I finished 13 books in February, in a variety of genres: historical novels, romance, crime, trivia, humour, history and biography. I am right on track with the TBR challenge and expect to continue at the same pace in March.
No one author dominated the month like Nora Roberts did in January, although I did read two books by Agatha Christie, neither of which I have read before. At least I don’t remember having read them, but its hard to be sure because I read quite a number of her books when I was a teenager.
There were no fewer than three stand-outs in February, not counting Dodger (on account of being a reread), which is the best Pratchett I have read in several years.
The best of these was Third Class Ticket by Heather Wood, which I brought back with me from India in 2009 after coming across it in the wonderful Blossom book-store in Bangalore. I had heard of it long before, found on a list of ‘must read’ books about India, but had been unable to acquire a copy. This is a lovely tale about a group of Bengali villagers sent on a 7-month journey by train around the sub-continent, made possible by a bequest from their landlady.
The second stand-out was Mauve by Simon Garfield. It is a fascinating blend of history and biography, of the first aniline dye and the man who discovered it, and the wide-ranging consequences of that discovery, both good and bad.
The third stand-out was Federico Andahazi’s The Anatomist. This satirical novel is based on events in the life of 16th century anatomist Matteo Realdo Colombo and his discovery of the clitoris and the consequences of this discovery.
Although these three stood out, most of the month’s books were satisfying reads, except for Agatha Christie’s Easy to Kill, which I found to be full of stereotypes and obvious clues.
Statistically, four books were ‘sweepings’, i.e. books I started reading at some point in the past and then either stopped reading for a time (3) or read very slowly (1); three were rereads, books I sought out for comfort reading; and three of the others were non-fiction. One was in Icelandic.
- Federico Andahazi : The Anatomist . Historical novel, satire.
- Bathroom Readers' Institute : Uncle John's Unsinkable Bathroom Reader . Trivia, humour.
- Guy Browning : Never Hit a Jellyfish With a Spade . Humour, collected newspaper columns.
- Agatha Christie : The Murder at Hazelmoor and Easy to Kill . Murder mysteries.
- Jennifer Crusie : Tell Me Lies . Romantic thriller. Reread.
- George MacDonald Fraser : The General Danced at Dawn . Short stories, humorous, semi-autobiographical.
- Simon Garfield : Mauve: How one man invented a colour that changed the world . History/biography.
- Dashiell Hammett : The Dain Curse . Thriller, murder mystery.
- Georgette Heyer : The Unknown Ajax . Historical novel, romantic. Reread.
- Terry Pratchett : Dodger . YA historical novel/alternative reality. Reread.
- Sverrir Kristjánsson & Tómas Guðmundsson : Íslenskir örlagaþættir: Konur og kraftaskáld . Biography of three Icelandic poets.
- Heather Wood : Third Class Ticket . Travelogue.
Incidentally, should you want to know what I am reading at any given time, how many books I have finished during the month or year and how the TBR challenge is going, all you have to do is take a look at the 'Monthly statistics' in the left sidebar.