Wednesday, 2 January 2013

My January 2013 Reading Plan

Now that we're into 2013, it's time to get a bit organised. Overall, this year, I hope to read 80 books. I managed 81 last year so I think it's a reasonable output. That'll be somewhere between 7 and 8 books per month. Based on the various challenges I've taken on and looking at my bookshelves, this is my tentative reading plan for January.

Beekeeper's Apprentice
 Genre Challenge. In the UK Book Club, we've started a new genre challenge this year. There are 24 various genres listed which should last for the next couple of years. For January we voted on Historical (either fiction or non-fiction.) My plan at the moment is to read The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King. This is a new series for me, featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. The story is set in 1915, hence the historical aspect and we find Sherlock Holmes retired, living on the Sussex Downs and engaged in the study of honeybees. He finds himself mentoring a young 15 year old girl, Mary Russell, who becomes his new partner. This has become a very big series for Laurie King, an American author. She has now published 11 novels in the series since 1994, with a new one on the way. I've got a couple of books already, so am looking forward to starting the series. And conveniently, it'll more than satisfy this challenge.

Reading Group Challenge (12 + 2). I won't get into this too much as it was the subject of my BLog yesterday. Suffice it to say that I plan to start this challenge with J.G. Ballard's, Hello America.

Elizabeth George
 Individual Reading Challenge. This is  two part challenge for me. One is to continue working my way through my Mystery authors alphabetically, continuing on from 2012. I am currently at the letter G and reading one book in this challenge. Elizabeth George is responsible for the very popular Inspector Lynley series. It was also a popular television series. Lynley is an English Lord who chooses to step away from his roots and instead becomes a Police officer. His partner is the troublesome Sgt Barbara Havers who has been given a second chance to work with Lynley. It's quite an excellent series, with well-crafted mysteries. Deception on his Mind is the ninth book in the series and for once it features on Sgt Havers. Lynley is away on his honeymoon and takes off to the coast on a supposed vacation and becomes involved helping the local police solve a potentially racially-charged case. I started this one in December, but only got half way through so it has become my first book of 2013.

Michael Gilbert
 2. The second book in the Individual challenge that I plan to read is the first novel by Michael Gilbert, British writer of mysteries and thrillers. I have read one of his books previously and enjoyed. Close Quarters was published in 1947. "Anonymous letters, broadsheets, comic flags - these intrusions on the quiet of Melchester Cathedral Close were sufficient for the Dean to invite his nephew down from Scotland Yard for a 'holiday'. Then murder struck - most brutally, and more than once. And among the canons and vicars, the vergers, organist, clerks and constable was one man who would make that single deadly mistake which has brought the greatest murderers to the scaffold. For murder, though it has no tongue, will speak with miraculous organ."

A Man Lay Dead
 Individual Challenge Part Two - The second part of my Individual Challenge is to focus on various series, one per month, that I've been collecting books for but have neglected over the past couple of years. They are a mix of mystery writers, SciFi, adventures and thrillers. For January, I'm going to try and read 3 or 4 of Ngaio Marsh's Inspector Alleyn mysteries. Ngaio Marsh was born in New Zealand and became one of the Grand Dames of mysteries; along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham. Over her career she wrote 32 novels featuring the Scotland Yard detective Roderick Alleyn. I've read 3 of the series previously, but I hope to make a dent in my bookshelf this month. I've already started the first book in the series, A Man Lay Dead, which was published in 1934. Ngaio Marsh published until 1982. The series was also a very popular BBC between 1993 and 1994, with nine of the novels produced for TV. The plot of A Man Lay Dead - "To amuse his house guests (and Sir Hubert is famous for his amusing house parties) Sir Hubert Handesley devises a new form of the Murder Game. But when the lights go up there is a real corpse, with a real dagger in its back - and all seven suspects have had time to concoct amusing alibis."

With any luck I'll manage at least two others, and if I do, these will probably be the choices.

The Nursing Home Murder

The Nursing Home Murder  was published in 1935. It was Marsh's third book after Enter a Murderer. In fact this is one of the BBC mysteries, that I saw while visiting with the in-laws in England last Christmas. It was quite good. "When Britain's Home Secretary complained of abdominal pains, it seemed like a simple case of appendicitis. But minutes after his operation, the ill-fated politician lay dead on the table. When Chief Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn arrives to dissect the situation, he finds many a likely suspect, including a vengeful surgeon, a lovelorn nurse, an unhappy wife, and a cabinet full of political foes."

Death in Ecstasy

Death in Ecstasy was published in 1936 and is the fourth book in the Alleyn series. "When lovely Cara Quayne dropped dead to the floor after drinking the ritual wine at the House of the Sacred Flame, she was having a religious experience of a sort unsuspected by the other initiates. Discovering how the fatal prussic acid got into the bizarre group's wine is but one of the perplexing riddles that confronts Scotland Yard's Inspector Roderick Alleyn when he's called to discover who sent this wealthy cult member to her untimely death."

So there you have it, my plan for January 2013. With any luck, I'll manage another of Ngaio Marsh's mysteries and maybe move on to the next mystery writer in the alphabet. I'll keep you up-to-date.

Enjoy your own reading; I hope your 2013 is successful and a happy one.

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