ShadrachAnki's 2018 Reading
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Hey all, Anki here! As mentioned in the introduction thread I tend to lurk more than post, but I am hoping to change that. :)
My focus and goal for 2018 is to read more books I already own (ideally, at least 50% of my reading should be in this category). Also to continue to increase the overall amount of non-fiction I read. Last year, 8% of my total reading was non-fiction; it would be great to bump that up to, say, 10%.
I will also try to do at least some reviews/thoughts on the books I read, though this may be...spotty. Back in 2016 I started keeping a physical book journal, and in doing so I learned that I am far more likely to record my thoughts on books where they aren't going to be available for all and sundry. I love talking books with people, but just putting my random thoughts out there? That tends to be a harder sell, most of the time.
- Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat
- Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers
- Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
- Endurance by F.A. Worsley
2018 Reading by the Numbers
Total Books Read: 51
What kind of things do you talk about, then, if you aren't sharing your thoughts on them? In any case, this is a very friendly place, and there are certainly no "wrong" opinions on books - any discussions of differing views are simply pleasant conversations about what it was that gave people the impression they have. So definitely don't feel like you should hold back sharing! :)
Books Read January - March
* indicates a reread
1. Kigurumi Guardians 2 by Lily Hoshino (print, comic, owned)
2. Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung (print, comic, owned)
3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (audio, fiction, owned)
4. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (audio, fiction, borrowed)
5. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (print, fiction, owned)
6. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy (audio, fiction, owned) *
7. Pimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt (ebook, fiction, owned)
8. The Adventures of Tom Stranger by Larry Correia (audio, fiction, owned)
9. Kigurumi Guardians 3 by Lily Hoshino (print, comic, owned)
10. Waiting for Spring 1 by Anashin (print, comic, owned)
11. Waiting for Spring 2 by Anashin (print, comic, owned)
12. Sabriel by Garth Nix (audio, fiction, owned) *
13. The Devil is a Part-Timer 1 by Satoshi Wagahara (print, comic, borrowed)
14. The Devil is a Part-Timer 2 by Satoshi Wagahara (print, comic, borrowed)
15. The Devil is a Part-Timer 3 by Satoshi Wagahara (print, comic, borrowed)
16. The Devil is a Part-Timer 4 by Satoshi Wagahara (print, comic, borrowed)
17. Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye (audio, fiction, borrowed)
18. The Devil is a Part-Timer 5 by Satoshi Wagahara (print, comic, borrowed)
19. The Devil is a Part-Timer 6 by Satoshi Wagahara (print, comic, borrowed)
20. The Devil is a Part-Timer 7 by Satoshi Wagahara (print, comic, borrowed)
21. The Devil is a Part-Timer 8 by Satoshi Wagahara (print, comic, borrowed)
22. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (audio, non-fiction, borrowed)
23. A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz (print, non-fiction, owned)
24. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan (audio, fiction, borrowed)
1. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (print, fiction, owned) *
2. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (audio, fiction, owned) *
3. The Introvert's Way by Sophia Dembling (print, non-fiction, owned) *
4. The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan (audio/ebook, fiction, owned)
5. Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin (print, non-fiction, owned)
6. Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs (ebook, fiction, owned) *
7. Tokyo Raider by Larry Correia (audio, fiction, owned)
8. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (print, fiction, owned) *
9. Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs (print, fiction, owned) *
10. Fair Game by Patricia Briggs (print, fiction, owned) *
11. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman (audio, fiction, owned) *
12. The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama (print, fiction, borrowed)
13. Wires and Nerve 2: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer (print, comic, borrowed)
1. How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry (print, fiction, borrowed)
2. Waiting for Spring 3 by Anashin (print, comic, owned)
3. Waiting for Spring 4 by Anashin (print, comic, owned)
4. Sylvester by Georgette Heyer (audio, fiction, owned) *
5. Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs (print, fiction, borrowed)
6. Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs (print, fiction, owned) *
7. Night Broken by Patricia Briggs (print, fiction, borrowed)
8. Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs (print, fiction, borrowed)
9. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (audio, fiction, owned) *
10. Lake Silence by Anne Bishop (print, fiction, borrowed)
11. El Deafo by Cece Bell (print, comic, borrowed)
12. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (print, fiction, owned) *
13. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (print, fiction, owned) *
14. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (print/audio, fiction, owned/borrowed)
>2 .Monkey.: Mostly I've held back on dropping my thoughts about books in the review section here (or on Goodreads) because the thoughts are so frequently tied in with other things I am reading or people that I know, so the context isn't there for anybody but me. And I like to have my reviews be useful, I guess. But if I'm talking about books with people at my book group, or in a forum, then what I say/write is in the context of that discussion, so it becomes useful there. If that makes sense.
I guess I tend to be a touch reserved when it comes to just dropping my thoughts around willy nilly, but as you point out, it's a way to foster discussion and this is a discussion group. :)
>4 markon: Favorite so far? Hmmm, probably either Anne of Green Gables, which I had not read prior to this year (grew up with the Megan Follows mini series) or Sabriel, which is a reread...re-listen? Tim Curry does a wonderful job as the narrator, and I am leading the discussion in my book group on it in just over a week.
When it comes to the comics/manga, I really was able to relate to a number of the situations in Quiet Girl, and Waiting for Spring is just a sweet story that I definitely want to continue collecting.
>5 shadrach_anki: I can see that for the review field, but totally still talk about it casually here, you can consider us like one big ol' bookgroup...that all reads different things. XD Hahaha. And besides, I don't think it's humanly possible not to be influenced by anything at all when reading/reflecting. :P It can be helpful to share what those influences may be if they're things you're aware of, for others to get your wavelength, but certainly not necessary. Basically, share whatever you like, and folks will happily chat books with you! :)
Hi there, Anki. I found you. You’ve done a lot of reading/listening this month. Have you read the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde? I listened to those quite a few years ago, and found them to be quite amusing. I had not heard of the series you’ve started.
Welcome to the group. I will enjoy seeing what you read.
>11 NanaCC: I've read the first Thursday Next book, but years ago. I actually have several of them on my TBR stack/shelf/pile/mountain and they are somewhat higher up in my mental ordering than other books, especially after reading Shades of Grey. When I do, I will be starting over from the beginning, given the amount of time that has passed since my last reading.
Shades of Grey was...odd. It's dystopian, but dropped smack dab in the middle of a small English village with all its politics and gossip all the rest. I listened to the audio, which was quite delightful, but I think there was some word and number play that would have been better served by seeing it in print.
Welcome, Anki. Nice to have met you the other day (isn't that what bookstores are for?!). I have read a lot of SF in the past but much less now. Hubby reads a lot though. I did read the first two Jasper Fforde books, but didn't continue with them, but I did read all the Dorothy Sayers books (back in the...er..80s, I think).
The Devil is a Part-Timer
My first exposure to this series was via the anime several years ago, but I only watched an episode or two at the time. The anime is based on a series of Japanese light novels by Satoshi Wagahara, but I am not sure whether or not the light novels have been translated into English. I have been reading the manga adaptation, drawn by Akio Hiiragi.
Basic premise: the demon/devil king Satan is forced to flee from his attempt to conquer the land of Ente Isla, and the portal he opens to do so drops him and one of his four generals in the middle of modern-day Tokyo. Without access to his demonic powers, he has to get part-time work...at the local MgRonalds (because we can't use actual names of actual businesses because its anime/manga). Hijinks ensue as other people from Ente Isla keep showing up, including the Hero Emilia who was the reason he fled the battle in the first place.
It is always interesting (if sometimes a touch disconcerting) to see how elements of Christianity are used when filtered through a non-Christian lens. In this instance, all that really seems to carry over are some names and a few associated descriptive elements (horns, goat feet, etc). All the characters from Ente Isla take Japanese names in order to blend in to their surroundings, so even the names are more of a window dressing.
At the point where I am in the story, the MgRonalds is closed for summer renovations, and the apartment building where Sadao (Satan) and his associates are living is also under repair, so the whole gang have relocated to the seaside, where they are (or will be) working at a beachfront souvenir-type stand. There are a couple more volumes available in English, but my public library does not have them yet.
January in Review
Since I started posting here in basically the last week of January, going backward to review everything I read so far seems a bit overwhelming. Going forward I hope to do a better job at things. Anyway, I have been making excellent progress toward my stated reading goals for 2018--50% of my reading has been books I own, and two-thirds of that has been books I owned prior to the start of the year. I also read twice as many books in January 2018 as I did in January 2017, a fact I am ascribing at least in part to my increased use of audiobooks.
I got an Audible membership in March of 2017, and in December I put the Libby app on my phone so I could borrow audiobooks and ebooks from the library. Net result is that a third of my reading so far in 2018 has been audiobooks. They are wonderful for my daily commute, as well as for when I am doing things like making dinner or cleaning.
So far I have only had one book I gave up on, which was Thirty-Two Going on Spinster (an ebook I'd had for a while). I was not able to sympathize or empathize with the narrator. When it comes to first-person POV fiction I really need the narrator to be likeable--or at the very least interesting--and the narrator in this book was neither (at least not to me; plenty of people have really enjoyed the series).
I ended January with four books actively in progress (and eight others that are carryovers from 2017...or earlier). My non-fiction reading continues to be slower than my fiction/comics reading, but I am making steady progress on several books. So far I think my favorite reads have been Anne of Green Gables, Sabriel, and Shoe Dog. All of which were audiobooks, interestingly enough. So, on the print side of things, I quite enjoyed A Jane Austen Education and the Waiting for Spring manga.
Nice review! Taking up audio books sounds like a great adaptation. I used to listen to a audiobooks (the old-fashioned way) when I had a long commute. I found I couldn't listen to non-fiction and some fiction that had foreign names or too many characters.
Being able to get audiobooks digitally has helped me a lot, I think, and it continues to get easier. I've tried audiobooks off and on prior to last year, but it was either with tapes/CDs (only useful if the player in my car works, which was not always the case) or with a frequently frustrating pre-smartphone Overdrive experience.
Figuring out what to listen to is still a bit of a challenge at times. One, I have to like the narrator. Two, I don't really want books with a lot of swearing or with any scenes of the "and now we will skip a few paragraphs/turn the page" variety, because with audio it's a lot harder to do that. This means I tend to stick to books/authors I have already read or works I am already familiar with. Particularly when it comes to Audible, since I am buying those books (yeah, credits, but still). That's why Libby is useful--it allows me to experiment a bit more.
Let's see about getting a few review-type things up here. My first three finished books in February are all rereads, and all of them are books I own.
I reread The Eyre Affair because the last time I read it was thirteen years ago, and I wanted a general refresher before I went on to later books in the series. There were a lot of things I had forgotten, but that just made it like reading a new-to-me book in some ways. One thing that I got to wondering about was how fan-fiction would affect the book world. We see what happens when Thursday Next interacts with the Jane Eyre manuscript, but those changes "stuck" because it was the original manuscript, rather than a copy. But how many story continuations and reimaginings and alternate viewpoint works exist? I am guessing/hoping at least some of this might come up in future books in the series.
Howl's Moving Castle was a reread, but a first time listen on Audible. I really like how the narrator handled the story, and I am pleased to see that she narrates the other books as well. My most recent previous experience with this story was actually the Studio Ghibli movie, and that takes quite a few liberties with the source material. The movie isn't bad, but it is a different sort of experience. On the whole, I prefer the novel (stunning Ghibli visuals notwithstanding).
As for The Introvert's Way, I came across my copy of it while I was looking for another book in my collection, and I had the urge to reread it since it had been about six years. It isn't a bad book, but I don't know that it holds up compared to more recent works. My gut feeling is that introversion has become better understood and accepted than it was at the time this book was published. There are certainly a lot more books readily available on the subject. This one seems very focused on the whole "being an introvert is perfectly normal and valid, don't let the mean extroverts get you down" theme, which is still useful, but also comes across as maybe a touch...juvenile? Or perhaps a bit overtly cheerleader-y. I am an introvert, so the topic is understandably of some interest to me, but this book seems a bit more feel-good than informative, especially for 2018.
>18 shadrach_anki: I think I read through the 3rd book Fforde book, but stopped. I didn't think any of the subsequent installments matched the quality of the first, and well, there are too many shiny, new books :-) I hope you have better luck.
I agree that there is a better understanding of introversion (and extroversion) these days. I am of the former, rather than the latter, although I don't think I really thought much about it before, say, 2000.
I've never read or watched Howl's Moving Castle. I really ought to remedy that.
>20 .Monkey.: It's a really fun story in either version. As I said before, the movie takes quite a few liberties with the source material. The cast of characters is reduced (some cut out entirely, others merged), and a number of plot elements are completely removed, which is unsurprising. Trying to fit the entirety of a 300+ page book into a two-hour movie is pretty much doomed to failure, even if all the book elements could transfer cleanly over from one medium to another.
Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorite authors, and I am reading my way through all of her works.
>21 shadrach_anki: The book I'm reading mentioned a book that sounded like something I'd like to have, and the revised version is in 2 volumes, the 2nd of which it turned out to be sold for half the price in the US as elsewhere (the double price was also double the price of the 1st vol, really bizarre) so I sadly resorted to amazon to buy, sooo then I added 2 more inexpensive books to get free shipping [to mom], so Howl is now on its way! :P
>22 .Monkey.: Yay! I hope you enjoy it!
And that is rather bizarre about the pricing of things. I have noticed that happens from time to time, but am at a loss as to how it makes sense. Right now I am actually debating on whether or not to pre-order The Little Broomstick from the UK Amazon because a new paperback edition is coming out in April (£6.99), and the only copies available in the US are 1) used and 2) at minimum double the price of the upcoming paperback release.
It's possible the book will get a US release, but you'd think it would show up for pre-order on the US Amazon if that were the case. Since it does not, I am currently forced to conclude there is no intention by the publishers to release it to the US market.
Non-fiction tends to be a tricky area for me, where my intentions frequently do not match reality. I have been improving over the years, but the fact still remains that I am far, far better at obtaining non-fiction titles than I am in reading them in anything resembling a timely fashion. Case in point, Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. I started reading it in May of 2015, and I finished it last night. There were long stretches in there where I was reading lots of other stuff (per my records, 392 books, 24 of them non-fiction). And it's not as though it isn't a good book. It's well written with plenty of good information, but none of that information felt particularly new or groundbreaking as I was reading it. I am not sure how much of that is a case of "this is all common sense stuff" and how much of it was because I have listened to the author's podcast for almost as long as I was reading the book. As the podcast was started, at least in part, as a promotional launch for the book there is a lot of overlap. That may also have contributed to my slower than normal reading speed; I was getting the information in a different format.
That said, I have a feeling I will want to reread this at some point, but over a much shorter period of time. It is one of those topics where review and repetition are good things.
February in Review
February was a month heavy on rereading this year. In addition to the three books I reviewed earlier, I also reread the novella and first three books in Patricia Brigg's Alpha and Omega series and The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax (picked up on Audible, so my first time listening to the book, but I read it in print back in 2014).
All but two of the books I read in February are books I own, so I am doing very well at my goal to read from my own shelves, though with the majority of them being rereads I haven't exactly made much of a dent in my "owned but unread" count.
I ended February with five books actively in progress (two carrying over from January), and seven books that are carryovers from 2017. My overall favorite read for the month is probably The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama, which I finished just yesterday evening.
>24 shadrach_anki: But, what was the book about? I read much less nonfiction than fiction, and sometimes a nonfiction book gets strung out for months, not the book's fault but I have to be in the right frame of mind, I suppose.
>26 avaland: It's about all sorts of habit-forming strategies, and why some of them work better than others for different people. So looking at it from that angle, it was fairly easy to consume on a by-chapter basis, and it lacked a truly gripping narrative line like can be found in things like memoirs and biographies. When you add that to my listening to the author's podcast (which has a lot of content overlap with the book, only in a much more real-time setting) I suppose it is a small wonder it took me over two years to read the book.
I read The Unexpected Mrs Polifax at the end of January, and really enjoyed the audio version. I drove up to my daughter’s house in Massachusetts on Wednesday and wanted something fun on audio, so picked the next book in the series, The Amazing Mrs Polifax. I only have about another hour plus, so I’ll need to find something fun for the drive home on Sunday.
>30 shadrach_anki: I listened to The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley. It is the latest book (9th) in the Flavia De Luce series. Have you tried those? I’ve only listened to a few of Georgette Heyer’s books, and they were enjoyable. I have a good number on my Kindle, and enjoy dipping into them once in a while.
>31 NanaCC: I read the first Flavia de Luce novel back in 2011, but for some reason I never read any of the rest of the series. I do remember that I liked it, so I should revisit the series.
This is my first time listening to a Georgette Heyer novel. I own and have read quite a few; they're a lot of fun. I've added several more to my wishlist on Audible (making sure I get the unabridged versions).
How to Find Love in a Bookshop
I wanted to like this book. It's all about a lovely bookshop in a small English town and all the people who frequent it. And it's about books, and the power they have in our lives. It truly seemed like something that would be right up my alley, but for some reason it just didn't work. I think part of that is due to the fact that in a 340 page book there are at least nine major storylines taking place. Granted, they all connect back to the bookshop and they intersect with each other, but it made it challenging to properly keep track of everything going on.
Honestly, it felt more like a setup for a TV mini series, or maybe the first season of a show. And looking at the author's credentials, she started out as a screenwriter. It shows.
>32 shadrach_anki: Just a reminder to listen to a sample before purchasing any of the Heyers. I’ve been disappointed in a few as the reader was awful. It was quite a while ago, so can’t tell you which ones.
>34 NanaCC: Thanks for the reminder! I always try to remember to listen to a sample for just that reason. A poor reader can seriously ruin one's enjoyment of an otherwise wonderful story.
>30 shadrach_anki: Interesting you should mention Georgette Heyer; I just got some in for the store shelves. They were big when they were being reprinted (over 10 or 12 years ago), but harder to stock now. I consider them romance classics.
>36 avaland: I was introduced to Georgette Heyer's works back in 2010, after I had read (and complained about) a modern Regency romance where nobody was behaving with any sort of propriety. I wanted something more Jane Austen, not...modern people with modern mores dressed in Regency attire. A friend suggested Georgette Heyer, and gave me a list of titles to start with. I own about ten of them at this point. A few are still on my TBR stack, as I have this habit of acquiring books far more quickly than I actually read them.
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