Sunday, June 2, 2013

Reading in May and Crime Fiction Pick of the Month

In May I read a total of nine books. This month, I read one non-fiction book. All the other books I read were crime fiction. A very good reading month.

The non-fiction book I read this month was Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and hope to write a book review of it sometime soon. So you can get a taste of what it is like...I am including an excerpt from the book description at Goodreads:
In Origins of the Specious, word mavens Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman reveal why some of grammar’s best-known “rules” aren’t—and never were—rules at all. This playfully witty, rigorously researched book sets the record straight about bogus word origins, politically correct fictions, phony français, fake acronyms, and more.
Of the eight mysteries I read in May, none were vintage mysteries, which is unusual. I usually aim for at least one vintage mystery a month. I did read the first three chapters in A Talent to Deceive by Robert Barnard, which is an appreciation of Agatha Christie and her works. I posted some comments on that book here.

Three of the mystery authors I read this month were new to me: Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson, Maureen Jennings, and Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza. One author was an old favorite, that I had not read for several years: Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. I read two books that were translated from another language, and one e-book.

Several authors I read this month are Canadian writers, as I was working on finishing up the Canadian Book Challenge 6. That challenge ends in June, and a new challenge begins July 1, 2014. If you are interested, check out the 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge HERE.

I have been meaning to read more books by female authors, and this month I got closer to that goal. Half of the mysteries I read were by female authors, and one of the authors of my non-fiction book was female. I have a goal to have a month where I read only books by female authors, but don't know if I can accomplish that anytime soon. Several of my favorite, comfort authors are female, and I could at least do a post featuring those authors sometime.

So, to get to the point of this post. I will start by choosing my favorite crime fiction read of the month. My top read this month was The Silence of the Rain by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza. This is the first of a police procedural series that stars Inspector Espinosa of the First Precinct in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This detective is a book lover and a philosopher. His apartment is stacked with books. He stops by used bookstores several times during the story.

The book also has an unusual format. The first section, which makes up about half of the book, is told in third person and sets up the basic story. The middle section is written in first person from the point of view of the detective, so at that point we are just getting what he knows about the event. The smallest section, at the end, returns to third person to tie up all the events, in a sense. I found this to be a compelling read and am eager to continue the series. My review is here.

The mysteries I read this month are:
  1. A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley
  2. Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings
  3. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
  4. Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler
  5. Silence of the Rain by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza
  6. Fell Purpose by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
  7. Murder at the Mendel by Gail Bowen
  8. House of Evidence by Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson
All of the books I read were interesting and enjoyable. In addition to Silence of the Rain, Murder at the Mendel by Gail Bowen (set in Canada) and House of Evidence by Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson (set in Iceland) were especially memorable. Both of those were a little different from the normal mystery story, so I guess I am leaning in that direction right now.

The Crime Fiction Pick of the Month meme is hosted at Mysteries in Paradise. Bloggers link to summary posts for the month, and identify a crime fiction best read of the month. Check out the link here to see the other bloggers picks.


Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Tracy, there is a lot of variety in the books you read, especially translated works. I haven't read non-English fiction in some years.

col2910 said...

Tracy, a great month's reading by the looks of it. I have ordered the Garcia-Roza book, hopefully it doesn't sit on the pile too long! I also got a copy of the first Alan Bradley series book. Hope June is a good month for you!

RebeccaK said...

I'm glad you had a good month, Tracy, and good luck with this month's picks. Thanks for introducing me to more Canadian authors too!

Anonymous said...

Tracy - You've had some great reads this month! And I really am glad you liked The Silence of the Rain as much as you did. As you know, I like Garcia-Roza's work very much so of course, I'm biased... And good to hear you liked the Bowen, too - another author whose work I really admire.

TracyK said...

Prashant, so far I have enjoyed the translated fiction. I hope to read more of it this year, but we will see where my reading and my challenges take me.

TracyK said...

Col, I too hope that June is a good month. I need to finish (or at least make more progress) on a fantasy reading challenge, but I plan to read two fantasies that have a mystery element too. That will be interesting.

TracyK said...

Rebecca, I have at least 30 books by Canadian authors so I am sure I will be reading many more. Now I need to get to Africa and Australia and Asia.

TracyK said...

Those are both good very good authors, Margot. Glad I was introduced to Gail Bowen's books by you and Bill Selnes. I think her book and the Garcia-Roza book were the two I liked whole-heartedly.

Sarah said...

Sounds like a great list Tracy. Well done!

TracyK said...

Sarah, I got back to reading some authors I have not read for a while so that was good.