Reading and reviewing update for mid-March

61HRS_uk_hcs Roomsweptwhite_indexpage At the moment I am even more overwhelmed than usual with books – not that I am complaining, far from it.

  •  I am continuing with my attempt to read as many of the books eligible for this year’s CWA International Dagger as I can before the shortlist is announced, which is one vein of incoming novels. (Latest news on that front is here.)
  •  Then there is the crime-fiction alphabet, which has moved into its final and most challenging phase. 
  • I met Karen of Euro Crime last week, always a great experience, usually resulting in an influx of reading material. Our last meeting was no exception.
  •  And then there is the regular flow of books into Petrona Towers, from my own purchases online and in bookshops (often as a result of excellent blog reviews I read), as well as from various generous publishers and friends.

On Friday night I completed editing and “faffing with” my three in-draft reviews and sent them off to Euro Crime: The Rising by Brian McGilloway, Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer and At Close Quarters by Eugenio Fuentes. All three books are jolly good and I highly recommend them.


This weekend I have read two of the novels Karen provided, 61 Hours by Lee Child, and A Room Swept White by Sophie Hannah . I’ve been drafting reviews of those two books today (Sunday). I enjoyed them both but not quite as much as the three I reviewed previously.


Now, I have to decide what to read next. While I am desperately, eagerly anticipating the publication of Solar by Ian McEwan on 18 March (Thursday!), I think it will be The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell. I must also write something for the next letter in the crime-fiction alphabet, which is V. I know my author, but have not thought in detail about the post, yet.


As an addendum to this post, a couple of people recently have asked a question, or made an observation, that I hear frequently, which is how do I manage to read so many books. The answer is pretty simple:

  • Apart from work and domestic duties, I don’t do anything else (I rarely go out and I don’t watch TV for example).
  • The books I read are mainly crime fiction and so pretty easy to read.
  • I love reading, I can’t imagine anything else I would rather do with any spare time I have. So I do it everywhere: while travelling, in waiting rooms, before and after any event I do attend, and so on, as well as when I’m at home.

7 thoughts on “Reading and reviewing update for mid-March

  1. Maxine – It sounds as though you’ve got some very exciting books on your pile! I look forward to reading what you think of the Henkell book. I’ve been wanting to read it, but am waiting for your input to see how far down on the TBR list (or up : ) ) it goes.

  2. Maxine,–Yes–I am eagerly awaiting my copy
    of Solar by Ian McEwan–not long to go now–and
    the reviews in this weekend’s papers have been
    favourable.
    Also–Maxine–Are you a speed reader? I can speed read-
    but I don’t for fiction—just use it for turgid academic
    matters.

  3. Thanks Margot and Simon. No I am not a speed reader as such, but as a fairly old reader and because my career is as an editor, I suppose I must be quite familiar with the act of reading, and therefore do it quite efficiently.
    My dear sister Avis was the speed reader of the family – she got through the entire Rougon-Macquet series by Zola in a weekend, for example. Amazing.

  4. PS re. turgid academic prose, which I am very well used to reading (unfortunately!)- it is quite easy to speed-read, I find, as it is so padded. Mostly, the main point is in a paragraph at the end so I read that first, then go back to the start for a skim through the rest. Then, if that catches my interest sufficiently, I go back for a more detailed read.

  5. I am looking forward to your reviews! I think I may get around to the two Sophie Hannahs on my shelf soon, but I was so tempted by Griffiths that I plunged into her first immediately. Thank you very much for this great reading experience!

  6. Oh, you are so generous! And they are very much appreciated. Miriam reads at least one a day right now (she has read the three you sent me last week already and was engrossed in them all).

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