The Flight: A Monthly Book Sample (July 2019)

The Flight: A Monthly Book Sample (July 2019)

Andrea Humphries, our resident bibliophile (and a board member), writes a monthly post about what she’s learned from the books she’s reading. Today, she’s here with what she learned in July:

July was a rough month and I hardly read anything except my favourite bits of ridiculous urban fantasy books I’ve read 95 times before. They’re fun and funny and require exactly zero brain power and that was what I needed.

According to Goodreads, which is how I track my reading (although I’m considering going back to just using a notebook), I finished a whopping 3 books in July. One really short non-fiction, one novel, and one audiobook.

I picked up a few of Rowan Williams books a while ago and finally got around to reading Being Christian at the beginning of July. For those of you not familiar with Williams, he served as Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the Church of England and symbolic head of the Anglican Communion worldwide, from 2002-2012. I heard a great podcast episode he did and wanted to read some of his work. Being Christian is “based on talks given in Canterbury Cathedral as part of a regular series of open lectures during Holy Week.” There are four brief sections, each one focusing on an “essential element of Christian life”: baptism, Bible, eucharist, and prayer. I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to reading Being Disciples and Being Human, which were likewise adapted from those Holy Week talks. 

An Artless Demise is the seventh book in Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby Mysteries. I discovered the series a few years ago when the first book was free on Kindle and got hooked. In general, I’m a sucker for the ‘mysteries set during the 19th century with a strong female lead’ genre, but I particularly enjoy the Lady Darby mysteries. The mysteries themselves are entertaining, but I really love the characters and An Artless Demise was very, very rewarding from that point of view. I’ve been thinking about one particular scene since I finished the book because it was so well done. Although each novel in the series does technically stand alone, the character development from book to book is such that I’d say you really have to start the series from the beginning with The Anatomist’s Wife. Huber’s Verity Kent Mysteries, set right after the end of WWI are also quite good.

By far the most fascinating book I’ve read/listened to in ages, Caitlin Doughty’s From Here to Eternity, had me captivated from the very beginning. I’d never heard of the author or the book until Audible Canada offered it as a daily deal. I bought it on a whim, since it was about $5, it sounded interesting, and it’s narrated by the author. I’m so glad I did. Lest you confuse it with the 1953 movie of the same name, the book’s subtitle is “Traveling the World to Find the Good Death”. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a history nerd; maybe it’s because I watched too much Murder, She Wrote or Diagnosis Murder at a young age; maybe it’s because I’m just a weirdo, but I’ve always been fascinated by death and how we deal (and don’t deal) with it. I love wandering through cemeteries, visiting the Roman and Parisian catacombs is on my bucket list, and one of the most surreal moments of my life was accidentally bumping into the sarcophagus of Lady Jane Grey’s mother, Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk in Westminster Abbey (I’m a Lady Jane fangirl and I had no idea her mother was entombed in the Abbey). I remember almost nothing of First Knight but the very end when, having pushed King Arthur’s funeral pyre out to sea, they light it with a flaming arrow from a longbow.

In From Here to Eternity, Doughty recounts her visits to Crestone, Colorado; South Sulawesi, Indonesia; Michoacan, Mexico; Cullowhee, North Carolina; Barcelona, Spain; Tokyo, Japan; La Paz, Bolivia; and Joshua Tree, California to study the local customs surrounding death and the bodies of the dead. It’s a memoir of sorts, telling the stories of the people she met in each location and their death traditions. Doughty has a wicked sense of humour and I found myself laughing out loud repeatedly as I listened to the book. She also demonstrates enormous respect for the different cultures, traditions, and attitudes she interacts with, even when they’re in opposition with her own beliefs. It was macabre and interesting and entertaining and educational from beginning to end and I loved it. I’m looking forward to listening to Doughty’s first book and now, if you need me, I’ll be down the rabbit hole of her YouTube channel, “Ask a Mortician.”

The Flight: A Monthly Book Sampler (August 2019)

The Flight: A Monthly Book Sampler (August 2019)

Literary Agents & Honest Tables

Literary Agents & Honest Tables