reading 2017: part february | part april

Yikes! This is going to be quite the epic update – possibly somewhat unreliable as I’ve consumed a lot of books in these two(ish) months – mostly because of the holiday. When I’m in a reading mood, I don’t mess about.

J G Ballard: High Rise
Loved until I didn’t. Started really well, but became pretty silly. Perhaps I’m to old and cynical to enjoy such things?

Iris Murdoch: The sea, the sea
Adored. Protagonist was utterly vain and completely bonkers. First Iris Murdoch I’ve read, should read more.

Paula Hawkins: Girl on the train
This was on the recommendations list on amazon which occasionally (rarely) comes through with a winner – expected to loathe this completely as I did with Gone Girl (to which it has been compared). Surprisingly didn’t loathe it completely, nor did I love it completely – wasn’t entirely unreadable.

Della Galton: Ice and a slice
Another one from the recommendations list. Sobriety-themed novel, $3.99. Wasn’t terrible, wasn’t great either – mostly was in the mood for the subject matter because I was struggling with the desire for a glass of wine. Kept me interested enough to move onto the next in the series. Honestly can’t really recommend it – maybe if you’re trying to give up drinking (but possibly not even then).

Della Galton: The morning after the life before
Second (and last) in the series. Another $3.99 book – again wasn’t great (I have yet to find a $4.00 book that is), but once I’d committed I felt the need to continue.

Rebecca Weller: A Happier Hour
Read this again because I needed the motivation to stay on the wagon – served its purpose and really helped through the rough patch.

Helen Russell – Leap Year: How to make big decisions, be more resilient and change your life for good
Purchased because I’d enjoyed the Year of Living Danishly. Enjoyed this too, but a bit too full of facts (studies show that x% of people who do y, are happier by z%) and conversations with experts. I like her voice and would have preferred 67% more personal story.


Then I read a whole bunch of sample chapters from books I didn’t pursue buying and which I’m not linking to – some I may come back to eventually. In particular Holly Throsby: Goodwood looked like it might be pretty good (reminded me a little of the style of the wonderful Tracy), also slightly tempted by Marian Keyes: The Woman Who Stole My Life, but suspect I won’t be huge on it – seems a little … frenetic?


Tim Ferriss: Tools of Titans
I don’t even know why I downloaded this sample chapter, maybe for the lulz because I expected it to be really, really bad. Read the sample in the airport lounge and to my extreme surprise I really quite liked it. Bought it before I jumped on the plane, read the whole thing while en route to Singapore and highlighted a bunch. If you’re into that whole personal development / productivity genre, you might like it too.


Garry Disher was recommended as holiday reading by the very excellent anyresemblance, who always has genius reading suggestions – particularly when it comes to Australian crime fiction. How she finds out about these is a mystery to me, but I’m glad she does!

Disher has a fabulous turn of phrase and I should have highlighted more, some favourites italicized below.

I quickly devoured the Peninsula Crimes series:

Garry Disher: The Dragon Man

Garry Disher: Kittyhawk Down

Garry Disher: Snapshot

Garry Disher: Chain of Evidence
– pretty well summed up the Australian national character, which was not fine and egalitarian but grovelled at the feet of men who’d gone to a private school or could kick a football or had become billionaires by being allowed to evade tax

Garry Disher: Blood Moon
– hooking her fingers around the term
– like Jones, he’d settled into a faintly untidy middle age, as if waiting for retirement and unwilling to over-achieve, or even achieve
– he was the kind of lawyer who always looks clean and precise, as though groomed by valets before every appointment

Garry Disher: Whispering Death

Garry Disher: Signal Loss
– there was a complicated lump of chrome on his wrist. Pam guessed rolex and spent part of the visit trying to eye the watch face so she could confirm that.

And then moved onto the Wyatt series, which I did not enjoy quite so much as they quickly became pretty predictable. I stopped after the fourth – may resume again at some point.

Garry Disher: Kickback

Garry Disher: Paydirt

Garry Disher: Deathdeal

Garry Disher: Crosskill
– Wyatt waited, letting the street draw poverty and meanness around itself again


Then moved on to another holiday reading recommendation – this time from the lovely connie (and also priorly by the fabulous katy). I’d been dithering about reading the Neapolitan novels for a while (and was considering the first as my audiobook), the recommendations pushed me over the edge.

Elena Ferrante: My Brilliant Friend

Elena Ferrante: The Story of a New Name

Elena Ferrante: Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

Elena Ferrante: The Story of the Lost Child

I’m so glad I pulled the trigger – I alternately adored them, was frustrated by them, could so very much relate to many parts of them, was depressed by them.


And that’s it! I’m feeling quite melancholy and really need something very light as an antidote! Maybe yet more hygge?

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