Holiday reading statistics and highlights

I am back from my holiday and return to work tomorrow, so will be in catch-up mode for a while or for ever. Before memories fade irretrievably, I'll report that I read 16 books while I am away – there were four books on the pile in the previous post that I could not in the end take for weight reasons (!), although I did buy Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay at the airport and slipped it into my hand baggage; so when I finished all those I bought a few more: Kjell Eriksson's The Cruel Stars of the Night and The Demon of Dakar; Michael Palmer's The First Patient and Stephen White's Dead Time (the last of which I began reading at 2 a.m. today when I woke up with my brain convinced it was morning – very good so far). In return, I left a few titles behind, donated to future visitors.

Of the 16 books I read, eight (half) were translated – five from Swedish, one Danish, one Dutch and one German. The remainder were a mix of English, Irish, US, Canadian and Australian. Outstanding among these is Johan Theorin's The Darkest Room*, the highlight of my holiday. I also found the following to be excellent reads and would highly recommend them: The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves, Back to the Coast by Saskia Noort, Cop Killer by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo*, Woman with Birthmark by Hakan Nesser* and the two by Kjell Eriksson*.

You may notice a trend here: of 16 books read, seven are very good (which is an excellent average based on my pre-blogging years 😉 ).  Six of these seven are translated. (!) The remaining nine varied from "OK" through "meh" (Bernadette's expressively economical term) to "not my cup of tea"/boring.

Further reports will be in the shape of reviews on as many of these titles as I can manage. I'll just note, though, how impressively the Sjowall/Wahloo holds up compared with the rest of my selection, all written some time later. Although dated in some minor details, the book, the ninth in their Martin Beck series, is consistently compelling, not only in its story but also in its clearly articulated authorial viewpoint. it was particularly interesting to read the books by other Swedes, Theorin, Nesser and Eriksson, as part of the same "splurge" as the Sjowall/Wahloo title, as all these books are (to a greater or lesser degree) police procedurals with a social context, each reflecting their own author's preoccupations.

Thank you very much to all those who provided welcome recommendations, either directly for the purpose or via reviews and discussion during the previous few months or so. 

[* denotes series, best read in chronological order (see author bibliographies at Euro Crime for correct (and recommended) reading order). The Crow Trap is also a series, but this is the first title in it.]

6 thoughts on “Holiday reading statistics and highlights

  1. It is so good to have you back 🙂
    – but I hope you have enjoyed Florida. It has probably been more sunny than August in Denmark (wet´n´cold).
    I am glad you enjoyed The Crow Trap and Theorin´s second(I reviewed it a week ago and enjoyed it thoroughly.
    Which Danish book did you read?

  2. I love reading statistics – something very satisfying about wracking up the numbers (although obv it’s really all about the writing!).
    I just wondered if you’d seen our video with Ann Cleeves?
    Just a quick one about the Shetland series that she did when she was last in the office, but I think it’s great.

  3. James – thanks, I’ll check out that video. I have read all three of the so-far published Shetland series and think it is excellent. One of those rare series in which each book deepens those that came previously.
    Dorte – the Danish book is The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard, translated by Tiina Nunnally. Thanks again for your recommendation of The Crow Trap, which reminded me that the title had been on my shelf for too long as-yet unread.

  4. Am impressed with your dedication Maxine. I am on leave at the moment although am having a holiday at home because my brother and nieces from America are visiting – I have only managed 3 books since they descended. Glad you enjoyed the Theorin (still one of my top reads for the year). I’ll have to read another Eriksson as I found Cruel Stars to be one of my most depressing reads of last year. Not a bad book I suppose but overwhelmingly bleak for me.

  5. Great to have you back Maxine. I admire you ability to completely relax and read so many books. I always feel I have got to do things and visit places.
    Cop Killer is about 35 years old from my calculation and it is almost an historical now, but still obviously holds its own with the modern books.
    I am looking forward to reading the Theorin especially as Gerlof Davidsson is in it; the only “investigator” who is older than me in crime fiction.

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