July to November reading

July through November I did not read as much as I usually do. This may have been due to the increased amount and different type of reading that was required for one of my university units. Also, I found I was just too tired to read before sleeping, which is when I do most of my recreational or reading for pleasure.

However, I still managed to read the following, not necessarily in this order:

All of which will be wild released over the coming week as I feel I have some serious BookCrossing to catch up on.

Most of the books were obtained through the local library as discards or donated to raise funds for the local library or from Grandad’s box of books.

Currently making my way through Moran v Moran. Definitely not something to read between mandatory or necessary reading for research and study. The book was donated to the library fundraiser and has newspaper cuttings inserted as bookmarks, and various sentences underlined. Definitely will look at some ‘lighter’ reading after this one.

June reads

Except ‘Breath’, I obtained all this month’s reads from the discard shelf at the local library. I also tended to choose the books that I knew H would not want to read so that I could wild release them when I had finished.

Candelo by Georgia Blain was a library discard that I obtained for a few cents. The story revolves around a family holiday at Candelo and the events that lead from there to continue to effect the parties involved. The story is narrated by Ursula, the middle sister of the family as she manages her current life situation in relation to that of the past.

Breath by Tim Winton I read almost in two sittings. The pace is such that you have to remember to draw breath yourself. It could be a simplistic coming of age story about two boys, but it is made more interesting by the narrator. The narrator is one of the boys, who now as an adult is reflecting on his boyhood after attending the scene of an attempted suicide as a paramedic.

Girl from the South by Joanna Trollope is a beach novel, but a welcome distraction after completing my literary review for uni. I found the contrast between London and Charleston vivid, particularly between family and their relationships. Sometimes it is difficult to not assume that two English speaking countries are going to be similar. It is a story about four characters who for different reasons are at turning points in their own lives, or because of the lives of others. Little resolution with aplomb, and a lot of life is messy.

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella challenges the corporate world with domesticity. It got me wondering how many people that do not have the life skills to look after themselves without the assistance of other people or organisations. The novel was romp through mistaken identity and domestic faux pas.

Kiss the Girls by James Patterson was not a book that I particularly enjoyed reading. The crimes are horrific but clever, the detective work relies on a break-through, and there is a love interest. Fortunately it was easy to read over two days to get to the end.

Altar Ego by Kathy Lette was published ten years ago, which is about the time I stopped frequent spending my $24.95 on new releases. Instead, I’m pleased I was able to give the library fifty cents to read the book now. I feel that the screed on the back cover makes the novel appear to be more interesting than it is. And while I know that this is the purpose of the back cover, I think it was better written and more interesting than the pages between the covers.

All in all, a bit of pulp fiction for the month.

May reads

Three of the books I read this month I obtained from the local library. However, they were library discards or books that people had donated in order for the library to do some fundraising. So it has being costing me money to go to the library 🙂

  • The Falls by Ian Rankin is a DI Rebus and DC Clarke investigation of a missing student. In additiion to the usual plodding, the story includes an online game with the Quizmaster, except the clues are cryptic and in real life.
  • This Reader’s Digest Select Editions included The King of Torts by John Grisham, A Week in Winter by Marcia Willett, and The Last Detective by Robert Crais, and Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray. All are authors that I don’t usually seek out, but I enjoyed the medley of this digest. The King of Torts was predictable in part, and The Last Detective a little pedestrian. I enjoyed most A Week in Winter and Eat Cake. Both could be described as women’s fiction, but the characters were developed and their relationships formed the story. The two cake recipes at the end of Eat Cake: Almond Apricot Pound Cake with Amaretto and Sweet Potato Bundt Cake with a Spiked Sugar Glaze sound glorious. I think I will copy them before wild releasing this book.
  • Tom, Dick and Debbie Harry by Jessica Adams was definitely cringe material. The story is centred around a wedding in a rural town in Tasmania, Australia. It is described as ‘a hilarious romp’, and it certainly is a light read, funny in parts, but not hilarious.
  • The Ghost Writer by John Harwood I picked up at The Coop Bookshop sale because it was set in Australia and the UK. It is a story within a story within a story. Parts of a manuscript are set in different type and form part of and become the story. A good creepy read.

I’m looking forward to some wild releasing once I have finished my literature review for uni.

April reads

Reviewing my reading for April, I think I was really demonstrating my eclectic taste or desperation for reading – anything.

Between reading scholarly papers for my studies, fiction was often a welcome reprieve.

Timeline by Michael Crichton was obtained from Nigel at Pizza With Attitude with the intention of bookcrossing at the newly established BookCrossing Zone. Unfortunately, Pizza With Attitude is no more 😦 I found Timeline fascinating, and if you have any interest at all in medieval history, archaeological digs, or quantum technology – then this book has something for you.

The Zhukov Briefing by Antony Trew is an old old espionage novel involving a submarine aground off the Norwegian coast. The intricacies of world intelligence services dealing with the captain and commissar of the Soviet submarine sometimes reads like a Laurel and Hardy script, and at other times breathtakingly ruthless.

Whirlwind by James Clavell is 1343 pages of high adventure and sub-plots of a helicopter company during the times happening in Iran during February 1979. While reading about the CIA, KGB and MI6 was somewhat intriguing, the relationships and journeys of the helicopter pilots, crew, family, and friends was much more interesting.

Fast, Loose Beginnings: A Memoir of Intoxications by John Kinsella describes the benders and poetry of himself and others that Kinsella meets along the way early in his life as a poet and critic. Having not read his poetry before, I particularly like that which refers to the Western Australian bush.

January reads

I read over 1400 pages this month, 1088 of them in one book over five days.

‘The Hanging Valley’ is a murder mystery by Peter Robinson. Although considered a holiday read I found the characters were well developed such that you could almost imagine yourself sitting in the pub with them and making the same observations narrated in the story.

Set in a small village where everyone or no one knows what goes on, suspects to a murder are added, deleted, and re-added to the list as the investigation led by Inspector Banks plods through the evidence. There are some likeable characters and truly nasty ones who you hope get their just desserts.

I read The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett in five days. It is a large book but an easy read and a page turner in parts. I forgot to bring a book and I needed something to read while at the hairdressers as I don’t read or even flick through magazines much. And no, I was not at the hairdressers for the whole length of the book, but I did have to field the jibes while in the salon 🙂

I saw the ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ book while standing in the queue to go into a previous festival film. I say saw as opposed to heard about, as it is largish book. I read quite fast and the idea that there was a fat contemporary novel that I had not read was the reason I sought it out when next in the bookshop. Aside: This year I have found that quite a few people bring books, magazines or newspapers to read during their picnic prior to the film.

The story is about the building of a cathedral in England during the twelfth-century. It is definitely an epic story, but it was fascinating reading about the social, cultural, and political aspects during which the cathedral was built. And cathedrals take a long time to build.

Although the cathedral architecture was interesting, what brought the story to life was learning about certain aspects of the building such as the introduction of large stained glass windows and how the walls were calculated to be strong enough to support tall arches and domes. Also, all the different people and their skills that were required to build the cathedral and how they lived.

If there is to be a take away message from the novel it is that I firmly believe that matters of state and religion should be completely separate.

I’ve started to read Northern Lights (His Dark Materials) by Phillip Pullman. So far I’m enjoying it very much. It is heaps better than any Harry Potter books that I have read.

December reads

Read my book that I got for Dryandra, A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time fame.

It kept me reading when I should really of being going to sleep. Many small incidents that make up to address the sometimes larger than life issues. Lots of incidents to have a snicker and a belly laugh over as well. ‘A Spot of Bother’ is different to ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’, but I think if you liked the reflective nature of Haddon’s previous novel, then you would like this one.

The one other book I read was The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. This was a discard from the library, but I remember reading it as a teenager and was mighty awed by it then, and now. It is a fantasy adventure that includes wizards, sleeping knights and their steeds, a stone, and lots of bad guys – really bad guys. Another book that kept me reading until I thought the main characters were ok, or at least figuring out stuff for the better. Reading about the caves and tunnels was definitely sit up in bed stuff.

A ‘Spot of Bother’ needs to be on the shelf for H to read, but I will probably BookCross ‘The Weirdstone of Brisingamen’ some time soon.

November reads

I completed one book during November, i.e. the one I started in October 🙂

Six interconnected stories, going backward and forward in time and across the seas from the Chatham Islands to Hawaii with Europe, USA, and Korea in between.

The plot in each chapter is so tight that sometimes I wondered how they can form part of the same novel. There is something for everyone; history, politics, mystery, crime, thriller, and science fiction.

It is a rollercoaster of a read. Definitely one of those books that you find you cannot put down until you have finished, then disappointed when you have.

Cloud Atlas is mind boggling.

I haven’t heard from any Bookcrossing books this month, but then again, I haven’t released any for a while.