Books of the month
I had two 5-star reads in June (for a total of 6 this year) and I can’t choose between them for book of the month.
The first was Reginald Hill’s The Woodcutter. I listened to a wonderful narration by Jonathan Keeble and thought this was one of the best examples of story telling I’ve read in a long time, having all the elements that make for a memorable story. Not knowing much about the plot was a definite advantage when leaping into this book so I didn’t include much of a plot synopsis in my review but I would heartily recommend the novel (though am not entirely convinced it is crime fiction but that’s a topic for another day).
The second 5-star book was a debut from Spanish journalist Domingo Villar called Water-Blue Eyes. It’s about the investigation into a grizzly death in northern Spain and is fast, witty, oozing a sense of its location, has terrifically memorable characters and a taut, compelling plot. I met one of my favourite new fictional people in Rafael Estévez, the subordinate of the book’s main character and whose difficulties in coping with the strangeness of the town he has moved to adds a terrific humorous element to the novel.
Actually I had a terrific reading month with one 4.5 and three 4 star reads in addition to these.
Books read this month
Just Because (i.e. not for a challenge)
- Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom – Three Seconds (2 stars – most disappointing book of the year after their previous novel was my book of the month in May)
- Eoin Colfer – Plugged (4 stars)
- Fred Vargas – An Uncertain Place (I didn’t give it a rating)
- Linda Cockburn – Who Killed Dave? (3 stars) (Aussie Author)
- Sulari Gentill – A Decline in Prophets (4 stars) (Aussie Author)
- Reginald Hill – The Woodcutter (5 stars)
- Steve Hamilton - The Lock Artist (3 stars)
- Sydney Bauer – Matter of Trust (2.5 stars) (Aussie Author)
- Domingo Villar -Water-Blue Eyes (5 stars, Europe – Spain)
- Ernesto Mallo – Needle in a Haystack (4 stars, South America – Argentina)
- Gary Corby - The Pericles Commission (3.5 stars)
- Jaye Ford – Beyond Fear (3 stars)
- Katherine Howell – Violent Exposure (4.5 stars – in any other month this would have been book of the month)
Toppling that TBR
My overall challenge for this year was to reduce the number of books I have on hand to read from 200 (as at 1 January 2011) to 80. I think we (and by that I mean me and the voices in my head) might just have to admit defeat even though the year is only half over. By the end of June I still have 184 books to read, despite having read 84 books by the end of June. In my defence most of my acquisitions in June were either books by Australian authors or books I want to read because they are nominated one of several awards I’m interested in. But still I can’t consider my efforts to reduce my TBR anything other than a failure. Oh well.
What’s up for July?
I’m trying to read as many of the eligible titles as I can for the Davitt Awards (Australian award given for crime writing by a woman for which voting closes at the end of this month), the Ned Kelly Awards (Australian award given for crime writing overall which will be awarded in late August) and the International Dagger (given by the UK Crime Writer’s Association for translated crime fiction). I might have to wait for next month to get back on track with all my challenges but here are a few books you should see reviewed in the next few weeks.
Chart of the month
More of a picture than a chart I thought this screen grab from my Good Reads statistics was a good indication of my reading experiences this year. I consider anything I rate 3-stars or more to be time well spent and as you can see from this, the vast majority of my reading has fallen into that category. Lucky me eh? Obviously you won’t be able to see the titles of the books from this picture but if you’re really keen you can go to my Good Reads profile statistics and see them all.