I grew up in 1980s rural Scotland so reading was a way to escape the horrors of tartan, tinned vegetables and horizontal rain. Eschewing deep-fried mars bars I instead devoured everything written by dear Enid Blyton, Alfred Hitchcock’s Three Investigators mysteries and Willard Price’s Adventure series. Slightly trashy and entirely predictable literature was the making of me.
I still read moderately formulaic books and occasionally dabble in “lowbrow” literature. I generally alternate between literary fiction and police procedurals or psychological thrillers but I also throw in medieval history non-fiction titles, interior design books and the odd memoir. When not reading I have a penchant for vintage cosy-ish crime TV shows (Poirot, Foyle’s War, Endeavour), Zombies (The Walking Dead), Time Team and anything about Denmark, oh and a spot of light crochet.
- Jump on the bandwagon with Psychological Thrills Just about every second book being published at the moment is promoted as the "next Gone Girl", or "perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train". Until psychological thriller fatigue sets in scare yourself silly with some of these head-wreckers.
- Best (and worst) bookies of 2016
- 2015 Crackers! "Best of the Year"
- Joyce's choice reads 2014
- Joyce's Booktastic Reading List for 2013
- Joyce's "Thundering Good Reads" of 2012
- Persephone Books are gorgeous. You might have seen them around, soft grey book jackets with distinctive vintage fabric endpapers. They re-publish and promote forgotten female 20th century authors and by golly some of them are great. I read and adored The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski and am giving Dorothy Whipple (epic name!) a go next. For more Dead Dames of a literary ilk try our library blog.
- Australian Crime. I'm always slightly amazed at the unfamiliarity (feigned or real?) we seem to have in New Zealand with Aussie publishing. I'm a huge fan of Oz crime fiction and have recently read some beauts.The Dry by Jane Harper and Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic were both tense, well-plotted and full of rounded, realistic characters. Peter Temple's The Broken Shore is straight-up one of the greatest crime titles ever and his Jack Irish series set in Melbourne is well worth a read too.
- Jeeves and Wooster! I have recently re-encountered the delights of the omnipotent Jeeves and the totally gormless Bertie Wooster. Overdrive has a selection of full-cast BBC Radio 4 plays recorded in the 1970s and 1980s with a host of British lovies. Lots of fun.
- Orphan Black. Bit scared of spoilers here but I'll give a few clues. Sci-Fi. Thriller. Eugenics. Clones. Secrets. Love. Loyalty. The fifth and final series is now available at Christchurch City Libraries. Watch.
- Jim Crace. A phenomenal writer. Harvest was short-listed for the 2013 Man Booker prize but got beaten out by New Zealand's Eleanor Catton. Grrrr. Being Dead is the book of all books but given that it tells the tale of a murdered couple decomposing on an isolated beach I realise it may not be everyone's cup of char! Jim was threatening to make Harvest his last novel but he has had a change of heart and The Melody is due in 2018. Hurrah!