Reading Summary February 2018

Although February is such a short month, I thought I’d been doing a reasonably good job with my reading, but it’s not quite what I expected. I did read 11 books, but two of those were novellas and four of them were for reviewing purposes. 4 of them are translations, 7 of them are by women writers (one was co-written by a man and a woman) and I have only reviewed two of them on my blog. I think I might have to introduce the pithy weekly reading diary that Elle Thinks has started, otherwise too much is left undigested and unmarked, despite my best intentions.

Crime Fiction

6 of the books I read this month fell into this category and 4 of them have been reviewed or will be reviewed on Crime Fiction Lover.

  1. Michelle McNamara: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – compassionate rather than voyeuristic true crime; compassion for the victims, I mean, and an excellent recreation of time and place – 1970s/80s California. My favourite of the crimey reads this month, even though I am not usually a true crime fan.
  2. Hari Nykänen: Holy Ceremony, transl. Kristian London. Part of a series about the wonderfully named Finnish-Jewish detective Ariel Kafka.
  3.  Noel Balen & Vanessa Barrot: Minced, Marinated and Murdered, transl. Anne Trager. Enjoyable culinary cosy crime set in one of my favourite cities, Lyon. The mystery is somewhat secondary to the atmosphere and characters.
  4. Johana Gustawsson: Keeper, transl. Maxim Jakubowski. A rather gory and grim follow-up to the hardcore first book in the Anglo-French pair Roy & Castells series. I’ve met Johana in real life and don’t know how such an absolutely lovely lady can invent such terrifying details.
  5. Tammy Cohen: Clean Break – a novella about a couple on the brink of divorce, which takes a stalkerish and sinister turn.
  6. Louise Candlish: Our House – by strange coincidence, I got sent this book just as I was reading Tammy Cohen’s book. It is also about a couple on the brink of divorce and fighting over their house (or at least I thought this was what it was going to be about, but that would have been too boring and common-place – the truth is much more complicated). I read it at once, but it offered me no tips on how to handle negotiations (or even how to murder a spouse).

Reading Recommendations and Challenges

For the David Bowie Book Club: James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time

For the Asymptote Book Club: Aranyak by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay

For the Muriel Spark Centenary: Symposium – a book almost entirely in dialogue form

Modern Classic recommended by many of my favourite book bloggers: J.L. Carr – A Month in the Country – and how right they were!

In fact, all four of these were very worthwhile reads, so perhaps I should stick more to personal recommendations in future.

Following the Herd

Chloe Caldwell: Women – I’d read about this ill-fated lesbian love story and requested it on Netgalley, but I found it rather disappointing. A sort of memoir about a moment of curiosity and madness, or a coming of age story without real maturity at the end. It felt like yet another MFA project designed to be mildly shocking or titillating. Will I never learn not to fall for blurbs or buzz?

 

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “Reading Summary February 2018”

  1. Blurbs can be so misleading…. But yes, isn’t A Month in the Country just wonderful? You’ve had a much better month than me, though I *am* getting on a little better now. Just too many review books… 😉

  2. I also acquired A Month in the Country after a few people reviewed it but naturally still haven’t read it. Glad to hear you rate it too – I shall try to shove it up the list! Also glad you didn’t get inspired to murder any spouses… 😉

  3. You had a wonderful month in Feb. I have been meaning to read A month in the country because the cover is very similar to that of South Riding, a gem of a book I discovered two years ago. If you liked A month in the country, I would recommend South Riding too

  4. I enjoyed A Month in the Country, a quiet novel to slow read.
    Being discerning, the big challenge for us readers, I agree blurbs can be so misleading, I prefer to check Goodreads first, but with Netgalley there may not be too many reviews before deciding to take the plunge;

  5. I’ve made a personal rule never to go for the hype, Marina Sofia. Rarely does a book live up to it. A Month in the Country sounds good, and I do keep hearing good things about it from people I trust. Hmm….

  6. I’ve been carrying Alone in the Dark with me for over one month now, and I haven’t started it yet because it feels such a special book knowing how it was written and Michelle’s unexpected death. I’m glad to hear it is a compassionate take on the murders, which will only add to the book’s worth.

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