Books of the month: June 2015

Pick of the month

CobraMeyerAudioWe’re all going to politely ignore the fact I never bothered to wrap up my monthly reading for May aren’t we? Not that my reading quantity was much better in June. I’m blaming Leif G.W. Persson’s never-bloody-ending FREE FALLING AS IF IN A DREAM for most of my recent stagnation. It took ages to wade through and put me off the written word in general for some time afterwards. Should just have stopped reading it all together. My pick for June though would be Deon Meyer’s COBRA which was fabulously narrated for me by Saul Reichlin. It’s entertaining and political and touching all at once.

The rest (titles preceded by the ++ symbol are all recommended)

  • ++ THE BANK INSPECTOR by Roger Monk (a new Aussie author writes a gentle tale that doesn’t involve a murder)
  • ++ THE BISHOP’S WIFE by Mette Ivie Harrison (fascinating insights into the Mormon community)
  • ++ THE INVISIBLE GARDEN by Dolores Redondo (introduces a great new character in Spanish crime fiction)
  • THE MYSTERY OF A BUTCHER’S SHOP by Gladys Mitchell (I wasn’t able to participate in the Past Offences Classics challenge in June because I couldn’t get hold of a book for the nominated year so I read this older title from my own collection – I didn’t review it because I couldn’t think of anything to polite to say about it)
  • THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE by Alan Bradley (for me there are much better child narrators than Flavia)

Progress Towards 2015’s Book-ish Goals

Challenge Goal Progress
Australian Women Writers Challenge Read and review 25 eligible books 8*/25
Reading US Fiction Challenge Read 6 books by new to me authors set in different states of the US 2/6
Personal – Outside my comfort zone Read at least 6 books that aren’t crime/mystery/thriller novels 2/6
Personal – Read Globally Read at least 10 books set in countries that aren’t Australia, America or England 22/10
Personal – Reduce TBR Read at least 20 books I owned as at 31 December 2014 12/20
Personal – Buy Australian Buy no physical or eBooks from non-Australian stores 0/0
Personal – Read older books too Participate in at least 6 of the monthly ‘pick a year’ reading challenges hosted at Past Offences 5/6

*have read 10 books but only reviewed 8 of them

I’m in danger of catastrophic failure on a couple of fronts but at least I’m doing well on my global reading, reading older books and buying no printed word books (physical or electronic) from non-Australian sources.

Reading outside my comfort zone is – not surprisingly – the hardest of all. I’ve actually brought several books home from the library that would fit this category and taken them back unread. Naughty I know.

I’m really going to try to find some interesting and new to me male American authors for the last half of the year. I don’t think I’m asking for much: just some decent characters, a noticeable dearth of serial killers and a bit of social or political commentary underpinning a great story.

 Looking ahead

I really must do something about the alarming number of Australian books I have been neglecting (in favour of the Petrona Award and International Dagger Award shortlists). To that end I’ve started July with the latest book by one of my favourite Aussie women writers – Felicity Young. THE INSANITY OF MURDER is officially released on 1 August but I’ve been lucky enough to receive an early copy and I couldn’t think of anything better to do during my street’s planned power outage today than dive in. Not sure what to read next but I’m definitely going to read at least one book from 1987 for this month’s Past Offences Challenge.

What about you? Had any particularly good reads during June? How are your reading goals looking now that we’re half-way through the year? Got something good lined up for July?

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This entry was posted in Alan Bradley, books of the month, Deon Meyer, Dolores Redondo, Gladys Mitchell, Mette Ivie Harrison, Roger Monk (Aus). Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Books of the month: June 2015

  1. All my reading at the moment is about preparing for writers’ festivals, Bernadette. Trouble is, as none of the events is as yet official, I can’t reveal what that reading material is. Happy to say there are some gems, though. Prior to this, my fave crime reads for the year so far are Death in the Rainy Season by Anna Jaquiery, The Unbroken Line by Alex Hammond, and The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango.

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    • I’ve got two of those three in the house Angela – need to get to them soon by the sounds of things. So I can make room for whatever else you’re reading secretively 🙂

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  2. You’re making some real progress, Bernadette. And I know what you mean about stories that take a very, very long time to finish. Not surprised you liked Cobra as much as you did. Meyer really does write a fine thriller and I do like South African settings.

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  3. realthog says:

    Interesting to read your reaction to the Mitchell. I know a lot of other readers swear by her, but my own distant memories of reading a couple of her books are more in line with your comment!

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  4. Patti Abbott says:

    Have never been a Flavia fan either. Too precocious for me, I guess.

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  5. Belle Wong says:

    I started The Bishop’s Wife and really enjoyed what I’ve read so far, although it took me so long to get to it I think I might have to return it to the library before I finish it. Interestingly, another blogger I know who’s Mormon told me the book misportrays a lot of things about the Mormon community. I figure once I finish the book I’ll email her for more details!

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  6. kathy d. says:

    I liked Gwenni Morgan, the 12-year-old girl in Wales in The Earth Hums in B-Flat.
    I got my reading mojo back in May and June and read two books by a new English author, Eva Dolan. She writes well, her detectives are interesting, multi-dimensional people and she deals with issues involving immigrants, economic exploitation in Long Way Home and bigoted violence against them in Tell No Tales. I give those books a 5 in my own private ratings of 1 to 5.
    And I liked Sarah Ward’s In Bitter Chill; it’s up there in my ratings, too.
    I kind of liked Entry Island, the past history of land clearances in the Outer Hebrides was stunning.
    Now I can’t find a book I can sink my teeth into, so to speak.

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  7. Rebecca says:

    I finally got back into reading since I was able to get out of town for a long weekend, but I’m a little leery of doing a post about my favorite reads of the year so far because now that I’m back home, I’m reading slowly again! I recently enjoyed White Crocodile, and I’ve been reading lots of non-crime stuff as well.

    Your comment about reading male American authors made me think of TC Boyle. Unfortunately I think his latest book, The Harder They Come, is about a mass-shooting, which may be too much like a serial killer for you, but he’s written a lot. I liked Tortilla Curtain, and my husband has read just about everything and says you can’t go wrong with his stuff. He’s particularly fond of back-to-nature idealists in northern California.

    Happy reading in July to you, Bernadette.

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