March and April Bookish Update

I’ve been reading more slowly the last month or so, so consider this a catch-up post.

First, my crime fiction pick of the month of the past two months is Don’t Look Back by Karin Fossum. It seems like a promising start to the Inspector Sejer series: an interesting protagonist and a story with enough twists in a small town.

Secondly, I’m making good headway in the Global Reading Challenge having read 3 out of 7 books. Finding authors from South America and Africa was a little time-consuming because I abandoned quite a few books I tried. I am grateful for a great statewide interlibrary loan system: I’ve been able to get lots of international crime fiction from Michigan State University’s library that’s hard to find elsewhere. My progress on the USA Fiction Challenge, on the other hand, is pitiful, and I plan on reading more from the US in the second half of the year.

Finally, I was a giver for World Book Night this past week for the first time. I gave away copies of Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia around town on a sunny day, and I capitalized on my location between the junior high school and elementary school in town. The only difficulty I ran into was people declining the book because they’ve already seen the movie.

Hope your reading is going well, and I hope to catch up on my blog reading soon.

April Reads

April was a bit of an odd reading month for me:  I started and gave up quite a few books because I couldn’t decide what I was in the mood to read (Yasmina Khadra was a bit too grim for me last month), and I actually finished a small number of books.  Three of the books I read were first books in a series by men, as well as one book by a woman in a series I’ve read from the beginning and a memoir.  While I’m looking forward to reading more in the VanVeeteren, Inspector Montalbano  and Brunetti series, my favorite read was Where Memories Lie  by Deborah Crombie.  I’m hoping I feel more enthusiastic about reading this month!

Thanks to Kerrie for hosting the Crime Fiction Pick of the Month meme.

February Recap, Non-Crime Fiction Edition

My February reading was pretty eclectic:  a short story collection, a novella, a non-fiction account of an expedition in the Amazon, and novels.  My pick of the month is Stay Awake by Dan Chaon, a short story collection that I’m still thinking about and keep on recommending to my friends.  I also really enjoyed Heft, but the characters in Stay Awake are more vivid for me.
  1. Ragnarok by A.S. Byatt
  2. The Lost Saints of Tennessee by Amy Franklin-Willis
  3. Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany
  4. Me and You by Niccolo Ammaniti
  5. Stay Awake by Dan Chaon
  6. Open City by Teju Cole
  7. The Unconquered by Scott Wallace
  8. Heft by Liz Moore

It was a very busy reading month for me in February, and I expect the pace to slow a bit in March because I plan to read a couple books for the Back to the Classics reading challenge.

Monthly Recap: January 2012

January was my first full month of book blogging uninterrupted by holidays.  I plan on keeping up the pace of two or three reviews per week, and it will be a mix of crime fiction with other good stories. I tend to get into reading ruts, and right now I’m in a domestic fiction/ chick lit rut.  I need stories with more than a character’s psychological arc right now, so I’m settling inw ith more crime fiction.  This will alsohelp me knock out some of the requirements for the  Criminal Plots II Challenge ,which I have yet to read for yet.  I will still review some new releases, but I’m also going to focus on backlist titles in a quest to (a) clear some books from my shelves and (b) read/ catchup on author’s previous works.  What else?  A few classics, to take care of another challenge I’m doing.  A few literary fiction award winners or finalists, just to see what all the fuss is about.  I find it hard to find literary fiction I love, so from time to time I go on hiatus from reading it if I’ve read a bad or uninteresting run of them. 

December Recap and January Goals

Happy new year, everyone!

This December I’ve met my goal of dividing my reviews evenly between crime fiction and literary fiction:  I reviewed two of each genre this month as I did in November.  I have fallen short of my goal of reviewing one to three books per week this month because I took time off from reading over the holidays and because I’ve been reading books whose reviews I will be posting in the coming months.  Also, I have joined the Criminal Plots II Challenge to give some structure and variety to the crime novels I read.  I don’t want to confine myself authors and series I’ve been reading for years.  I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve reviewed this month because I have been jumping between thrillers and literary fiction.  I don’t want to get into a genre rut, so I plan to continue seeking out a variety of books to review here.
Here’s what you can expect from this blog in the coming month and year:  I plan on reviewing 50%thrillers and 50% fiction at a pace of one to three reviews per week.  I also plan on reviewing more women authors than male authors.  I anticipate reviewing both new releases and backlist titles as I catch up on books that popped up on lots of year-end best lists. I’m a fan of plot over style, so I don’t expect to review lots of experimental fiction.  Finally, I’ve been working on writing longer reviews than the first reviews I wrote.  My hope is that my writing becomes crisper and clearer the more I write.

Thanks again for reading, and happy new year!  What books are you looking forward to reading in the coming year?  I’m particularly interested in Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, The Submission by Amy Waldman, The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. 

November Recap and December Goals

Happy belated Thanksgiving!  I was traveling for the holiday week so I dropped my review-a-week blogging schedule.  As a new book blogger, I’m testing out the types of writing I’d like to do, and a monthly recap seems helpful so I can stay on course without taking too much time from my reading. This month I reviewed two works of literary fiction and two works of crime fiction.  They are my two favorite genres, and I anticipate reviewing more crime fiction than literary fiction going forward.  I also expect to review a classic every month or so.  My goal for the next month is to post one review a week, and I intend to post reviews more frequently starting in 2012.

I haven’t experimented much with different types of posts on this blog.  I plan on focusing on reviews because I like to recommend books.  I haven’t tried any weekly memes yet because I’d rather spend my time reading than in churning out posts.  If I find an interesting meme, I may join.  I do plan on posting my favorite reads of 2011 before the end of the year, and in 2012 I plan to post my favorite reads every 4-6 months.  Finally, I have joined the Back to the Classics Challenge 2012  in an effort to round out my reading with books I’ve been meaning to read for years.   I’m still and English major obsessed with reading lists!