Books of the Month – February 2011

Book of the month

I can’t decide between two great reads as book of the month so I’ll highlight the two very different books by two terrific female crime writers

Liza Marklund’s Studio 69 about a young journalist just starting out in her career and having to feel her way amidst an investigation into a brutal murder is a top notch example of crime fiction as a mechanism for observing real-world social and political issues.

Katherine Howell’s Cold Justice is a superbly plotted thriller about a 19-year old unsolved case of a murdered boy. It was a really credible depiction of how a case could be solved after so much time and without much in the way of new evidence just because the people involved had changed.

Books read this month

I finished 15 books in February (we won’t dwell on the additional 3 DNFs) though I didn’t make any progress for some of my challenges as my reading mood didn’t take me there. With the notable exception of the dreadful Ben Elton book it was a very solid month for reading.

Just Because (i.e. not for a challenge)

Aussie Authors Challenge (4 read, 8 to go)

Canadian Challenge (11 read, 2 to go)

  • No progress this month

Eastern European Challenge (1 read, 1 to go)

Global Challenge (4 read, 10 (0r 17) to go)

Historical Fiction Challenge (2 read, 3 to go)

  • No progress this month

Ireland Challenge (1 read, 3 to go)

  • No progress this month

Nordic Challenge (3 read, 8 to go)

What’s In a Name #4 (1 read, 5 to go)

  • No progress this month

Books acquired this month & toppling that TBR

I’d really rather not be admitting this in public but they say the first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one. My overall challenge for the year is to reduce the number of books I have on hand to read from 200 (as at 1 January 2011) to 120. By the end of January I was down to 189.

At the end of February I am back up to 199.

Oh the shame.

I could make a lot of excuses about receiving gifts, wisely using book vouchers before a local chain went into liquidation, having several library books to read for an upcoming amateur sleuth blogging event I will be participating in, going crazy on buying Aussie crime fiction due to the re-launch of Fair Dinkum Crime (the Australian crime fiction blog that Kerrie and I have established) but in the end it all boils down to me being weak and having no self control. I’m just glad it was books my mother introduced me to as a toddler and not cocaine 🙂

Here are some highlights of this month’s addiction (and my excuses):

blame Maxine*

won it

my fault

a gift

my Aussie blitz

for bookclub

blame Margot*

my Aussie blitz

blame Maxine*

blame Maxine*

more Aussie blitz

blog post research

Warning Warning Warning

*Maxine blogs at Petrona, Margot blogs at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist. Visit their sites at your own risk and if you do, don’t come back here complaining that your own TBR piles are now out of control. You’ve been warned 🙂

Today has been ‘one of those days’ I will be heartily glad to see the end of so I am going to bed for an early night with Tarquin Hall instead of preparing a chart of the month.

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5 Responses to Books of the Month – February 2011

  1. Bernadette – What? No charts? 😉 Well, I’d choose Hall over making charts, myself although I do like yours. And believe me I know all too well about TBR lists; mine is completely out of control. But as you say, it’s better than some other addictions are.

    You’ve made some good progress on those challenges, though, and I’m eager to see where you go next with them.

    And thanks for the mention :-).

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  2. janebbooks says:

    Bernadette, really good blog!

    Only two left for Canadian challenge? Read THE BLACK FLY SEASON by Giles Blunt–it’s on my TBR list. And read LONG TIME COMING by Robert Goddard for your Ireland challenge. It’s nominated for an Edgar and has some interesting Irish history around 1940 (Eamon de Valera). It was probably my best read of 2010.

    And what about another Louise Penny? I can’t get past STILL LIFE but all her books are well-nominated or award winning. I’ll like to see your comments about A BRUTAL TELLING. Here’s her books with awards:

    Still Life (2005)
    2006 New Blood Dagger
    2006 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
    2007 Anthony Award for Best First Novel
    2007 Barry Award for Best First Novel
    2007 Dilys Award
    Finalist 2010 Barry Award for Best Novel of the Decade

    Dead Cold (2006)
    APA: A Fatal Grace (2007)
    2007 Agatha Award for Best Novel

    The Cruelest Month (2007)
    2008 Agatha Award for Best Novel
    Finalist 2009 Anthony Award for Best Mystery
    Finalist 2009 Barry Award for Best Novel
    Finalist 2008 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel
    Finalist 2009 Macavity Award for Best Novel

    The Murder Stone (2008)
    APA: A Rule Against Murder (2009)
    Finalist 2009 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel

    The Brutal Telling (2009)
    2009 Agatha Award for Best Novel
    2010 Anthony Award for Best Mystery
    Finalist 2009 Dilys Award
    Finalist 2010 Macavity Award for Best Novel

    Bury Your Dead (2010)
    Finalist 2010 Agatha Award for Best Novel
    Finalist 2011 Barry Award for Best Novel
    Finalist 2010 Dilys Award

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  3. Maxine says:

    Oh dear, I think I am winning on the blame stakes at the moment, sorry (not)! I am so glad you like Liza Marklund, and I think her books get better (even Bomber is quite good despite the fact that I am pretty allergic to hostage themes). I shall do a “blame Bernadette” tag when Katherine Howell’s book comes out in the UK (or, to put it more accurately, is available via Amazon UK or similar site).

    My advice on the Eastern European challenge is to wait long enough until Turkey gets accepted to the EU (if ever?) as (in addition to Hotel Bosphorus) I think there are one or two decent Turkish novels to try eg M M Somer (not tried by me, but well reviewed, http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/reviews/The_Prophet_Murders.html).

    Not v useful advice, sorry. It is odd how such a large region seems to have such little crime fiction – there is always that one called Purge (?) which is long and literary and involves Russia. Sounds grim, though.

    Look forward to your March reviews 😉

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  4. kathy durkin says:

    Well, if it’s any kind of solace, your reviews cause my TBR piles to grow, and my book purchases to increase at the Book Depository, and Amazon US, and more on a wish list for Abe Books (used books).
    As we say, it’s a healthy addiction–no hangovers, headaches, foggy days, bad health caused.
    The lifting up and down of books, and then the walking with audio books is exercise, so it’s at least a physical benefit.
    And think what the resulting good moods from good books cause–endorphins, all good.

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  5. kathy durkin says:

    Also, “Faithful Place,” by Tana French is a good read–police procedural (sort of), family relations, Dublin working-class life, interesting characters, snappy dialogue, and a love story for love lost and gained. So it would be a contribution to your Irish Reading Challenge.

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