Total books read this month = 17. Not as many as January, partly because it's a shorter month, partly because there were fewer weekends and partly because I've been stitching instead of reading for the past week. I have read a couple of absolutely stonking books though and several very good ones. The three books I enjoyed most this month were also the longest so that was good as it meant they lasted longer. Always a bonus, that.
I seem to have had a definite bias towards crime/thriller/detective novels towards the last half of the month and found some beauties tucked away on my TBR shelves, as well as reading a couple of new ones that I'd been eagerly waiting for.
Targets for 1001 and Big Read were met easily this month, unfortunately, due to that impulse purchase of the box set of The Princess Diaries, I did add rather more to the TBR pile than I read from it so a bit of a disaster there. Ah well, it's a good excuse to read more books in March methinks.
5 x bookrings
1 x 1001-library
8 x 1001 list
2 x Big Read
9 x from TBR
2 x local library
A prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving (Big Read, 1001, Local library) Half an hour after finishing this I still had a lump in my throat. The ending was positively heart-rending and I had tears in my eyes for the last few dozen pages. It was quite a long book at 636 pages but it never felt too long. It started off fairly slowly, but was always interesting, with its mix of the comic and tragic. By the second half I was dying to know how it was going to end and I read the last 150 pages straight through as I HAD to know. I love it when a book keeps you glued to the pages like that. This was my third Irving and so far my favourite.
I'm not scared – Niccolo Ammaniti (1001, bookring) This was a nice short read at only 225 pages, which was just as well as once I'd started reading it, there was no way I was going to put it down until I'd finished it. It was a superb story and so well written that you were hanging on every word. The whole book was gripping but the ending was very tense and suspenseful. Brilliant!
The siege of Krishnapur – J. G. Farrell (1001, bookring) This one was a bit of a disappointment. I was expecting it to be much more interesting than it actually was. The parts of the book that were purely storyline were fine and those I did enjoy very much. The characters were interesting and there were plenty of comic moments. What I didn't enjoy were the many parts where there was fairly in depth discussion of religious matters. It just didn't engage me and I found it quite tedious.
Mother's milk – Edward St. Aubyn (1001, bookring) I liked this one, I liked it a lot. The two children in it, who narrated parts of the story, seemed awfully precocious, and I think that was the charm of the book. I found it all rather quirky and as I've said before, that's something that I'm really rather fond of.
Timbuktu – Paul Auster (1001, bookring) This was smashing. It was written from the viewpoint of Mr Bones, a dog. It was touching and sad but mostly delightful. It was a beautiful book to read.
Cutter and Bone – Newton Thornburg (1001, bookring) This was different! Very good though. Very readable, easy to get immersed in. I had a feeling I knew where it was going but it was quite laid back and almost lulled you into a false sense of security – and then wham. Excellent.
Gone with the wind – Margaret Mitchell (1001 library, Big Read) Oh goodness me. What a fabulous book. A terrific bodice-ripper of a love story plus a wonderful history of the civil war condensed into 1010 pages and all made to come to life brilliantly. I can see why so many people love this book. I honestly thought it was going to take me all weekend to finish the last six hundred pages of this but here we are at 10am on Friday morning and it's finished. I stayed up till I could hardly keep my eyes open last night and as soon as I woke, at the uncivilised hour of 5am this morning, I was downstairs to fetch coffee then snuggled back into bed with my book. I can't believe it's taken me this long to get around to reading this!
Dark Angel – L. J. Smith (tbr) From her Nightworld series. Very light supernatural fiction and just what I needed after Gone with the wind. I couldn't have concentrated on anything else but this was nicely diverting.
The Chosen – L. J. Smith (tbr) Another Nightworld story. I like these for the way that you know the setting, but you get different stories and characters and then sometimes familiar faces pop up. Plus there are vampires…
Soulmate – L. J. Smith (tbr) And another Nightworld tale. This one dealt with characters from far back in the series mythology which was interesting as being vampires they were still walking around and causing mayhem.
Gone tomorrow – Lee Child (tbr) I'd been waiting to get my hands on this for ages and I wasn't disappointed. I do love his books! This one was huge as well at 542 pages but not one page was filler – it was all action. I loved all the twists and turns, half the time you didn't know who the bad guys were, and it had the usual brilliant tense ending. This really was worth the wait.
Blacklands – Belinda Bauer (tbr) Excellent book! I had high hopes for this one. I liked the jacket and I liked the blurb on the back. She's a first time author so apart from it being a TV book club pick that's pretty much all I had to go on, but luckily it was a corker. I've just finished it after reading it straight through without a break. I'll definitely be looking out for more books from her.
Farewell, my lovely – Raymond Chandler (tbr, 1001) This was a superb read, although I had figured out some of what was going on this time, where the last Chandler I read took me completely by surprise at the end. I love the style of writing in his books, with the expressions the characters use. A quote – "Moose Malloy was a big man but not more than six feet five inches tall and not wider than a beer truck. He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food. Moose wanted little Velma and there was a trail of corpses to indicate the way he'd gone." Fantastic!
Relentless – Dean Koontz (tbr) I enjoyed this one. There was a definite feel of menace about it and as the book progressed a feeling that the odds were really stacked against the family. Of course they had some extraordinary resources to call upon, as you do in fiction, which made for an entertaining read. Good vs Evil and maybe not quite the ending that was expected.
Keeping the dead – Tess Gerritsen (tbr) Oh this was good! I'd guessed the twist in the plot, but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book. Nice inventive murder methods, plenty of depth to the plot and finished off nicely.
A darker domain – Val McDermid (tbr) I loved all the plot twists in this although I did figure most of them out before the end, and it certainly didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book. While I prefer her Tony Hill series this was definitely a very good read and kept me gripped right up till the end.
One for the money – Janet Evanovich (local library) I finally bowed to peer pressure and started reading this series. It wasn't half bad either, I can see me pestering the library for the rest of them at regular intervals. I laughed out loud at several points especially when the grandmother shot the dinner. Yup, I think I'm going to like these. Thanks for the final push to read them Tree 🙂