26 December 2016

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: Year-End Musings & 4 Short Reviews

Hope you had a lovely weekend with friends and family. If you were celebrating a gift-giving holiday, hope you received or gave some bookish gifts, or at least has some time to read.

Books in 2017

Now that we're entering the final week of the year, I've been thinking about my book goals for 2017 -- that is, those besides the general idea of reading all the books.

I don't actually have any specific resolutions, but I know I'd like to read more short stories and perhaps more books in translation. I also want to get back to reviewing books here on the blog. I purposely took some time off writing long reviews because I wanted to find a fresh perspective and to regain my enthusiasm. I think my review mojo is back.

Every year I start off determined to keep better statistics on my reading, especially in the area of diversity. My thought is this: I want to read as usual for the first half the year to see where my normal reading habits take me. Then, based on what I discover about my reading life, make some goals for the rest of the year. Maybe by summer I'll have a clearer idea of what diversity means to me.

What I've Read/Listened To

4 short book reviews
  • Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman & read by Cassandra Campbell (Random House Audio; 25 hr, 10 min): I love Colette's writing and this well-written and detailed biography was an eye-opener. Although I learned some disturbing things about her, I also learned there was still much to admire about Colette. Although Campbell's narration was engaging and her accents seemed authentic to me, I ended up switching to print to finish the book. Thurman provides so much information, some of it tangential to Colette's life, that I was happy to have the option to do a bit of skimming. Still, the biography is worth the read.
  • Falling over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick & read by Miriam Volle (Scholastic Audio; 5 hr, 46 min): This is the story of 13-year-old Claire who must learn how to reconnect with her father after he suffers a stroke, although he is still a young man. At the same time, Claire is finding a way to survive eighth grade -- frenemies and all. Volle brought out the emotional core of this novel, though sometimes her voice sounded a little young for a middle school student. Highly recommended.
  • Bellevue by David Oshinsky & read by Fred Sanders (Random House Audio; 14 hr 41 min): This is so much more than the history of one of the oldest hospitals in the United States; it's really the story of the country, of New York City, of the medical profession, of specific diseases, and more. If you watched the HBO series The Knick, you'll recognize some of the personalities and events. Sanders kept my interest throughout, reading with expression and enthusiasm. This book is absolutely fascinating and hard to stop listening to.
  • Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio (Quirk Books): This beautifully designed book with lots of fun graphics was joy to read. You don't have to be a middle grade reader to fall for Warren and his desire to save his beloved family hotel (and home) from the clutches of his evil step-aunt. Fun and creepy creatures and people, great art, and a good adventure and mystery. I can't wait to read the second book.
What's Up This Week

Yikes! I don't know. I hope to take it easy this week. The plan is to work in the mornings and to read for pleasure in the afternoons, but we'll see if my workload will allow that. In any case, I'll have a photograph on Wednesday and a Weekend Cooking post on Saturday. Other than that, I'm not promising anything.


rhapsodyinbooks 12/26/16, 7:30 AM  

I really like listening, but if that's what I mostly did, I'd have about only 10 books read all year! It takes me a long time to listen. Maybe because I only do it in the car....

Tina 12/26/16, 8:13 AM  

If we need up moving farther away from work. I will be listening to books too. My husband will retire in under a year and we want to move our in a quieter area. We used to be very rural but Tallahassee is catching up to us, sadly.

Looking forward to a new year of books and plans!

Sarah's Book Shelves 12/26/16, 8:15 AM  

I love your idea of just reading like normal for the first half of the year and then setting some goals based on that. I've already done my 2017 goals, but may do a mid-year stats check-up to reassess.

bermudaonion 12/26/16, 8:43 AM  

We've got company and things will be busy at the store so I won't be taking it easy, except for on the blog. Listening has kept me going through the holidays.

Tara 12/26/16, 8:48 AM  

Falling Over Sideways sounds like a good one and a great audio book selection; thanks for the recommendation! Hope you have a great week!

Laurel-Rain Snow 12/26/16, 9:19 AM  

I like your plan of reading normally and taking a look at what you want to do in the second half of the year.

I am intrigued by the Colette book...I'll be watching for your review.

Thanks for sharing...and have a great week! Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

Susie | Novel Visits 12/26/16, 9:25 AM  

Two of the books on your mini-reviews sound great to me, Bellevue and Falling Over Sideways. I've been wanting to try Audible again on my commute. I just might need to pick up one of those. Thanks!

Kathy Martin 12/26/16, 9:53 AM  

My 2017 goal is similar to yours. I want to read all the books too. I'd also like to lower my TBR mountains prior to moving and weed through books I've kept and donate ones I don't think I'll ever read again. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

Kathryn T 12/26/16, 1:16 PM  

Whatever your goals I hope the reading is great. Yes it is hard to maintain review mojo, I feel some staleness myself at the moment.
Have been meaning to drop a comment for weeks to say how much I enjoyed the audiobook online presentation. Thank you for your part.

westmetromommy 12/26/16, 3:21 PM  

I'm still working on my 2017 reading goals. Beyond the Goodreads challenge and making a dent in my TBR, I'm not sure what they will be. Once 2016 is well and done with, I'll look through my reading stats and go from there.

Iliana 12/26/16, 8:46 PM  

I don't typically have major reading goals either but like you, I'd like to add more short stories to my book stacks. Hope you have a lovely week and are able to squeeze in some fun reading time.

Kailana 12/27/16, 9:11 AM  

I decided to take the week off blogging to get ready for the year end type posts. :) And the usual add to my wish list spree... lol

Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf 12/27/16, 11:53 AM  

Keeping better statistics is definitely one of my goals in 2017!

Jane @ www.raincitylibrarian.ca 12/27/16, 11:41 PM  

I like these kinds of reading goals, goals that encourage me to read more broadly and diversely, and which encourage me to broaden my horizons. Goals that are just numbers (read 50 books) don't interest me, because they make reading feel too much like a chore or duty, and take some of the fun out of the experience for me!

Unknown 12/29/16, 2:43 PM  

I've had a peaceful week, prepping myself for some goals and searching for my one word for 2017. Trying to revive my blog, and reviews.
I love your thoughts on Bellevue, and I enjoy books like this. Thinking I'll be listening to this one soon.

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