Bookends: November 2019

Our November was filled with mad science, unexpected reunions with family, and more rain than we usually see around these parts. With all of that going on, December snuck up on me, but there’s still time for a November Bookends post!

Visual interest: Stop chasing the birds!

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Finished in November (11):

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle (audiobook)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson (audiobook)

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (audiobook)

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami (DNF)

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay (audiobook)

The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson (DNF)

Recursion by Blake Crouch

The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson (audiobook)

Currently Reading:

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliffe (I was reading this aloud with my son but he finished it on his own one afternoon. Now I need to finish it and give him some language arts assignments about it.)

To-Read for December:

All of my library holds came in at the same time, so here’s what I’ve got to read this month, not counting the ebook and audiobook holds but including a grapefruit:

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And I have some middle-grade novels I’d like to work on. And my spouse is getting me a stack of library books for birthday/Christmas. I appear to have my work cut out for me this month.

What’s on your nightstand this month?

Are you on Litsy? So am I! Come visit! @ImperfectCJ

Bookends: October 2019

Ah, October! Santa Ana winds, a three-day jaunt to the desert (the “real” desert, not the coastal Southern California desert), taking my kids to the thrift store to buy costume components…and reading a few books, including a decent stab at the October Dewey’s Readathon. I posted on Litsy during the Readathon. That’s where you can find most of my updates between Bookends posts these days, if you’d like more of that kind of thing.

A little visual interest before the book lists. This is The World Famous Crochet Museum in a converted drive-thru photo developing place in Joshua Tree, California:

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Finished in October (12):

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Chime by Franny Billingsley

24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Weekby Tiffany Shlain

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Ohio by Stephen Markley (audio)

The Changeling by Victor LaValle (audio)

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

The Odyssey by Homer (Emily Wilson translation, read-aloud with my children)

Less by Andrew Sean Greer (audio)

Uprooted by Naomi Novik (audio)

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (audio)

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

 

Currently Reading:

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

The Existentialist’s Survival Guide by Gordon Marino

Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliffe (read-aloud with my son, who will still snuggle with me on the couch if I read to him)

To-Read for November:

Subject to change, as always, but here are some I particularly want to hit:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Overstory by Richard Powers

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

And I have some middle-grade novels I’d like to work on.

What’s on your nightstand this month?

Bookends: September 2019

This month’s book totals are a little inflated due to the picture books and early readers I read for the Birth and Beyond Reading Challenge (#BBRC) on Litsy.

Still, even counting only the “grown-up” books, this month was pretty solid. I credit staying up past midnight, adding caffeine back into my diet, and ignoring the housework.

Kids’ Books (12):

Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins

Chase’s Space Case by Nickelodeon Publishing

The Case of the Scaredy Cats by Crosby Bonsall

Jump by David McPhail

Golden Retriever by Charlie George

Saturday Belongs to Sara by Cathy Warren

Fast Food by Saxton Freymann

The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo

You Silly Goose by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Victor Vito and Freddie Vasco by Laurie Berkner

Up and Down (The Boy, #4) by Oliver Jeffers

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold

Grown-up Books (10):

Inland by Téa Obreht

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison

The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can: Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer by Gretchen Reynolds

Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You’re Taking, The Sleep You’re Missing, The Sex You’re Not Having, and What’s Really Making You Crazy by Julie Holland

Oksana, Behave! by Maria Kuznetsova (audio)

The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani (audio)

The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

Currently Reading:

Chime by Franny Billingsley

24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week by Tiffany Schlain

And I’m still working on Emily Wilson’s Translation of Homer’s The Odyssey.

To-Read for October:

October is a bit up in the air. I have a couple of books out from the library that I’ll probably start on:

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Ohio by Stephen Markley (on audio)

I’m due for another Libro.fm credit, so I plan to get another audiobook after 2pm on October 5.

I hope to be seasonal and pick up some scary reads. I prefer literary, psychological, bizarre/unsettling and/or gothic horror/suspense to blood-and-guts, straight-up genre stuff. Authors like Daphne duMaurier (The Birds), Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House), Lauren Beukes (Broken Monsters), Kelly Link (Get in Trouble), Gin Phillips (Fierce Kingdom), Sarah Waters (The Little Stranger).

Any suggestions?

What’s on your nightstand this month?

Bookends: October 2018

October brought cooler weather and a much-needed readathon, which helped me make a good dent in my Cavalcade of Classics list. My goal was to read at least one title from my list each month, and this month I read four. Starting strong and hopefully not burning myself out too quickly.

Regular TBR reads (including those that weren’t on my TBR until I picked them up):

New Boy by Tracey Chevalier (audio)

The Traveling Bag by Susan Hill

The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín (audio)

Maggie’s Door by Patricia Reilly Giff (read-aloud)

Ghostland by Colin Dickey

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

From my Cavalcade of Classics:

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser (audio)

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (audio)

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (on audio)

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Currently Reading:

Gilgamesh Among Us by Theodore Ziolkowski

The Ramayana by Vālmīki ( I’m working on the shortened modern prose version by R. K. Narayan. I can’t tell if it seems weird because it’s just weird or because it’s from a mythology that’s unfamiliar to me or if it’s just the version I’m reading. I might try another version to find out.)

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (audio)

To-Read in November:

November is going to be a challenge. I decided at about 2:00 pm on October 31, to participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo. I reached the 50,000-word goal in 2010, attempted but didn’t reach it in 2011, and haven’t tried since. A friend is participating this year, and I figured this would be a chance to show her some support and to try to get something down from a novel idea I’ve been poking around at for a few years.

I figure it could go one of three ways:

  1. I write a lot and meet my daily word count goals and don’t have time to read, or
  2. I read a lot to distract myself from the fact that I’m not meeting my daily word count goals because I’m reading, or
  3. I really nail time management, make the most of the extra hour the end of Daylight Saving gives me, and meet both my reading and my writing goals.

Anything’s possible, but there’s precedent for only two of those possibilities.

Reading goals for November, in addition to completing the books I’m currently reading:

The Odyssey by Homer (Emily Wilson translation)

Circe by Madeline Miller

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

What books have your read recently that speak to you? What books are you excited to read in November?

Bookends: March to September 2018

One of the things lost in the whirlwind of my cross-country move early this year is my monthly Bookends post. This post, a recap of March through September (in reverse order), is a way to reset the Bookends clock before time for my Year in Books at the end of December.

During these past few months, I read a lot of books aloud to my children and then, starting in July with the advent of my Epic Walks, I began listening to lots of audiobooks. I’ve noted which are which in the list below. Links are to reviews on Goodreads, which I should cross-post here but don’t.

September:

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier (audio)

Memory’s Last Breath by Gerda Saunders (audio)

The Vegetarian by Han Kang (audio)

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney (audio)

The Small Hand by Susan Hill

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle (audio)

August:

The Circle by Dave Eggers (audio)

The Long-Lost Home (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #6) by Maryrose Wood (read-aloud)

The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas

Nory Ryan’s Song by Patricia Reilly Giff

July:

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine (stopped reading)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (audio)

The Diabolic (The Diabolic, #1) by S. J. Kincaid

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins (stopped reading)

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson

June:

Rodzina by Karen Cushman (stopped reading)

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (re-read, read-aloud)

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom by Katherine Paterson (read-aloud)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (re-read, read-aloud)

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

May:

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle (stopped reading)

The Sand-Reckoner by Gillian Bradshaw (read-aloud)

April:

Voices (Annals of the Western Shore, #2) by Ursula K. Le Guin

Gifts (Annals of the Western Shore #1) by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois (read-aloud)

The Last Star (The 5th Wave, #3) by Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave, #2) by Rick Yancey

Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun by Rhoda Blumberg (read-aloud)

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1) by Rick Yancey

The Capture (Guardians of Ga’Hoole, #1) by Kathryn Lasky

Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories by Philip Roth (stopped reading)

Stargirl (Stargirl, #1) by Jerry Spinelli

The Irony of American History by Reinhold Niebuhr (stopped reading)

Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics by Stanley F. Schmidt

The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (read-aloud)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (re-read, read-aloud)

Catalyst (Insignia, #3) by S.J. Kincaid

March:

Pretty Monsters: Stories by Kelly Link

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson (read-aloud)

Currently Reading:

Maggie’s Door by Patricia Reilly Giff (read-aloud)

Ghostland by Colin Dickey

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

To-Read in October:

October and thereafter, I will attempt to read at least one title per month from the second round of my Cavalcade of Classics. Goals for this October, in addition to completing the books I’m currently reading:

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh Among Us by Theodore Ziolkowski

The Odyssey by Homer (Emily Wilson translation)

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (on audio)

What books have your read recently that speak to you? What books are you excited to read in October?