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Reading check ins 2020 > Week 4 Check in

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message 1: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 817 comments Mod
Hi everyone!

Another week, another check in. At least the sun's setting at 5:30 now, so there's a sliver of light left in the evenings.

This week I finished:

The Outlaw Demon Wails - Hallows re-read

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters - this is my popsugar book with more than 20 letters in the title. I liked this, but not as much as her previous book, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows. I liked that it was a book focused primarily on the relationship of sisters. They were well fleshed out characters, and there was a lot of information of Indian culture. There was just a lot of heavy handed foreshadowing/hint dropping that took pages and pages to resolve. I like foreshadowing to be so subtle that you don't necessarily grasp it until the big reveal happens, and then you look back and see all the signs pointing right at it. Having dangling hints just annoys me, either tell me what is going on or let it unfold naturally. It just felt weird. Some of the thoughts of the characters were being written out, but dancing around whatever dramatic thing is supposed to be revealed. It just was frustrating at times.

Strange Practice - popsugar medical thriller. I really enjoyed this one! I don't really love medical thrillers, but this one had a supernatural bent that was pretty cool. Greta Helsing is a doctor to the undead/supernatural, and she gets caught up in a spate of killings, where one of her clients was attacked but she saves him. This gets her caught up in the search for what happens, and her medical background is what helps piece the mystery together. One of the things I appreciate was that it made it clear why SHE was involved, rather than the authorities. It was important that regular humanity doesn't find out about the supernatural, and bringing in human authorities into it could lead to exposure. A lot of times in cozy mysteries or other thrillers, a non-policeperson/detective gets so involved in a case it just seems ridiculous that the police involved wouldn't step in and say "hey, you can't be messing in this".

currently reading:

Gideon the Ninth - not sure what i'm using this for, picked it up on a whim off the new releases shelf of the library. Possibly the 7 deadly sins prompt, there's a lot of pride involved. I'm really enjoying it so far, lots of snark. I've always been a big fan of sci-fi/fantasy crossovers, for a while it seemed like that sort of thing went out of vogue. This one is full of spaceships and other planets and dark necromancy, it's pretty cool.


I'm sure a lot of us just read where we can, but what's your favorite, ideal reading situation?

For me, I love reading in a totally quiet house, in my recliner, covered in blankets and cats. I'm excited to get my library going in the old master bedroom. More often than not, i'm in a reading mood but my husband's in a gaming mood. It ruins the ambiance to have the tv going. will be nice to have a quiet reading zone! I don't like reading in the bedroom unless i'm pre-bed/nap. I like the bedroom to be primarily for sleeping.

message 2: by Jen (new)

Jen (piratenami) | 185 comments Oh, man, I loved Gideon the Ninth! Eager to hear what you think of it when you're done, Sheri!

Last week, I finished Children of Blood and Bone, which was phenomenal. I mean, I know it's good when I am feeling dread at what's happening, and what's going to happen next. I would say I can't wait to read the sequel, but it's got a 6 month(!) waiting list at the library because they were only allowed to buy 1 e-book copy. I'm using this as my Popsugar book written by an author in their twenties.

I am currently reading The Starless Sea, which, in addition to the book club selection, is my Popsugar book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement. I am really loving this one it so far. I empathize so much with Zachary, and I love getting the gaming references. I already have 17 Kindle highlights at only 22% into the book.

QOTW: Most of my regular reading time is at work. We have a nice big common space with sofas and chairs, so I sit out there and read during lunch. I also sometimes read on my bus commute, but that's with headphones and music on to drown out other people.

My ideal reading situation would also be a quiet house, preferably curled up on the couch with blankets and something to drink. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen very often. My partner is almost always watching TV or playing music on his computer. His mom reads while they watch football and stuff, and I just can't understand how she does it. (I think I am really bad at multi-tasking - if I'm trying to read, my attention has to be on my book or else I'll end up reading whole pages over and over again.)

I don't really like reading in the bedroom, either. I find it difficult to read before sleep, because then I'm always saying, just one more chapter, one more chapter, and then I don't go to sleep.... :) It's bad enough sometimes when my partner listens to audiobooks to get to sleep, and I am too busy paying attention to the story to sleep.

message 3: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jenniferle) | 26 comments This week I finished The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson, a re-read before starting (and finishing) the third book in the Truly Devious trilogy, The Hand on the Wall. I loved it. It tied up all the loose ends, solved all the mysteries, and set the characters off on a good path into the future. I would love more stories in this series, but since that's not likely to happen I'm more than satisfied with where it ends.

I also made more progress on Alexander Hamilton. I feel like I've been reading this book forever because I took such a long break and it's such a long book. I like it, but parts of it do get a bit dry. For 800+ pages, though, the pacing is good and a lot of information gets covered in depth.

Tonight or tomorrow I will be starting The Starless Sea. I'm reading it for our book club, but I also had planned to read it as soon as it was available from my library. I just got it today, so the timing is very good.

QOTW: We have a sectional couch. My favorite spot to read right now is in the corner of the couch. I can curl up or stretch out depending on my mood. And we have what seems like a million blankets nearby, along with throw pillows, so I often make a little nest and read while husband is either on his computer or playing games. It's even better if I have hot tea or a glass of wine depending on my mood. Really, though, I will read anywhere. I've been known to work on my ebooks while in line at the grocery store.

message 4: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 136 comments Hello! I have been in this group for a while, but I don't do reading challenges and haven't really participated much. However, in the spirit of John's recent Epbot post, I'm jumping in!

This week I read The Mad Hatter Mystery by John Dickson Carr. I read a review somewhere suggesting it was a good entry in this series, so I started with the second rather than the first book. It was... fine? I don't think I'll spend much more time with this detective, although The Hollow Man (aka The Three Coffins) has been rated as the all-time best locked room mystery, so I'll get to that eventually. The library doesn't have it, so I'll have to decide whether to pay money or wait a decade for the copyright to expire.

QOTW: I read books almost exclusively at work. That means during lunch and breaks, but also sometimes in the car in the parking lot because I just have to finish... I'm a little afraid that if I read regularly at home I wouldn't ever do anything else and would need to go full Matilda and take a wagon to the library.
I think my ideal reading location would be outside, on my balcony or a similar porch-like location, with a view including trees. The temperature would be perfectly comfortable, the sun would not shine directly on me, and mosquitoes would not exist.

message 5: by Shel (new)

Shel (shel99) | 219 comments My two finishes last week were both nonfiction, totally different topics though. The first was The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt, and maybe I've been living under a rock but I had NO IDEA that they were mother and son! The book is composed of emails that the two of them exchanged over the course of a year as they made a deliberate effort to really communicate in a way that they never had before. It was fascinating, both to witness their dialogue and changing relationship, and also to learn about Vanderbilt's crazy past, which I'd known nothing about (besides the jeans!).

The other book I finished was The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder to help me understand my kiddo better. (anyone else here with a sensory craving child? It's EXHAUSTING sometimes) Anyway, it was an excellent resource and I think I have a better sense of what his needs are and why. Now to corral the husbot into reading it!

My current in-progress book is The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. I've only just started it but am enjoying the Russian atmosphere.

QOTW: curled up on my couch under a blanket with a mug of coffee or tea to hand (I'm an equal opportunity hot beverage consumer - as long as it's warm and comforting I'm happy!). Ideally in the house by myself. Alternately, in the summer, on my lounge chair in the backyard with a cool breeze and no lawnmowers running in the neighborhood.

message 6: by Kathy (last edited Jan 24, 2020 05:07AM) (new)

Kathy Klinich | 110 comments Rebecca wrote: "Hello! I have been in this group for a while, but I don't do reading challenges and haven't really participated much. However, in the spirit of John's recent Epbot post, I'm jumping in!

This week ..."
If your first "posting more" entry includes a line like "go full Matilda" I am looking forward to more!

message 7: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 3 comments Shel wrote: "My current in-progress book is The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. I've only just started it but am enjoying the Russian atmosphere."

I loved that book! Especially the blending of history and folklore. The chilling winter atmosphere is perfect for this time of year. I enjoyed the following two in the trilogy, but they're a little more plot-heavy and less atmospheric, so the first is my favourite!

Last week I finished Strange Planet. I follow the Instagram account so many of the comics weren't new but I find the little alien's perspective on everyday life both hilarious and touching. It is a nice quick feel-good read.

I also read Such a Fun Age. I flew through this book. It is a Reese Witherspoon bookclub pick, and I can see why. It's written in a light, breezy tone but covers heavy themes (motherhood vs work, racism, viral videos, etc) and is full of cultural references. But, I just found the ending lacking. I also struggled to really care about any characters and I usually need that to enjoy a book.

I just started You Were There Too and I have a feeling I'm going to need some tissues; it's already pulling my heartstrings.

QOTW: I discovered my reading happy place last month. First thing in the morning, a quiet house, on the couch with a fuzzy blanket, tea and my dog beside me, reading by the glow of the Christmas tree lights.

message 8: by Dakota (new)

Dakota | 20 comments Shel wrote: "My two finishes last week were both nonfiction, totally different topics though. The first was The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss by [author:Anders..."

Shel, I was recently reading about "vestibular stimulation" (basically making sure the kiddo hangs upside down for about 10 minutes a day, and it helps reset their systems some)... I don't have *any* experience with sensory craving, just a boy who can't. seem. to. sit. down. (def not ADHD, just high energy) and I wonder if it might help you?

message 9: by Dakota (new)

Dakota | 20 comments Rebecca wrote: "Hello! I have been in this group for a while, but I don't do reading challenges and haven't really participated much. However, in the spirit of John's recent Epbot post, I'm jumping in!

This week ..."

*Laughing* I LOVE your description of "going full Matilda." I have to pace myself too... if I get started on a book that I really love, it's hard to set it aside for important things, like... ah, eating, and cooking for the kids, you know. :P

message 10: by Dakota (last edited Jan 24, 2020 11:56AM) (new)

Dakota | 20 comments I am so. ready. for the sun in my part of the world. I really don't mind cold and snow, but constant gray is just depressing... Missoula gets its fair share in the winter months. I got out into the woods last Sunday when it was sunny, but since then it's been a bit gloomy.

This week I received and read Fortitude, written by a Facebook friend of mine, and which I liked well enough. It's a steampunk novel, not self-published, but through a smaller imprint. New Londinium is afflicted with a new brand of "immortality" and Ms Viola Winslow is attempting to solve who is at fault, and rescue her brother, who has been subjected to experiments that left him not quite alive, but not quite dead either. It was a fast-paced book... there's not really any plot holes, but I would have loved some deeper character development and I think there would have been room for it. If anyone would like to read this one, I'd be happy to pass it on via book mail. :)

I am currently reading a book that has been on my "to read" shelf for quite a while, The Thorn Birds. It's really well written (and should be, for an international best seller), but omg, it's so sad! I'm also having to read this one in dribs and drabs, because my week has been a little busy and I'm annoyed by it. I don't like reading multiple books at once, and only do that if I have to.

QOTW: I think my very favorite place to read is curled up in bed, with a comfortable pillow and my cat next to me, and maybe a cup of tea. The next best place is the couch, with a blanket and my cat and a cup of tea. I end up reading in the car a lot though, in between pick up times for the kids (they get out of school at different times) and taking them to their activities.

message 11: by Sarah (last edited Jan 24, 2020 02:06PM) (new)

Sarah Pace (space1138) | 127 comments It perked up above zero here for like two days, snowed, and then it was -11F again this morning. Adding that to the endless dark that is January in Alaska... eesh.

Knocked off The Fort at River's Bend and am most of the way through The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis. This leaves me at 6 down and 3 to go in the Camuloud Chronicles. Epic rereads after so many years are always fun- there's so much I remember, but so much that I've forgotten, too, that it's almost like reading it for the first time in places. It's like "how did I forget that that happened????" Next up, likely getting started tonight, will be Uther. Also currently plotting what to read after the series is finished.

QOTW: like most of you, I can (and will) read pretty much anywhere that I can get away with. My preference is to nest on the far right side of my couch with a blanket, and hopefully a bottle of hard cider or warm mug of cocoa within reach. My shihtzu, Malcom, will usually camp out on my lap, at least for awhile.

message 12: by Shel (new)

Shel (shel99) | 219 comments Dakota wrote: "Shel, I was recently reading about "vestibular stimulation" (basically making sure the kiddo hangs upside down for about 10 minutes a day, and it helps reset their systems some)... I don't have *any* experience with sensory craving, just a boy who can't. seem. to. sit. down. (def not ADHD, just high energy) and I wonder if it might help you?"

He pretty much does that himself :) He is often hanging his head over the side of the couch or his bed with his feet in the air - that's the usual pose for when I'm reading him his bedtime stories! Thanks for the tip! I'm fortunate to have a ton of support from his school...he gets OT twice a week and has movement breaks written into his IEP. His teachers are fantastic. Bringing it back to books -- another one that I found super helpful (because he also is diagnosed ADHD) was Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents. Figured I'd throw it out there in case anyone else has a kid like mine!

message 13: by Daniele (last edited Jan 25, 2020 12:17PM) (new)

Daniele Powell (danielepowell) | 158 comments This week kicked by butt work-wise, so I only completed one light read off my Kindle: The Cat Who Went Bump in the Night, which I got for free from BookBub. Short read (<150 pages), but it felt more like a treatment for a larger novel than the novel itself. Either that or it was a short story that went on for too long. I think I'm just mildly annoyed that the expositional bits that were really interesting were just teasers to set up further books in the series. I've slotted it for the prompt Hufflepuff den/a mystery novel for the time being. 7/60

QOTW: Add me to the recliner/blanket/cat/warm beverage category, although I'm not averse to reading in bed, or in a hammock in the shade when the weather is lovely. I'm a night owl through and through, so reading usually starts after dinner.

message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan LoVerso | 254 comments This week I am still reading (but getting close to finishing) Me. I am really enjoying the memoir, enjoying it more as the book goes on. He really does not hold back discussing his years of addiction. But he discusses things with a very self-deprecating manner. There have been parts where I literally LOL'd which is very rare for me.

Here's one quote where he's discussing renovating Woodside, his home in 1976. "I decided to eschew Regency or Palladian decoration in favour of a style known among interior design specialists as Mid-70s Pop Star on Drugs Goes Berserk."

And later in the same chapter he describes how his grandmother lived in a cottage on the same property with him, but they mostly kept out of each other's lives. She loved puttering around in her garden. One day he was having the Queen Mother over for lunch at his home and he thought it would be hilarious to surprise his grandmother. He just called over to her "Come here, Gran, there's someone who wants to meet you." Needless to say that did not go over well with his grandmother who was furious at him!

I am just at the beginning of the part where Princess Diana died. But if anyone needs a memoir for any challenge, this might be enjoyable.

QOTW: I read in bed, just before I fall asleep. Unless I'm sick, most of the rest of the time, if I'm in the house during the day, I feel there's always something else I can/should be doing. I listen to audiobooks when I walk alone. I enjoy this a lot because I can "read" while getting outdoors and exercise at the same time.

message 15: by Megan (new)

Megan | 236 comments At last check-in, I had picked up The Deal of a Lifetime, which was a strange one - it's really just a short story, but it didn't really come together for me. It seemed like it was supposed to be making some big point, but it just kind of seemed sad and slightly creepy to me - so clearly I am not the intended audience.

I still wanted something short, so I picked up The Mist since I've been on a Stephen King kick lately. It was OK - not his best, but of course still better than the movie.

I was ready for a full-length book again after that, so I read Strangers at the Gate, which I really enjoyed - it's a very well-written mystery that's somewhere between a cozy and a thriller. I'm not sure if it's going to be a series or have a sequel, but I really liked the main character and would love to see where her story goes after the events of the book.

I currently have two books going, because I can't find my paper copy of IRL book club #2's current selection, so I'm listening to Swipe Right for Murder in audio form so I can finish it for Friday's meeting. It's a fun one to listen to, so I'm almost glad to be listening instead of reading - I feel like the dialogue would be overwhelming in written form! It's based on Dial M for Murder, but in present day New York with super rich boarding school kids. I'm about halfway through and really enjoying it.

I'm also reading Along Came a Spider in written form - the movie was on TV a couple weeks ago, and I happened to flip past it and remembered that I enjoyed it back when it came out. The book is so much better - I'm also about halfway through that one, and I really don't know if it's going to go the same way as the movie based on how different it's been so far.

QOTW: I like reading while traveling - airports, planes, waiting rooms, hotels, etc.. I'd usually much rather disappear into a book than be fully present in most of those places. I do read at home, but I actually enjoy interacting with people there, so I tend not to need to check out as much. :)

message 16: by Cara (new)

Cara | 4 comments This week I started on Words of Radiance. It took a long time to become available from my library, but it finally came up. Yay! I know I'm in for quite a while though. So far I have liked it and am happy that it didn't start as slow as The Way of Kings. Last week I read and finished Throne of Glass which is one of those books that I just randomly avoided for a long time for some reason. I wound up liking it quite a bit (though I wish we didn't have to have love triangles so often in books). I also finished Guards! Guards! last week. I had read most of it a few months ago but then it expired from my device and it took me a while to check it out again. It was my first Pratchett, and probably not my last. I enjoyed it, but that particular brand of quirkiness isn't quite my favorite.

message 17: by Sara (new)

Sara Richter | 55 comments Hi all - A little late to starting 2020, but I guess better late than never. I consistently lurked here last year, but didn't hardly post. This year I'm working on the One PHRC Reading Challenge with the intention of only using the books I already own. So many good books just waiting for me on my bookshelves!

So far this month I've read Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do for the Ravenclaw prompt of a book from a celebrity book club's list (Reese Witherspoon picked it). I was disappointed by the execution of the game. The author talks at length about women being the she-fault partner to take care of most domestic/child-related tasks. Then she creates 100 broad tasks that need to get done everyday or regularly and suggests ways to divvy the tasks between partners so that the mental workload/stress is more equitable. While I like the general ideas - designating one person to be in charge of the conception, planning, and execution of each task and establishing minimum standards for some of the tasks - the way she described actually doing it felt too difficult to manage on a day-to-day basis. And some of the ways the tasks were broken out didn't make sense to me. For instance, travel, pets, packing, and unpacking are all separate tasks and should be divided out (tasks should not be split or shared). Why can't we each be responsible for our own packing and unpacking? Why isn't arranging dog boarding while we're on vacation part of the travel planning? IDK, but we will be implementing minimum standards, so at least I had that to take away.

I also read The Alchemist for the Ravenclaw book about an omen or prophesy. I really liked it! For a short book, it described a very long journey and with just enough details. Don't know why I waited so long to read this one.

On audiobooks so far this month I listened to The Kiss Quotient (Slytherin part of a series prompt) and The Book of the Dead (Slytherin book with a dark cover). Kiss Quotient was OK... I understood it, but it felt flat and by the end all of the sex talk was more of a nuisance than steamy. The Book of the Dead is one in a long series of Pendergast novels, all of which I like very much. This one included.

Next up is Grave Secrets while I wait for The Starless Sea and listening to Maisie Dobbs.

QOTW: Add me to the recliner/blankets/warm beverage/cat group, especially on cold weekends and late at night.

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