Quantitatively speaking I started the year off reasonably well, completing 12 books, including 5 by new-to-me authors. Fortunately the quality was generally good too and it was difficult to choose a favourite for the month but I’ve selected Katherine Howell’s WEB OF DECEIT. It was gripping enough to keep me glued for a single sitting stretching long into the night and it maintains Howell’s consistently excellent record of producing almost frenetically paced stories that manage not to feel rushed or lacking depth. There is a kind of surprising interconnectedness about Howell’s plots that I find particularly compelling and I loved this latest instalment about a man who survives a car crash only to die under a train later the same day.
I wonder if at the beginning of January I had some kind of a ‘we survived the Mayan apocalypse’ hangover because I seemed drawn to end of the world scenarios of one sort or another and read three quite different books somehow related to the subject in quick succession
- AFTERLIGHT, Alex Scarrow (a thoughtful thriller set in the UK some 10 years after civilisation as we know it has collapsed due to a lack of oil, I particularly liked the way that men with guns don’t get it all their own way in Scarrow’s version of a post apocalyptic world)
- THE LAST POLICEMAN, Ben H. Winters (a pre-apocalypse tale about a young man who gets his dream job just before the world is due to end)
- THIRST, L.A. Larkin (a more straightforward thriller I suppose but its theme concerning the world’s need for more water than is available struck a chord with me)
All three books were very good and I did enjoy the various contemplations about the possible end of the world.
My other good reads for the month included
- DEATH DELIGHTS by Gabrielle Lord (the first novel I highlighted for a series of posts I’m planning this year to focus on classic crime novels by Australian women writers was this winner of the 2002 Ned Kelly Award)
- ENTANGLEMENT by Zygmunt Miloszewski (in Poland in 2005 the death of a man during a group therapy retreat is investigated by a jaded but dogged prosecutor)
- GOOD PEOPLE by Ewart Hutton (an investigation based in a remote part of Wales where the locals do not take kindly to the perceived interference by a blow-in from Cardiff)
- THE SEA DETECTIVE by Mark Douglas-Home was the other book vying most closely for my favourite of the month (A Scottish environmentalist and expert on ocean currents uncovers the secrets of his grandfather’s wartime death while investigating the death of a young prostitute and the mysterious appearance of sneaker-clad feet being washed up on European beaches)
Not about reviewing
I only managed one post not containing a book review this month and, sadly, it was a return to the old familiar theme of the lunacy of book pricing here in Oz. I wonder if I will ever manage to go through an entire blogging year without ranting about this subject?
Progress towards my book-ish goals
- I’ve read and reviewed 3 of my nominated 10 books by Australian women for this year’s version of the Australian Women Writers Challenge and am happy with that progress.
- I only read one book by an Australian male writer though so I want to even that out a bit in future months
- My slightly complicated goal regarding book acquisition (buy less but buy local, audio books excluded) has proven interesting in that I only bought one book in total but it was from an overseas supplier (though it was an ebook purchased with a Christmas gift voucher that I would have felt ridiculous not using). My reading for the month came primarily from my pre-existing TBR collection and the local library with one book provided by the publisher. So my finances have done well but the local book selling industry is not, so far, benefiting from my self-imposed restriction on buying books from overseas.
How did your reading year begin? Have you a favourite book for the year so far? Are you progressing well towards some of your reading goals?