Books of the Month – March 2013

Life got in the way of reading in rather a big way during March and I finished what is for me a paltry 7 books. Which should make picking a book of the month easier than normal but I happened across 4 bloody good reads and I don’t fancy picking a favourite. They are (in reading order):

TheRageKerriganGene5696_fGene Kerrigan’s THE RAGE is, for me, a story of two men battling internal demons, one character ostensibly on each side of the law but who live in the giant grey chasm that exists between black and white, right and wrong. It’s a fast-paced, brilliantly complex story, has characters that keep you awake at night and offers a glimpse into a distant, tension-filled world. I’m still mulling it over, 4 weeks after finishing it.

RubberneckerBelindaBauerAudioBelinda Bauer’s RUBBERNECKER fits only tenuously within the boundaries of crime fiction, delighting as it does in the details of the stories of Patrick Fort, a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome, and Sam Galen; car accident victim and coma patient. It is full of characters who don’t conform to the roles expected of them and stories within stories.

IHearTheSirensInTheStreetMckintyI HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET is the second of Adrian McKinty’s planned trilogy telling the story of Ireland’s turbulent 1980’s through the eyes of Sean Duffy, a minority Catholic member of the RUC. It is a brilliant book not because it transported me to a time and place that is recognisable and enveloping, taught me things without me really being aware of it and kept me guessing from beginning to end.(though it did all of those) but because it made me laugh, albeit with black, black humour, all the way along.

Roll With It - Nick, Place19251fROLL WITH IT is a début adult novel from Melbourne-based journalist and children’s author Nick Place and tells the story of Tony “Rocket” Laver who is a senior detective with Victoria’s Major Crimes Unit when he is demoted and sent to work with the bicycle unit who are considered more tour guides than ‘real’ cops. It is a clever mixture of farce, satire and thoughtfulness and the characters are surprisingly nuanced for this kind of book.

Progress towards my book-ish goals

  • I only read one more book by an Australian woman during March, and it wasn’t very good so I haven’t reviewed it yet but may do so in the next few days.
  • If I count Irish-born, Australian living Adrian McKinty (and I do) I read two more books by Australian male writers this month and I’m pleased with that. I’ve already finished another in this category for April!
  • My goal regarding book acquisition  is to buy less but buy local (audio books excluded) is going quite well. Audiobooks aside I have only bought 2 books this year (though have taken advantage of a few freebie deals for eBooks and have received some ARCs too).

Just because it’s been a while since I did a chart here’s a comparison between the first quarter of this year versus last year which shows I’m certainly doing well in acquiring less physical books

Books Acquired q1 2012 and 2013

Snippets

I posted another roundup of the crime category for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, this month focusing on two individual reviews as I was inspired by Scribe’s prize for good reviewing for last year’s challenge.

I also posted about deleting my Goodreads account following the site’s acquisition by Amazon (which generated a few comments and the most creatively profane email I’ve received via this blog).

Finally I reminded everyone how many ways there are to participate in honouring the member of Maxine Clarke, whose death last December is still keenly felt. The project I am most directly involved with is the new blog called Petrona Remembered which has started a series of weekly posts celebrating great crime fiction, each novel submitted by a reader, writer or other fan of the genre. In four weeks I’ve added four books to my wishlist!

Was March a good reading month for you? Did you have a favourite book or three? Have you lost sight of your new year’s reading resolutions yet?

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11 Responses to Books of the Month – March 2013

  1. Bernadette – I know all about life getting in the way of reading. Still, you got some exceptional novels read. I am glad you got some winners. I completely agree with you about The Rage. It’s a terrific read that I very much recommend to people. And I am impressed with your progress towards your goals.

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  2. Rebecca says:

    I like your list, Bernadette, and I have no clue when Rubbernecker will be available in the U.S.

    Goal-wise, I’m chipping away at the Global Reading Challenge and reading about a book a week, which makes me happy. As for updating my Global Reading Challenge page, review index, etc: that all has fallen by the wayside. I am an Excel junkie, though, so I might just start making loads of charts 🙂

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    • There can never be too many charts Rebecca! And as for the global challenge…I know what it’s like to have to track down so many books from so many places…hope you end up with lots of new favourites.

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  3. TracyK says:

    All of these sound good. All are books I hope to read someday.

    I have read more books in January, February, and March (close to 30) than I usually read in that time span. Don’t know what it is. Maybe I am just more excited about books than usual.

    I think i over-challenged myself this year but I am determined not to let that keep me from reading what I really want to read. I just won’t finish every challenge. I wanted to read more of each of the series that I have gotten stalled on and I have not done that so far.

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    • I completely understand the “over challenge” thing Tracy – I signed up for a dozen or so some years back and nearly drove myself mad trying to finish them all. I’ve cut right back now to one official challenge and a few less structured goals. Wounds like we both need to remember this is supposed to be a leisure pursuit after all 🙂

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  4. Kathy D. says:

    I had some good reads in March, notably, The Sea Detective, definitely a one-of-a-kind, creative book. At first, I wasn’t immersed in its pages, but then I became enrapt in the grandfather’s story and the island’s moods. Didn’t want that book to end. Thanks for the recommendation here.
    Also, I enjoyed Montalbano’s latest outing in The Dance of the Seagulls, a real mix of humor and gore. Somehow the Sicilian curmudgeon pulls it off, while the reader is dealing with horrendous crimes and scintillating wit. What a balancing act!
    I began reading Hakan Nesser’s The Return, an earlier Van Veeteren book. I thought I would put it down, but then got interested. Only problem: book ended at 266 pages; it’s a 321 pages book. Pages had fallen out, so am waiting for another library copy. And, of course, this happened at a crucial moment in the story.
    Also read a delightful Vicki Delaney book, “Valley of the Lost.”
    And plunged into Ruth Galloway’s fifth adventure in “A Dying Fall.” Lots of fun, druids, bones, right-wingers, dogs, children, etc. You get the drift. It’s a book I keep wanting to pick up.

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    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the Sea Detective Kathy, even after a slow start. It was definitely a unique sort of book which is harder and harder to find.

      I shall look forward to the latest Montalbano adventure, must head off to put my name down at the library right now.

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  5. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    I’m reading Roll With It this week, it looks good!

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  6. Sarah says:

    I’ve read 2 out of the 4 Bernadette. Rubbernecker would have it for me. Glad you had a good reading month.

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