Saturday, July 2, 2011

For the Record: June 2011

The end of June always brings to mind the passing of time.  The year is half over, the summer months are starting to speed by, my birthday strikes once again, and my kiddos graduate into a higher grade.  It isn't a bad feeling, though.  In fact, taking a bit of time to reflect usually gives me more purpose and strength to push on...perhaps even make some Mid-Year's Resolutions. :)

We just got back from camping in the Sequoias, where I didn't have as much time to read as I thought I might (even though I was down with a stomach bug one day).  I sure love the Sierra Nevada Mountains; they're home to me.  Between visiting with my parents, telling stories around the campfire, seeing bears and deer, and exploring caves, waterfalls, and giant trees, books naturally were on the back burner much of the time.  Much of June's reading was comprised of shorter reads, but it was a relaxing, balanced, summery sort of combination, which made it fulfilling.
My dad & 12 year old in a partially hollow
Giant Sequoia. are the stats, titles link to book description...
10 Books Read in June: (62 books year-to-date)
1 for Book Club:
  - Beloved by Toni Morrison (review coming soon! 4.5)
3 for Challenges:
  - Journey to Jo'Burg by Beverly Naidoo (Reading the Books on my TBR shelf--JF, 3.5)
  - The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman (Newbery Award, 3.5)
  - Elske by Cynthia Voigt (Reading the Books on my TBR shelf--YA, 4)
4 Just Because:
  - The Stolen Village by Des Ekin (NF, review coming soon! 4)
  - If There is Something to Desire by Vera Pavlova (Poetry, 4.5--see my review)
  - Small Acts of Sex and Electricity by Lise Haines (from Unbridled Books, 3.5)
  - Beautiful & Pointless by David Orr (A Guide to Modern Poetry, 3--see my review)
1 ARC:
  - Hotel Angeline by 36 Seattle area authors (from NetGalley, review coming soon! 3.5)
1 Recommendation:
  - Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen (2...This would've been a DNF if it weren't for the fact that it was a short, quick read.  Almost everything about Susanna irritated me; the book pulsated with anger and made me writhe with frustration.  After reading the book I remembered that I'd felt the same way about the movie, so it's my fault that I had a poor reading experience! *smacks forehead*  Anyhow, for a favorable review that will give you a different (better, more objective) and more thorough opinion, head over to Unputdownables.  Wallace was able to look at the book through a less agitated lens!)  :)

The Stolen Village

3 Current Reads:
  - The Story of Christianity Vol. 1 by Justo L. Gonzalez (nonfiction...on page 292 of 411)
  - Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon (taking it easy with this book of poetry)
  - The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (almost done with this fabulous ARC)

On My Nightstand:
  - Alexander's Bridge by Willa Cather (next up in my Willa Cather Challenge)
  - Down From Cascom Mountain by Ann Joslin Williams (ARC from LibraryThing)
  - The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton (Recommended by a Book Club friend)
  - State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (I'd better read it's becoming more hyped by the second)
  - Irma Voth by Miriam Toews (ARC included with State of Wonder in Powell's Indiespensable box)

Plan for July:
  - Fit some of the JF on my TBR shelf in between the books on my nightstand.
  - Save Daniel Deronda from becoming a DNF
  - Gear up for some great novellas in August.  I still don't have a game plan for this challenge.  I'd like to buy the whole entire collection and attack the book from longest to shortest, but I generally stink at challenges and can't stomach the idea of spending $300 on a whim.  What if I only end up reading a small handful of them in August? However, if I don't have the novellas in front of me, it will be akin to sabotaging my mission.  Are you sensing my constant struggle to arrive at a happy medium?  ...can't decide can't decide running out of time can't decide...


  1. Sounds like you had a lovely break, except for the bug.

    Kaysen's book is not my favourite on the topic, but I enjoyed reading it if I remember well. I certainly enjoyed the film.

  2. What a great month of reading! I also didn't like reading Girl, Interrupted and it was almost a DNF for me too (luckily it was short). I did like the movie however, mostly because it enhanced details of the book to make a plot and the performances were good. I can't wait for your review of Beloved. It's been on my TBR list forever.

  3. State of Wonder does seem like the "it" book right now. Which makes me both want to read it and avoid it.

  4. Em, I probably went into Girl, Interrupted with the wrong frame of mind...I think I was hoping it would be a bit more like The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry, at least in the tone.

    The only thing I really remember about the film was feeling rather ambivalent--not connecting with any of the characters--and this was just accentuated in the book.

    The topic does fascinate me though. If you have some recommendations, please share!

  5. Teacher/Learner, there are so many things to say about Beloved...I'm still trying to figure out how to start! It had been on my TBR list too, and don't really know when I would have read it if it hadn't been chosen for my book club (one of the things I love about that group). It was one of those books that made me want to go read reviews as soon as I finished reading it--to try to make some sense of it I guess--a very good book for discussion. :)

  6. softdrink, yep I'm exactly in between wanting to read it and wanting to avoid it. I like knowing what the buzz is about (I haven't read Bel Canto so I'm not familiar with her writing at all) but if it hadn't been the Indiespensable choice it wouldn't be on my nightstand right now. I feel like I have a couple of weeks to read it before it gets consigned to the dreaded TBR shelf, waiting for the hype to cool.

  7. Everytime I hit a dry patch and need a book recommendation - YOU are my go-to girl. :)

    Thank you!!

  8. I want those novellas so much it hurts my head to think about it.

  9. I have State of Wonder on hold at the library, and I'm #43 in line of #55 holds. So I guess the hype is working.

    I downloaded 9 of the short stories free on my Kindle. So, I decided to start with those 9. I didn't check Barnes and Noble yet, but I assume they may have some of them free for the Nook too.

  10. Oops, not short stories--novellas. :)

  11. Aw, I liked Girl, Interrupted, but I have read a book recently with an uber annoying narrator (who is also a real person) so I understand your pain!

  12. Great-lookin' books! So many here I'm interested in myself.

    Glad to know that you liked Beloved, and I'll be looking forward to your review of it. I read it years ago, when I was quite young, and I wonder if I'd enjoy/appreciate it more now? It'd be worth a try. :)

  13. Robin, you keep me entertained and inspired, so I'm glad to be of service. ;)

    Belle, I think we should both listen to Heidi and take advantage of our lovely new Nooks and perhaps our old, faithful libraries (maybe if I keep adding adjectives to those resourceful alternatives I'll be able to get my mind off the pretty colors on the covers of those novellas?)

    Heidi, I've actually been meaning to check the ebook availability, so thanks for reminding me! Like you said earlier about WEM, novellas don't seem to get the same amount of attention as novels or shorts. I know that some of these novellas haven't been published alone before, but maybe they're available in a collection or compilation?

  14. Laura, irritation with the narrator is the pits--ruins a story that you could have loved if it was told differently. It doesn't happen to me real often, but when it does...grr.

    Andi, I have a good friend that had to read Beloved in high school--it surprised me. I have a hard time imagining really getting much out of it at that age. I think it's more difficult to separate theme & writing from content at a younger age.


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