Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Sunday Salon: December 12

Winter seems to be making its presence known today, if the scenes from around the NFL are any indication. (This is our typical Sunday morning; The Husband and I on our respective laptops here in the family room and football on TV.)  No snow here, but we have a rather gray and gloomy kind of day outside.  I'm not even going grocery shopping today.  We can make do with whatever we have in the pantry and fridge.

I started The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds last night, and am hoping to spend more time with this one today.  (I'm only 26 pages into this, so don't really have an opinion quite yet). I was intrigued by this one because of it being a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and also because it is based on real events. From the Barnes and Noble synopsis: 

In 1837, after years of struggling with alcoholism and depression, the great nature poet John Clare finds himself in High Beach- a mental institution located in Epping Forest on the outskirts of London. It is not long before another famed writer, the young Alfred Tennyson, moves nearby and grows entwined in the catastrophic schemes of the hospital's owner, the peculiar Dr. Matthew Allen, his lonely adolescent daughter, and a coterie of mysterious local characters.

It's due back to the library on Saturday with no more renewals left, so this will be one of my books this week.

On Friday night, I finished Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink.  My review is written (but not posted yet).  In it I say that you need to read Drive if you fit into any of these categories:

1. You supervise or manage people. (If you're a parent, that includes your kids. If you're a teacher, that includes your students.)

2. You want to supervise or manage people.

3. You've ever been supervised or managed.

Drive is a book that almost everyone can benefit from reading, and Daniel Pink has written an enjoyable nonfiction read that will be included on my Best of 2010 lists. Although I don't think the findings are all that surprising (we're more motivated when we have control over four factors: our time, our technique, our tasks, and our team), I think this is a very good book.  Look for my review sometime this week.

I've been listening to Amy Bloom's short story collection, Where the God of Love Hangs Out but unfortunately, it isn't working too well for me on audio.  Because my drives in the car are relatively short ones, I thought short stories would be a good choice.  I still think they might be, but because there are several interconnected stories in this particular collection, I think that was a problem for me, given the short time frame I generally have to listen.  Amy Bloom is an author I enjoy, so I'm not considering this a DNF.  I'm planning to pick this one up in print sometime and see if that format works better for me.  

I can't remember the last time I read one of Oprah's selections for her book club, but for whatever reason, I'm compelled to read Charles Dickens's Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.  Maybe its the influence of the holidays, maybe it's a craving to read more classics ... I don't know.  I own Tale of Two Cities, so when I was doing some Christmas shopping on Friday and spotted this edition of Great Expectations for a mere $3.50, I bought it.  How could I not?

I have great expectations for next year's reading, as evidenced by the number of reading challenges I'm participating in.  It seems like I'm bucking a trend of bloggers limiting the number of challenges they're committing to. I still enjoy them and I think the key to such is treating them as fun and as a guide to one's reading as opposed to a written-in-stone prescription. 

This year's reading has definitely more than exceeded my expectations.  I didn't have any goals other than "to read more than I did in 2009" when this year rolled around.  That was 56 books.  As of today, I'm at 73 books and will likely reach 75 books or possibly a few more. which is an all-time record for me and a tribute to the influence of book bloggers. 

Hope you're enjoying your Sunday!

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Sounds like you are having a good Sunday. I am stuck in over a foot of snow with no snow blower, no husband home and an energetic toddler!! Reading? What is that?

Florinda said...

I've managed to read more books than last year, too - I've broken 50! Realistically, that may be my limit, though (unless I give audiobooks a serious try).

Temperatures were in the low 80s here today - it doesn't feel even feel autumnal, let alone wintry.

Elizabeth said...

The Quickening Maze was one of my favorite books that I read this year. And Amy Bloom's books are always wonderful -- she's a beautiful writer, I think. As for Dickens, well, I read all of his stuff so long ago and just don't think I can go back there.