what I read in July 2020

American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI by Kate Winkler Dawson
The interesting story of Edward Heinrich, pioneer of forensic science. Fascinating case histories, but it felt a little disjointed. Also: please don’t tease with a case in the first chapter and not get back to it until the last. I hate that.

The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump by Mary Jordan
If you ever pitied Melania for being trapped in a loveless marriage with a lying buffoon, don’t. They deserve each other.

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel


Cosy: The British Art of Comfort by Laura Weir
I wouldn’t say drinking tea, wearing warm socks and hunkering down indoors are activities exclusive to the British, but what do I know?

The Durrells of Corfu by Michael Haag
A bit sloppily written, but I liked learning about the lives of the real Durrells. The show, unsurprisingly, glosses over a lot.

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
Started off strong, but it faded a bit for me. It was okay.

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
(Audiobook, read beautifully by Phyllida Law)
What could I possibly say that hasn’t already been said a million times over? Staggeringly good.

The Other Side of the Coin by Angela Kelly
The behind-the-scenes details about the Queen’s wardrobe and what it’s like to work for her were great; the parts about Kelly herself were less so. The inclusion of letters from her young grandchildren about how wonderful and inspiring she is seemed odd and all the terrible low-res photos (many of which made her eyes appear to be all iris, no white, and super creepy) are not an asset.

The Room Where It Happened by John Bolton
(Audiobook, read by Robert Petkoff)
A hate-listen, simple as that. Hours and hours of this pompous blowhard going on and on about how he is always, ALWAYS, right about everything and everyone else is (almost) always wrong. Also includes: every compliment he has ever received.

Skogluft by Jørn Viurndal
The first two hundred pages explain why nature is good. The last few pages explain how to grow a bunch of pothos plants on your wall. A thousand-word magazine article would have more than sufficed.

A Visit from the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan
(Audiobook, read by Roxana Ortega)
“Spellbinding interlocking narratives,” the blurb says. I found most of it reasonably enjoyable, but not exactly spellbinding. The chapter in which an autistic child provides the statistics on pauses in a wide variety of songs was unlistenable, though.