Books of the Month – June 2011

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)

Global Challenge (6 read, 8 to go)

Aussie Authors Challenge completed on 15 June

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.

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16 thoughts on “Books of the Month – June 2011

  1. How long did it take you to do the Chart?! That’s amazing. 13 books a month is impressive.
    Do you know when the International dagger will be announced usually? (I’m keeping watching now!) :)

    • Jo Good Reads does the chart for me, if you list all your books there and rate them as you read them you can have one too

      The Dagger is announced on July 21 I think (that’s the date I’ve given myself to finish the rest of the books)

  2. Bernadette – You are making such impressive progress! I’m very, very glad you liked The Woodcutter and Water Blue Eyes as much as you did. Those months that include not one but two 5-star reads are extra-nice :-). And I absolutely love your chart of the month! I must learn your whiz-bang skill at putting things like that together.
    Oh, and you’re not the only who’s given up on controlling the TBR for the moment. There are just too many good reads out there that I need to get to…

    • Margot you can have the same chrt, just look at you GR stats (go to my books then scroll down the left hand side underneath your shelves)

  3. Thanks for the ratings and charts. I want to read the Gentill, the Hill and the Howell. Maybe Water-Blue Eyes, which I’ve gotten mixed reviews about. It is really gritty and brutal? Is it like Needle in a Haystack?
    I’ll be quite interested to see reviews for the July books, some of which are Dagger nominees, I see.
    I’m trying to read those but only have read Camilleri’s and Mello’s and am awaiting for a friend to return my 3 Seconds, and I’m trying to wait to read the Vargas, which is staring at me — and I circle it like good chocolates, while I try to finish Mistress of the Art of Death and about 3 other books I started. But that may not work; I may cave in. As a member of the pro-Vargas camp, i may cave in. I don’t have the other 3, they’re not at Book Depository or not for low enough cost, not at my library. So I’ll wait.
    Anyway, I kind of don’t want to leave my Nero Wolfe binge.

    • Kathy WATER BLUE EYES is not really gritty at all, the murder is a nasty one but other than that the book is quite gentle and funny more than dark

  4. Oh, the Davitt award. I’d love to learn about that and I’m sure it will be up here and at Kerrie’s blog and Fair Dinkum Crime.

  5. I’ll have a go at that Goodreads chart, too, when i can stop fuming about my unsmartness over this smart “thing” (calling it a phone is against the trades descriptions act) that I have been given…..I feel less technically adept as I get older.

    I would go for Water Blue Eyes as book of the month but then I haven’t read the other one. Kathy – it does not cross any lines in my view. There is an upfront description of a body but not done “nastily” but in a matter of fact way.

    I’m also looking forward to that new Katherine Howell when it finally comes out over here (the previous one is only just published today in the UK).

    • Sorry to hear about your smart phone woes Maxine, though if it makes you feel better I abandoned my first smart phone, it made me feel utterly stupid, and I am pretty good with tech stuff. Some of these devices are very poorly designed

  6. Thanks. I did find Water-Blue Eyes at a reasonable price for a new copy at Amazon.
    I eagerly anticipate reviews of the new books posted above.
    The charts: All good, all the time.

  7. Actually what I meant to say was that I load all my ebooks on Shelfari, it took a long while for me to get everything up there but discover many readers are using Good Read. I like a booksite that could give you stats and interactive challenge, not sure if I’ll ever find time to migrate my books to good read, perhaps when I’m unemployed again? ;)

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