Goodness me, these monthly wrap-up posts seem to come around quicker and quicker. I'm certain time is speeding up! Anyhow. Reading. March was quite a nice, casual month of books. I'm slowly getting out of - or trying to - devouring books like there's no tomorrow. It's senseless. I'm never going to be able to read 'everything' and need to accept that and move on.
So I read seven books in March. And I feel fortunate because, apart from one which was a bit average, I enjoyed all of them.
20. Foundation by Isaac Asimov. This book comes into the category 'I thought I would love it so why the heck didn't I?' Excellent concept, monotonously executed. Oh well, it's nice to know which series you do not need to continue with. 3 stars.
21. A Killer Read - Erika Chase 4 stars
22. A Year of Living Simply - Kate Humble 4 stars
23. The Mad Ship - Robin Hobb 5 stars
24. Murder in the Mill-Race - E.C.R. Lorac 5 stars
25. Camino Island - John Grisham 4 stars
26. Deadly Appearances - Gail Bowen
This one is set in and around Regina, in the Canadian prairie province of Saskatchewan. A politician, Andy Boychuk, dies on stage just before he's about to give an important speech. One of his aides, Joanne Kilbourne, witnesses it and even manages to save the life of someone else who's about to go the same way. So who killed him? His strange wife, Eve, is a possibility but so are a number of other people, aides, supporters, members of a church he had links with, political competitors within the party they all supported. Jo is drawn into the investigation but it's difficult as she's still raw from the loss of her husband three years ago, plus has three kids in their teens to keep an eye on. One thing she quickly discovers - Andy's life was far more complicated than any of them realised. I thought this was incredibly well written and the sense of place very strong. I had no idea there was such a Ukrainian presence in that area (this book was published in 1990) and learnt quite lot as regards that. I liked Jo a lot but found in the last few chapters that I wanted to shake her for her attitude towards her own wellbeing. I also had a strong idea of the culprit and was proved right but that didn't spoil my enjoyment at all because it was so interesting watching what this person did. There was a very real sense of menace which I loved, but this is also a book about secrets, family, politics (not overwhelming thank goodness) and how your past behaviour can eventually catch up with you. Excellent. And thanks to Margot Kinberg for bringing the book to my attention. 4 stars
So, quite a good reading month. When you have that proportion of 4 and 5 star books you have to be grateful. Favourite book? The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb. But all of the other 4 and 5 star books were not far behind. And there were some nice discoveries - that I don't mind John Grisham's books at all, that some cosies can keep my attention, and a book about Canadian politics can make a good whodunnit. Happy Days.
I'm glad you enjoyed your first Gail Bowen, Cath. I do think she's very talented, and conveys a real feel for Saskatchewan in her novels. As for Lorac, it's interesting how she's been 'rediscovered' in these last few years. It makes me wonder how many more hidden gems there are among other vintage authors whose work has become obscure. I'm glad you got a chance to read some Asimov, too, even though it wasn't tops on your list. He was so influential that I think it makes sense to get at least a taste of his work.
I think I have covered most of your March reads and added them to my own 'wish list' where necessary, from the mini posts you have published during the month.
I do quite like the sound of the Gail Bowen book, as I haven't read too much by Canadian authors before. Then I checked out trusty "Fantastic Fiction" and realised that there are 22 books in the Joanne Kilbourne series!! If I was to dip my toe in the water, I might, like yourself, start with book #1, then I can feel justified about treating it as a stand alone story, if I don't ever have the opportunity to progress the series any further.
I wholeheartedly agree that time does seem to be speeding by at a great rate of knots - However, if you believe the old saying, that perception only comes with age, so we'd best not go there, especially as I hit the big 65 this year!! :)
Margot: Thank you. I think Bowen's an excellent writer and I really liked that strong sense of Saskatchewan. Lorac seems to be one of the most enjoyed of the rediscovered authors. Lots of people mention her when the BLCC books are talked about. I'm not sure why she isn't one of the 'Queens of crime' like Christie, Sayers and Allingham, seems like a bit of a miscarriage of justice to me! I thought I had read other books by Asimov but I can't pinpoint them so suspect it was short stories from a long time ago. I did also read something crime based that I think Tracy reviewed. He's a fantastic writer and I was sad not to like Foundation.
Yvonne: Not so many to consider this month! LOL
Oh gosh, I didn't realise there were that many Jo Kilbourne books! 22! I'll read more if I come across them, I'll check the library etc. But may end up just reading this one, depending on the price of them. We'll see, I genuinely have so many books to read.
Consider yourself a spring chicken as I hit 70 in May! A bit sobering but I don't like the alternative so I'll cope...
Thanks for stopping by to comment, I always appreciate it.
I wish I could pace my reading a bit better. If I'm really into a book I sit up half the night and then feel a wreck the next day!
Lots of 4- and 5-star reads for you in March! I like when that happens. :D
Nicola: I can't do sitting up half the night, I just fall asleep or my eyes stop focussing. LOL
Lark: Yeah, I like it when that happens too. Makes me a very happy bunny. :-)
A very nice month of reading for you. I must have like Foundation more than you did because I am still planning (as much as I plan anything) to read the 2nd one in the series. But I was very surprised at the book, and found at least the first 2/3 a very dry read. I am glad you have read the 1st Gail Bowen. I have read 5 in the series and I still think that is the best one. The setting is always very good in those books, and it is nice to watch her family grow and mature.
I have read one of Robin Hobbs books, I kept meaning to tell you that and don't remember if I did or not. My son had a copy of Assassin's Apprentice, the first book in that first trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings books. This one was only 435 pages. I loved it and was hooked from the first 2 or 3 chapters. I want to continue the series but the next two books are 675 pages and 850 pages, so I won't proceed until I find copies with decent print size.
Tracy: Yes, most people seem to like Asimov's Foundation series so it's just me. Although one or two people on Goodreads disliked it for the same reason as me - no women in it to speak of, just male politicians trying to get the better of each other. That never goes down well with me. I did like the concepts behind the story though.
On the other hand I really did enjoy the Gail Bowen, thought it beautifully written with a very strong sense of place. Will definitely read more.
Yes, most of Hobb's books are really long but they're so readable they fair gallop along and only usually take me a week or to read. I think they're well worth the effort. I plan to read book 3 in this trilogy in May.
Oh, yes, I remember not liking the lack of women characters in Foundation. Some people said, it was just the time that it was written, but still, not a good read for me if it ignores women and their role.
Sounds like you had a really great reading month! I'm glad you found so many 4 and 5 star reads to enjoy.
Tracy: It's an old bugbear of mine - if vintage crime books can be full of women and their roles back in the 20s, 30s, 40s, etc. I can't see why vintage sci-fi couldn't manage that too. It's failing of these clever minds not to be able to imagine women scientists, women in space, but only women as bitchy wives or secretaries. It didn't bother me when I was young but it bothers the heck out of me now. Getting old and crochety I think. LOL
Susan: Thank you, it was just one of those fun reading months that you get from time to time.
I did enjoy Camino Island but (spoiler) I was a bit surprised she was so willing to sleep with a criminal *and* that the FBI, despite knowing from her pictures and descriptions that there was a basement door to the antiques store was not monitoring all outgoing shipments. I wanted him to be punished. Still, I will probably read the sequel at some point.
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