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 Gentill – CROSSING 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 Griffiths – THE CHALK PIT (a fascinating look at underground living and some more of the Ruth & Harry soap opera which series fans will enjoy)
- *Gianrico Carofiglio – INVOLUNTARY 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 Mina – THE LONG DROP (a beautifully written novel about true ugliness and evil in the shape of Scotland’s worst serial killer)
- Shari Lapena – A 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 Khan – THE UNEXPECTED INHERITANCE OF INSPECTOR CHOPRA (a great mix of light and serious featuring India’s answer to Hercule Poirot alongside a baby elephant)
- *Ann Turner – OUT 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 Throsby – GOODWOOD (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
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
11 down, 14 to go. Might be able to make it yet
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.
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.
Buy no physical or eBooks from stores outside Australia (Audio books are my exception)
So far so good.
Have read nothing eligible since January this year so not likely to achieve this goal.
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What about you? How is your reading going for the year? Anything from August that you want to shout about?