Pick of the month
Aside from the heat (which I must expect at this time of year) 2018 has started well in my reading and non-reading life. I haven’t read a load of books but have enjoyed my reading a lot which is surely the whole point. Of the 9 books I read only one was grizzle-worthy and somewhat perversely I even enjoyed that (the grizzling, not the book so much). My book of the month is a toss-up between two terrific Aussie reads but I’m going to pick Garry Disher’s UNDER THE COLD BRIGHT LIGHTS as my absolute favourite for the month. It’s a standalone novel (or the start of a new series?) about an ‘older’ policeman working cold cases in Victoria and I loved that Disher has given the police procedural new and engaging angles without resorting to the tropes that are tiring me (addicition and being quirky for the sake of it).
The rest, in reading order
- J.M. Green‘s TOO EASY is the second of her novels to feature Melbourne-based social worker Stella Hardy and has a plot depicting organised chaos, insightful social commentary, genuine humour and engaging characters. It’s a real treat and was vying for my favourite read of the month.
- Jorn Lier Horst‘s WHEN IT GROWS DARK is the sixth book featuring William Wisting to be released in English. Although a recent publication in its original Norwegian too, the story is actually a cold case from the very early days of Wisting’s career, when he was only a patrolman. The book is short (yay) and offers some interesting back story for the main character who readers have only known as a mature and highly ranked policeman. I listened to the audio version, delightfully narrated (as always) by Saul Reichlin.
- Ovidia Yu‘s AUNTY LEE’S DELIGHTS is a cosy mystery set in Singapore which offers a lot of local colour for the reader who travels virtually
- Elina Hirvonen‘s WHEN TIME RUNS OUT is a very, very sad but quite beautiful book about the family of deeply troubled young man. I keep thinking about the people at the heart of the story even though I’ve moved on to other books.
- Charlie Donlea‘s THE GIRL WHO WAS TAKEN isn’t one of those ‘girl’ books that makes me grit my teeth and the three women at the heart of it are wonderfully drawn.
- Sarah Pinborough‘s BEHIND HER EYESis the book that had me grizzling. I summed it up by describing it as “a well written load of bollocks” which I standy by. Pinborough is a good writer but the paranormal element of this one is utter nonsense.
- Gin Phillips’ FIERCE KINGDOM brilliantly depicts a mother desperate to protect her toddler amidst the horror of a mass shooting though it’s probably a little slow and disjointed for fans of the traditional thriller.
- John Dickson Carr‘s THE CORPSE IN THE WAXWORKS is a classic novel which I enjoyed a lot more than I imagined I would based on the erroneous idea I’d developed about this author. It’s a gothic-style story taking place in 1930’s Paris and very enjoyable.
Bits and bobs
No goal progress to report on this year (due to last year’s dismal performance I decided not to set myself up for failure this year). But we can still have charts, right? This one shows where the books I read during January came from. You’d think I was doing well by borrowing more than I’ve bought (at least with respect to physical books) but alas I did acquire 7 books during the month (and borrowed 5 from the library). This doesn’t bode well for that TBR mountain I’ve been trying to dislodge.
What about you? Has your reading year started well? Anything you want to shout about? Or grizzle?