Monday, February 2, 2015

Reading in January and Pick of the Month

January was a good reading month for me, both in numbers and in quality. I also started working on some of my goals for the year.

The 39 Steps was my book for the 1915 crime fiction of the year challenge (hosted at Past Offences). It also started me on the path to reading a book for every year between 1915 and 2015. Moira at Clothes in Books suggested this approach to the Books of the Century challenge, rather than starting at the beginning of the 20th century, which sounded much too challenging to me. The second book I read this year -- As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust -- was published in 2015. A nice start to the year.

Another goal was to get back to reading mysteries by Agatha Christie, and my first for this year was The Secret of Chimneys. This was the first time I had encountered Superintendent Battle. I read three books by Canadian authors, finally making a dent in my goal of reading 13 Canadian books between July 2014 and June 2015 for the 8th Annual Canadian Books Challenge. These books were: As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, The Calling, and The Wandering Soul Murders.

I am currently participating in the TBR Double Dare Challenge at James Reads Books. In that challenge I am aiming to read only from my TBR mountain of books through the month of March 2015. I had no problem with this in 2014, and I found it very fulfilling. The only book I read this month that wasn't from my TBR pile was As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, which was an ARC from NetGalley. That category was my exception but only if I had committed to the books before January 1, 2015. Unlocked and Lock In were both purchased late in December 2014, and I like to stick with books that have been in the piles longer than that. But that does fit the definition of the challenge and I was hot to read those books and I needed a Sci Fi book for the 2015 Sci-Fi Experience hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings, which ended January 31, 2015.

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot. I read two short stories, one by Roald Dahl and one by Ruth Rendell, for the Deal Me In 2015 short story challenge at Bibliophilopolis. I am very happy that I joined that challenge.

I also love reading mystery reference books. This month I finished Paperback Confidential: Crime Writers of the Paperback Era by Brian Ritt. I enjoyed this book and expect to refer back to it again and again. I plan to review this book, but just in case it takes me a long time to get to it, here is a description from the Stark House website:
132 profiles of the men and women who wrote the books that became the backbone of the Pulp and Paperback Era from the 1930s through the 1960s. Each profile contains details about the author's life and explores key works, with special attention paid to series characters. Also covered are screenplay and teleplay work, as well as movies based on the authors' stories. 
The books I read this month (with links to reviews):

The 39 Steps by John Buchan
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley
Villain by Shuichi Yoshida
The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie
Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome by John Scalzi
Lock In by John Scalzi
The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe
Paperback Confidential: Crime Writers of the Paperback Era by Brian Ritt
The Wandering Soul Murders by Gail Bowen

The Crime Fiction Pick of the Month meme is hosted at Mysteries in Paradise. You can go HERE to see more summary posts for the month and choices for favorite crime fiction reads.

This month, it was easy to narrow it down to one novel as my favorite crime fiction read this month. That novel is Lock In by John Scalzi. This is a thriller set in the near future. I have liked other books by this author in the past, and he did not disappoint me this time. 


Bernadette said...

I like the look of Lock In by John Scalzi - doesn't seem to be out here yet as the library doesn't list it but I'll keep my eyes peeled. I think I should read an Alan Bradley novel too...just because.

I'm just starting to get into reference books for the genre and am finding it quite fascinating. They're hard to get here and jolly expensive but again I'll keep my eyes peeled for specials :)

Bill Selnes said...

TracyK: Welcom north in your reading. I am interested in your reviews of The Calling and The Wandering Soul Murders. I look forward to reviews from other bloggers on books I have read to read their perspectives.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Tracy, you maintain a busy reading schedule every month, and successfully too. I hope to read more physical books from my collection this year. It's important that I read as well as hoard them.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Wow, you have been busy! I must get the Brian Ritt book - thanks TracyK

col2910 said...

Glad you had a successful month's reading. There's a few there I wouldn't touch. I enjoyed the Buchan and may get to the Bradley at some point, that's probably where we part company!

Anonymous said...

You had a good reading month, Tracy!! And I'm very glad you reminded me of Lock In. That one looks interesting...

TracyK said...

I hope you do get to try Lock In, Bernadette. And Alan Bradley is definitely worth trying.

There are definitely some reference books I have had to pass up due to the expense. Some of the older ones I have eventually found at decent prices online.

TracyK said...

Bill, I hope to read 2 - 3 Canadian books a month until I fulfill my quota. I will probably read one more by both Gail Bowen and Inger Ash Wolfe before July 2015.

TracyK said...

Prashant, I am trying to slow down my reading so that I can catch up on reviews. We will see how successful I am.

TracyK said...

As I mentioned to Prashant, I am trying to slow down my reading.

The Brian Ritt book is great. I learned a lots from it.

TracyK said...

You might like The Calling. It was not at all what I expected.

TracyK said...

It was a good month, Margot. And I do think you would like Lock In.

RebeccaK said...

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Paperback Confidential because I don't know much about older crime novels. Best of luck this month as well!

TracyK said...

I used to think I knew a lot about older crime fiction authors, but in the last few years I have realized just how many authors there are that I have not heard of. More than I will ever be able to try.

Clothes In Books said...

Nice selection there, a good month's reading. Will you be reviewing the Gail Bowen? - I really like her. I'm never sure - what proportion of your reading do you review?

TracyK said...

I will be reviewing the Gail Bowen, this week I hope. Illness and other things have slowed down my reviewing in the last couple of months but I am trying to catch up. I always review fiction no matter how long it takes to get to it. Non-fiction books I don't always review; depends on mood or time or who knows.