January Reads and My Pick of the Month

I read the following books for Ms. Wordopolis Reads in January:

My long-range goals are to read books from or set in lots of different countries, and I managed four different countries this month. I also plan on reading more pre-1990 crime novels, for a little variety, and this month I dug into some Patricia Highsmith with mixed feelings. Finally, I’m planning on reading more books by women this year because last year slightly less than half the books I reviewed were by women. So far my ratio is 100% women, which is a great start.

But statistics and personal reading goals aside, I consider January a good reading month because I discovered the great Dominque Manotti, whose Lorraine Connection was a surprising, well-told, and brutal story that started with an industrial accident at a television factory in France and became much more ominous. While I think the other books I read in January were decent, I was very impressed by Manotti.

18 thoughts on “January Reads and My Pick of the Month

  1. Nice list Rebecca – I read a Jungstedt years ago, might have been this one it was Un-something! Hopefully I will improve my quota of female authors this year – less than 10% last year. 1 from 10 this year so far……hmm, not too good so far

    • I’m just trying to keep track of percentages every month or so to see if I’m off, but statistics don’t matter to me if I’m reading stuff I don’t love. Hope you have a good reading month in February, Col.

  2. I like Irene Huss so I’ll read this book by Helene Turston. I have never read a book by Jungsted and I don’t think Highsmith is my cup of tea. I did read one book by Manotti, which I didn’t like. I may try her books again.
    My best reading in January consisted of Lifetime by Liza Marklund, Sycamore Row by John Grisham (excellent), and Gordon Ferris’ Pilgrim Soul. In fact, post-good-book slump ensued after a few of those.
    Am committed to digging into my TBR stacks here and try to whittle them down so I can use my dining table.

    • Good luck whittling away, Kathy, and I hope you find more good reads in the coming month. I keep trying to get to Liza Marklund and haven’t managed to do so yet, and I’m interested in the new Grisham. As for the other authors, it would be boring if our reading tastes matched up perfectly! And finally, on the topic of book hangovers, I just stayed up late finishing Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason, and I’m too emotionally wiped out to read anything else now. Both storylines were heartbreaking.

  3. I am glad this post reminded me to check out Manotti. The book sounds so good, but I have so many books already.

    I read more than I expected to in January, but don’t expect to keep up with that in February. Trying to be more relaxed this year about reading. Not succeeding yet, but trying hard.

    • Good luck, Tracy! I’ve been reading lots because it’s been a long, cold winter, but I’m starting to slow down because even reading is getting a bit old. How are your reading challenges coming along?

      • Doing OK with reading challenges. Have read a couple of vintage novels for the Vintage Mystery Challenge, and some Canadian books for the Canadian Reading Challenge. And sticking only to books in my TBR pile except for some NetGalley books I was committed to. And enjoying all of them, which is the most important part.

  4. I love Indridason’s books, and Silence of the Grave is one of my top reads by him. Outrage is good, too, which features a woman protagonist, and is also about a crime committed against women. I find that he is one male author who can write with sympathy and compassion about crimes against women and do it well and respectfully.

    • Good to know that other books in the series are also very good. I was very impressed about how he treated the domestic violence storyline: harrowing stuff from everyone’s perspective. It’s definitely rare in the books I’ve been reading lately (the latest Adler-Olssen bothered me).

  5. The third book in the Adler-Olssen series bothered me, A Conspiracy of Faith. I don’t want to see all the brutality nor do I want to be inside the head of a psychopathic killer of children.
    The first book was over the top — Mercy, but I liked that the woman character was so strong. But it was a tough read; a friend got nightmares and was up all night for days.
    I don’t think I want to read more books with women as victims, only as crime solvers, fighters, investigators, but I think books with less violence overall.
    What happened to good writing, stories, characters?
    Indridason’s Outrage is good. There is violence, but it is not pervasive. The investigation is what matters, and the story of the police detective.

    • I liked the first Adler-Olsen as I read it, but it bothered me after I finished it, and I was not a big fan of the fourth. Hearing your comments about the third makes me less and less likely to catch up in the series: I’m getting burned out by crime novels in general and trying to read a variety of books.

      Hope you find some good books this month, Kathy.

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