Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Sunday Salon: Catching Up on Three Months of Reading Wrap Ups

This is how it happens:

When the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, you make yourself a big ol' New Years blogging resolution to be more on top of your reading wrap up posts and challenge updates and all these other nerdish hoosie-moosies we bookish folk get ourselves into. And that works pretty well through January and even a bit into February.

And then in March you're like, "Ehhhh ... nobody will notice if I just let this lapse into April."  And then April slips slides away into May, and before you know it, you're staring down the mid-point of the year almost and remembering how much you swore on December 30 as you wrote your wrap-up post for the year how much easier it would have been if you just had your shit together during the 11 other months gone by.

Or maybe that's just me.

Yeah, I'm a little behind on my reading recap posts. I was going to say how pathetic these totals are, but 12 books in three months averages out to be almost a book a week.  At this point, I'll take it. 

Books I Read in March (7)
(Links at the end of the book covers take you to my reviews, in case you missed them or are just curious.  I also have reviews for all but two of the others but just haven't posted them yet.)

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, by Rob Sheffield
Room, by Emma Donoghue

I Curse the River of Time, by Per Petterson

Everybody Loves Somebody, by Joanna Scott

The Solitude of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano
The Box: Tales from the Darkroom, by Gunter Grass

American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half Its Food

March was a great reading month, quality-wise. I really liked Everybody Loves Somebody (a great short story collection), Room, The Solitude of Prime Numbers, and American Wasteland best. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran deserves a mention too.  It was very funny and a light read, despite the mudslinging that Sheffield delivers to Paul McCartney, which I found excessive and kind of unnecessary.

I Curse the River of Time and The Box weren't really for me and I didn't enjoy either of them much.  I have reviews written (just not posted) for both of these.

Books I Read in April  (2)

 In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street,
One Sleepover at a Time, by Peter Lovenheim

Fragile Beasts, by Tawni O'Dell

Getting our house ready for the market was a process and a half that went into high gear in April, so my reading time became much more limited - hence, only two books read.  In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time, by Peter Lovenheim is a really interesting memoir.  After one of his neighbors is murdered in a domestic violence incident, Peter Lovenheim realizes he really doesn't know his neighbors at all - and the book is his quest to do that, by striking up conversations and eventually asking them if he can sleep over at their houses and observe them in the spirit of getting to know them better. A few said no, but several agreed. 

(Those of you who know me and The Husband in real life can probably guess what camp we would fall into. It's a pretty good bet that we won't be having any sleepovers - unless they involve our 9 year old twins -in our house or the one we're moving to.)

Fragile Beasts started out well for me - I was really engrossed in the story - but it lost me a bit midway, and then completely at the end with some gratuitous-seeming (at least to me) storylines.

I'll have more to say in my reviews of both of these.

Books Finished in May (3)

The Monsters of Templeton, by Lauren Groff

Carlyle's House and Other Sketches, by Virginia Woolf

Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and
My Journey From Homeless to Harvard, by Liz Murray

The Monsters of Templeton is probably going to make it onto my best books read this year.  I really enjoyed this novel about the residents of Templeton, NY (a stand-in for Cooperstown) and their interconnected lives (boy, are they ever interconnected!).  There's a bit of magical realism in this one too, with a monster that lives at the bottom of Lake Glimmerglass, and whose presence has a significant impact on the townsfolk.  (Not in an oooooohhhhhh!!! Big-skeeeerrrrry-monnnnnnnsterrrrrrr!!! kind of way.  He's a gentle soul.  Think Mr. Snuffleupagus. More along the lines of a monster conjuring up sympathy and compassion and being symbolic for how we all have demons that we're burying and that ultimately, we need to bring to the surface, no matter how much doing so makes us tremble inside.)  Review to come. 

I'm not sure I'll do a formal review of Carlyle's House. These are five fairly brief essays (or "sketches") by Virginia Woolf and I only read it because ... well, because it's Virginia Woolf.  Truth be told, I liked the introductions to the essays a bit better than the writings themselves. 

And finally, I just finished Breaking Night earlier this week and have A LOT to say about this one in my review.  It's a powerful book in terms of the story.  The writing itself was such that I found to be a little flat, but the story was what pulled me along.  It has been compared to The Glass Castle, and I see the similarities, but also the differences.

So there you have it.  All caught up for another month. 

Or, you know ... maybe three. 

copyright 2011, Melissa, 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.


Monique said...

A book a week is not bad, it is acutally pretty good. By the time the year ends, if you keep up that pace you would have read 52 books. I only read about a book of week, when I am not busy. So, your numbers are good, IMO.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I've added several of these to my TBR bc of your reviews :) My reading self is way ahead of my reviewing self right now. I'm not sure where I am on my challenges and I'm kinda scared to look...I don't think I've read anything for the Memorable Memoirs Challenge yet although I have about 10 stacked up waiting :/

LBC said...

I just did my first ever wrap up post, so don't feel badly. I have a copy of Monsters of Templeton. It is such a beautiful book, but I haven't picked it up yet. You might have convinced me to bump it up the list.

Here is my Sunday Salon