Saturday, January 15, 2011

What's Going On?

What I'm Reading
I've read 4 books this year so far...still need to review Great House and C, which I read for the Indie Lit Awards.  I'm hoping to finish Major Pettigrew's Last Stand today, leaving me with only Safe From the Sea to finish in the next couple of days (my review of Room is here).  Up after that: a couple of ARCs, and The Road, and finishing up Willa Cather's The Troll Garden.

Undivided Attention
I've never really been a One Book At A Time type of person.  A typical week may see me simultaneously reading quite a handful of different books.  1 aloud to my kiddos for school, 1 aloud to my girls at night, 1 book of poetry or short stories, 1 classic, 1 nonfiction, 1 adult fiction.  Even times like now, with the Indie Lit Awards' shortlist for literary fiction taking precedence in my reading--when I feel like I am reading responsibly, in some sort of predefined order, (something that has my lit-life-sensors all out of whack,)--I still can't prevent reading other books simultaneously.  Children must be read to, classics must be chipped away at.  I must admit, I like the feeling of plowing through a book and then moving onto the next one in the stack, they seem to get read quicker that way!  I may have to employ this new reading tactic even after January's compulsory reading is done.  (Is this what is known as reading deliberately?)

Reading in Small Bits vs. Reading in Long Stretches
Just after Christmas, Ordinary Reader mentioned Daily Lit (she's reading War and Peace this way) which will email you small installments from the book of your choice to help you tackle something you might not otherwise pick up.  Her enthusiasm, combined with the fact that I didn't even come close to finishing my Fall Into Reading Challenge (5 out of 14), spurred me to look into it.

I'm not really sold on the idea of reading large books in little tiny tidbits because I feel that some of the continuity is lost.  But when it boils down to a choice between not finishing a book or finishing it little by little, the second option doesn't look so bad.  Especially if you've got great email checking skills. :)

So I'm currently receiving installments of Our Mutual Friend (Dickens), since I'd stalled out about a quarter of the way through and wasn't willing to either devote myself to it completely or abandon it completely.  I'm also receiving installments of Daniel Deronda (Eliot), since I figured that I wouldn't get it read otherwise...and I want to, especially since it is listed on my Back to the Classics Challenge.

My discovery is that Dickens, by virtue of being read at the same time as Eliot, is quite a bit funnier and livelier than I'd been giving him credit for.  My hope is that at some point these books will grab me and demand to be finished immediately.  My consolation is that even if they don't, I'll still be getting them read.

New Books
I posted pictures of the books I gave to my kiddos for Christmas, but what about the books I got?  I didn't get a whole lot, so I bought some for myself to make up for it.  Sounds sensible, right? These are the ones that were surprises:
Norwegian WoodAfter the Quake: StoriesThe Polysyllabic SpreeThe Mental Floss History of the United States: The (Almost) Complete and (Entirely) Entertaining Story of America

And these are the ones that I bought for myself , mostly because it is a gorgeous collection.  Titles from left to right are: The Wind in the Willows, Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Peter Pan.

Book Tracking (Good Reads vs. LibraryThing)
I started using LibraryThing quite a while back in order to catalog my books.  It is really great for that--there is a lot of flexibility in sorting and organization.  The big drawback in my opinion, is that it doesn't currently have well developed integration with Facebook or mobile usage.  It would come in handy nearly every month at book club, (to be able to easily access our books from my phone,) and LibraryThing doesn't have that together at this point.  So, I've begun using Good Reads for some of those purposes.  Are you on Good Reads? Find me there (Melody Spano).  Until then, Happy Weekend!


  1. I usually read multiple books at a time as well. Though I find that if I'm truly in love with a book, I'll stick with only that story until it's done. Those are my favorite times of reading -- finding a book I can't put down.

  2. I've always been a one-book-at-a-time girl at heart--but life's not like that. I'm usually reading a book or two for teaching, a book for pleasure, and a book to review. Interesting that Dickens is so good in installments, since his books were first published that way. Our Mutual Friend is high on my list for this year; I envision carrying the big ol' paperback in my purse for a while.

  3. I'm a one-book-at-a-time person because I hate how long it takes me to finish books when I have more than one on the go and some just don't get finished.

  4. I have The Polysyllabic Spree on my list too. I'll be interested to see what you think about it. I'm a pushover for books about books; they don't even have to be very good for me to like them. Check your just won a $20 gift certificate!

  5. Wallace--I agree, I love it when a book demands to be finished immediately. I've gotten pretty good at reading a book even when I'm not entirely interested, but nothing beats being entirely interested!

    bibliophiliac--I was fascinated to find how interesting Dickens has become via DailyLit. I went from having no problem setting the book down to wanting to know more NOW. It has me wondering what size and frequency the original installments were. Maybe I'll do some research on that...

    Sam--It really does seem to take some books forever to get finished when you are reading other things. I think it's difficult for me to read straight through a book when I'm just not all that interested. I get bored and go do other things.

    Dianne--I'm so excited about winning that gift certificate! Truly didn't think I would. I did read The Polysyllabic Spree, hoping to get a review up soon!


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