Friday, June 1, 2012

For the Record: May 2012

What? May's OVER you say??  It's been a strange reading month, with me feeling somewhat ho-hum about what I'm reading, but that should all change soon since summer is nigh.

10 Books Read in May: (59 year-to-date)
2 ARC/Obligation:
  - The Lola Quartet, Emily St. John Mandel (4) [ARC from LibraryThing/Unbridled]
  - Dreams of Joy, Lisa See (4) [For my Book Club]
4 for Fun/Challenges:
  - The Warden, Anthony Trollope (3.5) [quite an enjoyable author, despite the rating]
  - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark (3.5)
  - The Painted Veil, W. Somerset Maugham (5)
  - The Hand That First Held Mine, Maggie O'Farrell (4.5)
4 for my Junior Lit Challenge:
  - The Matchlock Gun, Walter D. Edmonds (2.5)
  - Homer Price, Robert McCloskey (4)
  - Shiloh, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (3.5)
  - The Shakespeare Stealer, Gary Blackman (3.5)


1 DNF:
The Listeners, Leni Zumas (arrived in an Indiespensable shipment)
    I know that the folks at Powell's Books are in love with Tin House Books (local to them, I believe) but this is the second Tin House book I've received as their primary selection,  and I liked this one even less than the naturally I wish they'd lighten up on the infatuation.  It's a beautiful copy, of course, but trying to read it was like popping blood blisters: I could have done if I'd had to, but there was really no need to put myself through the torture.  I don't think the writing was terrible, but then I couldn't understand what the heck I was reading.
"Zumas's debut novel comes at the reader in over a hundred self-contained, lucid pieces....creating a compelling build-it-yourself tapestry of cherished memories and open wounds."—Publishers Weekly

This month I read 5 books of 51 (22 year-to-date) for my various year-long challenges, as well as 2 for my Spring into Junior Lit challenge (read 8 of 10 total).
   - Wishlist: The Hand That First Held Mine (8 more to go)
   - Classics: The Warden, The Painted Veil (4 more to go)
   - Newbery: The Matchlock Gun, Shiloh (1 more to go)

3 Current Reads:
  - Last Call, Daniel Okrent.  I tried to tell myself to finish Team of Rivals before picking up another non-fiction book, but that effectively stalled my reading altogether so I relented.  Last Call is a fascinating read about Prohibition with tons of wonderfully entertaining information.
  - The Lonely Polygamist, Brady Udall.  I've been meaning to read this ever since it was nominated for the Indie Lit Awards last year (didn't make it to the short list though).  I researched it before voting on a tie-breaker, and liked his writing style, it's sort of funny/sad, which suits me.  I'm actually listening to it on Audible, and the narrator (David Aaron Baker) is as fabulous as the writing.
  - Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin.  Er, um, yeah.  I haven't given up yet but I haven't made much progress's written well and is interesting, but it is effectively 4 biographies in one go, and so is a lot to digest.  I've ended up ordering my own copy so that I can annotate without compunction (I've been annotating Last Call to pieces and am finding that it's a wonderful way to absorb all those facts.)  Don't think the library would appreciate me annotating their copy.


On My Nightstand:
  - On the Road, Jack Kerouac: Readalong with Wallace @ Unputdownables is starting this week.  This, I'm hoping, will be a fabulous way to get through a book I don't think I'll like much. :)
  - The Bird Saviors, William J. Cobb: ARC from LibraryThing and Unbridled Books.
  - The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson: I picked this up at a chance trip to Barnes & Noble because, you know, I need more books.


  1. Yes, you definitely need more books. Take it from me. :) I'm trying to sell books to earn some money for my trip. But, when we went to the Salvation Army last week, I went straight for the books. My dh said, "I thought we were trying to get rid of those?" Um...nope.

  2. As always, I love to read your wrap-up posts. Have a great weekend. Belle

  3. Of the books you read in May, I've only read The Lola Quartet, but I think it's Emily Mandel's best book yet.

  4. Hi Melody,
    I think I know just what you mean about Trollope's The Warden. Not a particularly great story or plot, but still worth reading due to Trollope's great writing. I have his Barchester Towers next up in my Trollope queue.

    I just finished reading The Painted Veil yesterday and will be at a local library next week for their book discussion group's covering of this novel.

    I'm debating whether to jump in the On the Road read-along with you all. I've read it a few times and don't know if I can read it at the slow pace scheduled. I think it's a great book, though, and I hope you and the others who have commented with 'low expectations' are pleasantly surprised.


  5. Heidi, I hear you! As much as I weed out books, I can't help but add to them also...even when I've already got a ton of things I want to be reading.

    Thanks Belle! The school year is *thisclose* to being over...something we're probably both looking forward to. :) How much school do you have left after this semester?

    Crowe, it's been interesting to see the genres that The Lola Quartet is supposed to fall into--suspense, noir, even thriller (??) but for me it was a good example of a book that erases those limitations. I enjoyed it, even though it wasn't my typical sort of read, and thought it was a good example of Unbridled Books.

    Jay, I read The Warden even though everywhere I looked it was recommended against as an intro to Trollope...I just couldn't start with Barchester Towers when there was one small book that came first. I really enjoyed his writing, even if the story wasn't so intriguing. I'd love to have your input of On the Road. I haven't started it yet, because of the pacing issue you mentioned. I end up putting off the week's reading for the last minute so that it can be fresh in my head for discussion. (I do that for book club too. Maybe I just work well with deadlines.) Being able to try to understand someone else's reaction to a book is one of my favorite things. Your experience would certainly be welcomed!


I'd love to hear what you have to say, leave a comment!