As usual, there's a lot of crime fiction in this month's favourite books post. I've also been reading quite a few new releases too. They weren't all a hit though and, as usual, I've picked my favourite reads of the month to share with you.
Most of the books on this list were from the library and have now been returned, so I haven't been able to photograph them all together. Considering my photography skills this is probably a good thing.
White Teeth by Zadie SmithAs I admitted in my review of Swing Time that I hadn't read any Zadie Smith before. I thought I'd better read her first and most famous book before I read her latest one. White Teeth is one of those books that, as a writer, just leaves me in awe. Not only was it original, well written and intelligent, the sheer time and planning that must have gone into coming up with all the characters and their timelines is amazing. And she was so young when she wrote it!
What also struck me about White Teeth was how funny it was. It's a long book, and deals with difficult subjects like race and family, but Smith's humour ensures its enjoyable.
Swing Time by Zadie SmithSo onto the next Zadie Smith; I've already reviewed her latest book, Swing Time, but I had to include it in this month's favourites too. It focuses on the childhood friendship of the unnamed narrator and Tracey, two brown girls who both love dance. Even though their friendship ends abruptly in their twenties, neither can escape it or its repercussions in their later life.
I definitely prefer White Teeth but Swing Time is still an excellent book that explores friendship, race and culture, while also exuding Smith's love of dance from nearly every page.
The Vera Stanhope series by Ann CleevesDamn my Grandmother! She's always lending me crime fiction books, which turn out to be part of a huge series that I get hooked on; I then add a whole lot of books to my reading list and lose even more shelf space. This month she leant me Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves, which is the second Vera Stanhope book.
I loved Telling Tales and have managed to pick up two more Vera books from the library; The Glass Room and Harbour Street (5 and 6 in the series, I haven't been reading them in order, just whatever I can find first).
I think the character of Vera is fantastic and original. She's such a mix of things; independent, lonely, drama queen, intelligent and always defined by her weight.
Cleeves' writing is incredibly atmospheric and she can make you feel the barren beauty of windswept Northumberland or the claustrophobia of a tiny country town.
This series has been made into a TV series Vera, as has Cleeves' other series, Shetland. Neither of which I've seen but I definitely want to once I've read some more of her books.
Along Came a Spider by James Patterson (Alex Cross #1)I finally read the first book in the hugely popular Alex Cross series by James Patterson. In Along Came a Spider Detective Alex Cross must tackle the kidnapping of two school children, the brutal murder of a poor family in the Washington projects and a serial killer who's desperate for fame.
Along Came a Spider is every bit as fast paced and addictive as everyone says. But, while I did enjoy it and read it in one sitting, I also guessed the main plot twist, which ruined it a bit.
I like the character of Alex Cross and found him complex, yet at times he was also a bit too good to be true.
However, I did enjoy the book and would like to read more of the series. It's ideal holiday reading.
Has anyone read these books? What did you think? I'd also love to know what you've all been reading this month.