Books of the month: August 2017

I skipped my monthly roundup for June and July because I hardly read a word due to real life shenanigans. That those shenanigans were resolved via me resigning from my job with a shred of dignity left has some downsides (no new job lined up being one). But one benefit of being unemployed at 50ish is that I’ve suddenly got a swag of reading time and, because I am not (yet) desperately in need of a new job, I am enjoying my favourite hobby once again. Gotta make lemonade out of those lemons right?

Pick of the month

The only downside to reading lots is of course choosing my favourite read of the month so I have decided not to pick just one.  In reading order the two books I can’t separate are Micheal Robothom’s THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS which is a standalone novel about two women with secrets, one of whom wants the other’s life, or at least parts of it. What I liked is that the central characters were very credible and I grew to feel quite sympathetic for both of them even though at the outset I thought both of them quite unlikable. Towards the end of the month I devoured the latest novel in Adrian McKinty’s Sean Duffy series: POLICE AT THE STATION AND THEY DON’T LOOK FRIENDLY. I think I say it every time but this is probably the best yet: funny, scary, sad…and a ripper of a yarn as well as offering very immersive observations of life during The Troubles.  Interestingly both of these were audio expertly narrated audio books, by Lucy Price-Lewis and Gerard Doyle respectively, which only added to my enjoyment.

The rest, in reading order 

I had some other terrific reads as well, indicated by an asterisk in the below list

  •  *Sulari GentillCROSSING THE LINES (a very clever ‘meta’ book in which two novelists and their fictional creations blur the lines between what is real and what isn’t)
  • *Elly GriffithsTHE CHALK PIT (a fascinating look at underground living and some more of the Ruth & Harry soap opera which series fans will enjoy)
  • *Gianrico CarofiglioINVOLUNTARY WITNESS (a highly readable non-procedural novel featuring an Italian lawyer who does his best for his client without becoming actively involved in the investigation in the way people familiar with American legal thrillers would be)
  • *Denise MinaTHE LONG DROP (a beautifully written novel about true ugliness and evil in the shape of Scotland’s worst serial killer)
  • Shari LapenaA STRANGER IN THE HOUSE (my book-club’s choice this month was a ‘meh’ read for me, full of portents, clichés and unbelievable goings-on)
  • *Vaseem KhanTHE UNEXPECTED INHERITANCE OF INSPECTOR CHOPRA (a great mix of light and serious featuring India’s answer to Hercule Poirot alongside a baby elephant)
  • *Ann TurnerOUT OF THE ICE (the Antarctic setting of this standalone thriller is well depicted but I found the rest of the book, particularly the juvenile behaviour of the main character, a bit of a slog)
  • *Holly ThrosbyGOODWOOD (A light-hearted novel, offering a great sense of place – small town Australia – and a lyrical sensibility suited to its songwriting author)
  • Sue Grafton Y IS FOR YESTERDAY (the penultimate offering in the alphabet series is too long and, for me at least has some questionable morals,…but I’ll be back for Z all the same)

Other bits and pieces

Thanks to the equally instructive and entertaining Clothes in Books I learned a new word: bonkbuster. I love learning new words and integrating them into everyday life.

I really have had a lot of time on my hands lately so tidied up the blog and finished off a previously abandoned set of review indexes by Location. All the books I have reviewed here or at Fair Dinkum Crime appear on one of the country pages and for Australia and the US I’ve broken them up further by state. I’ve really done it more for me than for you but hopefully some of you will find it useful too.

Having read all the nominees in the respective best adult novel category for this year’s Davitt Awards and Ned Kelly Awards I declared my personal winners last weekend. I managed to be in sync with the judges of the Davitts, congratulations to Jane Harper and THE DRY, and but was not quite in step with the judges of the Neddies who chose Adrian McKinty’s POLICE AT THE STATION AND THEY DON’T LOOK FRIENDLY. But as I thought this an excellent book too I’m very happy to congratulate Adrian. Both shortlists offer some great reading though so don’t limit yourself to just the winners.

Progress on bookish goals

aww2017-badgeAustralian Women Writers Challenge: Read & Review 25 books 

11 down, 14 to go. Might be able to make it yet

image borrowed and edited from http://theviewfromthebluehouse.blogspot.com.au/2010/02/classic-crime-curriculum.htmlParticipate 8 times in Crimes of the Century

4 down, 4 to go. Was looking good for this one but the host of this meme is taking a break and I haven’t been motivated to do this on my own.

mount-tbr-2017Read 36 books owned prior to the start of the year and/or reduce the TBR to less than 100 (from 131)

Poor progress on this one. I have read or consigned to the DNF pile 18 books that I owned prior to the start of the year (out of 49 books in total) but still have 134 books to read. Three more than I had at the start of the year. Sigh.

Image sourced from http://mumsgrapevine.com.au/2014/01/7-ways-to-buy-australian-made/

Buy no physical or eBooks from stores outside Australia (Audio books are my exception)

So far so good.

USAFictionChallengeButtonRead at least 10 books eligible for my virtual tour of the US via its fiction (each one set in a different state and by a new-to-me author).

Have read nothing eligible since January this year so not likely to achieve this goal.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

What about you? How is your reading going for the year? Anything from August that you want to shout about? 

This entry was posted in Adrian McKinty, Ann Turner (Aus), books of the month, Denise Mina, Elly Griffiths, Gianrico Carofiglio, Michael Robotham (Aus), Shari Lapena, Sue Grafton, Sulari Gentill (Aus), Vaseem Khan. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Books of the month: August 2017

  1. Sorry to hear about the whole job thing, Bernadette.Wishing you well as you get it all sorted. In the meantime, you got some good reading in, and that’s great. I’m impressed, too, with the way you’re cutting down on the TBR. I need to do that! *sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m still in the optimistic phase Margot where I think I have made the right choice and it will all work out in the end. Might be a different story in 6 months 🙂

      The TBR is really not getting any smaller…but at least it’s not growing too much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hope you get a job soon, but meanwhile, I see you’re having fun reading, at least with the good books.
    I haven’t read McKinty’s series, but I can’t start an entire series now. Can I just read this book, if as you say, it’s the best one yet?
    My two TBR lists are gigantic, so adding any series will just cause combustion.
    Appreciate the commentary on the books. Have read some of them, will skip others, unless they get rave reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kathy and yes I think you could easily read this McKinty book alone. He does a good job of providing enough background that you wouldn’t be too confused. But I do understand about the TBR pile – alas we can’t read everything

      Like

  3. Kathy D. says:

    Kathy D. above, and puzzled about why I’m anonymous but I’ll fill out the form again.

    Like

  4. tracybham says:

    The problems you had related to your job must have been really bad, and I am so sorry you had to go through that. It must be lovely to have leisure for reading and the blog, but I am sure there is some anxiety about getting another job soon. I wish you the best.

    That is a nice list of books read and I will be checking out the posts that I missed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Tracy. The job stuff was pretty awful but on the bright side I am financially pretty secure so I was able to walk away and don’t think I will have too much trouble finding something else – even if it’s not in the same line – I have realised I don’t need a huge amount of money to live a comfortable life – and I am lucky enough to be able to take a bit of a break while I clear my head.

      Like

  5. Oh those pesky real life shenanigans- I feel your pain! Hope you continue to enjoy your new reading time, and that your long term plans come to fruition! x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kathy D. says:

    So now you have time to get a dog?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would love to Kathy but would have to move. My unit is in a strata group ( = homeowners association I think) and we are not allowed to have them. Housing here has become such a ridiculous expense (we are amongst the most expensive cities in the world) that moving to a more dog-friendly home right now would be cost-prohibitive 😦

      Like

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh, of course, without a job, too.
    What kind of people ban dogs? It makes no logical sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In our case it’s the landlords – they don’t want to have to fix the damage that animals might do – there are only 5 units in my group but only 2 of us are owner/occupiers, the other 3 are landlords who rent out and so they have the numbers when it comes to votes of this sort.

      Like

  8. kathy d. says:

    Bah! Humbug!
    My landlord likes dogs, so dog-owners have no problems with him. In fact, he did nothing when a tenant complained about his neighbor’s dog barking a lot.

    Like

  9. Hope the employment search goes well and is trouble free for you……and that you enjoy your time in between jobs reading lots of fantastic books.

    Like

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