Books of the Month – March 2011

Book of the month

My book of the month ‘award’ has to go to the last one I finished reading, Denise Mina’s Exile. It has everything I look for in any kind of fiction: superb writing, complex and interesting characters, a credible and emotionally satisfying (if harrowing) story and a healthy dose of black humour. My only dilemma now is to decide whether to save the last book in this trilogy or dive in straight away.

An honourable mention must also go to Liza Marklund’s Red Wolf which ticks almost all the same boxes (no humour black or otherwise though) and is a brilliant read which combines investigative journalism with politics in an interesting way.

Books read this month

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

Canadian Challenge (12 read, 1 to go)

Global Challenge (6 read, 8 to go)

Nordic Challenge (5 read, 6 to go)

  • Anne Holt – 1222 (Norway) (3 stars)
  • Liza Marklund – Prime Time (Sweden) (3.5 stars)
  • Liza Marklund – Red Wolf (Sweden) (4.5 stars)

Books acquired this month & 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 80. After a promising start to the year I lost forward movement with respect to this challenge. As of the end of March I had exactly as many books to read as I did on 1 January. Sigh. However last year I was acquiring books at double my reading rate, whereas I have reduced that to keeping pace. That’s an achievement, right?

Some of this month’s acquisitions that I’m most looking forward to…

What’s up for April?

April is Aussie Authors Month so over at Fair Dinkum Crime Kerrie and I will be celebrating as many Australian crime writers as we can squeeze into 30 days. We’ve launched a new author spotlight feature to help with celebrations and Western Australian crime writer Felicity Young is the first to undergo our probing. We’ll be posting reviews, spotlighting more authors and holding a quiz too (just as soon as I do my share of the questions).

Next week I’ll also be helping to celebrate amateur sleuths. Jen’s Book Thoughts is hosting Moonlighting for Murder, a week devoted to the amateur sleuth. In the lead-up to the week there have been a series of voting rounds to nominate the world’s favourite amateur sleuth (the final round of voting between the last two candidates standing will start next Monday). My contribution will be a feature on Annika Bengtzon, Liza Marklund’s journalist sleuth.

Among the books I hope to read and review are these, several are borrowed and need to be returned to friends & libraries.

Chart of the month

A simple chart this month which shows how my reading has increased in recent years. The single biggest fact sitting behind these figures is that I discovered Book Depository early in 2008 which meant I could afford to buy all the books I wanted for the first time ever. It’s a figure that I use whenever people accuse me and others like me of adversely impacting Australian retail by buying the bulk of my books overseas. The reality is I wasn’t buying books locally before I was able to access affordable books online so my change in habits hasn’t impacted Australian booksellers one jot.

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6 Responses to Books of the Month – March 2011

  1. Jose Ignacio says:

    Superb summary, Bernadette. Wish I could have the skill to produce a similar one.


  2. kathy durkin says:

    I agree on Exile and Red Wolf, but I haven’t read the others. Will put those with the top ratings on my TBR list. (I am disappointed about 1222 which I was looking forward to reading.)
    Can’t wait for the reviews of your acquired and borrowed books.
    Am looking forward to all of the news about the Aussie Authors month, and also am looking forward to reading your post at Jen’s Book Thoughts about Annika Bengtzon, whom I’m still trying to understand.
    Cheers to Jen’s wonderful website, which was nominated for a Spinetingler award.
    And, again, the chart is good.


  3. JoV says:

    Awesome achievement Bernadette. Q1 has 90 days, you are reading like one book every two days, except you did 44 books, which means there are two long days you took taking your time to read or not to read and doing other things… hmm I wonder what is it? 🙂

    I like your summary and I must say you are on your way to hitting Gold with all your challenges!


  4. Kerrie says:

    well done Bernadette. I haven’t read either of your “book of the month” picks


  5. @Kathy 1222 is actually OK – I made a typo originally in this post as it was a 3 star not a 2 star read – decent book with a silly ending.

    @Jo sometimes it seems like I read a book a day and sometimes it takes ages…depends on whether the insomnia is hitting or not.


  6. Bernadette – I am very impressed! You’ve gotten quite a lot of reading done, and I am so happy for you that you’ve enjoyed most of what you’ve read. I’m especially impressed with that you’ve done with those challenges you’ve entered! Oh, and that chart is quite impressive, too :-).

    Thanks also for mentioning my blog and for the kind words – I appreciate it very much 🙂


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