Books of the Month – August 2010

That Was Then

August was a hectic month involving the country’s most bizarre election (which had me watching far more TV than I normally would) and an invasion from overseas (i.e. family came to visit). Both of these activities left little time for reading let alone blogging about reading. So I only managed to read a paltry 7 books for the month and of those my pick is

  • Roseanna by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. Although it was published more than 40 years ago the book is remarkably undated as well as being taut and intense. I would recommend it to all fans of the modern police procedural who want to know more about the origins of this sub genre.

Honourable mentions for August go to

New Additions

You would think that being as busy/preoccupied as I was during the month I would also have had less time available to acquire books but alas this does not appear to have been the case as 20 books still managed to find their way onto my never-shrinking TBR pile. Sigh. In my defence (should I need one) most of them were pre-orders, mooches and library holds that became available.

Among my new friends are my first Polish crime fiction, another new Australian historical mystery, the last novel I need to read to complete the African leg of my global challenge, a Japanese novel that I have heard many good things about and an Italian legal procedural that looks very promising

What to read next?

Anything really.

I have not finished a book for more than a week which is a real rarity for me and is starting to make me feel extremely crotchety. I have given up entirely on election-watch (we are into our second week of having no government and funnily enough the country hasn’t fallen into turmoil) and my overseas invaders will soon depart which should allow the noise levels to return to a dull roar and my duties as entertainer of young people during heavy rain will no longer be required thereby freeing my leisure time up for reading once again.

I have several books from the library which must be returned soon and I need to do some work on my remaining challenges so coming up you will hopefully see me talking about novels from Canada, Namibia, Ireland, Norway and Scotland.

Chart of the Month

I was curious to see how author gender is reflected in my reading this year as I haven’t made any conscious decisions about whether to read male or female authors. I was amazed to see that of the 100 books I have finished so far in 2010 the gender of the author is split almost exactly down the middle.

Even more interesting to me is that of the 42 top rated books (those rated 4, 4.5 or 5) author gender is once again split almost evenly (though of the six books receiving a 5 rating only 2 are by female authors).

I don’t know that this says anything at all but I found it worthy of a pie chart 🙂

So, what was your best book for August? Did you add any interesting titles to your TBR? And if you keep track of the books you read have you read more books by men? women? or is your reading even like mine?

This entry was posted in Bateman, books of the month, charts, charts, charts, Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, P M Newton (Aus). Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Books of the Month – August 2010

  1. It’s hard to choose, but I think my favorite book in August was Kenneth Cameron’s “The Frightened Man.” I just loved the premise and thought the writing was very strong.

    By the way, the pie charts are lovely. ; )

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  2. Karen I like the sound of The Frightened Man – Jack The Ripper is always an interesting twist – so I’ve added another title to my wishlist – thanks.

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  3. Bernadette – I am impressed with those wonderful pie charts : ). I’m also impressed that, without making a conscious effort, you’ve read quite an evenly-balanced group of books. Nicely done! And after all, what’s a month without some new book acquisitions? ; )

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  4. kathy durkin says:

    What great charts! Cannot wait to read your reviews of that miraculously growing TBR pile; isn’t it wonderful when books appear? So on my books read this year: A third were by women. Favorites for August: Can’t pick one, but “Gunshot Road,” which overlapped months, was a big one. In August, I enjoyed “August Heat,” “The White Gallows,” “Innocent” (Turow), “The Last Lie” (White) and “The Darkest Room,” and others, but see I have to beef up on the women writers so I have a 50-50 split for the year.

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  5. It is so nice to find people who appreciate pie charts 🙂

    Kathy I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy The Darkest Room as much as Hypothermia but I’m glad it came good for you towards the end. I agree with you though that Hypothermia would have been my choice if I were awarding the prize this year. Never mind.

    I really was quite surprised and pleased to see that women writers were forming an equal part of my reading, especially in terms of quality. I can remember a few years ago I had read more women writers than male but had consistently rated the female writers far less than the blokes.

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  6. kathy durkin says:

    I admit I am an unstinting fan of Indridason’s. With Theorin, I was riveted to the book, but I’m not one for ghost stories or past stories that really don’t impact the characters directly. With Indridason, I’d stop everything to read his books, even with my frugal self, ordering his books from the Book Depository to get them faster. However, am now trying to make up for the imbalance of women writers in my 2010 reading list, and am just now enjoying “The Janus Stone.” I could also read Elly Griffiths forever, forking up funds to the essential Book Depository for her books.

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  7. Jose Ignacio says:

    Glad to have you back Bernadette. I was missing you.
    I’ve read some great books in August and I just realised they were mainly in Spanish or translated into Spanish: Needle in a Haystack by Ernesto Mallo (ARG) was probably the best but I can also mention Villar’s Death on a Galician Shore (SPN), Arriaga’s A Sweet Scent of Death (MEX). 120, Rue de la Gare by Leo Malet (FRN), Markaris’ Basic Shareholder (GRC), Missing by Karen Alvtegen (SUE), Edward’s The Coffin Trail (UK) and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (UK).
    So far I’ve read 47 books this year, (70% male, 30% female writters).

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  8. Norman says:

    I have read 42 crime fiction books [and a couple of long history books] 28 male, 14 female.
    My best book for August was Truth by Peter Temple, with Bad Intentions-Karin Fossum, Skinny Dip-Carl Hiassen and A Not so Perfect Crime -Teresa Solana worthy runners up.
    I love your pie charts but they can become an addiction as I am planning end of year analysis charts now!

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  9. Maxine says:

    Ironically, or perhaps I mean coincidentally, I read The Terrorists, the tenth and last of the Martin Beck series in August, while you read the first! For me, the series kept getting better and better, as more socio-political (and a fascinating history lesson of an unusual period), though I know not everyone has the same view, preferring the more traditional police detection of the earlier novels (though this element is far from missing in the later ones).
    You have some very good books to read, of the ones you picture that I’ve read already. I have had a mixed August owing to taking a whole load of potentially adventurous books on holiday with me, and therefore being committed to reading them instead of falling back on something safer when it came to it.
    In the couple of weeks since I’ve been back I have had some mixed experiences too, though very much enjoyed Red Wolf by Liza Marklund, which I’ve just finished. I don’t see her in your sidebar so perhaps this is another author to check out when you have time ;-). I like her very much. The first one chronologically is Studio 69.

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  10. Oh no – more books for my wishlist Jose Ignacio! I have read several translated Spanish novels this year and I have a couple more to go before adding any new ones. Like Norman I enjoyed the Teresa Solana novel very much and have pre-ordered her next novel which is due to be translated to English soon. But I very much want to read the Ernesto Mallo book too.

    Maxine I will definitely be reading all the Sjowell and Wahloo books in order in coming years, as I have begun to do with Henning Mankell’s Wallander books too – but I will add Liza Marklund to my ‘try’ list (though not the one she has written with whatsisname). Though I think I will soon have to designate a year of no new authors so that I can catch up on novels by all the new authors I have tried in the last couple of years.

    Norman I am so pleased to hear you are planning end-of-year charts. I shall look forward to seeing them in all their chart-y goodness.

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  11. BooksPlease says:

    I read 8 books this August which is about average for me. The best ones were The Serpent Pool by Martin Edwards and Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer. As for author gender over the year so it’s almost evenly split – slightly more male than female.

    Deon Meyer is a new author to me. I enjoyed his book so much I went to the library yesterday for more of his. There was just one on the shelf – Blood Safari, so I’ll be reading that this month.

    I’m interested to know what you think of The Tenderness of Wolves as that has been sitting on my bookshelves for a couple of years now and I still haven’t read it.

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    • I am so glad you enjoyed Deon Meyer, I haven’t read Blood Safari yet but is on its way to me and I am pretty sure I’ll enjoy it, having really liked the 3 books I have read of Meyer’s so far.

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  12. kathy durkin says:

    I’ll toss in my opinion on “The Tenderness of Wolves.” I think it’s a good book, but rather slow. If it’s action you want, a thriller, a fast-paced book, this isn’t that. It’s slow and deliberative, but it gives the sense of place in the Canadian woods in the 19th century in winter and it’s breath-taking. There are some interesting plot developments also. I enjoyed it but read it slowly and enjoyed the woods and the weather.

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  13. Maxine says:

    I liked Tenderness of Wolves, though agree it is not fast-paced. It is a debut novel, and although some elements of the novel give that away a bit, in general it is very good I think. I don’t think it was written as a “crime” novel but as “a novel”, so although there is a crime in it, it isn’t a classic investigative story. I am very glad I read it. The author has a new one coming out soonish, but I don’t think it is at all related to her first.

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  14. Dorte H says:

    Oh, charts!

    Crimewise, my best August read was Yrsa Sigurdardottir´s My Soul to Take, but my favourite characters were probably Colin Cotterill´s delightful crew from The Coroner´s Lunch.

    (And writewise, I have been sooo good! I wrote nearly half a novel in August)

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  15. That is excellent Dorte, much more important for you writers to write so we readers have more material 🙂

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  16. Dorte H says:

    Oh yes, I can see you need that! 😉

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