Sunday, 1 February 2015

My reading in January

Instead of writing about the books and short fiction I read over a whole quarter, as I have been doing for the past couple of years, I thought I’d post about them for each month, preferably on the first of the following month. This way I’ll realise how little I’m reading which will hopefully encourage me to get more novels and short stories out of the way every month. Figures for a quarter can seem deceptively impressive.

Today is February 1 and here is what I read in the first month of the new year. Again, I have listed them by year of publication and not in the order I read them.

Novels & Novellas


1915 - The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka - Horror

1958 - The Accused by Harold R. Daniels - Hardboiled

1981 - Air Force One is Down by John Denis (Alistair MacLean) (John Edwards and Denis Frost in real life)  - Thriller

1998 - Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, 1998 - Nonfiction

2007 - Me Tanner, You Jane by Lawrence Block - Espionage

Short Stories

1891 - The Sheriff and His Partner by Frank Harris - Western

1941 - The Secret Sense by Isaac Asimov - Science Fiction

1994 - Cages by Ed Gorman – Horror? Fantasy?

So far, I have only reviewed The Accused by Harold R. Daniels and the three short stories. I’ll be reviewing Air Force One is Down in a day or two. Later, I may review my first novel by Lawrence Block.


I’m going slow on my reviews because I’m devoting more time to my other writing, at this point a novella and a collection of short stories that are still in the works. However, I’ll continue to blog and visit other blogs too. 

Another reason why I’m reviewing fewer books is because I have been hooked to two television series between 9 pm and 11 pm—Monk and Downton Abbey. That’s the time I usually post on my blog. I like Adrian Monk for I see a little of myself in his obsessive-compulsive character. Among other things, I have this habit of straightening books, or putting them in their place, in a bookstore. I do it free of cost. It’s annoying to see non-serious readers take out books and not put them back. Even if they do, they put them back on the wrong shelf.

The theme song of Monk—It’s a Jungle Out There—by Randy Newman is pretty good too.

I like the idea of an obsessive-compulsive detective. Without OCD, I doubt fictional sleuths would have been as successful as they are. Look at Poirot.

What about you? Do you like Monk?

18 comments:

  1. I loved Monk when it was on a year or two ago in the UK. I have bought a fair few of the books by Lee Goldberg - I'm hoping I like them just as much.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Lawrence Block at some point.
    A decent month's reading to start 2015, long may it continue, Prashant!

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    1. Col, thank you. I definitely plan to read more this year. I'm looking at a ballpark figure of 75 to 100 which, I think, is realistic with eleven months to go. I'm not inclined to read the MONK books at this stage as I'm fairly engrossed in watching the series. Besides, I need to catch up on my own "First Novels" challenge.

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  2. Monk was a first-rate favorite in my house during its first-run appearances. We remain addicted to the reruns whenever we can find them on various channels. Forget the Monk books. Enjoy the programs instead. (Notice the resemblance between the Holmes-Watson and the Monk-female assistant pairings.)

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    1. R.T., we, too, watch reruns of MONK because someone or the other missed the episodes during the week. I didn't notice the resemblance between Holmes-Watson and Monk-Sharona till you mentioned it. While Watson is a doctor, Sharona is a nurse, and both are very concerned about their detective-friends.

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  3. Postscript: I share your pain with respect to less time for reading and too much time taken up with other issues. There are some days that I wish I could chuck it all and simply curl up with good books for the remainder of my days. Weird, huh? (And -- I'm equally OCD in bookstores. I think the managers ought to give me a discount since I spend so much time doing their housekeeping for them.)

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    1. R.T., frankly, I can't blame other issues or distractions for the lack of time to read. There is always time to read, even between chores. Often, I find free time but I still don't read. Sometimes the mood eludes me.

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  4. This is strange coming from a woman, but I like the fact that all his clothes are the same, or close to it. No decisions to make. I can't even have my clothes narrowed down to a few colors that look good on me. Also, while I love to read, seventeen bookcases and over 2600 books can be a bit much at times.

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    1. Nancy, thanks for visiting and commenting. I didn't realise the Monk wore the same suits. Maybe, the makers of the serial decided to do away with the wardrobe stylist. I don't think Adrian Monk would care one way or other.

      With that many bookcases and books, you have a lifetime of reading ahead of you.

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  5. I forgot to add that Monk wouldn't have that many books. He would have fewer books and they would be in order on the shelves, have neat dust jackets, and not be dusty.

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    1. Nancy, I haven't made up my mind about reading the MONK books. I'll probably try them sometime in the near future.

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  6. That's quite a selection, Prashant. And I look forward to your writings.

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    1. Neer, thank you. I'm still working on my novella and it'll be a while before it sees the light of day.

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  7. I like Monk very much too. I've bought most of the series on special over the years as the whole thing never aired here in Australia.

    I've got a soft spot for Downton Abbey too though it does get a bit sillier (more soap opera-ish) in the later seasons. But I have a bunch of women friends who get together to watch the whole season in a day (a friend sends the DVDs from the UK each year for my birthday). We just watched season 5 on our Australia Day long weekend - worth watching for Maggie Smith if for no other reason.

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    1. Bernadette, thanks for visiting and commenting. A lot of American television serials come to India long after they have been telecast in the West. MONK is a case in point, as is DOWNTON ABBEY. The delay does not take away the pleasure of watching both of these absorbing series. Maggie Smith is outstanding, no doubt. Next up is the next edition of MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA which is also a hit with the family. We like the way the judges, Gary, Matt, and George, conduct the show.

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  8. I'd be curious as to what you thought about the Metamorphosis. I'm not particularly a fan.

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    1. Charles, I wasn't quite sure how to go about reviewing THE METAMORPHOSIS. It is deep and requires careful thought. Maybe, I'll write down my thoughts.

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  9. Sounds like a good reading month to me, Prashant. We have been watching mostly sci fi TV shows (on DVD) for a few months. Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. Lots of fun.

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    1. Tracy, I'm at least two books behind for January. I want to read seven to eight novels and about a dozen short stories every month. These are early days. I'm not familiar with the two sf serials you mention but I'll keep an eye out for them. I haven't watched anything sf in a long time.

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