Books of the month: August 2015

Pick of the month

TheDyingTradePeterCorris24409_fFor what are probably obvious reasons I didn’t read a lot during August. I did re-listen to a swag of Dick Francis novels narrated by Tony Britton but they probably don’t count as I wasn’t giving them my full attention.

I did finish a couple of new to me books though and the standout was definitely Peter Corris’ first crime novel THE DYING TRADE. I picked this to read as part of the Past Offences Classics Challenge and was really glad to have been motivated to go back to where it all began for Australia’s best-known fictional private investigator. It’s a ripper yarn and very, very Australian so kudos to Corris’ publishers for giving it a go as the cultural cringe was still very much alive and kicking in the 80’s.

Progress Towards 2015’s Book-ish Goals

Challenge Goal Progress
Australian Women Writers Challenge Read and review 25 eligible books 10*/25
Reading US Fiction Challenge Read 6 books by new to me authors set in different states of the US 3/6
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 23/10
Personal – Reduce TBR Read at least 20 books I owned as at 31 December 2014 13/20
Personal – Buy Australian Buy no physical or eBooks from non-Australian stores 1/0
Personal – Read older books too Participate in at least 6 of the monthly ‘pick a year’ reading challenges hosted at Past Offences 6/6

*have read 13 books but only reviewed 10 of them

I made no progress on any challenges except for completing my personal target of participating in 6 of the classics challenges hosted by Past Offences. I’m happy to be finished but will continue participating where possible. I haven’t enjoyed all my selections as much as I did this month’s but I have enjoyed being motivated to read older novels. On that front if you’ve any suggestions for a 1976 crime novel I might like feel free to let me know. I’ve got nothing in my own TBR and though I have put my name down for a couple via my library there’s no guarantee they will arrive (older books tend to be lurking in storage locations rather than active shelving and it has been my experience that though they might be in the catalogue it’s not until someone goes looking for them that the librarians realise the book has disappeared).

Looking ahead

I’ve started reading ‘properly’ again the past few days so am hoping to get a good amount done in September. I picked up Lauren Beukes’ BROKEN MONSTERS from the library which I will be able to count towards my Reading US Fiction Challenge (it’s set in Michigan) and am going to try to get to some titles from my TBR (but then I always try that and it rarely works).

What about you? Had any particularly good reads during August? Got something good lined up for September?

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11 Responses to Books of the month: August 2015

  1. Patti Abbott says:

    Been a very off month with doing edits for my next novel, also set in Michigan. But I did read HITCH AND ME, THE PAINTED VEIL (Maugham). ALEX and a few other crime fiction books. Joining a second book group may be a mistake.

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  2. So glad you enjoyed The Dying Trade, Bernadette. I thought it was an excellent read, and I like the Cliff Hardy character. That’s one of those series that I wish I had more time for, to be honest. Some longer series I just sort of dip in and out of; this is one I’d actually like to follow, if you know what I mean.

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    • I’ll probably never read all of this series but I can try 🙂 In recent interviews here Peter Corris says he won’t be writing any more due to his loss of sight (there are 2 more books in the wings waiting to be published and that’s it).

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  3. suzigun says:

    I’m very impressed by your variety of goals. I rarely set myself any but have decided that September is a month to catch up on books I’ve chosen rather than have been sent for review. If I don’t start on some I’ve been given as gifts I may never get any more book-shaped presents! I have just finished my first Val McDermid (Splinter the Silence) which I really enjoyed.

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  4. Deborah says:

    I had a pretty good reading month in August though it started slowly for me and I felt a bit busy and stressed.

    I have to admit I’m not participating in any challenges!

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  5. kathy d. says:

    I read and liked Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski book — Brush Back. It is set in Chicago and is just fun. It goes into crooked politics in the windy city — what else is new? But it’s V.I. at her most courageous, feisty, smart and independent? And her bold actions get her into trouble with the police, crooked business people, organized crime and her friends and lover. It’s witty. I was smiling and laughing. It was what I needed.
    Not a lot of thinking needed. It was a light read.
    But Chicago is where I grew up and I love reading books set there — and then looking at maps and websites to find out about the sites that I didn’t know about.
    And I read Donna Leon’s latest, her 24th Guido Brunetti book, Falling in Love. It is a good one. Leon has not lost her touch. This is a character-driven book with a lot of focus on Brunetti’s family and colleagues at the questura. I enjoyed it like visiting an old friend and having tea.
    I had a few DNF’s.

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    • Oh I must have missed that there was a new Paretsky book out, thanks Kathy. I was a bit cross with her last one but I’ll give this one a go – at least from the library. I didn’t realise you grew up in Chicago – it must make that series all the more enjoyable for you. My brother and sister-in-law lived there for a couple of years and I went to be a nanny for about 6 months when they had their first daughter there – that Chicago winter was an eye opener for me but I did scour the city for the locations from Paretsky’s books.

      Somehow I’ve never gotten into the Donna Leon books though I have read one or two – just never followed the series properly.

      Shame about the DNFs – I’ve had a couple of those too – not sure if it’s my state of mind or the books themselves – or perhaps a combination – hope you have no more this month 🙂

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  6. kathy d. says:

    Brush Back, the new V.I. Warshawski book doesn’t have a lot of politics, just remarks about shady businesses in Chicago, so that shouldn’t annoy you. But I loved the humor.
    Those Chicago winters are tough. I remember my sister and I having to walk to school in snow up to our mid-thighs. Luckily, we lived nearby.
    The summers are tough, too, hit 102 degrees and we’d just sit and drink iced tea in front of a fan. But you must know about the heat.
    I have to admit I did a DNF with Connelly’s latest The Burning Room, just too much police procedure and not enough plot and character development.
    And The Girl on the Train — oy! I couldn’t put it down, but I kicked myself after spending a weekend ensconced with it. All dysfunctional, unreliable narrators and predictable.
    Can’t trust best-sellers!

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