As you may have noticed, I am a total binge reader when I discover an author I like and promptly buy up their back catalogue (or borrow it from the library) to fulfill my desperate craving for another fix. This does not help the state of the to-read pile or my bank balance and can make me look a little unhinged. So here – for your amusement – are my big obsessions of 2015 and a few examples of the ridiculous lengths I’ve gone to…
Can it really be true that I only read my first Janet Evanovich novel in April? Goodreads assures me that it is so and thus it must be. Since my first taste (Wicked Business), I’ve read 18 Stephanie Plums – and all four between the numbers fill-ins, the other two Wicked books, two Full books, two Fox and O’Hares and a standalone romance. So that’s 30 Janet Evanovich novels in less than nine months. This is why people think I’ve got a bit of a book problem.
I read Silent in the Grave back in January – and since then I’ve read three more of the Lady Julia series – with a fourth waiting for me on the shelf. And the only reason that that has been waiting is because the price of the next one has been so expensive. And ditto her standalone novels. But in a piece of glorious serendipity, they’re all on offer on Amazon Kindle at the moment – so last night I spent just under £20 on 8 (!) books and novellas – buying up the rest of Lady Julia, the first Veronica Speedwell and two standalones and their prequel novellas. Now that is what I call obsession…
My love of historical romance has continued this year. In fact it’s turned into more of a quest – to find more authors who write my favourite sort of smart, witty, sexy romance novels. Because this is the problem with being a binge reader. You find someone that you like, you binge on their back catalogue and then you have to start following their publishing schedule like everyone else does – so you might have to wait a year before you can get another fix from them. So you need another author to read. In 2015 I’ve read some really good, some really bad and a lot of in between. Among the good were Sabrina Jeffries, Kerrigan Byrne, Johanna Shupe and Courtney Milan. I’m not going to mention the bad! There’s loads more I want to read – listening to the DBSA podcast each week will do that to you – but the prices of those sort of American-published romances are often really quite high over here – and fall into the same buying rules as the cozy crimes. So often I play roulette with NetGalley – requesting new releases there and hoping I like them. Sometimes it pays off – the aforementioned Byrne and Shupe for example – and sometimes it doesn’t…
I’ve always had a soft spot for the “lighter” end of the crime market, but I’ve really been rattling through various cozy murder mysteries this year. I’m still reading Donna Andrews (three of them this year) – but now I’m closer to the end of the series the books have got more expensive to buy and I have rules about what I’ll spend on a book that will only take me a couple of hours to read. So as a consequence my net has spread wider. Jenn McKinlay’s become firm favourite and there’s a bunch of other series I’ve dipped into too (again thanks to NetGalley) – to varying success. I feel more coming on in 2016.
This is often the meeting of two of my other obsessions – Cozy crime and Historical romance. The Daisy Dalrymple and Phryne Fisher series were two of my discoveries of 2014 – and now I’ve read all of them, I’ve been searching for more – and not just those set in the 1920s and 1930s. That’s how I discovered Deanna Raybourn and started that obsession. But as well as Lady Julia, there’s Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily and James Runcie’s Sidney Chambers. And then there’s the ones which are more crime-y and less romance – like Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver, Carola Dunn’s Eleanor Trewynn. And no romance at all – like Flavia de Luce (because she’s a child!). So many good books.
So there you are. My five big obsessions of the year. Of course some would argue that books in general are my biggest obsession of them all. And they’d be right. There’s nothing like sitting down with a book and being transported to another world to make life seem better. You can live so many different lives and visit so many different places by reading a book. And then there’s the friends that you can make – real people I mean – because of books and the book community. The ones that you chat to on Twitter, the ones you meet at author events and who turn into proper friends and everything in between. Long may my book obsession continue.
Happy 2016 everyone – and thank you for reading my bookish wafflings. I hope you’ve enjoyed them – and I’m sure that there’s more where they came from.