Friday, September 13, 2013

For the Record: August 2013

This has definitely been a slump year for reading!  With an (almost) 13 year-old girl in the house, and a huge house project to manage (never mind homeschooling and keeping up with my traveling hubby) there have been many things that have fallen by the wayside.  Still, I'm enjoying what I've been reading (for the most part) and that's the main thing!

6 Books Read in August: (58 year-to-date)

1 read aloud to my 9 year-old:
  - Gib and the Gray Ghost, Zilpha Keatley Snyder (3) [Repetitive sentence structure and stereotypical characters, but the barn and the horses made up for that...for my daughter at least.  Not very fun to read aloud, but whatever.]

2 AudioBooks:
  - State of Wonder, Anne Patchett (4) [For some reason I though Patchett would be heavily poetic, so I dreaded reading it.  Of course, I was wrong.  I had some minor irritations with the book (mostly the unsatisfying ending) but overall it was good, solid, contemporary fiction.]
  - The Midwife of Hope River, Patricia Harman (2) [If I hadn't spent money on it, I wouldn't have finished it.  The characters, plot, pacing, and writing were all terribly done - and the narrator didn't help much either.  The birth scenes, of which there were many, were vividly described (not sure if that's a good thing - it was a little much even for me, and I love birth stories) but quite disconnected from the rest of the book and were rushed and overly dramatic. Plus, it was written in present tense.  And, I'm pretty sure they didn't say things like "That pisses me off" in the 1930s (a quick search shows it dates from 1946). Cheeseball.]

1 from my Shelf:
  - Mudbound, Hillary Jordan (4.5) [This is another book I avoided reading because I thought it would be too heavily poetic.  I was, again, wrong.  I really enjoyed it and thought it was quite well done - no wonder people were excited when her newer book, When She Woke, was released.]

2 'Group' reads:
  - Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? Lorrie Moore (4) [Read for Book Club]  There were some technical issues - time/location changes were confusing etc. - but for the most part I found this small book unique and enjoyable.  Great for those introspective readers that love a character study.
  - Fate is the Hunter, Ernest K. Gann (4) [Read with my husband, the pilot] A memoir written in 1961 about the crazy early days of commercial aviation.  Each chapter read more like a short story, so it took me a little while to get through, but the writing was engaging and the the stories were fascinating.


3 Current Reads:
  - Les Miserables, Victor Hugo.  I actually haven't read this in a while, but am hoping to finish it during my trip later this month.
  - Possession, A.S. Byatt.  My current audio book.  I enjoyed the movie years back, but found the book hard to get into.  It is better via audio, but still might take me a while.
  - Heat Lightning, Helen Hull.  With the start of school making everything crazy, I've only managed to read a page here and there, but should finish soon anyhow.  I have a copy from 1932, which makes it all the better.  Vintage fiction is where it's at - love it!


On My Nightstand:
I don't think I've picked up a new book in I'm not even sure what will come next, but these are what are actually (literally) on my nightstand.  They are all pretty slim, which is probably what I need right about now.

  - The Sufferings of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe.
  - The Dog Stars, Peter Heller.
  - The Touchstone, Edith Wharton



  1. Don't beat yourself up about it-- for most people, reading six books in a month would be something to brag about!

    The Dog Stars tied as one of my two favorite books last year--I hope you end up liking it when you get to it.

    1. It's weird because it didn't feel like I read 6 books - I think I've been doing so much that my sense of time is all distorted. Also, the read-aloud and audiobook don't have quite the same reading satisfaction. Still and all, six isn't bad!

      I bought The Dog Stars without even really knowing what it was about because I remembered you loved it! Reading the synopsis, it sounds like something my husband might enjoy too (planes etc) so I'll probably be reading it soon.

  2. I agree with State of Wonder. I loved the writing style. I thought the ending was out of character.

    1. Her writing surprised me, how enjoyable it was. She has very solid, well-rounded writing skills, which seems a treat in current fiction. That's one of the reasons I often gravitate towards older books - the quality is more predictable for the ones that are still around and available. I have Bel Canto on my shelf now, but I'm not sure when I'll get to that one.

  3. I'm still in the 50s too. So much life to live and so little time.

    1. I love that you look at those numbers too! It really shouldn't matter, I know, but when I've surpassed 100 books/year for the last number of years, it nags at me that I'm in the 50s and it's almost October. :) Truth is, it's a phase in my life when I have a lot of things happening, so it really isn't a big deal. I like your perspective.

    2. You both have me beat. I'm in the 30's. What? By the way, I miss you both.

  4. It's hard to squeeze books into a busy life! Congratulate yourself for keeping yourself in the race.

  5. Good luck with Les Miserables! I struggled, but it was worth it.

    1. I've enjoyed what I've read, (I got to Book3 of Part3 before my last vacation ended) but it's one of those that seems to need larger chunks of time so I can really submerse myself in it. War & Peace was like that for me too - easier to read on vacation because I don't have daily life pressing on me. Reading bits and pieces of something that long is hard for me!


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