Book of the month
I’ve had an excellent start to the reading year, finishing 17 books and only encountering one real dud in January. A completely unanticipated 5-star read is my book of the month. Christopher Brookmyre’s Pandaemonium is brilliantly written, funny, full of great characters and offers genuine insight into the taboo subject of the nature of faith. Plus it was read (to me personally I like to imagine) by a bloke with a swoon-inducing Scottish accent.
I also have two highly recommended honourable mentions which were very different books but were each captivating:
- Leighton Gage’s Blood of the Wicked is the first novel to feature Mario Silva of the Brazilian police and is a dynamically written debut that inserts the reader right into the action and provides an insightful and engaging social and political commentary.
- Death Mask is Kathryn Fox’s fifth novel but in my opinion her best. It examines the psychology of team sports and its players, fans and hangers-on in a thoughtful and entertaining way.
Books read this month
Just Because (i.e. not for a challenge)
- Christopher Brookmyre – Pandaemonium (rating 5) Audio
- Ellery Adams – A Killer Plot (rating 3)
- Elly Griffiths – The House at Seas End (rating 4)
- Kate Ellis – A Perfect Death (rating 3) Audio
- Martin Edwards – Waterloo Sunset (rating 3.5) Audio
- Sara Paretsky – Body Work (rating 3.5)
- Sophie Hannah – Little Face (rating 1.5)
- Kathryn Fox – Death Mask (rating 4.5)
- Margaret Atwood – Year of the Flood Audio (rating 2.5)
- Leighton Gage – Blood of the Wicked (South America #1) (rating 4.5)
- Simon Brett – The Body on the Beach (rating 3)
- Ariana Franklin – The Serpent’s Tale (rating 4)
- Dianne Day – The Strange Files of Fremont Jones (rating 2.5)
- Alan Glynn – Winterland
- Camilla Ceder – Frozen Moment (rating 3.5)
- Alan Orloff – Diamonds for the Dead (rating 3)
Books acquired this month
In good and bad news I have acquired 19 books this month. Good because I like to have lots of books but bad because it’s not really helping me in my overall goal for the year (see below). However 10 of those books were pre-orders made several months ago and so were already counted in my TBR numbers at the beginning of the year and only one of the others cost me anything. Among the month’s acquisitions are recommendations from friends, trusted bloggers and Donna’s Dad. I’m bound to find a few good ones among this lot surely.
Toppling that TBR
My overall challenge for this year is to reduce the number of books I have on hand to read from 200 (as at 1 January 2011) to 120. Having acquired so many books in the month means I haven’t done as well as I’d have liked with respect to this goal, but via reading and a bit of opportunistic culling my total TBR is down to 189. I’m not sure how I will fare in February as I still have some of last year’s pre-orders to receive and I did buy a couple more books at the Queensland flood relief Auction and I may have taken advantage of a local store’s Australia Day sale and I still have a few dollars of Borders’ vouchers left (which I am very keen to spend as I’m not sure Borders Australia is going to be selling books for much longer) (a feeling I get based on the increasingly eclectic merchandise their store near my office is now selling)…..anyone have the number for the bookaholics anonymous hotline?
Chart of the month
Not quite a chart but…This year Good Reads asked members to nominate the number of books they would read during the year and if you did so then every time you log in to the site you see your own progress towards your goal. While I’m not particularly fussed about reading an exact number of books for the year I nominated a number slightly larger than the number I finished last year and have found it quite motivating. When I feel myself wasting time in any one of the many ways I find to waste time I do now tend to remind myself that if I were reading instead of time wasting I would at least be doing something about my percentage. Plus in these times when there are always doom sayers claiming “no one reads anymore” it’s nice to see that people plan to read nearly 4 million books this year 🙂