Books of the month – April 2010

In an effort to make my end of year selection of best reads a little easier I have decided to sum up each month’s bookishness here at the blog. Most people would have started in January but I’ve never been one to follow the crowd. Also I didn’t think of it until now.

That was then

I finished 15 books in April and threw another one on the DNF pile. Six of my completed reads were audio books which is an indication that the weather finally cooled down enough for me to get back into my regular routine of walking to walk every day (and sometimes home again too). Without wanting to sound all schmalzy I truly do feel grateful to be alive when someone tells me a great story as I walk through the city which I have almost to myself in the crisp early morning. Crunchy Autumn leaves underfoot are a bonus right now.

The pick of the month’s books was undoubtedly Arnaldur Indriðason’s Hypothermia. I am still reflecting on it and telling people about it and would be pressing my copy upon friends but for the fact I borrowed this particular book from the library (I’ve thought about opening my own branch but I’m not sure I want strangers reading newspapers in my lounge room all day to keep warm).  The one word I keep using to describe this book is beautiful. I’ll read it again one day.

Honourable mentions go to Deon Meyer’s Dead at Daybreak for introducing me to the compelling Zatopek (Zet) van Heerden and Margot Kinberg’s B-Very Flat for a fine modern take on the classic whodunit.

The other book from this month’s reading that I’m still talking about is Luis Miguel Rocha’s The Last Pope but only because it was the silliest book I’ve read in ages and I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of something more polite than that to say about it when I go to my book club to discuss it on the weekend.

More to come

For now at least I’ve given up giving up acquiring books. I spent most of 2009 completely failing to give up getting more books and I know what the definition of insanity is. So I’m allowing my TBR pile to grow at its natural rate and I tell myself that I’m sensibly planning for the apocalypse. Oh you can smirk all you like about that but who’d have been laughing if the Icelandic volcano ash cloud had kept planes out of the sky for a year instead of a week huh?

Through a mixture of purchases both new and second hand (damn the library’s book sale), gifts from my fairy godmother, library borrowings and a prize win from the Scandinavian Reading Challenge host I acquired 18 books this month (a net gain for my TBR of only 2 books which is not too appalling). Highlights of these acquisitions that I’ve yet to read include:

Matt Rees’ The Samaritan Secret is the third Omar Yussef mystery set in Palestine and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first 2 books. There’s already a 4th in the series so I need to catch up and look forward to reading this one soon.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The audio version of Shona MacLean’s The Redemption of Alexander Seaton is a historical mystery that’s been discussed at several of my favourite blogs including the excellent Confessions of a Mystery Novelist. It’s set in Scotland in 1620 and tells the tale of a disgraced would-be religious Minister who sets out to uncover the murderer of the apothecary’s nephew in an effort to redeem his good name.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Simon Lelic’s A Thousand Cuts is a book I wanted to read after seeing Maxine’s excellent review at Euro Crime. The book views a horrific school shooting from the viewpoint of various people impacted by the crime including police, family members of victims and staff and students of the school.

None of these books qualify for my several ongoing challenges though so I’m not sure when I’ll be reading these. The actual titles next up on my reading list are

  • Michele Giuttari’s A Death in Tuscany to complete the Europe portion of the global challenge (I’ve had it on the go for a week, it’s kind of dragging)
  • Leif Davidesn’s The Serbian Dane as book 2 in the Scandinavian Challenge (I’ve read the first 50 or so pages and am hooked)
  • Glen Peters’ Mrs D’Silva’s Detective Instincts and the Shaitan of Calcutta to complete the Asian leg of the global challenge (to be honest I bought it because I loved the title)
  • Malla Nunn’s Let the Dead Lie which is her newly released second novel that I am dying to read after devouring the first (plus I can count it for the Aussie authors challenge) (she wasn’t born here and the book isn’t set here but she lives here so she is an Aussie OK)

Chart of the month

As everyone probably knows by now I keep a lot of utterly useless information about the books I read and sometimes I create charts out of it all just to give the illusion I’m not barking mad. This month let’s look at how many pages I’ve read so far this year. I have no analysis of these figures for you except to say that you can tell January is holiday month in Oz – even though I was at work no one else was which meant I wasn’t busy and could get much more reading time into my day.

Pages read per month

This entry was posted in Arnaldur Indriðason, books of the month, Deon Meyer, Leif Davidsen, Luis Miguel Rocha, Malla Nunn (Aus), Margot Kinberg, Matt Beynon Rees, Michele Giuttari, Shona MacLean, Simon Lelic. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Books of the month – April 2010

  1. Bernadette – Thank you so very much for the kind words about B-Very Flat and about my blog; that means an awful lot to me : ).

    You’ve made such enviable progress through your books, and it sounds as though you’ve read some good ‘uns. I really look forward to seeing what you think of the Malla Nunn book. It sounded terrific.

    And one last thing: I am 100%, totally and completely with you about crunchy leaves and autumn weather. How wonderful for you!! I miss real weather…


  2. Jose Ignacio says:

    Bernadette, just for you to know that I have enjoyed very much your post. Thansk for sharing with us your books and nice charts about your readings. I look forward to read Hypothermia which has not been translated in Spanish yet, Deon Meyer, Margot Kinberg, Matt Rees and Malla Nunn in particular.


  3. Maxine says:

    Great progress, Bernadette. And as well as reading all these books, you provide us with such high-quality review of them, too.
    I’ve noted your comments on Guittari, an author I have been considering but has not appealed to me sufficiently to actually acquire any yet. Seems I might be able to let myself off that hook.
    I hope you’ll enjoy the Serbian Dane as much as I did – and I’m looking forward to my first Malla Nunn.
    BTW I think I am more like an evil stepmother than a fairy godmother!


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