Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Salon: Random Bookish Thoughts

I dedicated this past Thursday to reading. I didn't actually stay in my pajamas the whole day like I threatened, but I didn't exactly put on "going out" clothes either. It was the perfect day, just about. I got to sleep in a little, I had the best company a reader could ask for (her two cats and dog), and I had my choice of books to choose from. I was anxious to get back to Emily St. John Mandel's The Singer's Gun and dive into Helen Ellis' The Turning: What Curiosity Kills, both of which I finished that day. I also started The Last Child by John Hart, which is what I hope to spend some time today reading along with catching up on my blog reading.

I'm kind of hoping my boss has forgotten she loaned me The Last Child a couple of months ago. More often than not I say no when someone offers to loan me a book these days because I know I won't be able to get to it right away, but she made such a compelling argument for reading this one. For the record, the person who I am to pass the book onto after I finish it has insisted that she isn't ready for it yet. So, I don't feel so bad. Just a little. Plus, my boss said she understood and told me to take as long as I liked since she's already read it. Still . . . I feel like a bad borrower.

A couple of weeks ago you may remember that I mentioned I was weeding my bookshelves, going through all of the "read" books and pulling ones I no longer wish to keep off the shelves. Yesterday, my husband began pulling books of his own off the shelves. I noticed a few more of my own that I am considering parting with. Not yet though. Maybe tomorrow. I still haven't tackled the TBR room. There are books that have been in there for years that I know I am no longer interested in reading. I just have to get over that "but maybe someday" feeling that keeps hovering around.

I have been keeping a Must Read List, otherwise known as a determination list, this year with titles of books I own that I intend to read this year. June is fast approaching, and I just realized I haven't read a single book on that list yet. Shame on me. I will be remedying that soon (if I keep telling myself, it's bound to be true, right?). I have never kept a list like this before, at least not one I intended to complete in a year. It's not a list I've posted here or anywhere. Maybe because I don't want anyone to know when I fail. No, it's not really that. I think it has more to do with the fact that the list is fluid, and not set in stone.

I would love to hear what you are reading right now. Is it something you would recommend?

What about that Must Read List (aka Determination List)? Do you keep one? Are there any books you are intent on reading this year that you haven't gotten to yet?

This Week In Reading Mews:

Currently Reading:
The Last Child by John Hart

Next Up:
Little Green by Loretta Stinson
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Recent Additions
to the TBR Room (all books bought by me unless otherwise noted):
Captivity by Deborah Noyes
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff

The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic by Gay & Laney Salisbury (my heartfelt thanks to Heather from Age 30+ . . . A Lifetime of Books for giving me her copy. This book had been on my wish list for about 6 years; so it's a real treasure to finally have in hand.)

Reviews Posted:
Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Mrs. Sen's by Jhumpa Lahiri

Posts of Interest This Week:

Random Conversations at the Office
The Long Overdue Reading Day Is Here!

This Week's Upcoming Review:
The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

© 2010, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I have a fewon my must read list, but it's growing to an uncontrollable size :) Harvee
    My Sunday Salon

  2. Hello! How are you doing? I am without a book at the moment and cannot find one to tempt me. I know you read a lot more than I do and that may seem a little odd. I am about a 12-14 books per year person.

    I have read some amazing books over the past 24 months and suddently find myself without a book to meet my high expectations.

    You may have read most of the stuff I would recommend but in case not these have been my favourites of late:

    Joanne Harris - Holy Fools
    Audrey Niffenegger - The Time Traveller's Wife
    Dan Brown - The Lost Symbol
    C C Humphreys - Vlad The Last Confession
    J R R Tolkien - The Children of Hurin

    I have a stack of books on loan from my folks but none of them are calling me at the moment, the search for my next read continues!

    It is such a perfect day for sitting and reading in the shade too!

    My list of books to read tends to stay in my head rather than on paper. I don't want to create another list of things to do! I associate lists with work and home chores!

    Happy weekend to you and bye for now!

  3. I'm reading OLD FILTH by Jane Gardam and I'd definitely recommend it. it's a weird book but very compelling.

  4. I have The Last Child on my shelves. I'd love to be convinced to read it soon! I am such a mess at the moment with my stacks. For my own sanity, I need to find peace with the idea that I will probably never get to even half of what I want to!

  5. One thing I discovered about myself this week: while I am typically a singularly focused girl, I am incredibly ADD when it comes to books. I have decided that having all my books on the bookshelf - as lovely as I think it is - it makes the ultimate choice too overwhelming.

    So, this week I was Michael's and noticed they have lovely wicker baskets for about $10 I decided that instead of having a Must Read List --- I will have a MRB (basket) I will take all these books off the shelf and keep them in one place. Hopefully this will help me tackle the TBR problem :)

  6. I just finished The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart. I love her writing but wasn't so sure about her subject in this novel...but I loved it. It's officially YA, but has plenty of appeal for an adult reader.

    I started reading The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald this morning. It's about a guy who started life as a "practice baby" for a college home-ec program in the 1940s. Too soon to say if I'd recommend it, but it's off to a very strong start!

    My Blogging Authors Reading Project is sort of a focused "must read list" for me, and it actually has helped me make some headway on the ol' TBR - but not enough, of course!

    It sounds like you had a fine "reading day" on Thursday, Wendy. Have a great week!

  7. I'm glad you had such a nice reading day!

    I started a must read list this year too, and have been doing very poorly at it. It has a lot of books from challenges on it, but they are all books that have been on my shelf for a while.

    I just counted and realized that I have read seven, which is more than I thought I had read from that list. I still have forty other books on the list though. Clearly I was too ambitious when I wrote it.

  8. Wendy.....I kept nodding to myself as I read your post as I understand where you are coming from.

    I am hosting the "Books to Read Before You Die Challenge" for 2010, and I've only read 2/25 books I committed to for 2010. I better get focused as, for me, it would be pretty embarrassing not to complete the challenge I hosted...LOL

  9. I bet I've had several books that a friend lent for over a year now - I really should return them. I'm reading The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen right now. I'm only 40 pages in, but I'm enjoying it so far.

  10. I sometimes creat very short must-read lists; like, five to ten volumes that I want to get through in the near future. I almost never stick to these lists, but I can't seem to stop making them! It's an odd addiction.

    I'm currently reading IN THE GARDEN OF IDEN by Kage Baker. I'm only about 100pgs in, but I really like it so far. It's science fiction, and it deals with time travel and immortality and other good stuff like that.

  11. You're not the only bad borrower, believe me! I have books from my best friend, my sister, and my mom that I've had for close to a year!

    Today, I'm reading The Wordy Shipmates and One Amazing Thing - and getting ready to head to my best friend's house to watch LOST tonight. :)

    Have a great week, Wendy!

  12. I feel your frustration. Every year I pull together a list of must reads. Do I always stick to them? No, too many new titles turn up and my attention is drawn away from my list. This year I was determined to read all of my books on the Middle Ages that currently are taking up far to much space on my TBR shelves. I have yet to pick up even one!
    Next year I will forgo the list; perhaps the pressure takes the pleasure out of the books. Maybe by not making a list I will tackle my TBR pile and forgo looking at new titles.

  13. Downsizing is really hard work! I've been doing the same, though. Many years ago, I went through a long-lived mystery phase and I kept thinking I would reread the old books and return to read those I never managed before tiring of mysteries, but now I realize there's no going back. Chick lit has suffered a similar fate. We've been weeding for months and just a couple of weeks ago we hauled 120 books to the library. It's a sad statement that you can't even tell the difference. We still have *that* many books. But, I hope someday we'll make a visible dent.

    As to my reading . . . hmm, nothing wonderful, recently, although I am enjoying reading about the horror of global warming. It fascinates me that there's so much evidence that climate change is at least partially human-caused, and yet there are people who think it's all make-believe. Field Notes from a Catastrophe is excellent, so far.

    I'll start another fiction read, tonight -- just finished Fireworks Over Toccoa, which was just an average read, and I'm not sure what I'll read next.

  14. Wendy,
    sounds like you had a great day of reading by finishing 2 books!! I wouldn't feel too bad about the length of time you've had The Last Child...I'm sure someone has borrowed a book from you and kept it for a longgggg time too!! :)

    My Must Read list consists of my own books that I want to read too. I've been taking inventory a little bit at a time. I've just finished writing down all of the books that I've purchased from library sales...112 book to the tune of $35.00....not too shabby huh???

    I'm currently reading A Complicated Kindness...Would I recommend it? I'm not sure because even though I'm almost done with it I can't decide if I like it or not??????

    Have a great week!

  15. I like the idea of a Must Read (or Determination) List! The downsizing of the books is becoming an issue for me too ... as you said, I really need to get over the "but maybe someday" mentality. I try telling myself that if I really do wind up wanting to read the book "someday" that it will most likely be available at the library.

  16. I recently purged my TBR read shelves and took 8 boxes to the library to donate! It felt good to clear things out a little.

  17. I think I'd kept a must read list at some point of my life, but I gave up after knowing that I'll not follow them anyway. These days, I just read whatever my mood is, and though I do feel guilty sometimes for neglecting the books which have been on my pile for a long time, I try not to take it too hard, after all those books aren't going to run away, LOL.

    I've just finished reading a contemporary romance. Haven't read this genre for a long time, and I enjoyed it! :)

    Hope you have a great week ahead, Wendy!

  18. Dead in the Family was a good addition to the series -- I hope you enjoy it!

  19. Good for you guys for working on a purge! I really need to do that!! I am reading two books right now. The first is a non-fiction book called The Tudors. It's all about the life and reign of the Tudor monarchs. The other one I am reading is also non-fiction. It is called Winter World, by Bernd Heinrich, and is about animal survival in the wild during the winter. Both of them are excellent!

  20. I'll be curious to hear what you think of The Last Child. I just wrote it down to add to my Goodreads about it in Booknotes magazine.

  21. I need to come up with a Must-Read list as well. My head's so cluttered I don't know where or what to start reading. Thanks for the idea, Wendy!

  22. Harvee - My over all wish list and TBR collections are huge! I tried to keep my determination list for this year short though. I'm trying to be realistic. LOL

    Dancin' Fool - Sometimes the reading mood doesn't strike. I know how that goes. It leaves time for other interests, right? I haven't read any of the books you mention, although Time Traveler's Wife and The Children of Hurin are on my too read list. I'll get to them eventually, I'm sure.

    I'm not one for making to do lists, so all my list making tends to be for the fun stuff. So, I guess I'm the opposite of you in that regard. :-)

    Marie - I've been wanting to read OLD FILTH. I am glad you are enjoying it.

    Sandy - My plan is to post my review of The Last Child later this week. We'll see if I succeed. LOL

    It's been hard letting go of books, especially unread ones.

    Molly - I know what you mean. I am overwhelmed sometimes by all the choices in front of me. So many sound so good right at the same time.

    I hope the basket idea works well for you! I keep most of my unread books in the TBR room and then I have a separate area (my desk) where I keep my immediate TBR pile. It's worked well for me overall, but sometimes even that can be overwhelming.

    Florinda - I really need to give Beth Kephart a try, especially if you recommend her.

    The Irresistible Henry House sounds really interesting!

    Alyce - You've made a good dent with your must read list! Much better than me, anyway. :-) I probably should have added my challenge books to my determination list this year. As it is, I think my original choices for the one challenge at least have made way for other ones. Thank goodness the challenge is flexible that way.

  23. Diane - Haha! Two is a good start! Good luck with your challenge!

    Kathy - My parents and in-laws and I often loan each other books. Since we live so far away, it's normal for us to have them for months, even years at a time. And you've reminded me that I need to return a video a coworker loaned me a few months ago. She told me to take my time with it--and so I have.

    Memory - LOL I'm the same way. I love making lists of books I want to read, but my follow through isn't always so great.

    The Garden of Iden sounds like a good one!

    Carrie - I don't think I have any books of my mom's at the moment. I do have a box for her to go through though when I head up to visit next month! She can keep those though.

    Sari - I find myself easily distracted by other books than the ones on my list. There are just too many books I want to read, I think.

    Nancy - It is hard work! I have quite a mystery collection to. There are a few series I once was interested in reading, but not so much anymore. I'm like you in that I have so many books that it probably won't be noticeable that I've given away so many when I'm done.

    Staci - Yes, that is true. I've had people keep my books for quite a while. :-) I do tell those who loan me books that it might be awhile before I get to it. I've never had anyone complain yet that I take too long.

    113 books for $35 is quite a deal! Thank goodness for those library sales.

  24. Melissa (Betty & Boo's Mom) - That is exactly what I've decided. If I can't see myself reading a book in the foreseeable future, it's time for it to go. If I change my mind, I can get it from the library.

    Melissa M - It is a great feeling, isn't it? I'm going to let my in-laws and parents pick through the boxes before I take them to the charity I've settled on to have them. I really wish my library would take them though. At least I know they're going to a good home.

    Melody - I love making lists regardless of whether I stick to them. :-)

    Jess - I am glad you liked Dead in the Family, Jess! I am sure I'll enjoy it. I love spending time in that world.

    Heather - Eventually I may have all the books off the floor and out of boxes! LOL The books you are reading sound fascinating!

    Kathleen - I really liked The Last Child, Kathleen. Hopefully I'll get my review up later this week.

    Alice - I know the feeling! I used to keep it in my head too and decided it would be best to put it to paper finally. Easier to remember that way. :-)

  25. My parents pass along everything they read to me and I've never been able to keep up. For years that was because I wasn't reading as much as I used to and now it's because I'm reading books I've bought or gotten from other sources. If I were to weed out shelves, most of what I'd get rid of would be books they've given me but I don't want them to know that I never read them!

  26. Lisa - My parents give me a bag or two of books just about every time we see each other (and since we live so far away, it isn't often), so I can relate. :-)


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