Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Week of Bookish Memes on Thursday

This week's Musings Monday question:
Do you have a set reading time (before bed, perhaps)? Do you read more at night or during the day? Is there a day of the week, perhaps, that you set aside to catch up on reading?
June gloom has settled in this week. The sky is covered in gray clouds and the sun is no where to be seen. The week is nearly over. My week of vacation. I had planned to schedule more reading time in, but it did not work out so well. There was company to entertain, errands to run, household chores that couldn't be put off any longer, movies to watch, and all the other stuff that comes up; and, while you would think spraining my ankle (yes, again) would keep me down, not a chance (maybe that's why I'm in this predicament, perhaps?).

I have been fitting in reading time before I drift off to sleep at least. Though, only once this week has my husband had to pry my book from underneath me, save my place and set my book aside. One of my favorite times to read is right before bed, actually. I like to curl up under the covers and read a bit before I can no longer keep my eyes open. My dog settles in for the night in his bed and the cats curl up on mine. It's such a peaceful time. Sometimes my husband will join us and read in bed too, but more often than not, he is still at his computer, typing away.

The weekends trump bedtime reading. If I can swing it, I can sit for hours reading, stretched out on the couch or sometimes even on top of my bed. More often than not though, I snatch an hour or two here and there, in between whatever else I have going.

I also read during my half hour lunch breaks at the work. My staff have gotten into the habit of asking me each day where I am headed. They don't mean the breakroom or my car or even an empty cubicle where no one can find me. No, they want to know what adventure my book will take me on that day.

It is not unusual to find me sneaking a moment with my book here and there: while waiting in line or for an appointment, for example. These moments aren't nearly as fulfilling, but they are rewarding in their own way.

When all is said and done, I never feel as if I have enough time to read. An extra few hours in the day just for reading would be nice. Hours without the distraction of computers and such, included.

Hosted by MizB Should Be Reading

A little tease from where I was:
When Lilia was very young the entire world seemed composed of motel rooms, strung like an archipelago across the continental United States. Island life was fast and transient, all cars and motel rooms and roadside diners, trading used cars at sketchy lots on the edges of places, long rides down highways in the sunlight, in the rain, talking to waitresses who thought she was too young for coffee, nights spent under the scratchy sheets of cheap roadside motels, messages written secretly in motel-room Bibles. I don't want to be found.
[pg 91, Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel, ARC]
A little tease from where I am:
He took my jaw in his hand, and I jerked away. But his hands were firm, and he turned me back, ran a thumb over my broken lip and the other ropy scars, and told me I was the prettiest girl he'd ever seen. I called him a lying dog.
[pg 91, Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall, ARE]
A little tease from where I will be:
Every time Club Kids showed up on TV, new young converts from middle America would be inspired to run away to New York to join them. Alig let them believe that in his world, they could become freakish superheroes. It was liberating and boundless.
[pg 88, Chemical Cowboys: The DEA's Secret Mission to Hunt Down A Notorious Ecstasy Kingpin by Lisa Sweetingham]

Hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine

This book caught my attention as I was catching up on my BookBrowse recommendations.

Brodeck by Philippe Claudel
Translated by John Cullen
Release Date: June 23, 2009

Book Description: Forced into a brutal concentration camp during a great war, Brodeck returns to his village at the war's end and takes up his old job of writing reports for a governmental bureau. One day a stranger comes to live in the village. His odd manner and habits arouse suspicions: His speech is formal, he takes long, solitary walks, and although he is unfailingly friendly and polite, he reveals nothing about himself. When the stranger produces drawings of the village and its inhabitants that are both unflattering and insightful, the villagers murder him. The authorities who witnessed the killing tell Brodeck to write a report that is essentially a whitewash of the incident.

As Brodeck writes the official account, he sets down his version of the truth in a separate, parallel narrative. In measured, evocative prose, he weaves into the story of the stranger his own painful history and the dark secrets the villagers have vigilantly keep hidden.

Set in an unnamed time and place, Brodeck blends the familiar and unfamiliar, myth and history into a work of extraordinary power and resonance. Readers of J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace, Bernhard Schlink's The Reader and Kafka will be captivated by Brodeck.

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

There are certain types of books that I more or less assume all readers read. (Novels, for example.)

But then there are books that only YOU read. Instructional manuals for fly-fishing. How-to books for spinning yarn. How to cook the perfect souffle. Rebuilding car engines in three easy steps. Dog training for dummies. Rewiring your house without electrocuting yourself. Tips on how to build a NASCAR course in your backyard. Stuff like that.

What niche books do YOU read?
At first thought, my response is that I do not read niche books, not of the variety the questioner refers to. While I focus mostly on fiction, I read such a wide variety that there is no particular area that stands out for me more than another. I read an awful lot of crime fiction. Perhaps that could be considered a niche. But I also really enjoy reading fantasy of just about every kind. I read and enjoy quite a bit of general and literary fiction as well. The classics and the contempories. Historical time periods: I am especially interested in the World War II era, but I am also interested in other historical time periods too as well as other wars. And locations. Anything overseas. I love to learn about other cultures and people. I also enjoy reading about books set in my own backyard. I enjoy reading series books and non-series books, genre and non-genre. I read a variety of nonfiction when I do read it, although I suppose you could say that my niche in nonfiction is human interest stories--and those come in a variety of forms. That's not so unusual though, is it? When all is said and done, I am just your average reader with no out of the ordinary reading tastes and interests.

Although, I do occasionally pull down the pet medical advice book when I am looking for a specific answer to a question. And I sometimes will read professional journals related my line of work, but not very often (terrible, I know). Does that count?


  1. Hi, lovely to meet you!

    I love the way your staff ask you where you are heading - and it's not the toilet! LOL

    Here are mine:

    Take care,


  2. LOVE this idea of clubbing meme's :)

    I get only an hour to read everyday. I wish I had the time you do. Or rather, make time like you do inspite of having children and working.

    Crime Fiction could be a niche, couldn't it?

  3. I bought a big handbag so that wherever I go, I can take a book with me. I hate getting caught out waiting somewhere with nothing to do. Love the kitty in your blog title - is it yours?

  4. It was pleasure to read through your post. Liked all the teasers but the Sweeping the Glass one is wonderful!

    I have a book with me at any time. That way I don't waste my time doing nothing.

    I have a little tool book which is very useful!

    Booking through niche

  5. I enjoyed reading this post, Wendy!

    I couldn't help grinning when you mentioned about your staff asking where you are heading... My coworkers don't ask me what I read, they ask why I read instead, haha.

  6. I'm sorry to hear that you have injured your ankle. I think I have weak ones as I am always doing something to mine too. Good thing you don't need ankles to read! Ha! I am seriously interested in your Waiting for Wednesday book. Hope you have a wonderful week, what is left of it, reading to your heart's content!

  7. I really need to learn to read at lunch time. I would get alot accomplished. Much better than running to the bookstores and spending money at lunch everyday. LOL

  8. If I don't read for at least a few minutes before I go to bed I don't sleep well. The only problem is if I'm reading a really good book it keeps me awake!

  9. I love fantasy novels! Here are mine: (1) and (2)

  10. Last Night in Montreal is on my list. It sounds really good and I loved the teasers you picked.

  11. I often wish for time to read without the computer too. Of course, I could just turn it off, but I might miss something. I feel almost like I'm required to be always on. The only time that is truly free is right before bed. I do manage to read other times, but I sometimes wish the power would go out during the day so I could have an excuse just to sit and read. ;)

  12. I'm visiting from the Booking though Thursday blog. I had similar problems coming up with niche things to post about.

    In any case, I love how you've incorporated a bunch of book/reading-related memes into your post for today.

  13. "When all is said and done, I never feel as if I have enough time to read."...You said it, sister!!!!

  14. I read with breakfast, lunch and dinner (unless, of course, I'm sharing a meal with someone else!). On weekends, I try to set aside one afternoon for reading, but lately, that's been a bit of a challenge.

    Hope you get lots of reading time for the rest of your vacation week. That sprained ankle needs rest - and what better way to get that than while reading :-)

  15. I like how you've grouped all of these into one post - that's been working for me for awhile :-).

    I used to read books during my lunch breaks at work, but since I usually eat at my desk now, most of the reading I do at that time is on my computer (along with some writing). Bedtime reading is a ritual for me as well - and if often ends the same way for me!

    Everyone's reading Last Night in Montreal lately. I think it'll end up on my list soon.

    I'm still trying to figure out my "niche" for this week's BTT - like you, my reading's kind of all over the place.

    Sorry you've sprained your ankle again, Wendy, but I hope you're having a good vacation week anyway! I actually like June Gloom - helps keep the temperatures down all day :-).

  16. Most of my reading gets done at lunch or a few minutes before bed.

    I also really enjoy WWII fiction.

  17. I love to read in bed before going to sleep but my husband always falls asleep. We have three little dogs so it gets crowded.

  18. I enjoy reading the history of my town too.

  19. I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on Last Night in Montreal (which I'm going to review on Monday).

  20. This question stumped me too at first. I do alot of research into alternative medicines and vitamin supplements but I read most of that online anymore rather than in books. I also used to read about astrology quite a bit when I was younger.

  21. Don't all books fall under a niche market at some point? I read what interests me.

    You should really stay off your ankle. And read. :)

  22. I can't read in bed...I'd never get any sleep!

    I hope your ankle heals up soon!

  23. My books fall into all sorts of niches - that's what I've always thought, but - in reality it's probably a few less genres than I think.

    I just got the book Last Night in Montreal, I'm looking forward to reading it.

  24. Oh Wendy, I hope your ankle is doing better. Take care!

    And, I've got the Philippe Claudel book on my radar now. I thought "Disgrace" was an amazing book so if it's being compared to something like that then I've got to read it!

  25. The Claudel book looks great. I know what you mean about fitting in reading here and there- story of my life! :-)

  26. Hi Wendy, I miss my lunch reading. It was a routine for me but now I spend daily lunches with my colleagues. I love it but my reading has suffered a bit... I'm thinking of picking out a lunch day each week and still lunch with my colleagues on other days. :)

  27. Alice - Going out with your colleagues has its rewards too, I'm sure. :-) That would be great though if you could set aside one lunch for reading each week.

    Marie - I thought it sounded good too. We read when we can, don't we? Sometimes that's all we can do.

    Iliana - It's feeling a little better today since I kept off of it. I haven't been good about that the last few days though.

    I haven't yet read Disgrace, but it's on my shelf waiting its turn.

    Myckyee - On an overall scale, I think mine fall into several niches too. The question was so specific though that I wasn't quite sure how to answer.

    I can't wait to hear what you think of Last Night in Montreal. I had hoped to get my review posted this week, but it looks like Monday will be the big day.

    Jill - Haha! I imagine if I wasn't so tired by the time I went to bed, that might be the case for me too.

    Thank you for the well wishes.

    Carrie K (Patience) - I agree. All books do fall into niche markets. The question was a little more specific though in the definition of niche, I think.

    I should have stayed off my ankle, I know. I'm really bad about doing that when I need to.

    Lisa - Astrology is definitely an interesting subject. I'm with you on some of the other stuff--like medicine and such. I usually just go online for that nowadays.

    Avis - I'm looking forward to reading your review! I hope to post mine on Monday too.

    CeeCee - I love history. And it's so interesting to learn about places you've actually been.

    Jaimie - My husband is such a night owl. He's always up later than me. And if he's not, I have such a hard time going to sleep. Funny how that happens. Ah! I can just picture your full bed each night. :-)

    Melissa - It can be hard to fit reading time in sometimes, can't it? We do what we can. WWII is so interesting!

    Florinda - I was doing it on Fridays now and then, but I felt urge to post it all on Thursday instead this week. :-)

    I would probably be on the computer during my lunch break if I ate at my desk too. My problem is that if I am at my desk, my staff will not leave me alone. So I guess it's a good thing I have to leave my cubicle to actually get some time away.

    I don't mind the gloom if it means we get a some rain along with it. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case this week.

  28. Ingrid - Yes, reading while dining with someone else would be rude, wouldn't it? Unless it's my husband and he knows I'm a page away from the end. Then he completely understands. :-)

    Thank you for the well wishes!

    Debi - Haha! I think most of us can relate to that sentiment, can't we?

    Karen - This was a tough question for me too.

    Meghan - Sometimes I think I need forced time without the computer because just knowing it is available is distraction enough. LOL I'm so bad. And like you, reading before bed is the only time I truly feel free.

    And why does the power usually go out after dark? I've been saying the same thing--if it goes off while I'm home during the day, what would be the harm in that?

    Diane - I really enjoyed Last Night in Montreal. More than I thought I would, actually.

    Jacqueline - Fantasy is great, I agree.

    Kathy - I'm the same way. I really believe the reading relaxes my mind and allows for a better night's sleep. And yeah, sometimes those especially good ones are hard to put down! For me though, my body will shut itself off even when I'm not ready and I end up sleeping with the book instead of reading it if I am not careful.

    Yvonne - Even only having the half hour that I do for lunch, I can squeeze in a decent amount of reading time. Of course, when I have to stop reading, it feels like I've just started.

    I'd be in the same predicament you are in if I worked across from a bookstore. :-)

    Sandy - Thanks, Sandy. I think I was overconfident in thinking it was completely healed from the last time. I've learned my lesson. I hope.

    Melody - Thanks! Haha! I am fortunate to be surrounded mostly by readers--although a couple of those who ask aren't readers at all, now that I think about it. They probably just think I'm a little weird. :-)

    Guatami - Thank you! I'm enjoying Sweeping the Glass so far. I hope to finish it before the weekend is out. We'll see though. I'm not a very fast reader.

    I carry a book with me all the time too. I still manage to waste time doing nothing though. LOL

    Shari - I carry a purse big enough to hold my book too. I take one everywhere I go just about. :-) The kitty isn't mine, no, but she looks an awful lot like my own Anya did when she was younger.

    Violet - It makes things simpler to throw them all together in one post. :-) Probably for you too.

    And here I don't think I get enough time to read! It's hard sometimes to fit it in, but somehow we manage, don't we? Even if it's only a little each day.

    I thought of crime fiction as a niche, but it seemed like the question was much more specific than that. I found it a little confusing, I admit, so I threw it all in just in case anything stuck. :-)

    Sassy Brit - Thank you for stopping by!

  29. Great teasers-especially the one from Last Night in Montreal.

    I'm the same as you, I love to read just before bed. The dog has finally settled down and is cuddled up beside my bed, the house is peaceful and I can just relax. I do however have a book with me all the time so whenever I sit down or whatever, out comes the book. lol.

    I hope your ankle is much better and that you have a wonderful weekend!

  30. Niche books are usually my comfort reads, which I read for pleasure and feel no obligation toward understanding the material. They are mostly books on aviation, commercial jetliners, travel guides, and fitness books. They're great ideas to fill the gap between lunch break and classes.

  31. Oh, Brodeck sounds interesting, and of course, a little disturbing!

    The niche book question is interesting because, as you mention, when you read widely, so many possibilities occur. I tend to find myself craving a genre, like mystery or fantasy, at certain times, but suppose my niche books might be about quilting, embroidery, or yoga. I read them "in between" the other stuff.

  32. I like to read before bed too. I worry sometimes that my brain will get trained to think of reading=time to sleep, so every time I pick up a book to read my brain will equal that with time to sleep, even if it's not. Silly I know.

  33. Dar - Thanks! Right before bed is the perfect time. Everything is quiet and, as you said, peaceful. Like you, I do carry a book with me just about everywhere. You never know when you'll need it.

    And thank you for the well wishes!

    Matt - That's so interesting that you find your niche reading books to be your comfort reads. I imagine the ones you listed would make good gap fillers. Frequent interruptions would be slightly more bearable when not reading your other reading material.

    Jenclair - I thought it sounded disturbing too, but oh so interesting!

    I am like that too. I go through phases where I crave reading a particular genre or type of book.

    Nicole - I know what you mean. Sometimes on the weekends when I sit down with a book, my brain clicks into nap mode automatically. LOL

  34. Oh the feeling of never getting enough reading time in. I should be reading right now but I don't think I've blogged in about two weeks and miss everyone! Isn't it funny how when you think you'll have time to read--on vacations and such days--the time just slips away? Hope the June gloom passes soon!

  35. Trish - I've been trying to catch up on my blog reading tonight, but I'm not sure how much progress I'm making. :-) It's so easy to fall behind. Finding the perfect balance between reading and blogging, not to mention everything else can sometimes be a real juggle.


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