Thursday, February 2, 2012

For the Record: January 2012

There is something invigorating about beginning a new year and the initial drive to accomplish all those new goals.  This month has been about 3 things: nonfiction, Indie Lit Awards, and making sure I'm reading books I want to read.  So far it has worked out well.

  - 2011 didn't have nearly enough nonfiction, so I'm busy quenching that thirst, partially with the help of a newfound love: (more on that soon.)

  - Participating in the Indie Lit Awards has been, once again, a good experience.  I won't be able to share my opinions about the short list until the winner is announced mid-March, but believe me: there are opinions. :)

  - In an attempt to enjoy my reading more, I've mandated that at least every other book needs to be one that I want to read...not for an obligation.  So far, it has been wonderful.  It isn't even that I'm reading completely different books than I would have otherwise, but I'm appreciating what I read more, and feeling more freedom with my choices.

11 Books Read in January:
1 ARC:
  - One and Only: the Untold Story of On the Road, Gerald Nicosia (3)
1 Read-Aloud for my kiddos:
  - DragonQuest, Donita K. Paul (3)
3 for the Indie Lit Awards Short List:
  - Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones
  - The Last Time I Saw Paris, Lynn Sheene
  - The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
6 others:
  - Up and Down Stairs, Jeremy Musson (4) (see my review)
  - On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan (4.5) (see my review)
  - Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand (4.5)
  - Q's Legacy, Helene Hanff (3) (see my review)
  - The Complete MAUS, Art Spiegelman (4)
  - Newspaper Blackout, Austin Kleon (3.5) (see my review)

This month I read 4 books of 51 for my various year-long challenges:
   - poetry: Newspaper Blackout (2 more to go)
   - TBR shelf: Q's Legacy (9 more to go)
   - Wishlist: On Chesil Beach (11 more to go)
   - Back to the Classics: The Complete MAUS (8 more to go)

These don't count the two month-long challenges I plan on doing (junior fiction in April, classic novellas in August). Since I need to be reading 4 to 5 books/month to keep up with these challenges, I'd say I'm doing all right.

3 Current Reads:
  - Song of the Lark, Willa Cather.  This is a re-read for me.  I super super loved it the first time I read it, so I'm looking forward to luxuriating in it a bit this time around.  It will count towards my Willa Cather Challenge as well as my Back to the Classics Challenge.
  - 1776, David McCullough.  I've had [multiple copies of] this book for a few years now, and I've finally begun reading it.  Actually, I've begun listening to it.  I've discovered that I have more time for audiobooks than I thought I had, and it's a great way to get some nonfiction read.  1776 will count towards my TBR Shelf challenge.
  - The Frozen Thames, Helen Humpreys.  Made up of forty vignettes about the times the Thames has frozen solid, this delightful book is perfect for when you can't set aside more than a few minutes (or a few brain cells) to read.

On My Nightstand:
 I just posted about all the new books that recently came into my house--those are the ones I'm longing to get to!  I do have some more obligatory reading, though, so the next few books will probably be these:
  - Cross Currents, John Shors (for the Indie Lit Awards short list)
  - Night, Elie Wiesel
  - The Odd Clauses, Jay Wexler (for LibraryThing Early Reviewers)
  - The Hand That First Held Mine, Maggie O'Farrell


  1. I only made it through 3 books this past month! You've done great! I'm not sure what I'm going to reread for the Back to the Classics challenge. I'm not a re-reader. Perhaps The Painted Veil. I read the book, then watched the movie. I think I might have loved the movie better than the book!

  2. I'd say you've achieved a grade of Outstanding for your reading last month! I'm looking forward to your take on Silver Sparrow and Night Circus after the Indie LIt awards get announced, as I read and enjoyed both of those.

    Also, I'm really happy to see your grade on Unbroken. That's the book my husband asked me to read as his Christmas present (we do that for each other each year), and I just got into it. Very good narrative so far, but I keep waiting for the bad parts to happen!

    I've been reading more nonfiction this year, too, and while I don't necessarily like it better, it makes me feel like my reading is better-rounded.

  3. What a good selection of books you have read! I'm interested in The Frozen Thames, might need to put that one on my wishlist.

  4. Wow, that is a LOT of reading you've been doing! So glad you've been enjoying Audible! Have you been able to explore it a bit? One of my favorite things is that you can change the speed of the narration! (oh, and the 30 second rewinds.. so much better than regular listening without the Audible app).

  5. A great mixed selection of books there! I look forward to your review of The Story behind On The Road if you end up reviewing it as I remember after reading it looking up on wiki about all the people in it.

  6. Heidi, I'm not a huge re-reader but I do have some huge favorites that I don't mind reading every once in a great while. Still, I'm glad that my Willa Cather challenge will take care of that & I don't have to pick something else. win/win :)

    As the Crowe, I did enjoy both of them & am looking forward to being able to talk about them more fully. I feel more impressed with Unbroken as time goes by--mostly because the guys life was just incredible. I like how you differentiate between the enjoyment and the well-rounded-ness of nonfiction. That's a very good way to put it. I don't enjoy the reading as much, but I do love the feeling that I'm learning and growing.

    Sam, The Frozen Thames is really nice so far--a reader's book if that makes any sense. Not what I was expecting, but in some ways it's better.

    Wallace, I listened most of Unbroken on Audible, and then listened to a book on CD for review right afterward. SO frustrating! The bookmarking, the speed, the navigation etc. on the Audible app make it far above and beyond listening to other audiobook formats. I think I'm sold. :)

    Jessica, I feel like I took the backward approach w/On the Road, finding out the "untold" story before reading the actual book, but I'm hoping it helps me enjoy On the Road more than I would have. I'll be talking about it soon!


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