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)
- Belinda Bauer – Darkside (4 stars)
- Christopher Fowler – The Water Room (3.5 stars)
- Dick Francis – Blood Sport (audio) (3 stars) (didn’t review)
- Tarquin Hall – The Case of the Missing Servant (3 stars) (I never got around to reviewing this one, fortunately Margot Kinberg featured it in one of her excellent spotlights which will tell you more than I could have anyway)
- Denise Mina – Exile (5 stars)
- Charley Warady – 5ive Speed – A Novel (4 stars)
- Louise Penny – The Brutal Telling (3.5 stars)
- Adrian d’Hage – The Maya Codex (seventh continent – international) (3.5 stars)
- Keigo Higashino – The Devotion of Suspect X (Asia – Japan) (2 stars)
- 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.