The Sunday Salon: Third Quarter Wrap-up & October Preview

Happy Sunday, everyone.  This has been a gorgeous, sunny autumn weekend, a sharp contrast to the torrential rain mid-week as Tropical Storm Nicole worked its way up the east cost of the US.  And now only three months remain in the year!

I’ve read 63 books so far this year, and 25 during the third quarter.  That’s a significant increase over the first and second quarters, thanks to an amazing July. My top 5 reads for the 3rd quarter are listed below (links take you to my reviews):

As for the month of September, I read 7 books, but most were just average.  Helen Dunmore’s The Siege stood out, as did Iris Murdoch’s The Bell.  But I was disappointed with Troubles, which won “the lost Booker Prize” earlier this year.  Here’s the complete run-down (links will take you to my reviews).

This string of mostly-average reads has made me a bit impatient.  While reading my last book in September (Postcards), I felt more critical than usual, and at one stage just wanted to be done with it.  It wasn’t really a bad book (3 stars is respectable, after all) — but I wanted to be reading something really good.  It was frustrating!

Now I’ve moved on to Rose Tremain’s Trespass, which was nominated for the 2010 Booker Prize.  I’ve read two other books by Tremain (Restoration and The Road Home) and really enjoyed them.  I received my copy of Trespass through LibraryThing‘s Early Reviewers program, which always feels a bit like winning a prize.  And we have a group read going over there for others who “won” the book, or are reading it for whatever reason.  It’s early yet — not much discussion because it’s too soon — but there are some who feel it’s not quite as good as Tremain’s other books.  We’ll see … have I mentioned that I want to be reading something really good??

Even if the Tremain turns out not to be my really good book, I have high hopes for the rest of October.  Here’s what’s in my queue:

  • Something to Answer For, by P.H. Newby (this is the only Booker Prize winner I haven’t read, at least until this year’s prize announcement!)
  • Adam’s Breed, by Radclyffe Hall (The Well of Loneliness was excellent, and this book will complete my Book Awards Challenge)
  • Summer, by Edith Wharton (it’s Edith Wharton — what’s not to like?  And this one was chosen by my readers!)
  • Testament of Youth, by Vera Brittain (this book has received rave reviews from a couple of LibraryThing members)
  • For Grace Received, by Valeria Parrella (recommended by a commenter on a recent post about Belletrista)

What was your favorite book this month?

What are you looking forward to reading in October?

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Read more from The Sunday Salon here.

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10 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Third Quarter Wrap-up & October Preview

  1. I had an exceptionally poor reading month in September; I read little and those were the few that could captivate my attention (the others were abandoned or read slowly). A highlight was a proof copy of Mary Ann in Autumn, the latest in Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series.

    I fully intend on reading Summer soon, hopefully during October.

    • Claire, I will look forward to your thoughts on Summer. I’ve not read Armistead Maupin so that’s an author I’ll have to investigate!

  2. I dislike those kinds of months. Somehow, September didn’t stand out for me either, although I read the most yet and when I think about it I did read 5 great books. I just don’t know. I do hope you find something that will take your breath away soon. I just read a short story by Rose Tremain and enjoyed it a lot. I had never read anything by her before, but I’d like to change that now 🙂

    • Iris, I didn’t know Tremain had written short stories, I may have to look for those! Let’s hope October is a better reading month for both of us.

  3. I read one of Edith Wharton’s ghost stories yesterday and it reminded me again (as have your discussions of her work recently) that I really must get serious about her. That could make a nice reading project for 2011 (as if I need to obsess about next year’s reading right now). I hope you find your “really good” book soon: it can’t be too far away when you’ve got so many good ones lined up for October!

    • BIP, Edith Wharton is one of my unofficial “MRE” authors. “Unofficial” because I haven’t made it a project (but that’s an excellent idea). Of course you gave me the idea — and the term “MRE” — from your own projects !

  4. The Siege stood out for me too. It will be one of my favourite reads of the year.

    I’ll be interested to see your thoughts on Trespass – I think you’ll enjoy it more than I did.

    I hope you enjoy your final Booker 🙂

    • Hmmm … I don’t know, Jackie. I think we may be neck and neck on Trespass at this point. I have another 50-60 pages to go … stay tuned.

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