Tuesday, June 4, 2013

For the Record: May 2013

I read 11 books again in May!!  How crazy is that??  So much fun after months and months of little reading.  I was thrilled to look back at April's update and see that I'd actually made it through everything I had marked as "Currently Reading" and "On My Nightstand".  I don't think that's happened in quite some time.

While my reading has increased, my involvement in book blogging has decreased.  This is a little sad, because I miss the friends I've made, and a little happy, as I've had more freedom to do other things. Like...read.  Sometimes (sad, but true) blogging books makes it harder to enjoy the books themselves.

I've definitely been on an early-20th-century kick lately.  Funny, because it seems others are too...so many new books taking place in WWI & WWII eras.  I don't how long that will continue, or what era/topic will follow in its stead, but for now I am enjoying reading about Prohibition and the Great Depression like I never have before.

Summer reading!! It's time, isn't it?  In theme with this year's reading, I don't have any great plans for accomplishment.  I'm going to have to put some thought into it soon, since I'm going on a cruise later this month.  The last cruise I went on, I read War and Peace.  This cruise I'll have my kiddos along, so my reading time won't be as extended, but it would be fabulous to get through another chunkster.  Maybe Les Miserables.  Hmmm...I'll have to think on that.

11 Books Read in May: (40 year-to-date)

2 Read Aloud to my kiddo:
  - The Wheel on the School, Meindert Dejong (4.5) [Super sweet and funny, my 8yo and I loved it.]
  - Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren (4) [Good & humorous, though I'm glad it was quick!]

3 Classics:
  - My Mortal Enemy, Willa Cather (4.5) [Another step on my journey through Willa Cather's published works. Review here.]
  - Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle (4) [So much fun! It was supposed to be a read-along but I simply had to finish it quickly.]
  - The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis (4) [Reading Lewis is the perfect solution for my continuous need for deep thought - I should do this more often!]

2 from my shelf:
  - Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, Emma Straub (2.5) [ARC from last fall - not terrible reading material, but none of it made me care about anything...so, in the end, below average.]
  - Queen of the Big Time, Adriana Trigiani (4) [been on my shelf for AGES, but I'm so glad I finally read it.  Really a beautiful picture of dreams, marriage, and the things that matter in life.]

4 from my Wishlist:
  - Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, Therese Anne Fowler (3.5) [So so so sad.  Really makes me look at F.Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and the Jazz Age in a more serious light.]
  - An Unfinished Score, Elise Blackwell (3) [Read because of my past success with Unbridled Books and my love of music...this was Orchestra Overkill, and the plot was a little muddled.  Oh well.]
  - The Last Runaway, Tracy Chevalier (4) [The reading felt pretty light, but the characters were well drawn, and the angst truly felt.  I enjoyed it tons.]
  - The Worst Hard Time, Timothy Egan (5) [Absolutely brilliant, page-turning nonfiction. I basically underlined the whole book.]


5 Current Reads:
  - Farewell to Manzanar, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston.  Good history, all the more interesting in that it takes place in my home state, and is seldom spoken of.  Awkward-sauce.  Not as engaging as it could be. (update: this was a quick read, so I'm already done with it.  Somewhat emotionally detached, but otherwise interesting.)
  - The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck.  Can you believe I've never read this before?  How did that happen??
  - Eugene Onegin, Alexander Pushkin.  All I can say is that I enjoyed his prose (Tales of Belkin) more than his poetry, but I. Will. Survive.
  - The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness.  I looovvved A Monster Calls, and went after this one based on Andi's reaction.  (update: I've actually already finished it since drafting this post - must go out and find the others in the trilogy!)
  - Wild, Cheryl Strayed.  A book club book that I didn't quite finish in time for our meeting, but will push through anyhow.


On My Nightstand:
I had a wonderful trip to the bookstore and came back with so many things that I'm so excited to read.  I could use a read-a-thon weekend!

  - The Sufferings of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe.  Maybe I was secretly hoping that this one would get picked for the Classics Club Spin List?  I couldn't pass it up at the book store, and opted for a newer translation after comparing the two.
  - The Dog Stars, Peter Heller.  This has been on my radar since Crowe loved it, so it naturally jumped into my hands when I saw it.
  - The Great Crash 1929, John Galbraith.  Written in the '50s, which makes it all the more intriguing. I'm hoping to get a good overview of the '29 crash, as well as some historical perspective on finances.
  - Hard Times, Studs Terkel.  Impulse buy, since I was in the section of the store looking for more Great Depression non-fiction.  I was completely unaware of Studs Terkel, but turns out he's quite a guy.  His face looks familiar, so why did his name not sound familiar?  Maybe at some point in my life I'll finally feel up to speed with the times.
  - Mary Coin, Marisa Silver.  Another impulse buy based on the legendary photograph by Dorothea Lange that graces the cover.  (I should have searched out Whose Names are Unknown by Sanora Babb instead, because I'm a little worried that the quality of current fiction won't hold up to Steinbeck - which I'm currently reading - but whatever.  We'll give it a go.)



  1. Congrats on the great reading! Sometimes it's worth laying off the blogging to dig into books. :)

    1. Thanks for recommending The Knife of Never Letting Go! I adored A Monster Calls but hadn't looked into reading anything else of his.

  2. So many awesome books! I, too, just finished the Knife of Never Letting Go due to Andi's reaction. Really enjoyed, but will have to wait on the sequel. Boo.

    1. I very nearly went directly to the bookstore to buy the next 2...kind of wishing I had! I'm still thinking about the story.

  3. What a great way to organize your "have-reads" - I think I would get a real feeling of accomplishment if I did this! I added Cather's My Mortal Enemy to my TBR wish list this month, after reading your review of it.

    1. It's an interesting little book - not necessarily typical Cather. Hope you enjoy it when you get around to reading it!

  4. Aw.... I can't see The Wheel on the School without getting nostalgic. I love that book. I'm tempted to read it again with my 15yo, but I don't think it would be the same. I've read it three times already. That should be enough, right?

    Willa Cather and C. S. Lewis are on my wishlist.

    1. I had actually put off reading The Wheel on the School because the cover art looked boring, (shame on me!) but it was so sweet and fun and wonderful. We didn't want to stop reading and didn't want it to end. My youngest is finishing 3rd grade, so I'm starting to panic--I need to read all the amazing Junior Fiction books NOW! Running out of time!

  5. Gosh, I'm lucky to finish 4 books a month! I'm fond of Adriana Trigiani, too. Big Stone Gap is a lovely book.


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