Infatuation with my Kindle has completely undermined my challenge to limit book-buying to 12 books for the year. As I mentioned before, it's just so convenient. Too convenient. Not only can I carry it with me anywhere, but I can buy books at any time; anywhere.
This has not only led to a book-buying spree, but it's also having an impact on the kind of books I'm reading. I was going to write that it's had an impact on the quality of my reading, but that brings into question the whole notion of 'quality' that I don't want to engage with just now. In practice, it's meant that when I finish a book, instead of thinking about what I might read next and taking stock of the books on my mental 'to read' list, I've downloaded yet another crime novel.
So, to the damage. I've bought - and read - five books this month. Four of them have been crime fiction - two Peter Robinson's (Banks is a rather shameful pleasure), a Camilla Lackberg and Martin Cruz Smith's 'Three Stations'. Cruz Smith's central character Arkady Renko, out of favour with whatever group is in power in Russia and forever forsaken in his private life, is another favourite. I also read this month's book group choice on my Kindle - Lionel Shriver's 'The New Republic'. Awful. I rarely get bored by novels, but this was the kind of book where all its tricks and tropes are displayed in the first couple of chapters and then simply repeated. I actually think this recent publication is a bit of a cheat. Shriver wrote 'The New Republic' early in her career as a writer and it was not then accepted for publication. However, subsequent to the success of such books as 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' her publishers clearly thought it would have a market. You can see in 'The New Republic' the writer she would become - absolutely in tune with the big issues of the time, clever, satirical, a bit of a misanthrope, a pithy wordsmith. In this case the issue at the centre of the novel is the press and the creation as well as the reporting of 'news'. Most topical for today. Maybe that's one of the reasons the publisher has released it. But the novel's high point is the way she chooses to embody the theme, and once you've 'got' that, it's all rather repetitive.
So, I've bought five books this month. That makes a total of eleven books till the end of May, and given I've already bought another one in June I've reached the target for the year. And I'm not even half-way through the year. Maybe I should just surrender at this point.