The Monday Check-In ~ 5/8/2017

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

What did I read last week?

The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey: Done! My review is here.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvian Neuvel: A re-read via audiobook — and man, is the audio version fun! Check out my original review of this book, here.

Pop culture goodness:

I finally watched season 3 of AMC’s Turn, and posted a few thoughts here.

Fresh Catch:

Two new books this week:

I’m so excited for both of these!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

First and foremost, I can’t rest until I finish the new Kate Shugak book — #21 in the series! It just arrived on Saturday, and as of mid-afternoon Sunday, I’m at 65%. I’m sooooo happy to be back in Kate’s world!

Up next will be Brimstone by Cherie Priest, which I need to read before the library due date… and which sounds so good to me.

Now playing via audiobook:

I’m listening to Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel, the sequel to Sleeping Giants. And so far, it’s just as much fun as the first!

Ongoing reads:

MOBY

The end (of the book) is nigh! After over a year of reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — we’re within sight of the final chapters.

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells: I’m reading The Time Machine using the Serial Reader app, and having about 40% left to go. I’ll wrap it up this week!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 5/1/2017

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

Absolutely gorgeous weather this weekend, finally, so I was able to get back into my regular walking routine — and it feels great! I loved seeing this spot of color along the way.

And since I had an audiobook playing in my ears each time I walked, I was motivated to keep going much further than my usual route, and spent some extra time just sitting and gazing out at the ocean.

Bliss!

What did I read last week?

It’s weird to realize that despite being VERY INTO my reading this week, I didn’t write a single book review. So it goes.

Here’s what I read:

The Book Collector by Alice Thompson: I expected to love this short novel… but didn’t. There’s some interesting writing in The Book Collector, but overall I’d say it reads like someone put Rebecca and Silence of the Lambs in a blender… but maybe left out some key ingredients in order to make a truly delicious milkshake story.

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy: Okay, here’s a funny story. I decided to start another classic via Serial Reader, and picked this Thomas Hardy novel, which I’d always meant to read. With Serial Reader, you read classics in daily installment of 10 – 15 minutes… so I started, and then I couldn’t stop! Instead of reading it in bite-size chunks over 51 days, I read all 51 pieces* in about 3 days. I really didn’t expect to find FFTMC an “un-put-down-able” read, but it absolutely was. I loved it, plain and simple.

*Weird little follow-up: I went back to my Kindle edition of this book to check on a small detail, and realized that somehow I skipped chapters 47 and 48 in my mad adventure with Serial Reader. It was probably me clicking ahead too fast, rather than a problem with the app**, but suddenly a certain story development makes a whole lot more sense. D’oh.

**Nope, it was definitely the app. I checked and double-checked. Those chapters aren’t there. The story mostly made sense without them, or I might have noticed sooner that they were missing, but still. Aaaargh.

And my DNF of the year award goes to…

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: I tried. I really tried. I read about half of this book 20 years ago and never finished. When my book group picked it for our classic read, I thought it sounded like a great way for me to finally force myself to go back to a book I DNF’d so long ago. And the end result is a big NOPE for me. I got past the halfway mark this time around, but I was having zero fun. Call me crazy or lacking an appreciation of finer literature. I have read at least two other books by this author and loved them — but One Hundred Years of Solitude felt like chewing off my own limb. I think we can safely say that this is a book I will never finish.

Pop culture goodness:

My viewing obsession this week was Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I watched the three episodes so far available, and can’t wait for more!

Fresh Catch:

Quite a library haul this week: I came home with one DVD set, six graphic novels (from two different series), and two novels. Do I have time to read all of these? Maybe. But I’m excited to at least have the possibility.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

Despite all those library books, I’m first dedicating myself to finishing up two books already started:

  • The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Now playing via audiobook:

I’m at about 30% of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, and it’s fascinating… but I’m going to take a teensy Hamil-break so I can listen to…

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel: I read the book when it came out (review), but needed a refresher before starting the sequel, so I borrowed the audiobook from the library. So far, I’m loving it! The audiobook format fits really well with the transcript-style presentation of the story, and the multiple narrators (something I usually find annoying in audiobooks) is actually quite good in this case.

And once I finish, it’ll be back to more Hamiltonian history!

Ongoing reads:

MOBY

The end (of the book) is nigh! After over a year of reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — we’re within sight of the final chapters.

And in serial reading… I just started a new book via Serial Reader: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. This one is a lot shorter than some of the others I’ve read via the app (just 14 installments), so it won’t take me too long. Meanwhile, I’m going to try to stick to reading just one installment per day, rather than reading ahead as I did with FFTMC.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 4/24/2017

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

What did I read last week?

Miniatures by John Scalzi: A collection of short (funny) fiction by one of my super-favorite sci-fi writers. My review is here.

The Book of Etta by Meg Elison: A follow-up to the powerful post-apocalyptic The Book of the Unnamed Midwife. My review is here.

Also:

I accidentally ended up rereading Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher over the weekend. How do you accidentally read a book? After binging the excellent TV series (see below), I picked the book back off the shelf to look up a particular moment, turned to the beginning of the book, and just kept reading.

My library hold request for book one of the graphic novel series March by Congressman John Lewis finally came in, and I read it immediately. It’s a wonderful, important book, perfect for the younger generation who might dismiss history as “boring”. And now, I’m waiting for book #2.

Pop culture goodness:

I wrote up my thoughts on 13 Reasons Why, after an intense week of binge-watching. You can find my post here; I’d love to hear others’ opinions!

I ended up watching the movie of The Girl With All the Gifts. I read the book when it came out, but needed a refresher before starting The Boy on the Bridge!

The movie was pretty good, and pretty gross at times. (My husband was in the kitchen while I was watching in the living room — he had to come see what all the disgusting noises were from). I liked the cast, and thought the girl playing Melanie was incredible.

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

I’m juggling three books at the moment:

  • The Book Collector by Alice Thompson
  • The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Now playing via audiobook:

Hamilton! This biography is actually fascinating — but it’s really long. I’ve amped up my listening speed to 1.25x, which makes it a bit weirdly fast at times, but helps the entire listening project feel less daunting. I’ve gotten through about 20% so far. Onward I go!

Ongoing reads:

MOBYOne Hundred Years of Solitude

My book group is reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — with an end date coming up in June.

Outlander Book Club’s group read of One Hundred Years of Solitude continues. I’m hanging in there — barely — but I can’t say I’m enjoying it much.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 4/17/2017

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life:

 

Ugh. Can I get a do-over for last week? I spent almost all week sitting around my house or lying in bed, with a cough/cold/flu that just refuses to go away. I never thought I’d say this, but I’d rather be back at work!

 

 

What did I read last week?


Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg: I absolutely loved this YA novel, which is the sequel to another book I loved, Openly Straight. Check out my review of Honestly Ben, here.

Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox: I liked but didn’t love this story of family, love, magic, and secrets — disappointing, but I adored this author’s Dreamhunter Duet, and had hoped to feel the same about this one.

Final Girls by Mira Grant: This new novella is everything you’d expect from Mira Grant — a fast-paced, hold-your-breath, scary, compelling blend of horror story nightmares and modern-technology-run-amok disasters. A terrific read.

West With the Night by Beryl Markham: I’ve had this book on my shelf for YEARS… and I can finally say I’ve read it! Sometimes, it takes a commitment — like my book group discussion coming up this week — to force me into reading something that I’ve had pending for so long. A fascinating memoir! Unfortunately, my foggy head left me perhaps not in the best frame of mind to fully appreciate it, but I enjoyed it anyway.

Pop culture goodness:

Anyone else watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix? I’ve only watched the first two episodes so far, but it’s good! I read the book years ago, but the details have really faded for me, so most of the plot of the show feels fresh and surprising. I hope the rest of the episodes are just as powerful.

Fresh Catch:

I treated myself to books 4 and 5 in the incredible Expanse sci-fi series:

I still need to start #3, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

I’m bouncing back and forth between two very different books at the moment:

  • The Book of Etta by Meg Elison: A follow-up to the powerful post-apocalyptic The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (review).
  • Miniatures by John Scalzi: A collection of short fiction by one of my super-favorite sci-fi writers.
Now playing via audiobook:

Hamilton! I’m continuing to feed my obsession by listening to the audiobook of Ron Chernow’s definitive biography of Alexander Hamilton. The audiobook is about 36 hours, so… this is going to take a while.

Ongoing reads:

MOBYOne Hundred Years of Solitude

My book group is reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — with an end date coming up in June.

Outlander Book Club’s group read of One Hundred Years of Solitude continues — although I’m not sure how long I’m going to last. I read about 50% of this book 20 years ago, and always swore I’d go back to it. Well, now I’m at about 50% again, and I’m just not having fun. Trying to stick it out…

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 4/10/2017

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life:

Tonight is Passover! It’s actually one of my very favorite holidays — and I’m super excited that we’re doing our own Seder at home this year.

What did I read last week?

Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey: I absolutely LOVE this series so far! Caliban’s War is the 2nd book in the Expanse series (now an awesome TV series on Syfy), and I’m just blown away by how intense the storyline is while also keeping the characters relatable and exciting. Can’t wait to start #3 — although I’m going to make myself read a few other things before diving back in.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour: A sad, powerful young adult novel about family, love, and friends. Excellent use of San Francisco (and especially Ocean Beach) as a setting!

I also read one novella:

Openly, Honestly by Bill Konigsberg: A touching, funny little novella that takes place between the events of the excellent YA/LGBT-themed novel Openly Straight (review) and the new follow-up novel, Honestly Ben. (See below…)

Fresh Catch:

Fun stuff this week:

It’s the newest volume of Saga, and an (unofficial) Hogwarts Haggadah! I don’t think my family will actually be using the Hogwarts Haggadah at our Seder, but it’s definitely fun to look at.

Also, Mira Grant’s newest novella was released this week, and I’m so excited!!!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg: Just starting, but it’s good!

Now playing via audiobook:

My Hamilton obsession is in full swing! I’ve been listening to the soundtrack over and over, and finally decided to get serious and listen to the audiobook version of Ron Chernow’s biography. It’s a looooong audiobook (36 hours), so we’ll see if I can really stick with it.

Ongoing reads:

MOBYOne Hundred Years of Solitude

My book group is reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — with an end date coming up in June.

Outlander Book Club’s group read of One Hundred Years of Solitude continues! We’re discussing one chapter per week.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 4/3/2017

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life:

I’m back! I spent the past week in Florida, both vacationing (hello, Universal Studios!) and visiting family. All in all, fun – but exhausting. But hey, I did manage to read a lot!

What did I read last week?

Two novels:

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty: Awesome science fiction! My review is here.

Unequal Affection by Lara S. Ormiston: A terrific Pride and Prejudice retelling. My review is here.

And two novellas:

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant: Horror with mermaids! My review is here.

Give In To the Feeling by Sarah Zama: Supernatural doings in a 1920s Chicago speakeasy. Check it out here.

Pop culture goodness:

During the family portion of our trip, my son and I found ourselves with time on our hands in the evenings, so here’s how we entertained ourselves:

I also watched this on one of our flights (hurray for Amazon Video downloads), and thought it was one of the best movies I’ve seen all year:

Fresh Catch:

I treated myself to this gorgeous edition of Pride and Prejudice:

This picture doesn’t actually do the book justice: It’s a beautiful hardcover edition, with fancy edges and amazing illustrations throughout. Definitely something to savor and treasure!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey: I’m reading the 2nd book of the Expanse series, and loving it! And PS – who else was thrilled to hear this week that the Syfy series based on these books has been renewed for a 3rd season?

Now playing via audiobook:

Since I was away, I ditched audiobooks for the week and listened to this instead:

But now I need to decide on a new audiobook as I move back into my daily routine.

Ongoing reads:

MOBYOne Hundred Years of Solitude

My book group is reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — with an end date coming up in June.

Outlander Book Club’s group read of One Hundred Years of Solitude continues! We’re discussing one chapter per week.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 3/27/2017

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life:

A blogging note: I’m away this week, and will probably only be checking in here sporadically. I hope to get a lot of great reading in, so I’ll have lots to share next week!

What did I read last week?

Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor: The 2nd Binti novella is just as amazing as the first.

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry: A terrific book group pick! My thoughts are here.

Pop culture goodness:

Season 2 of The Magicians (Syfy) has been consistently awesome — and I think the show hit a new high note (pun intended) with this past week’s outstanding episode, including this scene that had me giggling with delight:

The Magicians: One Day More

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

I’m juggling two books right now — one paper and one on my Kindle:

  • Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty: Science fiction about murdered clones on a spaceship. Awesome, right?
  • Unequal Affection by Lara S. Ormiston: A Pride and Prejudice retelling, which starts right after the scene of Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth and ponders what might have happened if Elizabeth had said yes.
Now playing via audiobook:

West with the Night by Beryl Markham: I listened to about a third before leaving on my trip. I’ll either continue when I get home, or (more likely) switch over to print. Meanwhile, I’ve been spending more of my listening time on this, rather than audiobooks:

I have to be ready for when I see the show in May!

Ongoing reads:

MOBYOne Hundred Years of Solitude

My book group is reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — with an end date coming up in June.

Outlander Book Club’s group read of One Hundred Years of Solitude continues! We’re discussing one chapter per week.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 3/20/2017

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life:

A blogging note: I’ll be out of town for a week starting next Saturday, so I may or may not keep up with my usual weekly blogging schedule. Let’s play it by ear, shall we?

What did I read last week?

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs: I LOVED the newest Mercy Thompson book! My review is here.

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor: This brief novel is a look at the loneliness of aging, as seen through the eyes of a strong woman who moves into a retirement hotel to live out her remaining days. Very sad and sweet, and beautifully written. My review is here.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor: An amazing sci-fi novella! Loved it.

In audiobooks…

Imprudence by Gail Carriger: I finished the 2nd book in the Custard Protocol series — and now what am I supposed to do? I love the series so far, but alas! Book #3 is probably a year away, and I can’t stand having to wait. Terrific series, and the audiobooks are just such fun.

Fresh Catch:

I rediscovered a childhood favorite — check out my post, here.

And I splurged on sci-fi this week, treating myself to four books I’d really been wanting:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

I’m just finishing up the 2nd Binti book, and then I’ll be starting The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry, which is a book club book for this month.

Now playing via audiobook:

West with the Night by Beryl Markham: Changing things up a bit with this classic autobiography. My book club will be discussing this book in April, so I thought I’d get a head start with the audiobook.

Ongoing reads:

MOBYOne Hundred Years of Solitude

My book group is reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — with an end date coming up in June.

It’s week #6 of Outlander Book Club’s group read of One Hundred Years of Solitude. I’m lagging a bit behind, and may hold off a bit, then do a reading binge.

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 3/13/2017

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

What did I read last week?

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik: My review is here.

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire: DNFd at 50%. Such a disappointment! The premise of this ghost story sounded great to me, but frankly, I just found myself bored and realized I was forcing myself to continue. I finally threw in the towel. (You know DNFing is the right choice when you feel not the slightest curiosity afterward about what you might have missed.)

Fresh Catch:

THE NEW MERCY BOOK IS HERE!!!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

It’s all about Mercy! I finally was able to spend some quality time with Silence Fallen this past weekend, and hope to finish in the next day or so.

Now playing via audiobook:

imprudence

Imprudence by Gail Carriger: To put it simply, I adore this series! I’m about halfway through my audiobook listen of Imprudence. Soooooo much fun!

Ongoing reads:

MOBYOne Hundred Years of Solitude

My book group is reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — with an end date coming up in June.

It’s week #5 of Outlander Book Club’s group read of One Hundred Years of Solitude. If you’d like to join in, just ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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The Monday Check-In ~ 3/6/2017

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

What did I read last week?

smell-of-other-peoples-housesnext-year-for-sure

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock: Just beautiful. My review is here.

Next Year For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson: Unusual and entertaining. My review is here.

prudence

In audiobooks, I finished the utterly delightful Prudence by Gail Carriger. Sheer silly fun — just as I’ve come to expect from Gail Carriger’s books.

Pop culture goodness:

moonlight

In movies, I finally watched the magnificent Moonlight. It’s a movie that needs time to sink in. I found myself thinking about it all night after watching it, as small moments clicked into place for me. Powerful and beautifully made — watch it.

Fresh Catch:

One new book, for an upcoming blog tour:

all-summer-long

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 river-at-night

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

Now playing via audiobook:

imprudence

Imprudence by Gail Carriger: Well, of course I’m going to listen to Imprudence next! I’m excited to start book #2 of the Custard Protocol series — although I’m dreading the letdown that will inevitably follow once I finish and have to wait for the release of book #3.

Ongoing reads:

MOBYOne Hundred Years of Solitude

My book group is reading and discussing Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon — 2 chapters per week — with an end date coming up in June.

It’s week #4 of Outlander Book Club’s group read of One Hundred Years of Solitude. If you’d like to join in, just ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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