Books of the Month – August 2013

August started out strongly as far as reading went but during the last part of the month I was spending a lot of time in crowded, noisy waiting rooms and was unable to concentrate on the written (or even spoken) word for large chunks of time. So while I read 9 books for the month, only two of those were after the 15th.

TheDyingBeachSavageMy standout read for the month was Australian author Angela Savage’s third novel featuring ex-pat Aussie Jayne Keeney who now lives in Thailand where she works as a private investigator.  In THE DYING BEACH Jayne and her boyfriend and business partner Rajiv are on holiday in the resort town of Krabi and they learn that Miss Pla, the tour guide who they’d enjoyed so much a couple of days earlier, has been found dead. Although considered an accidental drowning Jayne can’t imagine the woman she met, an accomplished swimmer and diver, dying in that way and so looks into the case which puts Jayne and Rajiv on a collision course with some very unsavoury characters.The book has it all: an exotic, evocative setting; terrifically drawn characters including good guys you can’t help but like and a story that manages to be thought-provoking and an edge-of-your-seat ride at the same time. I love this series.

The rest of my reading was pretty good too

  • Wendy James’ THE STEELE DIARIES (a novel telling the stories of three generations of women in the one family, focusing on the way their aspirations for their own lives were at odds with the expectations others had for them and how this played out for them all)
  • Leighton Gage’s DYING GASP (a gut-wrenchingly awful story about sex slavery and corruption in Brazil)
  • Ellery Adams A DEADLY CLICHE (a cosy tale with a hurricane, a potential blackmailer and some very nasty burglers)
  • Poppy Gee’s BAY OF FIRES (murder comes to a beautiful but remote Tasmanian holiday town)
  • Hannah Kent’s BURIAL RITES (my SECOND non-crime title for the month – a ‘speculative biography’ of the last person to be executed in Iceland)
  • Jo Bannister’s DEADLY VIRTUES (an author I had lost track of reappeared on my radar with this delightful tale about a man who knew he was going to die and the unlikely witness who ensured a semblance of justice would result)
  • Jussi Adler-Olsen’s REDEMPTION (Copenhagen’s Department Q is turning a little bit too Hollywood for my liking)
  • Arni Thorarinsson’s SEASON OF THE WITCH (review to come)

Other posts

I answered the Book Q & A which was good fun and had a great discussion about my lack of reading of male American crime writers. I’ve got a good list of recommendations out of this – now I just need some quality reading time.

Progress towards my book-ish goals

  • I read four books by Australian authors during the month though this time all of them were by women. This brings my total for the Australian Women Writers Challenge to 16 which is not quite half of the 34 books by Australian writers that I’ve read so far this year.
  • After discussing the somewhat hollow victory of achieving my goal to only buy books in Australia rather than from those alluringly cheap overseas outfits (it being hollow because while I didn’t buy from those I didn’t really buy locally either) I went on a bit of a spending spree in August. I bought 8 books (more than I’d bought for the whole rest of the year) though they were all from the local indie book store or an Australian-based online store (where I stocked up on ‘cosy’ mysteries because I had none left on my TBR shelves – sometimes a cosy is just what the doctor orders)

Hope your August reading was enjoyable for you. Did you have a favourite book? Do you notice themes or “odd” things about your reading sometimes (such as me realising I don’t read many American male writers)? Do you try to correct or not bother as long as you’re enjoying your reading?

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6 Responses to Books of the Month – August 2013

  1. Bernadette – I couldn’t agree more about how terrific The Dying Beach is. I’ve become quite a fan of the series and I think Angela Savage does a fantastic job of evoking the atmosphere as well as developing characters.

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  2. Rebecca says:

    I just noticed that I’ve read mostly books by men in the last couple months. It’s not a large number of books, but still it’s not what I usually read. That’s not the reason I posted a comment though: I came to link to an article, with charts, about how few twentieth century books are available on Amazon in the US because of copyright extensions: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/07/the-hole-in-our-collective-memory-how-copyright-made-mid-century-books-vanish/278209/
    It’s fascinating stuff.

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  3. Col says:

    I bought the first Angela Savage book to try – don’t know when I will get to it though! Redemption waits on the pile and Gage is on the radar. but nothing else in common. Good luck in September!

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  4. Kathy D. says:

    I’m in the middle of The Dying Beach, and am enjoying it, only annoyed because life isn’t letting me read much now. My favorite line so far: Isn’t a girl allowed to have more than one phobia? (I relate, as I don’t like snakes.)
    I’d say my favorite August read was Paddy Richardson’s Hunting Blind — what a thriller, with character development, too. I liked A Conspiracy of Faith but not most about the serial killer. Books about violence against children are quite low on my tolerable tales. But I liked the Department Q stuff, dialogue, etc. The author is getting dramatic but I laughed at most of the nuttiness.
    At your suggestion, I read Deadly Virtues by new-to-me author, Jo Bannister, and I enjoyed it. I wish she’d write a sequel about what happened to Gabriel Ash’s family. Interesting reflections in this book.
    I have so many books and little reading time now.

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  5. Sue says:

    OK Bernadette. My local library now has requests for Angela Savage books after your review. I am also requesting the Palliser series (Anthony Trollope) and look forward to happy reading during these interesting times.

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  6. Kathy D. says:

    I finished The Dying Beach, and if I rated by number, I’d give it a 5 out of 5. It has great sense of place and environmental information, which sent me to Google fish, terrain, cities, etc., a wonderful feisty protagonist, a good story — and did I mention crackling wit?
    Can’t wait for more Jayne Keeney adventures.
    Coincidentally, the New York Times magazine said on Sept. 8 that Bangkok is the most visited city in the world. Who would have thought?

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