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What I Read in August

What I've Read This Month

Marianna has really started to become interested in books this month. She likes to sit and look through them on her own, and then will bring it over to me or Anthony to read to her. Over and over and over again. Still, at least she has stopped trying to eat them!

For my part, I made the plunge and signed up to Kindle Unlimited. (Well, the free trial month at any rate.) I'm really enjoying it and think I'll continue into the paid subscription. It's cheaper than my normal monthly spend on books - even accounting for the constant stream of Goodreads wins! - and the catalogue is full of the weird and wonderful which suits me perfectly.

Anyway, this month I've read...

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Rin-Tin-Tin: The Movie StarRin-Tin-Tin: The Movie Star by Ann Elwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2010. Well researched account of the life of Rin-Tin-Tin and how he became the money spinning 'wonder dog'. I particularly liked how Elwood unpicked the official story to reveal the facts behind Rin-Tin-Tin's rise to fame.


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The Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of 'Joe' Carstairs, Fastest Woman on WaterThe Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of 'Joe' Carstairs, Fastest Woman on Water by Kate Summerscale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 1997. Another superb book by Kate Summerscale. Carstairs was a fascinating character, and Summerscale really brings her - and the world she inhabited - to life.


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Rainbow II: the Magic Show (Rainbow)Rainbow II: the Magic Show by Mike Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fiction, 1991. When Zippy's card trick is shown to be less than magical, George takes centre stage and makes Bungle disappear! My daughter is obsessed with the Rainbow TV show so I was really pleased to stumble across the book series on Amazon - she loves the story and has had us read it over and over already.

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The AstorsThe Astors by Virginia Cowles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 1979. Really interesting overview of the Astor family, and the impact they had on their peers and surroundings. I particularly enjoyed the section on Mrs Astor and how she was able to make or break people's society aspirations with her '400'. My only quibble is that later chapters feel a little confusing at times, what with all the extra Astors in the mix and the jumps in chronology. Still, a very enjoyable read!

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Hope and Glory: A Life of Dame Clara ButtHope and Glory: A Life of Dame Clara Butt by Maurice Leonard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had never heard of Clara Butt before stumbling across this book on Amazon, but I'm so glad I went ahead and read it anyway. Butt was a hugely successful contralto singer - I had to YouTube to hear what it was all about! - in the late Victorian / Edwardian era, and was made a Dame in recognition of her fundraising during WW1. This is a dense and detailed biography, with lots of information about all the characters we meet along the way; I liked this approach, and felt I came away with a better understanding of Britain as a whole during this time period. The only issue, really, is the Kindle formatting which has smushed a lot of words together.

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Prince Eddy and the Homosexual UnderworldPrince Eddy and the Homosexual Underworld by Theo Aronson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 1994. Compelling argument that Prince Eddy was the distinguished figure the authorities were trying to shield during the Cleveland Street scandal, backed up by contemporary correspondence. I also enjoyed the chapters dealing with the prince's supposed role in the Jack the Ripper murders - it's not a difficult theory to debunk, true, but the author does it well.

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Scotland Yard CasebookScotland Yard Casebook by Joan Lock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2014. I really enjoyed this and, although I've read about most of the cases in detail before, this was the first time the timeline of changes to the force - and what that meant on the ground - made sense for me. Lock's writing is clear and engaging, and inspired me to download another book by her as soon as I'd finished this one!


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The Strange Case of Israel Lipski: A Story of London's East End in 1887The Strange Case of Israel Lipski: A Story of London's East End in 1887 by Bob Biderman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fiction, 2015. This is a really interesting premise, following fictionalised versions of contemporary writers looking at the infamous Lipski case of 1887 and its context within the anglo-Jewish relations of the time. I found the Victorian writing style heavy going though.

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Queen Bees: Six Brilliant and Extraordinary Society Hostesses Between the Wars - A Spectacle of Celebrity, Talent, and Burning AmbitionQueen Bees: Six Brilliant and Extraordinary Society Hostesses Between the Wars - A Spectacle of Celebrity, Talent, and Burning Ambition by Siân Evans
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2016. This overview of six of the main society hostesses is a fascinating look at interwar Britain. Although coverage of each is necessarily more restricted than perhaps I would like, this approach does give a clear sense of the rivalries between each set - as well as the closely intertwined nature of contemporary upper class society.

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Lady Policeman: Memoirs of a WPC in the Metropolitan PoliceLady Policeman: Memoirs of a WPC in the Metropolitan Police by Joan Lock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 1968. Originally published in 1968, Joan Lock describes her life as a Metropolitan policewoman in the 1950s. Although a product of its time, it's still well worth reading for anybody interested in crime, policing, and women's history - time and again I found myself surprised by how limited the work, and career prospects, of policewomen was. (Something which continues to be highlighted throughout Lock's later work, right into the 1980s and 90s.)

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Blue Murder?Blue Murder? by Joan Lock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 1986. Really interesting collection of cases where early policemen were accused or found guilty of committing murder!


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Dreadful Deeds And Awful Murders: Scotland Yard's First Detectives, 1829 - 1878Dreadful Deeds And Awful Murders: Scotland Yard's First Detectives, 1829 - 1878 by Joan Lock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 1990. Although I had read about a lot of these early cases before, this was the first time I had really considered them from the police perspective. It's incredibly interesting to see how even at this stage the politics of dealing with crime affected detection on the ground, and the ability of the police to bring cases to a satisfactory conclusion.

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Lungdon (Iremonger, #3)Lungdon by Edward Carey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fiction, 2015. I admit up front that I haven't read the first two instalments in the series, so I went in completely green... but, although I'd recommend reading the others first, it only served to add to the dark, creepy, bewildering atmosphere of the book. I loved the gothic Victorian style, and the unique fantasy elements kept me page turning. The eerie illustrations are really just the icing on the cake!

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Witch Girl : The True Story of Marlene OliveWitch Girl : The True Story of Marlene Olive by Pam Hamilton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2016. Brief overview of Marlene Olive and her part in the 'Barbecue Murders' of her adoptive parents. Very quick read, but it interested me in the case enough to download a longer book!


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Tales From Bow StreetTales From Bow Street by Joan Lock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 1982. Fascinating look at Bow Street, from the early days of the Runners through to the second half of the 20th century. Lock brings together plenty of interesting cases heard by the magistrates, and paints a vivid picture of many of the personages involved.


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Quite Frankly She Said Sunday Best




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Comments

  1. Gosh i wish i could get through that many books in a month!!!
    Witch girl looks great!
    #SundayBest

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow you have got through so many books! I probably get through one book every 2 months if I'm lucky, though before I had children I read one every few days. Thanks for linking up to #SundayBest x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read a lot on the bus to work and back, and after Marianna is in bed! :)

      Delete

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