Wednesday, February 29, 2012

For the Record: February 2012

Whether it's due to the time of year or my new attempt at keeping my reading motivation high and healthy, I've had another good month of reading--both in number of books and quality.

Historically, I seem to get a good amount of reading done in the beginning of the year, possibly because December is usually quite the reverse.  I'm not huge on New Year's Resolutions but I do like goals, so I'm sure that jumping into a new set of goals boosts my motivation.

I've continued with my new goal to alternate books I read for an obligation, and those I read for fun.  (What constitutes "obligation" is entirely up to interpretation, but mostly consists of ARCs, book club books, and recently the Indie Lit Awards short list.)  Last year I got to feeling like all of my reads were obligatory, which was a direct contrast to the years before that in which my reading was entirely driven by my mood.  In both extremes, I found myself in reading slumps--dissatisfied and bored.  This year has been a good balance so far, keeping my motivation and anticipation up.

I'm looking forward to being able to talk about the Indie Lit Awards short list soon!  The winners will be announced in a couple of weeks, at which time I'll be able to opinionize all I like.

12 Books Read in February: (23 year-to-date)
1 Read-Aloud for my kiddos:
  - The Birchbark House, Louise Erdrich (3.5)
1 for Book Club:
  - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer (4ish) (see my review)
2 for the Indie Lit Awards Short List:
  - Cross Currents, John Shors
  - Dance Lessons, Aine Greaney
8 others:
  - The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick (4) (see my review)
  - The Song of the Lark, Willa Cather (5) (see my review)
  - 1776, David McCullough (3.5)
  - Night, Elie Weisel (4.5)
  - 11/22/63, Stephen King (4.5)
  - The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor (4)
  - Love and Summer, William Trevor (4)
  - The Frozen Thames, Helen Humphreys (4)


Challenges: (10 year-to-date)
This month I read 6 books of 51 for my various year-long challenges:
   - Willa Cather: The Song of the Lark (3 more to go)
   - TBR shelf: 1776 (8 more to go)
   - Wishlist: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (10 more to go)
   - Back to the Classics: Night & The Song of the Lark (6 more to go)
   - Short Stories: Flannery O'Connor (2 more to go)

2 Current Reads:
  - The Odd Clauses, Jay Wexler.  An ARC from LibraryThing, this one isn't long but I'm having a hard time making myself sit down and engage.  I'll be done with it this weekend, one way or another.
  - Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer, Steven Millhauser.  Feeling the need to read a Pulitzer combined with the desire to read something turn-of-the-century-ish...this seemed to fit those requirements, though I don't know anything else about it.


On My Nightstand:
 I'm still eager to read The Hand That First Held mine, since I didn't get to that this month, and there are a few others calling to me as well:
  - Heat Lightning, Helen Hull
  - The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes
  - The Hand That First Held Mine, Maggie O'Farrell
  - Mr. Churchill's Secretary, Susan Ella MacNeal (ARC from LibraryThing)



  1. Ohhhh. I see you liked Night and also the new Stephen King novel. I've been looking into getting 11/22/63. I just might take the plunge. Have you ever heard of the book An Irish Country Doctor? I picked it up at the library because I'm more interested in all things Irish after reading Sebastian Barry.

  2. That's a great idea, to alternate. The Birchbark House looks interesting...

  3. Heidi, I've been on an Irish kick too. Actually, both Love & Summer and Dance Lessons were Irish authors & settings. Somehow, I forgot to mention An Irish Country Doctor in my post! Coincidentally, I just picked it up too. It was on sale at Audible, and I loved the narrator's voice. It's kind of a "fluffy" read but I'm having fun with it. (and, hope to be posting about 11/22/63 soon...I really enjoyed it.)

    Jillian, I had to figure out some way to get some balance! This seems to be working for me so far. I read The Birchbark House to my daughter for school, and she enjoyed it much more than I did. I thought it was a little boring, but she thought it was fascinating and loved all the things she learned about Native American life. She mourned for days when we finished it!

  4. That's certainly a great selection of books!

    I was alternating obligation and 'pleasure' books too in January, but I must admit to falling behind on the obligation books in Feb.

  5. Mr. Churchill's Secretary - ooh, my cup of tea. I can just tell. How's it going? I love your blog. Have I ever told you that?

  6. Sam, I'm afraid that The Odd Clauses might get me thrown off track as well. I haven't had much time to read this week, so I'm really wanting to read something fun, but still hoping to power through it this weekend.

    Belle, I've missed you! You've got to be one incredibly busy person lately, with work/school/family going on. The publisher actually sent me 2 copies of Mr. Churchill's Secretary (no idea why) you want one? It doesn't have the pretty art on the cover, but if you want it, I'll drop it in the mail (email me your address if you're interested).

  7. I only read eight less books than you in February. I consider that a success for me.

  8. Well Jay I have to say that the Kerouac biography is heavier than at least half of my list together. And the Flannery O'Connor addition to my list just means that I finally read the last 4 stories. I'm just good at making it look like I read a lot. :)

  9. That's a great monthly wrap up. I somehow missed this post when it was current, so I'm glad I lingered here to read older posts.


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