Saturday, 9 November 2013

November reading

I've been making a concerted effort to get through these piles of unread books. Makes sweeping gesture to indicate stacks of books on desk and in crate next to desk. Brandishes Kindle. Here's what I've just finished reading, what I'm reading now and what I will be reading soon.

Just finished

Light of the World by James Lee Burke — Dave Robicheaux, Clete Purcell and families head up to Montana for a quiet holiday, which ends in a blood bath. I enjoyed it, but I do wonder why the characters aren't in gaol somewhere. There must be limits to the number of extra-judicial murders that can be overlooked in even the most relaxed jurisdictions.

Aberystwyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce — Comedy noir set in an alternative Aberystwyth. Good fun, but I'm not sure I'll be reading the rest of the series.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde — Quite batty. Set in an alternative Britain, which is still engaged in the Crimean War and in which crimes against literature are literal. Lots of smart ideas, lots of dreadful puns. I'll read more of Jasper Fforde, but I think I'll leave it for a while.

Drylands by Thea Astley — I adore Astley's work. This one is set in central Queensland, somewhere between Miles and Yeppoon. Her small towns are not Pearl Bay or Lake Wobegon. She does terrible things to her characters. The terrible things are not violent crimes, but the everyday cruelty of everyday people.

Currently reading

Affection by Ian Townsend — A novel set in Townsville in 1900, during an outbreak of bubonic plague. It mixes fact and fiction: One of the principal characters is Dr A. Jefferis Turner, who played a major role in dealing with the epidemic. Turner was also an entomologist, specialising in Lepidoptera, and there is a striking scene on a boat in Cleveland Bay, during a migration of blue wanderer butterflies (Tirumala hamata).

A Magnum for Schneider by James Mitchell — The story in which Callan made his debut. The head of The Section drags him back out of civilian life for one last job. If you're familiar with the television series, you'll know how that 'one last job' turned into just a few more for Mr Callan...Grimy, grim and entertaining.

Murder in Mississippi by John Safran — John Safran looks at true crime.I confess to finding it difficult to watch Safran sometimes, but I enjoy his 'odd couple' work with Father Bob Maguire. I listened to his ABC radio series on true crime and was interested in the directions it took, so I thought I'd read his book about the murder of a white supremacist in Mississippi. It's good. It's really good.

Le Freak: an Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny by Nile Rodgers — My goodness, what a life! Rodgers' autobiography is open, conversational and candid. I have to read it in short sections, because all that candour and familial dysfunction is exhausting.

About to read

Coda by Thea Astley

Bridge of Triangles by John Muk Muk Burke

Batavia by Peter FitzSimons

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Watch Out for Me by Sylvia Johnson 

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

Cross and Burn by Val McDermid

Benang: From the Heart by Kim Scott

My Island Homicide by Catherine Titasey

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