About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

What Jumps My TBR Line (Queue outside North America)

Looking at my TBR pile, more accurately piles, this evening left me reflecting on my reading plans. I usually have planned out ahead 3-4 books to be read. Yet the plan is not rigid. There are books that jump the line.

As my blog features mysteries from Saskatchewan a new mystery by a Saskatchewan author is put atop the TBR piles.

However, if I am involved in one of the community memes sponsored by Kerrie Smith at her excellent blog, Mysteries in Paradise, reading for the meme will take priority over all else. I am currently taking part in the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme. I wish I could say I stayed several letters ahead in the alphabet in my reading but I am not so disciplined.

In the spring I desperately wanted to read Anthony Bidulka’s new mystery, When the Saints Go Marching In, with his new character, Adam Saint, but I waited a few weeks to keep up with the alphabet.

Right now as “Z” is looming on Sunday I am just keeping up with the letter of the week. It has meant Gail Bowen’s new book, The Gifted, has been waiting since the beginning of the month. I will be reading it next week.

I also jump the line for the Canadian Book Challenge, my only reading challenge. As Canada Day approaches on July 1 usually need 1 or 2 or 3 books to finish the annual commitment of 13.

For individual authors Michael Connelly never waits to be read.

A new John Grisham book will not languish in the pile.

Louise Penny never sinks into the pile though I had reservations about the The Beautiful Mystery.

When I realize I have not read non-fiction for awhile I will forgo the waiting crime fiction for non-fiction. My sons often give me some non-fiction at Christmas. After being asked why I have not read their gifts promptly they now move up the pile. Last Christmas they gave me a copy of Defender of the Realm by William Manchester and Paul Reid. It is the third volume in Manchester’s superb biography of Winston Churchill. I completed the book but have not completed my review. The review will come shortly after the end of the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme.

What does not jump the pile are books on the shortlists for all the crime fiction prizes. After a year in which I have hardly read any of the short lists of major awards for crime fiction I have decided not to press to read those books shortlisted.

As always in my life there is an exception. I have made a personal commitment to read at least 2 of the 3 books on the shortlist for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

After further reflection, with all the line or queue (I do not know why we use line instead of queue in North America) jumpers I realize I really do not really have a line of TBR books. The exceptions outnumber the planned books!


  1. Bill - Thanks for sharing the way you go about choosing what to read next. I feel the way you do about Penny and Connelly. There are a few other authors too who don't wait long on my list. I think most people have those authors, kinds of novels, etc.. that 'jump the line.'

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I hope you will share some day the names of authors who jump the line for you.

  3. Bill, I don't think I'm quite as organised as you. I kind of make some plans for reading then get turned around by other attractions.

  4. Col: Thanks for the comment. Participating in memes has made me more organized as a reader.

  5. I tried making a TBR list a few months ago, but see that I haven't read many of the books. William Kent Krueger (just finished his latest Tamarack County) and Randy Wayne White are immediate must-reads as is the Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box. Don't enjoy his standalones as much.

  6. I love reading about other people's reading habits, and I found that very interesting.

  7. Kent: Thanks for the comment. I have not read standalones but Box but I certainly have enjoyed the Joe Pickett series. I would be interested in hearing if you establish a reading plan.

  8. Moira: Thanks for commenting. I equally enjoy peeking into the reading world of other people.

  9. Bill, thank you for a lively post. I am with Moira. I like reading about other people's reading habits too. If only I inculcated some of those habits in the way I read books. I agree memes and challenges push one towards organised reading.

    I look forward to reading your review of "Defender of the Realm" as I'm fascinated by the events surrounding WWII and Winston Churchill who, as prime minister between 1940 and 1945, was central to many of those events. He had a lot on his plate: the World War, the Nazi regime, and British occupation in many parts of the world.

  10. Prashant: Thanks for the comment and your recent posts on reading. Seeing how others read has led me to reflect on how I read.

    The overall title of the triology describes Churchill as "The Last Lion". It is the perfect title.

  11. eReaders have improved my TBR piles - making them now only about half an inch high!

  12. Anthony: Thanks for the comment. While 1/2" TBR piles would be nice I still would prefer to buy and read paper books for my reading away from the office.