reading 2016: december

December was all about Binge Reading!! And carrying the kindle with me everywhere – reading while doing the dishes, folding laundry, cooking &etc.

As anticipated, I stopped reading Ulla-Lena Lundberg: Ice because it was going to a depressing place that I had no time for – my mellow not needing to be harshed right now.

Rather than seek out something new, I thought I should get onto the rest of the books sitting untouched on BelovedKindle-y (he really needs a name).

Peter Corris: Salt and Blood – Cliff Hardy 25 Bought 26 July 2015(!) for $1.93.

WHY DID NO-ONE TELL ME ABOUT THESE NOVELS?!?! I mean, I was kind of aware they existed, but knew next to nothing apart from a vague awareness that they were set in Sydney. The private investigator protagonist is of the crusty, pragmatic, thoughtful, unlucky in love, not-quite-heart-of-gold, law-bending, often-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-police, justice-seeking type. Much boozing, fighting, occasional shooting – you know the sort of thing.

What absolutely made this for me is that the Cliff Hardy character lives in Glebe – pretty much around where we lived. And his office is located a block away from where I lived with Fenton in 2001-2003(ish). I don’t know what it is, but I really get a kick out of books set in familiar locations “I know that street!”, “hey, that’s our pub!”.

I drank some wine and felt almost instantly better the way you do, although the alcohol hasn’t had time to get into the bloodstream. The taste promises that it will and promises are soothing in themselves right up until they’re broken.

Peter Corris: The Marvellous Boy – Cliff Hardy 3 Purchased in the buying frenzy of 23 June 2016 – not having remembered buying the one above (this is how bad my kindle library is).

A little dated, a little more gritty and a little less delightful. Made me continue from #25, rather than starting back at #1. Still full of glorious bits though.

I could see a big garage at the end of the drive which held a brace of European cars.

I passed the dark, satanic chimneys that landmark St Peters.

Peter Corris: Master’s Mates – Cliff Hardy 26 So now I was hooked and the real bingeing began!

This one partially set in Noumea! Hey, I know these places too!

He didn’t resist and I dumped him on the third bottom stair the way you handle a bag of clothes destined for St Vinnie’s.

I brushed the leaves and unidentifiable pollution from one of the two deck chairs. Word, this is my life – though I’m mostly hosing unidentifiable pollution from things.

Peter Corris: The Coast Road – Cliff Hardy 27. Readable, engaging. No highlighted passages for this one.

Peter Corris: Taking Care of Business – Cliff Hardy 28 (Cliff Hardy Cases). This was a collection of short stories, which I didn’t realise initially and was getting annoyed in the way that you do when there are inconsistencies across a series of books (just me?). Even when I realised what it was, I wasn’t a huge fan of this – killer quotes though:

“Name it, mate”. Like most Americans, he couldn’t get the accent or the rhythm right and I mentally deducted points for his even trying. It’s taken Don 14 years to not sound silly saying “mate”.

“What’s wrong in Petersham?” I asked. “Everything”.

and drove into Melbourne along the freeway that always looks to me to be congratulating itself. Hey, Sydney, it seems to say, bet you wish you’d arranged things like this.

Peter Corris: Saving Billie – Cliff Hardy 29. It was readable, but again not a huge fan. I feel like there was a sweet spot for these novels and we’ve moved ever-so-slightly beyond it.

Peter Corris: The Undertow – Cliff Hardy 30. Nope. Pretty odious characters all ’round. It was Still persisting in search of the earlier magic.

Peter Corris: Appeal Denied – Cliff Hardy 31. I’m beginning to feel like I’m flogging a dead horse. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it as I did with the earlier books. Perhaps the result of the binge?

Do you two city types understand that I’d never really been to Sydney at all? You can’t imagine what growing up in the west(ern suburbs) is like. You know the water’s that way and the mountains are over there, but they don’t seem to have anything to do with you. You wouldn’t think this is true, but it totally is.

✪ Ooops … I appear to have skipped purchasing #32.

Peter Corris: Open File – Cliff Hardy 33. Yeah, I didn’t really care for this either. Interesting concept of reviewing a past case, but yeah, no. I felt like it didn’t really fit in too well with the overall arc of the series – almost like filler because the author couldn’t really decide what to do next.

Because my love was on the wane, and the acquisition of the Cliff Hardy canon was beginning to mess with the Extreme(Moderate)Fruagilty project, I stopped (for now) and moved on to …

Matthew FitzSimmons: The Short Drop. Another purchased in the sale frenzy of 23 June 2016. This was a bit of a page turner, slightly preposterous. Not too bad at all. Still deciding whether to go for the next in the series.

Sue Monk Kidd: The Secret Life of Bees Eeep – purchased 10 October 2015! Not on sale, but it was on all sorts of lists and I thought I should mix it up a bit (I really must quit with the digital hoarding). Charming and very sweet. Heartwarming even.

Tracy Crisp: Black Dust Dancing. From my most excellent Imaginary Internet Friend adelaide from adelaide. I meant to read this when it was first published (in 2009!), but you know how I am with actual paper books. Finally found a digital version on amazon (hurrah!) in July 2015, but kept forgetting I had it. It’s pretty great and absolutely captures people and place. She’s a very good writer, you should read this. Really. I’m not just saying that.

✪ Wrapped up Willard Spiegelman: Senior Moments – Looking Back, Looking Ahead while lounging in a deck chair on the upper balcony enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. Delightfully curmudgeonly toward the end. Quite amazing as it made me briefly consider reading poetry. Briefly. (I know – I’m a complete philistine).


Xmas Eve and I have yet to decide on my holiday reading. In the name of frugality I think I’ll try to stick to what I have bought already, there’s still quite a few on the to-be-named-kindle to plough through.

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