reading 2017: january | part february

Hey hey – more reading. This year I’m going to include books I’ve abandoned – and abandon I will! Gone are the days of ploughing through something dreadful just to say I’ve finished it.

This was the month-and-a-half of pretty terrible books. It’s enough to swear one off reading altogether!

Nicola Upson: The Death of Lucy Kyte (Josephine Tey)
I’ve had this since December 2014 sitting unread on the kindle. I wish it had stayed that way. I can’t understand the rationale behind taking a famous author (Josephone Tey) and using her as the protagonist in a detective/mystery series which apparently has no relationship with any events in her life. WHY?!?!? Also the plot was quite terrible. This book made me angry.

EF Benson: The Complete Lucia Victrix
I really wanted to like this – thought I’d adore the cattiness. Really didn’t at all.
ABANDONED after 14% completed.

I had a bunch of ebooks lurking in a folder on my hard drive which I had *cough* acquired many years ago. Through this folder I’ve discovered tons of great novels which have led me drop a couple of hundred $ on other books by the same authors, so I don’t feel terribly guilty about having it. Anyway …

Kalusna Rose: Nudist Resort Murder
Thought this would be a bit of lighthearted fun. I’m always up for a murder with a quirky theme.
This was incredibly, unspeakably badly written – as if by a 13 year old boy.
ABANDONED after 14% completed (and that was too long)

Guillermo Martinez: The Oxford Murders
I don’t think I’ve read a lot of (or any!) South American authors. Refreshing after the dreadful run I was having. Liked it, but can’t say I was really jazzed by the reveal.

Guillermo Martinez: The Book of Murder
Liked this last one enough to pick up this. Quite good, compelling even – and then ultimately quite infuriating, very poor ending.

Val McDermid: Killing in the Shadows
Quite liked this. My favourite murders are those with recurring characters (PD James; Ruth Rendell; Patricia Cornwell before-she-went-mad; Ngaio Marsh; Sue Grafton; Reginald Hill; &etc) – I adore long, slow character development over a bunch of books. This is a standalone, which is a shame – I found myself wanting to read more.

Val McDermid: A Place of Execution
This one, not so much. It was a bit harrowing. Okay, actually it was a lot harrowing. I don’t think I’ll be returning to Val in a hurry.

Nicola Barker: The Yips
Wow. Bad. Quite possibly it would have improved after the first chapter, but I was not sticking around to find out.
ABANDONED at 8% completed

Robert Harris: The Fear Index
Pretty stock-standard thriller. Wasn’t terrible. I love an evil, sentient computer.

Jonathan Coe: The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim
This was appalling. No, really. It tries to be very, very funny and I’m sure there are people would find it so. I don’t know any of these people (thankfully).

Kate Atkinson: Human Croquet
I adored the Jackson Brodie novels and I am glad I read them first, because I did not adore this. The reveal was, like, “wut?”. Not my bag at all. Way too, I don’t want to say whimsical, but that sort of whimsical thing.

Jonathan King: Shadow Men (Max Freeman)
I persisted through this from sheer desperation. It was third in a series (where I hadn’t read the first two books). PI, ex-Cop in Florida everglades. Can’t say I was a fan.

Roald Dahl: Switch Bitch
I first read Roald Dahl at school when I was about 13 or 14 (having never read any of his work for children) and I was blown away. Tales of the unexpected became one of my favourite books which I carried around for years. I delighted in Lamb to the Slaughter and that one where they stuff the sickly baby full of royal jelly and it turns into a bee. I came across this in my folder and thought I would love it equally – I didn’t, the stories (all around the theme of sex) were kind of lame and sad (not, sobbing sad but kind of meh). Perhaps Tales of the Unexpected wouldn’t hold up to adult reading either!

I’ve just started on J G Ballard: High-Rise in the hopes of finally getting something decent!

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snort, laughed at your Patricia Cornwell comment. 110% agree


I read The Oxford Murders years ago and cannot remember a single thing about it. I read a Val McD a year ago – can’t remember which one – and the plotting was ridiculous. I love everything Kate Atkinson writes.


I have a thing about what little Kate Atkinson I’ve read …. there is always a character who just hates being a wife and mother, and who is painted so relentlessly unsympathetically that I always feel like the character is getting a raw deal. It just sets my teeth on edge and I want to tell the author: give the poor chick a break every now and again.