March 2016 Reading Round Up



After reading a huge number of novels in January and February, the inevitable reading slump followed in March. I published a silly number of reviews to catch up on all my reading but I felt rather ho-hum about most books I picked up. Luckily, in the last few days of the month when my passion for reading began to return.

Shout Out to Text Publishing

Last month I highlighted two publishers I suddenly realised I love and this month I am going to add a third: Text Publishing. I am currently reading my third novel of the year from this wonderful Melbourne publisher of literary fiction. I feel that filling my Kindle with some of their Australian Classics may remedy my reading slump. Of course, before browsing I’d have to set myself a strict limit, otherwise I’d go crazy. I know myself too well.

After looking on their website I may also just be tempted to do some international shopping with this offer:

Text Classics Special Offer

Shopping in multiples of 5 is fine by me.

Moral of the story: I rarely pay attention to who publishes what but I must always check. It’s the perfect way to discover more books I will also love.


Due to my reading slump I ended reading The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund for about a fortnight. I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it, not because of the content but because I found the story bland rather than gripping. Furthermore, despite the setting it has no unique Scandi-noir atmosphere. It could be set anywhere. I read far more of it than I would have otherwise. As I have now read a fair chunk of it, do I continue on to get to the end? Usually I would say yes but it is so long… my Kindle percentage barely ticks along…

Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings is excellent but again, it is super long. I am reluctant to abandon it but let me ask, does it ever become gripping, or is is just a comprehensive story that immerses you in a different time and place, like a Jamaican War and Peace?

Operations Read My Own Books/ Read Rebus

One down, many shelves to go. / Fail.

Pick of the Month

The Monkey’s Mask by Dorothy Porter for being so original and challenging my fear that the literary genre-bender element of it would be pretentious.

Coming Up

Hopefully some Text Classics! I’d like to read a few novels for my Australian Women’s Writers Challenge and read book two in Rangar Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series.



12 thoughts on “March 2016 Reading Round Up

    • Unfortunately, A Brief History has suffered the same fate as the original War and Peace – abandoned. I thought that maybe one day I might go back to it but once it was deleted I considered this thought crazy. My 20-something self would have probably stuck with it but I am much smarter now 🙂

  1. I enjoyed Snow Blind from what I remember. A Brief History I have struggled with, starting and giving up twice. Third time maybe a charm but not sure when I will attempt it.

  2. Absolutely agree with you about The Crow Girl- have also abandoned it somewhere around the 200 page mark. It didn’t engage me and found that having so many of the story strands with the bleak central subject, at times really disturbing. Shame- I had been looking forward to this one enormously…

    • I think I was at about 200 pages too but can’t quite remember what was happening at that point… I anticipated a cliff hanger or at least some real excitement at the end of part 1 but nothing of the sort.

      I saw your tweets earlier about Sarah Hilary’s trilogy. I’m curious to see what you think as I am one of the minority who wasn’t particularly fussed. Again, much to my disappointment.

  3. I’m the only girl I know who didn’t finish Brief History of Seven Killings. It may have won the Booker last year, but I wasn’t impressed. 🙂

    • It’s now been officially abandoned… I really wanted to love it! If I had more time I may have stuck with it but I did begin to feel that when I got to the end my memory would have been of a novel I smugly won the battle with rather than enjoyed. I wonder if any of your friends felt like this?

  4. Enjoyed this post Orange Pekoe. I guess I have been aware of publishers for a long time as I have a strong sense of who publishes the sorts of books I like to read. Way back when, of course, it was Penguin. And I knew that Bantam, for example, might publish some literary works, amongst the rest, but that as well as being cheap they’d be on nastier paper and not be so easy to open without breaking! Then came the late 1970s/early 80s and presses like Virago. I would actively seek out their distinctive spines for new books I didn’t have or hadn’t heard of. Closer to home there was UQP who was putting out wonderful Aussie writers, and McPhee Gribble. And little Fremantle Press which brought people like Elizabeth Jolley to us. Through this time too there was Picador which published some really interesting non-fiction as well as fiction. And now, there’s a whole plethora of publishers doing great things, of which Text is one of the biggest (of the small).

    I keep thinking I SHOULD read Marlon James but it’s so long and there are so many Aussies I really need to catch up on … hmmm.

    • I have now abandoned Marlon James – I am sure if he was an Aussie author I would have stuck with him! On principle, I rarely abandon an Aussie novel.

      When I started blogging a few years ago I became aware of one UK publisher who published quite offbeat literary offerings from female authors. I guess that with budgets, profits and so forth things have changed and they now mostly publish what I would categorise as ‘women’s holiday reading’ which is fine, but just not my cup of tea. I’m sure they’re making a lot of money!

      Currently being an observer from afar, I think Australia is lucky in that it seems many of the small publishers have reasonable shelf space compared to the big publishers. In the UK you have to search out the smaller publishers more which is maybe why I haven’t noticed too many until recently. I currently love Orenda books who publish ‘stylish Euro crime’ (mostly). The founder originally bought the rights to about 17 authors who had been cut from her previous employer but that she really believed in. Boy are they wonderful novels! The biggest risk she took I guess was that she published second and (heaven forbid) third novels from some authors and now has a cult following (as much as publishers can). Really impressive.

      • Good for her. That’s interesting about shelf space for small publishers. I mostly go to independent bookshops so it’s not a surprise to see small presses there. I can’t comment on the chains, but sounds like you’ve noticed.

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