Classics Club Spin #19

Hello friends. I hope those of you who have been celebrating Thanksgiving have had a great few days. I’m delighted to write that it’s time for another Classics Club Spin! Here are the “rules:”

  • Go to your blog.
  • Pick twenty CHUNKSTER books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog before Tuesday 27th November.
  • We’ll announce a number from 1-20.
  • Read that book by 31st January 2019.

Um, did they say “CHUNKSTER?” Gulp. When I looked at my list I noticed that I do have quite a few chunksters I haven’t even touched yet. Because I’m a wimp, my spin list is half 500+ page tomes, half “fun size” literary masterpieces (bigger books in bold type.)

  1. Go Tell it on the Mountain – James Baldwin
  2. Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë
  3. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
  4. A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle
  5. My Cousin Rachel – Daphne du Maurier
  6. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  7. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  8. Adam Bede – George Eliot
  9. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
  10. North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  11. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
  12. The Thin Man – Dashiell Hammett
  13. The Blue Castle – L.M. Montgomery
  14. Less Than Angels – Barbara Pym
  15. Ceremony – Leslie Marmon Silko
  16. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  17. The Warden – Anthony Trollope
  18. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  19. The Island of Dr. Moreau – H.G. Wells
  20. Native Son – Richard Wright

What from my list have you read? I’ll post the result next week.

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Library Checkout – October 2018

I love this library usage meme that Bookish Beck hosts each month. Do check out her blog here.

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Books Read: Because I’ve been reading my OWN BOOKS (yay!) – Lethal White, The Lottery and Other Stories, and Transcription – I’ve only read a few library books this month.

  • Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neal Hurston.       ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
  • Babymouse: Queen of the World by Jennifer Holm & Matthew Holm (juvenile graphic novel) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
  • 34137106A Different Pond by Bao Phi (a semi-biographical picture book I read with my son – terribly moving, about an first-generation little Vietnamese boy and his immigrant father and beautifully illustrated.) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Currently Reading:

  • I Contain Multitudes:The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong (library digital audiobook – I’m at 63% and my loan expires today so I have to get it again – I may try to finish it in paper form. Very interesting!)
  • When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön
  • Biblical Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know by Timothy Beal

Checked Out, To Be Read:

  • There There by Tommy Orange
  • The House at Sea’s End – Elly Griffith
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway– Ruth Ware

In the Holds Queue: (Besides 7 books still on hold from my August list – I’ve been suspending the holds for a while!)

  • Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver41hE+t2wE-L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_
  • Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly
  • Daring to Lead by Brene Brown

Cookbooks: (I’m adding this category because I don’t feel like they really fit in well with the other kinds of books I check out regularly – I don’t read them from cover to cover.)

  • Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines (I made the Cinnamon Squares and they were AMAZING!)
  • Debbie Macomber’s Table by Debbie Macomber ( I made the Lemon Shortbread Streusel Bars – also delicious, picture below!)

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Anything from my list appeal to you? What have you checked out recently from your library?

 

Classics Club Spin #18!

It’s Spin time! I joined The Classics Club (now under new leadership) earlier this year and got the word yesterday that it’s time for another Spin (my second.) What’s a #CCSpin? Well, basically you choose 20 books from your original list and then on Spin Day the Classics Club leaders choose a number from 1-20. Whichever number is drawn is the classic book you read and write about next!

So here are my 20, pretty much chosen randomly (I did put some chunksters in there to mix it up:)

  1. Fahrenheit 451 – Bradbury
  2. Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon – Austen
  3. Jane Eyre – Brontë (re-read)
  4. The Woman in White – Collins
  5. A Study in Scarlet – Conan Doyle
  6. The Thin Man – Hammett
  7. The Count of Monte Cristo – Dumas
  8. The Lottery and Other Stories – Jackson
  9. West With the Night – Markham
  10. 1984 – Orwell
  11. Less Than Angels – Pym
  12. Anna Karenina- Tolstoy
  13. Crossing to Safety – Stegner
  14. Native Son – Wright
  15. Ceremony – Silko
  16. Stoner – Williams
  17. Island of Dr. Moreau – Wells
  18. Brideshead Revisited – Waugh
  19. Beloved – Morrison (re-read)
  20. The Gowk Storm – Morrison

If you’re in the Classics Club, good luck with your spin! I hope you all get the number you want. (Totally statistically impossible, but you know.) 🙂

Have you read any of these? Have any thoughts?

Mid-Year Reading Goal Check-In

Since the year is half over, I thought it was time for a 2018 Reading Goal check-in. You may recall that I made two teeny-tiny reading goals for the year:

  1. Read at least one book a month from the books I already own, and
  2. Read The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
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Of this stack from February I’ve read four!

 

On the first goal I am doing AMAZING. I’ve already read 13, which means I’ve technically completed my goal! But I have added new purchases to my owned stacks of books (is anyone surprised? No.) So I want to keep making a dent in my piles of owned books through the rest of the year.

I haven’t yet begun to read Count, but I am definitely planning on diving in this fall, after 20 Books of Summer is over. Actually, I’ve been mulling over doing a little readalong. I’ve never led my own readalong before and I’m intimidated, frankly! Would anyone out there be interested in reading along with me this fall? It would be SERIOUSLY low-pressure. I’d probably just try and break it up into sections and take my time with it. If you’re interested, let me know in the comments!

I lowered my number of books for the Goodreads Reading Challenge this year to 52. I completed it this past week. Before you think I’m some reading machine, I have included several books that my son and I have read together, like some of the Magic Tree House books and Bad Kitty books. I decided to do that because I’m reading them too and I want to have a record of what we read together! But the lower page counts of those books do inflate my numbers.

img_2257As far as my 20 Books of Summer challenge, I’ve read 7 and am almost finished with my 8th book. I’ve only written about three of them, though, so I definitely see some mini-reviews in my future. Right now I’m in a good reading groove, but I only have time to post once or twice a week, and if I have to choose between actually reading a book and posting a blog post, I’ll pick reading!

So how are your reading goals going so far this year? I’d love to hear if you’ve completed any goals, made progress, or if you’ve abandoned any goals. Do you set goals for your yearly reading? 

BRL Quarterly Report # 10

It’s the end of March, which means it’s time for a Quarterly Report!

Big Reading Life Quarterly Report (1)Books Read (Jan-Mar): 26

Fiction: 20

Nonfiction: 6

Audio: 3 (The Book of Joy – Dalai Lama XIV and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl – Carrie Brownstein, and Hallelujah Anyway – Anne Lamott.)

Chapter Books/Middle Grade: 6

YA/Teen: 0

Authors of Color: 5

Published in 2018: 1 (The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory – review yet to come.)

Faves This Quarter: Anything is Possible – Elizabeth Strout, The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce, How Many Miles to Babylon – Jennifer Johnston, The Book of Joy – Dalai Lama XIV and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Last American Man – Elizabeth Gilbert (review forthcoming!)

Thoughts: On the Read Books I Own Goal, which was to read at least one book a month from my own unread stacks, I’m killing it! 🙂 I’ve read 7 so far. I am confident I can read 5 more by the end of the year, and fairly confident I will read more than that!

My audio books were all nonfiction, and that’s pretty representative of my audio books in general. I just focus better with nonfiction on audio for some reason. (Although I have had some great experiences with children’s fiction on audio.) My podcast addiction (utterly insatiable!) means that I don’t devote much time to audio books.

I’m not really feeling YA books right now. Not that I ever felt them that much to begin with, ha ha!

I am counting the books I read with my son in my yearly reading totals. The chapter books, anyway. (We still read picture books too.) I read them aloud to him at night before he falls asleep. We read the two Charlie books by Roald Dahl and now we’re steaming through The Magic Tree House series!

It’s been a great reading quarter, with only one two-star read. That was the last of the Elena Ferrante quartet, The Story of the Last Child.  It was disappointing, considering how well I liked the other three. Every other book this quarter rated three stars or better. Oh, and I joined The Classics Club! I’ve read and reviewed one book (Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train) and thought it was most enjoyable.

How has your first three months of the year been with respect to reading? If you made goals, are you making progress? Any surprises so far this year, or have you been following your usual reading patterns? Talk to me in the comments.

Joining The Classics Club!

For a while now I’ve been entertaining the notion of joining The Classics Club, since so many bloggers I follow are a part of it and I do enjoy and want to read more classic literature. Since I’ve realized that, as an Obliger (Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies,) I need to have outer accountability to meet inner expectations, I thought this would be the perfect little nudge I need to get me reading all those novels I’ve been “meaning to read” forever.

The (short version) rules of the Club are this:

  • – choose 50+ classics
  • – list them at your blog
  • – choose a reading completion goal date up to five years in the future and note that date on your classics list of 50+ titles
  • – write about each title on your list as you finish reading it, and link it to your main list

So by February 8, 2023, I hope to have read the following books (but I reserve the right to add and drop titles along the way:)

Gather Together in My Name – Maya Angelou

The Enchanted April – Elizabeth von Arnim

Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon – Jane Austen

Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin

Go Tell it on the Mountain – James Baldwin

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

The Long-Winded Lady: Notes From the New Yorker – Maeve Brennan

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë

Jane Eyre -Charlotte Brontë (reread)

The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle

My Cousin Rachel – Daphne du Maurier

Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Nicholas Nickleby – Charles Dickens

The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

Adam Bede – George Eliot

Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison

Love Medicine – Louise Erdrich

Howard’s End – E.M. Forster

North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell

Wives and Daughters – Elizabeth Gaskell

Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

Nightingale Wood – Stella Gibbons

The Thin Man – Dashiell Hammett

Strangers on a Train – Patricia Highsmith

Jonah’s Gourd Vine – Zora Neale Hurston

The Bird’s Nest – Shirley Jackson

Life Among the Savages – Shirley Jackson

The Lottery and Other Stories – Shirley Jackson

Quicksand – Nella Larsen

West With the Night – Beryl Markham

The Blue Castle – L.M. Montgomery

The Gowk Storm – Nancy Morrison (thanks Fiction Fan!)

Beloved – Toni Morrison (reread)

A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories – Flannery O’Connor

1984 – George Orwell

The Last Gentleman – Walker Percy

Less Than Angels – Barbara Pym

Quartet in Autumn – Barbara Pym

The Sweet Dove Died – Barbara Pym

Ceremony – Leslie Marmon Silko (reread)

Crossing to Safety – Wallace Stegner

Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

The Warden – Anthony Trollope

Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

The Island of Dr. Moreau – H.G. Wells

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Stoner – John Williams

To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf (reread)

Native Son – Richard Wright

So that’s 51 books, mostly novels, three memoirs (Angelou, Jackson, and Markham) two books of short stories (Jackson, O’Connor,) one book of essays (Brennan.) A few rereads, but it’s been at least ten-twenty+ years since I’ve read some of them. I am excited to dig in to these. Some I have been meaning to read for years, others I just learned about in the last year from fellow bloggers! Some of these I don’t know how I’ve escaped reading in school before now (1984, I’m looking at you!)

Have you read any of these? Any you’re particularly attached to or perhaps despise? Let me know in the comments!

Tiny, Almost Nonexistant Reading Goals for 2018

I LOVE this time of year for one reason:  the open-ended dreams of what one might read in the year ahead.  (And getting to read all of your reading goal blog posts, of course!)  I’ve mentioned before that I was planning NOT to have any reading goals for 2018, which I haven’t done before since I’ve been blogging.

Upon further reflection, I decided to set two small, teensy, you-have-to-squint-to-see-them goals.

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Some of my owned and unread books

A. Read one book a month from the unread books I already own.  At current count I have 45 unread books in the house (with three on the way from Barnes and Noble – Christmas gift card!)  If I can read 12, that’s a fourth of my own unread books.

and

B.  Read The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.  Yes, I was supposed to have read this in 2017 as part of my 40 For 40 goal list – you even voted on which intimidating classic tome I should read!  I’m excited to finally get to it.

That’s it.  No other reading goals.  I am trying to refrain from joining challenges and readalongs this year as well, but I’ll probably do Cathy’s Reading Ireland Month in March and the R.I.P. Challenge this fall.

As for my 40 For 40 List, I’ll write an update post about that in the next few days.  I’m still going to work on this in 2018 – after all, I’m 40 till May!  🙂

Best of luck with all your reading and personal goals this year!