Monday, 5 October 2015

October reading

Oh dear, it is October and I haven't finished my September read. I have barely made a dent in it actually. I was not in the right frame of mind to read 'History Of The Rain' by Niall Williams. I enjoyed the little I read and I am eager to continue, maybe on our train journey to London next Sunday. 

Life has been far too busy to actually read a book, particularly one that requires a moderate degree of concentration. I am ever so glad there are audiobooks. I am never too tired to listen to a story. In fact, if I could choose between a cleaner and a personal narrator, I would go for the narrator. I'd need two, really, one female and one male. They would need to be fluent in a dozen different accents, too. 

When my mind is busy, I stick to easy reads, for example crime fiction. There is so much to choose from in this genre (much of it too formulaic for my taste). My love for crime fiction goes way back to when I was reading book after book in a children's series called 'Drei Fragezeichen'. That's 'Three Investigators' for those of you who live in the US and may know the series from your childhood. The series was stopped in the US in 1993 but was continued in Germany for the German market. There must be a dozen authors contributing by now. I think it is still going! Anyway, you know by now that I am very picky with crime fiction, I turn my nose up at the formulaic crime novels that clutter the bestseller tables. I blame the five years I have worked in a Forensic Medicine and Science environment, learning about the real world of crime and how it is investigated.

I have recently discovered Jorn Lier Horst, a Norwegian author. I like Scandinavian fiction, it feels culturally quite close to my cultural comfort zone. His inspector Wisting novels are a good read. The first book in the series translated into English is 'Dregs', followed by 'Closed for Winter' and 'Hunting Dogs'. Yes, I have listened to them all. There are five previous books in the series that have not been translated but it doesn't matter, threads that are picked up from the older books are well explained. The author is a former senior investigating officer in the Norwegian police force. This is evident when you read the books, they offer a detailed and authentic insight into how cases are investigated. You might think this makes for an eye-wateringly boring read but it doesn't. The novels are set in a political and social context that is real and contemporary. All characters are real and normal, they could be your friends, or the bloke next door. That holds true for the villains also. You'll not find yourself too scared to check for dust balls under the bed for fear of discovering an axe wielding lunatic who kills for trophies and the thrill. The crimes committed are rational in the social and societal context. I sure hope there will be another William Wisting novels sometime in the near future.

I have have been waiting for the publication of Jussi Adler-Olsens new book, 'The Hanging Girl'. I like the quirky trio of Karl, Assad and Rose investigating unsolved crimes. The trio is well characterised and they are likeable, each in their own way and each of them has an interesting past. What's more, they are also quite efficient investigators. The trio does not always operate according to the rules and the unit they form is a pariah unit of sorts, which for me can be a deal clincher. But Rose's temper, Assad's enigmatic past and Carl's struggle to overcome a traumatic event make up for it. The new book didn't disappoint and I am already looking forward to the next book in the series (if there is one).

I have also listened to 'Faithful Place' by Tana French. I can't make my mind up about the Dublin crime squad series. The books are well written and insightful and I really like how each book has a different lead detective, each with their own strengths and vulnerabilities. I don't know if it is me but I don't particularly like any of the characters. I was kind of ok with Rob (his last name escapes me at the moment) in 'In the Woods'. I found Cassie Maddock, the lead detective in the 'The Likeness' irritating and I really disliked Frank Mackey who is the central character in 'Faithful Place'. He made my skin crawl when he first appeared in the 2nd book and I felt like punching him in the teeth in the third book. I hope is not going to make another appearance. I am now listening to the fourth book, 'Broken Harbour', in which Scorcher Kennedy is the lead detective. Scorcher played a major part in 'Faithful Place' and I disliked him nearly as much as I disliked Mackey. He doesn't make my skin crawl but he is too pompous for my liking. Despite it all, I keep listening because I do rather like the stories. There's hope for the next detective. 

For October, I have no idea what I am going to read. I may just stick to audio books as it is an easy way to enjoy fiction and doesn't require my tired eyes to focus on tiny words. My track record for finishing the monthly book has not been great this year! I'll leave you with a close up of a section of our bookshelves.

As always, I am linking up with Laura's 'Year in Books'

What have you been reading lately? Anything I should really read? Do tell! Have a lovely week my friends. xx


  1. Hello!
    I think it's admirable that you avoid the bestseller route and go for what appeals to your own tastes. I tend to pick books up from other people; some are my thing, some not so much. I've managed to read a lot lately (always in bed) but my to-read list is ever-growing. I definitely believe there's no point trying to stick with something that you can't get along with - there are too many books out there to be discovered and enjoyed.
    I noticed a very old copy of Moll Flanders on the bookcase the other day. When did I buy that?! I definitely fancy a challenge though, so it's on the list along with another read of The Catcher in the Rye.
    I must try audio books, too. They might make doing the ironing more bearable!
    S x

  2. I've not read much last month either and I can't get on with audio books. I just stop whatever else it is that I am doing! Alternatively I stop concentrating and then find I've totally missed 15 minutes.

  3. I do love to see a well stuffed bookshelf. Not much time for reading here either. I started Wolf Brother with the children last night, and I'm dipping in and out of essays otherwise. Wishing you a good month with plenty of reading. CJ xx

    1. Ooh sorry to butt in, but I love the Wolf Brother series of books. I read them myself. Fabulous.
      Leanne xx

  4. I'm trying to get myself back to reading again. I've just started CS Lewis' Space Trilogy. I like the sound of the inspector Wisting novels.

  5. I picked up a crime novel in the library this week, I haven't read one for ages. I am a fan of Kathy Reichs and enjoyed the early Patricia Cornwall but not so much the late ones. I finished reading a wonderful book last night, Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce. It is really hard to describe what the book is about it's a kind of modern fairy tale but not really, that sounds so flakey! But I loved it and that is the main thing isn't it?

  6. Like you I am really not finding much time for actual reading but really enjoying audio books which I can listen to while painting walls. It is crucial to have a good narrator though. Thanks for the photo of your bookshelf, I love looking at peoples bookcases to see what they have read. :)

  7. Time for reading has not been high on the agenda, as the Autumn and Winter months progress is when I read more when I can't get out in the garden.

  8. I read all the time, just finished The Company by Robert Littlell, 50 years of the CIA and the Cold War, it was excellent, still reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, a much small book but so intense. An elderly minister is writing to his young son who he won't live to see grow up. It's about faith, family, love and his personal history, a truly beautiful book.
    In September I also read Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel's follow-up to Wolf Hall and it was excellent.
    I like all of Tana French's novels, though I agree with you that her lead characters are not very likable, but I think that makes them more realistic.

  9. Hey Christina,
    I haven't kept up my year of books post, but I do update my read via the instagram hashtag every now and then. I recently finished 'A Year Of Marvellous ways' by Sarah Winman, which I loved. I'm currently reading 'Apool Of Blue Thread' by Anne Tyler and have 'A Possibly Life' by Sebastian Faulks and 'Strands, A Year Of Beach Discoveries' by Jean Sprackland on my bedside table. I just adore Jean Sprackland, and have read this particular book a couple of times.
    Leanne xx

  10. Ooh I love Scandinavian fiction too, thanks for the recommendations! I read Anthony Horowitz's take on Sherlock Holmes which I enjoyed immensely. I'm currently reading 'The Shock of the Fall' by Nathan Filer, which is a harrowing but beautiful book about a family tragedy and mental illness. Have a good week! x

  11. Hi Christina, I'm probably responsible for recommending the Niall Williams. I loved it and read it twice in a row but I appreciate it may not be to everyone's taste. I must get round to doing my Year in Books post. Struggling to get to blog at present but a bit of time for reading at least.

  12. I love to see photos of other people's bookshelves. I always see a few that I also own and a lot that that I don't, but it gives me ideas. I love Tana French's Dublin series and I think Cassie is my favorite character, and the only one I really find likable. I do enjoy the way she draws the teenage characters, I think she gets a lot of their personalities and thought processes spot on.

  13. Even when I am too busy to read blogs (much less to write my own) I have a few special ones that I always read and one of those is yours... I have been wanting to post about books - every time I read your GOODREADS posts I want to participate - but I just am too busy and don't get to it... ugh. That said, I have had no time to read but I found myself seriously suffering from the loss of books so at the beginning of this summer I loaded an app called OVERDRIVE on my iPhone. My local library offers FREE audiobooks through this app - thousands of them - it has seriously been my summer salvation. I have listened to books while walking the dog, running, driving in the car, when I can't sleep at night, on the beach with my eyes closed enjoying the sun and even while I work. It's been wonderful - a total escape. That said - a bad narrator can ruin a book and mostly its bad American-accented narrators I can't stomach (I'm American). It seems that even a bad narrator with a British accent is more palatable! Anyway - I agree about the "light" reading books. This summer, I chose ONE genre: young adult dystopian novels. It's been really entertaining. In college I studied Arthurian legend. I find my summer genre similar - so many ways to portray the same genre - really interesting. I'd love to do a comparative study. And I chose young adult series because I love to see what writers are penning for the younger set of reading minds - it helps me to feel connected to what is interesting to them. Soon, I will write a blog post and list them all. However, since you did mention crime mysteries, I'll tell you that I found a really good crime mystery writer - Tom Rob Smith. I loved his book "The Farm" which takes place in Sweden. And then I followed up with the first book in his Russian trilogy, "Child 44." I'm currently listening to the second one. It's amazing to more deeply understand Stalin-era Russia. I later learned that Child 44 will be a major motion picture - I can't wait. Anyway - thanks so much for your reading inspirations. Every time I see a book post from you it encourages me to get back on the blog wagon : )


Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx