February Reading and Challenges Update

So yes, you may have noticed that I have fallen ever so slightly off the TBR Double Dare waggon this month (ahem! five books or so, without counting the ‘official review copies’). I am all for a combination of planning and serendipity, but this is ridiculous! I blame a conspiracy of libraries and reviewers/editors who are far too good at PR. So here is the summary:

Books from the TBR Pile:

Jenny Offill: Dept. of Speculation

Eva Dolan: Long Way Home

Eva Dolan: Tell No Tales

Tuula Karjalainen: Tove Jansson – Work and Love   [Not reviewed because I want to write a feature on her, the Moomins, The Sculptor’s Daughter. She is one of my favourite writers and a great artist as well.]

avionbussiRead for Reviews:

Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen: Cognac Conspiracies (transl. by Sally Pane)

Pierre Lemaitre: Camille – the last in the Verhoeven trilogy, to be reviewed shortly on CFL

Michel Bussi: After the Crash – coming out next week, to be reviewed on CFL

Book Club Read:

Fred Vargas: The Chalk Circle Man (reread) – not my favourite of the Adamsberg series, as it’s the first one and has a lot of set-up, but still a quirky notch above the rest

Library Impulse Loans:

Karim Miske: Arab Jazz

partttimeindianSherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I don’t know why I don’t read YA literature more often – perhaps because a  lot of it is derivative and too ready to jump onto bandwagons and second-guess the trends. This one rings so true and is heartbreakingly matter-of-fact. It also fulfills one of my North America slots for Global Reading Challenge, as I’d never looked at Native American culture before in a novel. The pain of living ‘between’ cultures, of never being fully accepted in either of them, the unsentimental view of the flaws of each type of lifestyle, yet plenty of humour and tenderness to temper it all: I loved it!

Hubert Mingarelli: La route de Beit Zara

Another book that meets my Global Reading Challenge requirements – this time for Israel/Middle East/Asia. Despite the fact that it’s written by a Frenchman.

Sold to me via word of mouth:

Kate Hamer: The Girl in the Red Coat

Twelve books, of which a third were from the TBR pile, a quarter for professional reviews and only a third snuck in unexpectedly… When I put it like that, it doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Seven of the books were by foreign writers, but six of those were by French writers. So perhaps I am swapping the comfort and familiarity of Anglo writers with Gallic ones?

Seven crime fiction novels. My top crime read of the month (which is linked up to the Crime Fiction Pick of the Month meme hosted by Mysteries in Paradise) was undoubtedly Eva Dolan’s Long Way Home. A multi-layered story with real contemporary resonance. But Camille came close for the storytelling momentum, while Arab Jazz was excellent at showing us a less romaticised picture of Paris.

Anyway, next month will bring the huge, huge temptation that is Quais du Polar in Lyon. How can I possibly not impulse buy books and get them signed by so many wonderful authors? Wish me luck…

12 thoughts on “February Reading and Challenges Update”

  1. Marina Sofia – You know, I’ll just say my TBR has not gotten any smaller for reading your blog – ahem… 😉 – Seriously, I always do like the variety of books that you review. And I am looking forward to the next in the Winemaker Detective series 🙂

  2. It does mean that of the 25 books I’ve read in 2015, only 9 have been from my TBR pile – which is not quite what I’d hoped for when I entered the TBR Double Dare Challenge. But I’ll keep trying…

  3. I thought the Sherman Alexie was really good. Poignant. Did you write about it? I’ve read some short stories by him (Ten Little Indians) and I liked them a lot too.

    I fell of the TBR wagon too, and that’s before Quai du Polar. I’m hopeless. I got En Syrie by Joseph Kessel, Le pain by Toufic Youssef Aouad and Heureux les heureux by Yasmina Reza.

  4. Oh, go on! Stock up with goodies at the Quais du Polar! Life without a massive and uncontrollable TBR would be no fun! (This is the mantra I repeat each time I count up and start sobbing…)

      1. Thanks. I was researching new themes for dVerse Poets Pub and thought mine could do with a bit of a refresh as well. That’s the view from outside my house, by the way. Can you understand why I love it here?

  5. The Alexie is one of my all-time favorites, but I haven’t managed to finish any of his other stories and novels. The movie Smoke Signals is based on one of his stories, and any interview you can dig up on YouTube is worth your while. He may be the most charismatic author around!

  6. I saw your comment of today about Camille on my blog, but poof it disappeared, so i’m just leaving a word over here… I knew halfway that I had read it all wrong, but by then I couldn’t put the book down. Such book should come with a warning on the first page!

    1. Well, I’m glad you enjoyed it nevertheless – he is quite addictive, what a storyteller! Sorry to see my comment disappeared, how very strange… And I don’t know why I don’t always ‘see’ all of your post, since I am following you.

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