Sunday, 24 March 2013

March 2013 Update

I'm jumping the gun a bit as it's not the end of March yet, but here is my interim update on what I've been reading this month and how my challenges are progressing. Since we spent the beginning of March travelling, I wasn't following my normal practice of having my downstairs book and bedside table book; rather, I focused on just one book at a time. I imagine it balanced out in the great scheme of things.. ;0)

Let's see. As an overall review, as of today 24 Mar 2013, I've completed 25 books so far in my Goodreads challenge of 80 books and have read approximately 6300 pages. I've completed six books in March and have two on the go. I might only finish one of those as The Phryne Fisher mysteries contains three books in one. (I have finished one of the books so far, mind you)

Genre Challenge (Modern British Classics 20th Century)

I've completed two books in this challenge so far. Graham Greene's Stamboul Train is also one of my 12 + 2 Challenge books. I do like his style generally and this story didn't let me down at all. This story focused on a number of people who get on and off the Orient Express between Ostend and Constantinople and their various interactions. It was so well-written and a most enjoyable read. I gave the book 4 stars. I've gotten back into Graham Greene somewhat again recently. I had read some of his books back in my university days and onwards, but it's been 20 years or so since I had picked up one of his books. But of late, I've completed Our Man in Havana and Brighton Rock as well and it's been  a pleasure to sit down to them.

The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham was the other book I completed in this challenge. I won't go into it again as I did mention it in my last Blog entry (which you can see here if you're interested) Suffice it to say that it's one of my favourite books of 2013 so far.

As a matter of interest, currently leading the poll for next month's Genre challenge is War/ Revolution.

12 + 2 Challenge

I had planned to complete two books in my 12 + 2 Challenge, but so far have only read Stamboul Train as I mentioned above. Maybe I'll be a bit more successful next month. My other planned read had been Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling.

Individual Reading Challenge (Focus Author - Charlaine Harris)

I've been very successful with this challenge, partly because the books are such easy page turners. I had planned to read one each of the four series that Charlaine Harris had written. I completed Shakespeare's Trollop, a Lily Bard mystery set in Shakespeare Arkansas, Definitely Dead, a Sookie Stackhouse fantasy set in Louisiana and Grave Sight, a Harper Connelly supernatural mystery, this one also set in Arkansas in the town of Sarne. At the moment, I'm in the process of reading Dead Over Heels, an Aurora Teagarden mystery set in Georgia. Charlaine Harris has such a nice way with her stories, whether the supernatural vampire/ werewolf fiction of the Sookie Stackhouse stories, or the cleaning lady cum detective Lily Bard. She has strong female leads, each with their own unique talents and issues and with a strong supporting cast. You can't go wrong with one of her stories and I've enjoyed them very much this month.

Individual Reading Challenge (Alphabetical Mysteries)

As you can see, since I started this challenge back last year, I've made my way to the G's. I had thought I might be able to complete two authors this month, but will actually be lucky to read all of Introducing the Honourable Phryne Fisher. I was introduced to the stories by the Australian TV mystery series of the same name and enjoyed it so much that I had to search out Kerry Greenwood's books. This particular edition has the first three mysteries; Cocaine Blues, Flying Too High and Murder on the Ballarat Train. As of today I have completed the first and am just starting the second. Maybe because I was introduced to the books through the most entertaining TV show, which stars the lovely, talented Essie Davis as Turn of the Century detective, I find the TV series to be somewhat better. However the stories so far have kept me turning the pages to see what happens next and they are full of action and entertainment. Lovely to cozy up to and experience Phryne's adventures.


I did take along one book as a travel book for our flight from Comox to Toronto and it was Bangkok 8, the first Sonchaii Jitpleecheep mystery by John Burdett. As you can guess it's set in Bangkok, Thailand. A very horrific crime that left me feeling very creepy starts off the story. But I must say, the story drew me in immediately. The characters, the locale, the culture all were so very fascinating. The movie was so well-paced and I enjoyed Sonchaii very much. I also enjoyed the elements of Buddhism that were explained nicely, the clash between the Thai and US cultures as he must work with the female FBI agent, who was also quite lovely. Everything about the book was a pleasant surprise and made me look forward to reading many more of the series.

So there you have it. With luck, I'll finish my Charlaine Harris mystery and also Flying Too High. Then, I'll be planning my April reads. A bit more travelling planned for the beginning of the month; a weekend in Victoria to see the finals of the Men's World Curling Championships (with maybe a side trip by me to some of my favourite bookstores) and then over to the mainland to pick up our new miniature schnauzer pup.. Pictures next month maybe.. So excited.

For now, enjoy your reading experience and Keep on reading!

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