WHAT ARE YOU READING? - Part 4
This is a continuation of the topic WHAT ARE YOU READING? - Part 3.
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With half of the year gone (how did that happen so quickly?), how are your plans going? Anyone else in the "plans? What plans? I refuse to admit I had plans" camp? :)
Stay cool if you are in the Northern hemisphere (and stay safe in the Southern one I guess) and stop by and tell us what you are reading these days.
Heh, my reading plans are essentially all of the numbers and percentages variety, so I can say that they are going very well. The majority of my reading has been books I own, and I've been reading more of the ebooks I've acquired over the years. I've even figured out a system to keep my book purchasing under better control, and it has worked very well for the two months I've been doing it. I could stand to read (or rather, finish) more non-fiction, but even there I am making some progress.
The summer reading program at my public library has been in swing for just over a week, and I've been having fun logging my reading for that. This year the library is using a new service to manage their reading programs, and it has a convenient tracking app for patrons to use. I'm still maintaining my analog records, though, since I like having a backup.
Right now, I am nearly finished reading Recursion by Blake Crouch, and I am listening to A Scone to Die For by H. Y. Hanna. On the non-fiction front, I am reading The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll and A Case for the Book of Mormon by Tad R. Callister.
At some point in the near future I need to start in on The Count of Monte Cristo, which is the book my local book group will be discussing in October. It is the club's 100th book, and we've been meeting since 2006.
I usually don't make plans except for my RL book club. When I do make plans, I get distracted by shiny new library books. Right now I'm reading a historical novel called The Bend in the Stars, about a Russian scientist racing with Einstein to complete the theory of relativity.
I also started Ruth Bader Ginsberg's memoir My Own Words for my book club selection.
I do plan to read The Luminaries this month.
I did just finish Good Omens, which is hilarious. I watched the Amazon mini-series, which was written by Neil Gaiman, and it was very good. The acting was brilliant.
Its 1588 in my reading log and so time for a bit of history, its the year of the Armada and so I am reading The Spanish Armada by Colin Martin and Geoffrey Parker.
I loved The Luminaries despite being astrology-averse.
I'm kind of deep-seatedly opposed to reading plans around numbers etc.—my lineups have to do with either what I've got on deck to review, what my book club is reading, maybe something I've just been given as a gift that I want to dive into, or whatever strikes my fancy. Right now I'm reading the 2019 O. Henry Prize Stories (not in the LT system for a touchstone and I don't have time to input the work right now) for a review next week, and then my book club is reading the humongous Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art for our August meeting, so I might as well get started on that—I'm guessing I'll want to read some shorter fiction in between chapters.
My "plan" is to read my older books. So far this year 28.5% of my books have been pre-2019, 28.5 % have been 2019, and 43% have been borrowed. To reach at least 50% pre-2019 for the year, 73% of the books I read for the second half (assuming same number as first) need to be pre-2019. I don't like my chances!
I started and finished Of Blood and Bone (borrowed) yesterday and started Babylon's Ashes (pre-2019) today.
Reading your post inspired me to figure out how many of my owned books read so far this year were acquired before the start of the year, and how many were acquired during the year (this is something I track, but it's very much a visual thing on my spreadsheet, rather than a neat column of numbers). So far this year, 52% of my read books were obtained pre-2019, 29% were obtained in 2019, and 19% have been borrowed. I am happy with these trends; at this time last year, only 27% of my read books were obtained prior to the start of the year, 26% were obtained in 2018, and 47% of the books I read had been borrowed.
I finished A Scone to Die For on my commute in to work this morning, and I will be starting Tea with Milk and Murder on my drive home. I'm quite enjoying this cozy mystery series.
I’ve finished Plutarch and I would say good riddance except I have to review him (and, when I go over my notes I’m reminded there really were good parts). Anyway, planwise, Plutarch set me back. He took four intense months instead of the planned lazy two. Even after adjusting my plan for that, I’m still two books behind in my James Baldwin plans.
This week I’ve started Nobody Knows My Name, essays by James Baldwin, and My Antonia by Willa Cather. And this week will be act iii of Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, his problem play where he makes fun of a tragedy...maybe.
I'm starting the fifth book in Knausgaard's My Struggle Series Some Rain Must Fall. This may be a big mistake, as it's the size of a a concrete block and I haven't got long to get through it before I go on holiday. If I don't get into some serious reading rhythm I'll need to book another suitcase onto that plane....
Just finished my first of Q3, La forma de las ruinas - excellent!
I seem to be on a bit of a Spanish/Latin American roll, I'm sure there will be more of that coming up. And I need to brush up on what's been happening in postcolonial lit in the last 25 years for the RG theme read, and I want to catch up a bit on my Zolathon (8/20 after 18 months, a little behind my non-binding target of finishing in 3 years...). And there's that TBR shelf!
I didn't feel like reading my two current books so I started City of Lies.
I don't really make reading plans, but I do have some reading goals if that makes any sense. I have a goal on the ROOT (Read Our Own Tomes) group to read 80 books this year that were already on my TBR shelves on Jan. 1st, and 5 books that were already there when I first joined LT in 2007. Halfway through the year, and I'm at 43 and 2, respectively, so more or less on track. I have noticed that I'm reading fewer books overall this, year, though, and I can't help wondering if that might have something to do with having reduced my ROOT goal from 100 down to 80 for this year. Then again, maybe I just have too many distractions.
Anyway. I've recently finished On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks, and am now reading The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, which I've been meaning to get to for ages.
16th century female authors that have surviving works are few and far between, but I have found a couple published in 1589 Her Protection for Women Jane Anger and the French Historie that is a lamentable Discourse of three chiefe, and most famous bloodie broiles that have happened in France by Anne Dowriche
My handbag book is a bit depressing so I started Record of a Spaceborn Few for a change of pace.
Finished Nobody Knows My Name and started Another Country, both by James Baldwin.
And on audio I finally finished Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. Now on my commute I’m listening to Stamped from the Beginning: The definitive history of racist ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendy, it won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2016.
It was a unexpected pleasure to finally get around to reading Riding With Rilke: Reflections on Motorcycles and Books by Ted Bishop. It has been on my TBR list for a long long time - maybe since I joined LT. I started reading this one for my real life book discussion group. Each summer we do a round robin book talk of a travel book and this summer I chose this title. I wanted to read something about transportation not in a car, and wasn't in the mood for another snippy Paul Theroux train book. I remembered we had this book in the library and so went and got it. It turned out to be a fun read.
The author is an English Professor at the University of Edmonton whose specialty is early modern English literature. He is also a motorcycle rider. The book is about a literary trip he took by motorcycle from his home in Edmonton to Austin, Texas to do some work in the Stirling Archives. He had purchased a Ducati motorcycle and it was his inaugural trip with that machine. Along the way he stopped at other literary places of interest -like the New Mexico ranch of D. H. Lawrence. In the course of the book, he took a trip to Europe for a literary conference and visited the Ducati factory and museum. The book was full of side trips and lots of motorcycle stories. It was also full of thoughts about archives, books, and the art of reading. It was quite philosophical - even about motorcycling and motorcycles.
I knocked out another book over the holiday weekend. End Games by Michael Dibdin. This is the last of the Aurelio Zen mysteries and I have to say I am sorry that they ended. I really liked this mystery series. This one was set in Calabria region of Italy and covered lots of territory both historically and geographically. The history of the region was part of the story as was the food. Always the food. What is it with Italian mysteries and food? All of the detectives love to eat and describe the memorable meals.
This one is the last of this series. I shall miss Zen and these well crafted mystery novels. Dibdin brought the Italian life to the page and gave me characters I loved to read about. I like these Italian mysteries better than the Guido Brunetti series. They seem more realistic to me and I like the fact that Zen was transferred all around Italy in an attempt to get him out of the way. Now all of these books are gone off my shelves. I shall donate these last two books in the series to the used bookstore run by my local library so somebody else can enjoy them. I hope that they do enjoy them. They are to good to just lay around and not be read.
2Q was a bit of a washout for me, with health issues affecting my attentiveness and concentration. I did read all but one of my RL book-club reads, but I haven't kept up with my plan to read several long novels that inhabit our shelves. E.g., I tried Gilead but didn't have the patience for it. I've been reading some of the freebies that I got at Bouchercon and never got to; so far it's a pretty mixed bag, with the unexpected best one being Intrusion. I'm hoping for a bit of a recovery in 3Q.
I finished The O. Henry Prize Stories#100th Anniversary Edition, which was fun—uneven in parts but never boring.
Now reading Mary Gabriel's Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art for my book club. This will be my second 900+ page book this year! But since it's mine, and not a library book (and since I don't think my book club is meeting again until August), I can dawdle a bit and leaven it with a little fiction and catch up on some New Yorkers/NYRBs in between chapters. This is very much up my alley, though, both time period and subject matter. Art ladies! I'm in.
I've finally gotten around to reading The Handmaid's Tale and I'm starting to think I might remember reading it back in the 80s. Hmmm...
I finished The Little Teashop on Main by Jodi Thomas for NetGalley. This was a good beach/pool/rainy day read, but I never really felt engaged with the book or the characters.
I'm reading Joyce Carol Oates's latest novel, My Life as a Rat, and I'm reminded that when she writes about girls from low-income patriarchal households she is brilliant. I'm loving this uncomfortable story of a girl who lost her family when she tells a teacher a family secret and how that changed her life utterly.
I'm also working my way through Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James's foray into epic fantasy. This isn't my genre at all, but the fantasy version of Africa is interesting.
And I'm reading Klotsvog, a novel set in the Soviet Union by Margarity Khemlin about a Jewish Soviet woman doing what she needs to get by.
And, finally, I'm reading Belle Boggs's The Gulf, about two friends who open a writing program for Christians, set in a run-down motel on the gulf coast.
I finished The Flight Portfolio, about which I have mixed feelings. I've started The Luminaries, which seems like it will be a good yarn.
I finished Lucy Caldwell's All The Beggars Riding (to be reviewed when I get back from holiday), and have started Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine) which so far seems perfect easy holiday reading.
Despite all plans, the first book of my summer travels was a totally random find from a free library box at Schiphol: Un Homme Heureux by Arto Paasilinna. It was followed by In the castle of my skin for the postcolonial theme read, and I’ve just started Sefarad from the TBR pile. Reviews coming when I’m back home. If I have time before setting off again...
Finished reading A Elite do Atraso: Da Escravidão a Bolsonaro, by Jessé Souza, portuguese edition. A study about brazilian politics. Review in my thread.
Finished Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine which was really enjoyable. On now to The Vegetarian, which will hopefully nicely round off my holiday reading.
I am trying to do some reading to get ready for the students in the fall, so I am close to the end of a brand new YA fantasy We Hunt the Flame. (Just out in late June.) I wanted to read it so that I could participate in the local Barnes & Noble YA Book Club. I thought it met tonight. When I got there I found out it met last Thursday.
Oh well! It is a good novel, but so far not as good as I had hoped. I am also listening to Bloodwitch the latest in Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch series. I like the second one better than the first, but I think that is because I am more invested in this series. Bloodwitch is book 4 in the series and We Hunt the Flame is the first in a proposed trilogy.
My reading is going annoyingly slowly of late. I have recently finished an ER book: The Rift by Rachael Craw, which I felt pretty meh about. Now reading No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin, which is much more worthwhile.
I'm off on a few days' vacation soon. I'm not sure if that will help or hinder my progress through the TBR shelves, though. Depends how much reading I get done on the plane.
Most of my reading is for NetGalley right now. I finished His Convenient Royal Bride which was a fun read, but I had a lot of trouble with the ending, which seemed unrealistic to me. It did not seem to fit with the character's behavior in the rest of the book. I am currently reading More Than Words Can Say for NetGalley.
>41 japaul22: I thought the Douglass book was definitely worth the reading commitment. But yeah, it's a big 'un.
I started Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, The Ultra-Runners and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall a couple of days ago, and so far it's fantastic.
Back from holidays and have caught up on a few reviews as well.
I've had a slower than expected month of July, as I've only finished one book so far, My Struggle: Book Four by Karl Ove Knausgaard, which was very good, as all of the books in this series have been. I'll start reading Colson Whitehead's new novel The Nickel Boys this afternoon, which was published this week and received a glowing review on the front cover of the Book Review section in today's issue of The New York Times.
I've had a particularly nasty cold over the last couple of weeks so not a lot of reading (and certainly no reviewing) took place. But I was very pleased when I received the library notice for A Gentleman in Moscow after a 7 month wait. I will catch up on my reviews now I'm feeling better, but in short this is absolutely delightful.
I just finished a gold star potluck read with the Born to Run book (see >45 AlisonY: as the title is immensely long to type out).
Now starting my first Hemingway - A Farewell to Arms - with some trepidation given many less than rosy thoughts on him in many CR threads over the years.
Have started "Out of the Dark, Shining Light" by Petina Gappah (no touchstone for the book yet, apparently). It's the story of the loyal Africans who carried David Livingstone's body 1500 miles so his body could be sent back to England for burial.
>49 avaland: I'm really looking forward to that one, and to hearing what you think of it.
After various false starts and a visit to Le Havre, I’ve got sidetracked into starting Balzac’s Modeste Mignon, which is largely set there.
I finished reading the nonfiction graphic novel Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni. This one is translated from the French and was originally published in 2012. This is a very well done look at the science of climate change and it is especially appropriate considering the summer that Europe has been having. The book is less graphic than many graphic novels and there are sections of it that are frame after frame of talking heads. All the illustrations are done in black and white and it is clear from the outset that this is a no nonsense approach to the subject. It is clearly about the science and the politics of what can be done, but it is also a personal memoir with the author explaining why he has made the personal decisions he has regarding his lifestyle. His message is that all of us should be doing the same.
Taking a break from space I've started Vigil which seems (based on the first few pages) to be Australian urban fantasy.
I finished a wonderful biography this weekend. Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray by Adam Federman. This biography had great reviews when it was published and it lives up to the hype. If you are a foodie, like to read about food, then this is a great biography to read about a woman that I never heard of prior to this biography. I have put it on my best of the year list.
>61 lisapeet: & 62
The praise this book got from the reviewers did the book justice. It is well written and of course, it doesn't hurt that the main characters were fascinating people who lived a very different lifestyle than what was the norm for post-war Europe.
When I went to enter this book into my book diary (paper book diary) I noticed that it was published by Chelsea Green Publishing. This is a small environmentally certified green publishing company based in Vermont. The book was printed on recycled paper and all materials used in the book are certified sustainable. This is in total keeping with what Patience and Norman would have wanted and it is a wonderful tribute to them and their principles.
Traveled this weekend (and met kidzdoc!). Finished Another Country as I boarded, and read Ali Smith’s Spring on the plane there and back (finished while taxing). Also bought a few books at Philadelphia’s quite wonderful Joseph Fox bookstore. Anyway, next should be my actual planned Baldwin book for July, The Fire Next Time. (I also planned to read something on Old English this month, but haven’t made the purchase yet)
I was surprised and utterly delighted by my first Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms).
Next up a new title this year - Mud and Stars: Travels in Russia with Pushkin and Other Geniuses of the Golden Age by Sara Wheeler. My library bought this especially at my request and put my first in the queue to read it - you can't ask for better than that.
I'm also dipping in and out of Chi Running in an attempt to get my running going again without any injuries this time.
My reading started off very slow this year but going at a smooth pace now. Not great but not bad either.
I finished "About Grace" by Anthony Doerr and I have picked up The Great Hunt now. Right now I am in a very confused state. I don't know which book to pick up to read along with The Great Hunt. I have shortlisted to two books: Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Shell Seekers. Still unsure which to read.
I decided to go into August with some of my fave "teacher" reads in honor of back to school, especially since I am a retired teacher and "No more teachers, no more books!" (Unless they are books I choose to read, course.) These are all books for kids.
Oh, How I Wished I Could Read by John Gile
Franklin Goes to School by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark
Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates
Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind by Judy Finchler and Kevin O'Malley
I am also reading Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith.
>50 lisapeet: I can't seem to get past the first few pages before something distracts me. The house and schedule has been abnormally full, never mind trying to mow and weed....
>66 rhian_of_oz: Terra Nullius has been in the pile next to my bed for a long time.... I'll be interested in what you think.
>71 avaland: Lois I'm a bit behind in my reviews, plus I find our bookclub discussion often changes the way I view a book, so it'll be a few days until my review is up.
Broke up my big book with another short story collection, Lydia Millet's Fight No More, which I thought was terrific. And now I've got a book to read for review as well, the 2019 Best American Essays, edited by Rebecca Solnit... I bet she makes some interesting choices. Still reading Ninth Street Women, and still liking it, though I've been breaking it up with shorter books and catching up on NYers and NYRBs.
My next book is Menaphon by Robert Greene it is a 16th century pastoral romance
Finished The Fire Next Time, a short book American classic that American really should read...well, as much as "should" applies to anyone's reading. It's just a book that ties so centrally into its own dynamic historical era (1963) and still reads well. (feeling a bit awkward on my soap box...)
I'm about to start Merry Wives of Windsor for a Litsy group and I think I'm about to start The Earliest English Poems (translated by Michael Alexander) to try to get me in the mood of Beowulf, one of my planned August reads.
The disadvantage of not driving is it takes me a lot longer to get places (e.g. it takes me over an hour for a trip that takes at most 20 minutes by car.) The advantage is lots of reading time. Yesterday I started He, She, It on my way to watch the ice hockey.
Proof (Caroline Auden) by C. E. Tobisman is another first rate legal mystery/thriller from this author. Tobisman takes the reader inside the legal system and makes the nuts and bolts of filing evidence, filing cases, etc. - the stuff that usually isn't exciting - exciting for readers. That is a rare gift. In this novel the author takes a simple humble story and from it builds a novel that keeps the reader on the edge of their seats. And all with the simple stuff of routine legal work - until it isn't. A new will by an elderly patient in a nursing home. A custody case for an immigrant child. Protecting the legal rights of homeless alcoholics. Simple everyday legal stuff - until it isn't.
This novel won the Harper Lee Legal Fiction Award in 2018. This award is given by The University of Alabama Law School for the best legal fiction of the year. In my opinion it deserves this award. An author who can make the mundane interesting has a talent for writing.
The author's first novel was just as good, Doubt by C. E. Tobisman so if you like mysteries or thriller - read or listen to both of them.
I listened to this novel, and the narrator of the recorded version does a really good job of bringing this novel to sound. This was a great commute listen.
Back home, there's a big new pile of library books on the table, the books I brought back from France have been added to the TBR, I've finished Nana and just about caught up with posting reviews for my holiday reading. And had time to watch a DVD of interviews with Thomas Bernhard. But I'm still only about halfway through Sefarad.
Not sure what's up next, probably something else from the library pile. Or I might get sucked into chasing up what everyone else has been posting during July...
Just finished The House of Unexpected Sisters by Alexander McCall Smith.
About to start a couple of books:
The Anatomy of Absurdity by Thomas Nash published in 1589
Mill on the Po by Riccardo Bacchelli published in 1952
I finally finished the Russian literary travelogue Mud and Stars: Travels in Russia with Pushkin and Other Geniuses of the Golden Age, and had better move on to The Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien as I've had it out on loan from the library for quite a while.
I've been enjoying Demain j'aurai vingt ans by Congolese author Alain Mabanckou, and a train journey on Sunday also gave me time to deal humanely with The ginger man, who has been eyeing me menacingly from the TBR shelf for far too long...
Just started Berichten van het Blauwe Huis by Hella S. Haasse, a Dutch writer I've been meaning to get back to for ages.
Catching up here after being on vacation (and then slowly recovering from vacation while being sick). Since I last checked in, I've read Arthur C. Clarke's July 20, 2019: Life in the 21st Century by Arthur C. Clarke, which I picked up sometime around 1986 and made a pact with myself to re-read on the appropriate date. Life goal accomplished! Also: Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell, The Waste Lands by Stephen King, Recursion by Blake Crouch, The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki, and Year's Best SF 6 edited by David G. Hartwell.
I"m now reading The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman, which I'm liking better than I thought I was probably going to.
>84 thorold: I read Sepharad (that's the spelling in my English language version) several years back and thought it was terrific. My review is on the book's work page.
I'm reading a history of the California Gold Rush called Anybody's Gold by California historian Joseph Henry Jackson. The book was published in 1941, so events described were less than 100 years in the past, but already certainly the stuff of legend to a certain extent. Jackson makes good use of letters and journals, however, so there is a lot of first-hand description. I taught California history a couple of times almost 30 (!) years ago, so the material is mostly review for me, but I'm still enjoying it, though with reservations I'll go into when I review the book.
flipping audiobooks. Finished Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram Kendi, and then started An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma - which is on the Booker Long List. Wondering if it would be possible to do the long list on audio. Of the 13 books, five are available on audible.com, and three others are taking pre-orders.
Woah. I may just need more coffee, but are the pop-ups when hovering over a book title new?
Reading Terra Nullius by Claire Coleman. Just started it so a bit early to tell if I'll keep going. I've been hopping around sampling lately.
Finished listening The Reformation (The History of Civilization Volume 6), by Will Durant. Review in my thread.
Finished Knausgaard's Munch-book So much longing in so little space (the book club twisted my arm to try Karl Ove!) yesterday, and today read another rather wonderful book that was on the Booker International list, Die Kieferninseln.
Now having a go at Il cavaliere inesistente because I haven't read any Calvino for ages, and it's about time I tried reading him in the original.
We went on a mini-break so I wanted something 'lighter' than my current books so I took (amongst others) The Lost Man. Another excellent book by Ms Harper.
Staying on the crime theme I started Snap today which was a BB from Kay (Ridgeway Girl).
I've read another installment of Dorothy Richardson's Pilgrimage and I'm taking a brief break before starting another. I'm reading History. A Mess. by Sigrún Pálsdottir in between. I saw this on a list of recent translations by women and thought it looked interesting.
I'm also plugging along with the Frederick Douglass biography which is sometimes interesting but sometimes drags. I suppose that's to be expected with a 900 page biography!
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