Books of the month: August 2016

Pick of the month

13PointPlanForAPerfectMurderThe truth of the sentiment it’s quality not quantity that counts really rings true for my August reading month. I only managed to finish 4 books but they were all decent (even the one with the really unlikable character). My pick of the month though is David Owen’s 13-POINT PLAN FOR THE PERFECT MURDER. It’s funny and clever and full of local (Tasmanian) colour and a ripping yarn.

The rest, in reading order 

  • Patricia Abbott – SHOT IN DETROIT (the book with the really unlikable character that I didn’t want to discuss because it revealed too much about me, it’s got great hooking-the-reader-in power and a very evocative setting)
  • Antonia Hodgson – THE DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA (a historical novel which takes us inside an 18th century debtor’s prison where being murdered doesn’t sound like the worst thing that can happen to you)
  • Arthur Upfield – DEATH OF A LAKE (my contribution to this month’s Crimes of the Century was this 1954 tale of a drowned man and the greedy sods who surrounded him)

All this month’s haul are worth reading and although they’re all quite different they’ve all got very evocative settings. I did some great virtual travelling this month 🙂

Progress Towards 2016’s Bookish Goals

Challenge Goal Progress
Australian Women Writers Challenge Read 25 eligible books, review at least 20 of them Read and reviewed 11 books
Reading US Fiction Challenge Read 6 books by new to me authors set in different states of the US  4/6 achieved
Personal – Reduce TBR Have a TBR of 100 or less by the end of 2016 (starting point 145) TBR = 149 at end of month
Personal – Buy Australian Buy no physical or eBooks from non-Australian stores 1 this month, 3 in total this year
Personal – Read older books too Participate in at least 6 of the monthly Crimes of the Century challenges hosted at Past Offences  8/6 achieved
Personal – No Girl books Read no books with the word Girl in the title. Because meh.  0/0 achieved

I think we can all admit the “Reduce TBR” Challenge is a lost cause. I’m well over half-way through the year and have 4 more books awaiting me than I started off with, and am further away than ever from getting under the magic 100. Perhaps it’s time to accept reality on this front.

I caved on my Buy Australian goal and bought my next book club read (Zygmunt Miloszewski’s RAGE) in eBook format from Amazon because it was a full $25 cheaper than I could find it locally (in any format). So I guess we know how far my principles stretch. I’ve paid up to $15 more for a book locally than I could get it from overseas but $25 just seemed excessive. I’m not made of money.

Although I read two books by Aussies during the month they were both by blokes so I’m now a bit worried about my AWW challenge goal. I’ve got a tonne of eligible titles to read though, just need to find the hours.

At this point though it’s looking like I’ll only manage to achieve 2 of my 6 reading goals for the year. But I’m not losing any sleep over the matter, don’t worry 🙂

Bits and Pieces

ResurrectionBayViskicIn case you missed the excitement last weekend winners of two sets of awards for Australian crime writing were announced. Head over to Fair Dinkum Crime for a full list of the winners. Here I’ll just highlight the winners of the two main awards: Emma Viskic’s RESURRECTION BAY won the Davitt award for best Adult novel (a decision I wholeheartedly endorse though it’s a bit unfair of me as I haven’t read all the shortlisted novels) and Dave Warner won the Ned Kelly Award for Best Fiction with BEFORE IT BREAKS (which I have not yet read but plan to).

And because I haven’t shared one in quite some time I thought I’d finish with a chart which accurately reflects my reading level this year, thanks mostly to cramming two full time jobs into one life for the last little while. Happily that’s all over now.

Pages Read August 2016

What about you? Did you have a great read during August? Anything good coming up for September? 

This entry was posted in Antonia Hodgson, Arthur Upfield, books of the month, David Owen (Aus), Emma Viskic (Aus), Patricia Abbott. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Books of the month: August 2016

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    I think that’s the thing about TBRs, Bernadette. They never really reduce that much (or at any rate, mine doesn’t *sigh*). Still, you had some good reads this month, and that’s what matters. And as always, I do love the chart!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tracybham says:

    I liked all of the books I read this month, but my two top picks would be SEE ALSO DECEPTION by Larry Sweazy, set in North Dakota in the 1960s, with a female protagonist and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE by Ian Fleming.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the tip Tracy…I haven’t yet visited North Dakota on my virtual tour around the US…that sounds like a great candidate.


  4. kathy d. says:

    I read a The Lake House by Kate Morton, but it was a 500-page tome and I was impatient to get through it. It took me a long time and I had figured out part of the resolution for quite awhile. I’d say the most surprising read during August was Lisa McInerney’s “The Glorious Heresies.” She won the Baily Women Writer’s prize and, I think, the Theakston’s Old Pecular Crime Novel of the year. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read. It’s about people in the underbelly of the Cork, Ireland society and economy. There is some good writing in this book, but also some lost souls. This writer has a good, long career ahead of her if she keeps up quality writing.
    But nothing is predictable.
    I also read two women-in-peril thrillers, The Woman in Cabin 10, which was unputdownable, but I still can’t figure out the twist at the end. And I read I Let You Go, which has some twists, but is fundamentally about domestic abuse, which I had figured out the minute the plot twist occurred.
    I needed those type books at the time, but I’m moving on.
    I’m glad Resurrection Bay won some awards in Oz.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read that one but I did read another book by Kate Morton Kathy and had a similar experience…I remember lots of stuffy detail…a long description of a door or a padlock or something and me thinking “it’s just a door, walk through it and get on with things woman” 🙂

      There is a lot to be said for the right kind of book to suit your mood…sounds like you found some good ones for you last month


  5. kathy d. says:

    Getting older causes panic for a reader. You can’t read as fast as you could,but you don’t want to miss good books. So, if a book is 500 pages, it better be good and all 500 pages should be good. So, I’ll skip these long volumes unless five people swear a book is worth it. A friend suggests an 800 page book and I’m worried it’ll take me two months and all else will go to hell. So it better be perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kathy d. says:

    Just finished by doing an all-nighter “Someone Else’s Skin,” by Sarah Hilary. Gosh, that writer can sure write an unputdownable page-turner of a thriller. It goes into more brutality and sadism than I care to read, so I had to skip some paragraphs, but she knows how to put a story together and keep one reading. And her protagonist is a brilliant, but troubled woman police detective.
    I have turned to “Shot in Detroit,” for a break as it is humorous and much lighter than the aforementioned book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I enjoyed the Sarah Hilary book too, though I read it during a time when I was completely frazzled so I don’t remember much other than that it was good but pretty violent

      Interesting that you find Shot in Detroit lighter…will be curious to hear what you make of it when you’ve read it all


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