We are well into July so it’s time for a mid-year look at my reading stats and progress on reading goals for the year. Reading is generally is going pretty well for me right now, although the deep concentration I enjoyed during my furlough period, when I was a reading machine, is much lessened by time constraints. I have to dip in and out of books in small doses, which is what I mostly did pre-pandemic, but somehow the quality of my attention is more fragmented. I guess considering everything that’s going on, I’m doing fairly well.
Books read: 66
Middle Grade (mostly read with my son:) 21
Male Authors: 23
Female Authors: 43
Authors of Color: 16 (24%)
Genres: Classics (10) Literary Fiction (9) Mystery (8) Memoir/Biography (7) General Nonfiction/Essay/Self-Help (7) Romance (3) Short Stories (1)
Favorites So Far:
Favorites Read With My Son:
1. Read 20 Nonfiction Titles. On track!
2. Reread Four Books I Own. On track! Just one more to go.
3. Read 12 Titles From Classics Club List. On track! I’ve read 7 so far. I have 27 more to go in total before the deadline of February 2023.
4. Read More Authors of Color. On track! Last year’s paltry 18% gave me a low bar to clear. I’m hoping to hit at least 30% for this year.
In other news, my ninth book of the 20 Books of Summer challenge is Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926.) I had high expectations for this one, but something prevented me from connecting to the story fully. I can’t quite pin down what was amiss. It could just be reader’s frame of mind here, because so many people count this one as a favorite. Hercules Poirot is our detective, and he’s as charming and astute as ever. Maybe I missed his frequent sidekick, Captain Hastings. I didn’t warm to the narrator of the tale, Dr. Sheppard. He was devoid of personality so perhaps that’s what kept me at a remove.
One of the wealthiest and most well-liked people in the small village of King’s Abbot, Roger Ackroyd, is found murdered in his study. Of course there are many suspects who’ve been in or near the estate at the time of the murder. Ackroyd’s niece, Flora, engages Hercule Poirot to assist the police and clear the name of her fiancé, Ralph Paton. Poirot is in town attempting to relax in retirement (which struck me as funny since this is only the 4th book in a series that would stretch to more than 40 titles.) He even says at one point, “In all probability this is the last case I shall ever investigate.”
I did enjoy the number of suspects, and there are lots of subplots and intrigues to follow and try to work out. As usual I didn’t guess the murderer until very late in the game. I can see why this was a seminal work of mystery, in that the innovative twist is clever and controversial. While I did enjoy it overall, I can’t say it’s one of my favorites. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
So how are you doing with your own 2020 reading goals? Let me know below.