Friday, April 1, 2016

Reading in March and Pick of the Month

These are the crime fiction books I read this month:
  • Minute for Murder by Nicholas Blake
  • Blind Goddess by Anne Holt
  • The Looking Glass War by John le Carre
  • Billion Dollar Brain by Len Deighton
  • Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming
  • Frozen Assets by Quentin Bates
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre
The good thing is I read seven books this month and I enjoyed all of them. The bad thing is I have done a post for only one of them. I am way behind on review posts.

This month was primarily a month of spy fiction. I had begun my project of reading all the Smiley books by John le Carre, and I read the fourth and the fifth novels in March. The Looking Glass War was grim but Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was wonderful.That got me in the mood for more spy fiction. I continued reading the Nameless Spy books by Len Deighton with Billion Dollar Brain and I read the 2nd James Bond book by Ian Fleming, Live and Let Die.

All of these spy thrillers have been adapted as films or TV shows. Shortly after I finished the book, we watched Billion Dollar Brain with Michael Caine. We have started watching the BBC TV mini-series, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which we have seen before multiple times, but remember little about. After that, we will watched the film version with Gary Oldman for the first time. Live and Let Die with Roger Moore will be watched in the next week or two; I cannot say if I have ever seen it before. I prefer the Bond films with other actors as Bond. But I am sure it will be fun and worth watching.

Minute for Murder by Nicholas Blake was my book for the Crimes of the Century meme (hosted by Rich at Past Offences) for the year 1947. The year for April is 1945, and surprise, I picked a spy thriller.

The remaining two books were set in Nordic countries. In February I read What Is Mine by Anne Holt, a book which had been on my TBR pile for about nine years. That was the first book in Holt's Vik and Stubo series. (I have not reviewed that one either.) Anne Holt is Norwegian and her books are set in Oslo. I decided I wanted to go back and read her first novel, Blind Goddess, the first book in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series. I did not find it nearly as good as What Is Mine, but it was her first book, and I know that the Hanne Wilhelmsen series is very well thought of, so I will be reading more of both series.

I also read Frozen Assets by Quentin Bates, an author who was born in England but lived and worked in Iceland for many years. His Officer Gunnhildur series is set in and around Reykjavik. The best thing about this novel for me is the main character, who is a single mother with a teenage daughter and a grown son.

March was the third and final month in the TBR Triple Dog Dare. For three months I only read books from my TBR piles. I read a total of 20 books, although I don't know if I can truly count the three Rex Stout books in January. They are rereads but I always planned to reread them... again and again. The best part was that I did not buy any new books during those three months.

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 favorite crime fiction read for the month.

This month it is easy to pick a favorite: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre. It was everything I hoped it would be and more.


Bill Selnes said...

TracyK: I am glad you had a good month of reading. I generally do not read more than one work of spy fiction at a time. So many of them are so bleak as to leave me depressed.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Really looking forward to the miniseries of THE NIGHT MANAGER. Supposed to be terrific.

Anonymous said...

Glad you had a good reading month, Tracy. And I don't blame you for choosing Tinker, Tailor.... It's a classic, in my opinion.

TracyK said...

I am beginning to agree with you, Bill. I just finished The Defection of A. J. Lewinter by Robert Littell, and I would classify that as pretty bleak. I guess I have to try to alternate that type with some more uplifting, fun books.

TracyK said...

Patti, I guess I will have to read The Night Manager soon too, because I would rather read the book first. I have also heard good things about the TV series.

TracyK said...

Margot, I had seen the Tinker, Tailor... series with Alec Guinness but it had been long enough ago that I did not remember much of the plot, just the bare bones. I enjoyed the book so much, I did not want it to end.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Tracy, seven books is a very good number. I haven't reviewed most of the novels I read over the past ten months, mainly because I don't have the time. Besides, I now review books only when I feel like it. I hope to read John le Carre and Ian Fleming, and revisit some of Len Deighton's books, this year.

TracyK said...

Prashant, my husband has suggested that I not review all books I read, but I haven't decided to go that way yet. I would rather figure out how to do shorter or faster reviews or combine a few in one post sometimes... or some alternative like that. I am really enjoying reading more spy fiction lately.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Tracy, I intend to keep my book and film reviews short. That way you can cover more ground.

TracyK said...

I think that is what I need to aim for also, Prashant. My husband can say something in a few sentences and I go in the opposite direction.

Clothes In Books said...

Great list of books. And well done for sticking to the buying embargo - I'm very impressed. Not easy to do for you I should think...

TracyK said...

The buying embargo was actually easy, Moira, but I did keep a list of books I was interested in and am fighting myself not go overboard and buy too many all at once.