QLTR August 2019

Once again, as I do at the end of every month, I’ve taken a big breath, dived deep into my stack of books and come up with some volumes I’d Quite Like To Read over the next several weeks. This time, I broke the surface clutching six books. August is the last month of winter here in Australia and I wanted some reading material that I was already pretty sure I’d enjoy, to see out the last of the winter, especially as I’ll be heading back to chilly Bathurst after two weeks at the coast. Here are my picks and the reasons I chose each one.


1.ONCE UPON A RIVER

By Diane Setterfield

GENRE: Literary Fiction

A dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames. The regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open on an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a little child. Hours later the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can it be explained by science? Replete with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale

I bought this quite a while ago, straight after I finished reading The Thirteenth Tale. I loved that book so much and this one sounds just as good. Plus, the cover is lovely.


2. HABITAT: A practical guide to creating a wildlife-friendly Australian garden

By A B Bishop

GENRE: Non-fiction – Gardening

I’m pretty excited about getting my teeth into this book. After I read Kate Bradbury’s The Bumblebee Flies Anyway in July, I was inspired to make my own garden more wildlife-friendly. Her book is set in England, so I needed a resource for Australian wildlife and preferably for a similar climate to my own. This book seems ideal. Even better, my library has it available. If it’s as good as I hope, I’ll probably buy my own copy later on for future reference. And if I read it in August, I’ll be all ready to start putting some of it into practice this spring.


3.MOM’S PERFECT BOYFRIEND

By Crystal Hemmingway

GENRE: Romance

A smart romantic comedy about mothers and daughters, and the hilarious consequences of a white lie. 

I received this novel as an Advanced Reader Copy through LibraryThing. I don’t read many romances, but I was in the mood for something light, fun and even a bit silly and I think this might fit the bill. It even has an android in it (sci-fi crossover- awesome).


4.WALKING ON WATER

By Madeleine L’Engle

GENRE: Non-fiction – Essays – Christian – Writing

In this classic book, Madeleine L’Engle addresses the questions, What makes art Christian? What does it mean to be a Christian artist? What is the relationship between faith and art? Through L’Engle’s beautiful and insightful essays, readers will find themselves called to what the author views as the prime tasks of an artist: to listen, to remain aware, and to respond to creation through one’s own art.

I’ve been looking forward to reading this, the second non-fiction selection this month. Madeleine L’Engle’s middle grade fantasy novels delighted me so much as a child and teenager. I loved her settings, her characters and the emotion she was able to convey to me as a reader. I didn’t know she was a Christian and the books aren’t overtly Christian in any way, although they are spiritual. Now that I’m an adult, a Christian myself and a fantasy writer, I’m really interested in what L’Engle has to say about the connection between her faith and her writing. It’s quite a short book but I suspect it will pack a punch.


5.EMBERS OF WAR

By Gareth Powell

GENRE: Science Fiction

The warship Trouble Dog was built and bred for calculating violence, yet following a brutal war, she finds herself disgusted by conflict and her role in a possible war crime. Seeking to atone, she joins an organisation dedicated to rescuing ships in distress.When a ship goes missing in a disputed system, Trouble Dog and her new crew of misfits and loners are assigned to investigate and save whoever they can. Quickly, what appears to be a straightforward rescue mission turns into something far more dangerous.If she is to survive and save her crew, Trouble Dog is going to have to remember how to fight.

I’m a bit embarrassed that as a keen reader of sci-fi and someone partial to the occasional space opera, I have never read any of Gareth Powell’s work. In August, that is going to change. As soon as I saw the words “warship…Trouble Dog…she…misfits” I was already hooked. It sounds epic and action-packed. Should be a nice change of pace from the other books on my August list.


6.MISS MARPLE’S FINAL CASES

By Agatha Christie

GENRE: Crime – Detective – Short stories

A collection of Miss Marple mysteries, plus some bonus short stories…First, the mystery man in the church with a bullet-wound…then, the riddle of a dead man’s buried treasure…the curious conduct of a caretaker after a fatal riding accident…the corpse and a tape-measure…the girl framed for theft…and the suspect accused of stabbing his wife with a dagger.

Mission Marple is almost over. This is the final volume, the last stories Christie ever wrote about Miss Marple, her elderly village lady sleuth. It’s been a truly enjoyable journey and I’m so glad I joined in. My library has this book available now, so there’s nothing stopping me from completing my mission. This will be the only book this month that is a re-read for me.

I have a good feeling about all my picks for August. What are you looking forward to reading in the next month?

QLTR July 2019

Well, here’s a turn-up for the books, so to speak: only four of them? Is that really all I’d Quite Like To Read next month? What’s going on, I hear you ask. It’s simple. I have declared July 2019 to be Writing Month. And if I’m writing more, I’ll need to be reading less.

When I’m writing a first draft, I average about 12 000 words a month. But not this month. No, in July I intend to be a Super Drafter. I’m aiming for 30,000 words, which should bring my work in progress up to around 85,000 words in total. The end will be in sight!

I’m excited and apprehensive. Can I do it? Even if I can, will I? Or will I wimp out and capitulate to the desire to read other people’s words while consuming too much chocolate? Who can say? Only time will tell. And other cliches. Can you tell I’m nervous about this? Anyway, this isn’t meant to be about me and my neuroses. On to the books. The very, very few books.

This was on my list for June, but I didn’t get to it. I’m writing fantasy, so a bit of a crime thriller should be a nice break, and it should be a quick read.

I have this one as an ARC from Netgalley and I’m keen to get into it. It’s the story of a search for a serial killer in Washington DC in 1947, with a twist: one of the detectives is Prudence Blackwood, an immortal who seeks vengeance for those murdered by history’s most notorious serial killers.  That sounds like a terrific premise and should make for a really fresh take on the thriller genre.

I’d like to read a bit more of this one, for a change from fiction. I’ll just dip into it when I feel like it. I like what I’ve read of it so far.

There are two novels set for July in Mission Marple, but given my time restraints, I think I’ll only get to this one. Another detective tale, but cosy rather than thrillery (yes, that’s a word now). I’ve read it before and it should be very quick, a bonus this month.

So that’s it. Three books and part of a fourth. I should be able to manage that. I’m also beta reading a Middle Grade novel, so I guess we could call that five books, kind of. I may be able to read more, but somehow I doubt it.

What are you looking forward to reading in July?

QLTR June 2019

Here are the books I’d Quite Like to Read in June. QLTR is my version of TBR (To Be Read). If you’d like to know more, see my fuller (and rather rambling) explanation here.

So, on to the books, in order from top left to bottom right:

1 RED SISTER by Mark Lawrence.

Yes, well spotted, this was also on my QLTR for May. And in my defence, I did start it in May. But I was loving it so much that I didn’t want to rush through it, meaning I didn’t finish it, so here it is again. This is the first in Lawrence’s Book Of the Ancestor trilogy. Fantasy? Check. Magic school? Check. Warrior nuns? Yes please. And I can now add, it’s beautifully written.

CONTINUE READING THIS POST

QLTR May 2019

QLTR? What the heck is a QLTR?

It’s simple, really, and yet diabolically clever at the same time. This is my monthly list of books I’d Quite Like to Read. And why only Quite Like to Read? Isn’t that a bit wishy-washy?

Well, to be honest, it started out as TBR (To Be Read), but a curious thing happened. I would carefully compile the list, all shiny and new at the beginning of each month. And then I’d immediately want to rebel and read something entirely different. This caused feelings of guilt, failure and despair at the end of the month when I hadn’t read anything at all from my list.

What to do? Exercise more self-control? No. Don’t be silly. Change the name! So the list became WTR (you guessed it: Want to Read). But it turned out I didn’t, really. Want to read them, that is. Cue the guilt, failure, etc.

Again,what to do? Abandon the list idea entirely? Come on. It’s a list. Lists are good. So I came up with this genius idea. I don’t have to read these books. I may not even want to read them once the month begins. But I’d quite like to read them. Maybe. See how it goes. No pressure. And you know what? It worked. Last month, I read almost all the books on my list. Sometimes my mind is a frighteningly irrational place to live in.

So what would I Quite Like to Read in May? I have a list of 10 books. They’re in the image at the beginning of this post. Interestingly, they look sort of autumnal, don’t they? This wasn’t deliberate, just a sort of serendipity, because it’s autumn here, though maybe not where you are. Eight of them are from the library (I love my library), I own one, and the other is an audio book on my phone (although I have cleverly cheated and added its image into the photograph through the magic of photo editing software). So here they are:

Continue reading “QLTR May 2019”