I was quite ill for much of March. Not the ideal way to get reading time but, hey — at least it's reading time.

Here are the books whose words were the vitamins that nourished me back to health...

  • A Legacy Of Spies, John le Carré
    A clever way of le Carré revisiting some of his classic characters for a retrospective.
  • Dead Lions, Mick Herron
  • Raven Black, Ann Cleeves
  • Demon Copperhead, Barbara Kingsolver
    An important and impressive book, about the journey of a boy to becoming a young man, through every kind of obstacle modern US society (or lack of it) can throw at him. Without giving any spoilers it goes on to take us inside a rarely seen viewpoint on one of the biggest harms America has done to its people in the last 50 years. Reading as a reader I was completely drawn into the story by the characters, events and their telling. Reading as a writer I admired the extremely direct character-to-reader narration throughout, that means we felt so close to Damon. This absorbs you deeply into the story and propels everything along brilliantly. I listened to this as an audiobook, and the narrator does such a good job that he lifted my experience of the story significantly above just reading it myself. So I highly recommend the audiobook.
  • Old God's Time, Sebastian Barry
    This won all sorts of awards and critical acclaim and, yes, it is good. It just sometimes felt like the author was trying a little too hard to dial 'literary prose' up to 11 for the critics and awards panels. I'd have liked an editor to just get the dial turned back down to 10, which would have allowed me to be absorbed by it more. Reading as a writer, it's a great example of writing an unreliable narrator.
  • Proof, Dick Francis (reread)
    I read Francis' books when I was a teenager, borrowing from my dad's shelf. They still hold up really well. Really enjoyable read.
  • Reconstruction, Mick Herron
    This predates his famous Slow Horses series, and may even be one of his first few books. Really well plotted, and really well told. He has a lovely casual style of connecting to the reader from the page, and a knack for humanising people who do the big 'thriller' jobs who are normally made out to be all powerful tough nut geniuses. Makes for a very entertaining story.

Now, just as we're about to roll over into April, I've started my next read. More on that next month.

March 2024 reads

I've had a bit more time for reading this month, so here are my notes on the books.