraries. I am reading books about libraries and band books. My favorite one is The Midnight Library. You might also like the Personal Librarian.
    I am keeping your list for the future.

    1. Once again, Letty, we are on similar paths. Mysteries and libraries/bookshops make for good reads.

  4. From Cheryl by Email: I am grateful your blog keeps you centered and aware of how you feel each day. I always find it smart and thoughtful giving me a deeper insight of you and an inspiration in my life.

    Books I have been reading are fluff but allow me to escape and enjoy my reading time with Jim. While he is busy reading history and political books (he is currently reading “The Secret War” by Max Hastings) I fill my evenings with Danielle Steel, Nicholas Sparks, Richard Paul Evans, Debbie MacComber, and Thomas Kincaid novels. I can easily read them in a day and Jim is so impressed by my reading them so quickly. I just want to know what happens to the characters in each novel I am reading and they are fun for me.

    One book that I did read of substance is James Clear’s “Atomic Habits”. It is still on the best sellers’ list every week and I know why. What I got out of it is to “Habit Stack”. I cannot tell you how this has changed my habits as I get so much more done! Instead of jumping all around to different tasks (Walt used to say that I reminded him of a flea hopping all around :) I stay focused and finish everything thing while I am there. An example is to empty the coffee pot then refilling with fresh water, a new filter, and coffee for the next day rather than doing it in parts. My focus is just to finish each task while I am there. This is becoming HABIT for me as I start to hop then focus on the chore at hand.

    1. Hi Cheryl, thanks for your good book tips. Sounds like Atomic Habits fits you weill!


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