Books of the month: January 2018

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? 

This entry was posted in books of the month, Charlie Donlea, Elina Hirvonen, Garry Disher (Aus), J.M. Green (Aus), Jorn Lier Horst, Ovidia Yu, Sarah Pinborough. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Books of the month: January 2018

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    I do like your charts, Bernadette. And I’m glad you enjoyed almost all of what you read. Not surprised you put the Disher at the top of your list. He really is very, very talented. And I agree with you 100%: the whole point of reading is enjoying it, not how many books one reads in a month.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kay says:

    I completed 9 books as well in January. A decent start for the year. Glad you enjoyed Charlie Donlea’s book. I have yet to read his first book and I also know that a 3rd is coming out at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tracybham says:

    It must be a trend, I read 9 books in January also. I would like to try the Garry Disher book you mentioned but it doesn’t appear to be available here yet. I do have another of the Inspector Challis books to read while I wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 9 books was obviously the right amount for January. Disher is great…I like the standalones best because it seems like such a lost art these days with so many people doing series but the Challis and Destry books are very good.


  4. Kathy D. says:

    Oh, gosh, I fell down on the job and lowered the average. I started several books, but a few are DNF and others I will finish. But I had to read some other books, not a mystery. Due to a family devastation, I dove into several books, but put them down. I only finished two books, but am mid-read in four, with one not being finished.
    I need some ideas of substantial, interesting books without much brutality or death.


  5. Kathy D. says:

    Well, you have managed to interest me in the two Australia-based books and some of the others. Not the one which you characerized as “bollocks” nor the one about a troubled young man (too close to home and the one about the mass shooting may be too much.
    I need good characters and plot right now, not much brutality or death. But you’ve again added to my TBR list and I have to figure out how to get “Too Easy.” The library may have the Disher book.


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