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Reading check ins 2020 > Week 30 Check In

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message 1: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 877 comments Mod
Hi everyone,

Been struggling with a migraine on and off all week, or perhaps a combination of regular headaches and migraines. Sucky!

Hope everyone else is hanging in there alright

This week I finished:

Untamed - I ended up liking this more than I expected. I still feel like a lot of the language was more flowery than I really liked. but there was a lot of good advice if you can sift through that.

Phoenix and Ashes- Started reading a really depressing book and just needed a break with my migraine and everything, Hadn't read it in a while, I really enjoyed this version of Cinderella.

Spinning Silver - still wasn't ready to face anything too intense so another re-read

Wave - this was the really depressing book, using for Read Harder's book about a natural disaster. It's a memoir of a woman who survived the 2004 Sri Lankan tsunami, but lost her parents, husband and both her children in it. It was just heartbreaking to read what she went through and all her battles to try to pull a life back together after losing so much.

currently reading:

To Be Taught, If Fortunate - bit of a break after that last one

How to Be an Antiracist - another challenging read, but important I think.

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights - popsugar book with 20 in the title. I'm doing this in audio book, hopefully can finish this weekend. I admit i'm not really loving it. There's nothing really wrong with it per se, it just doesn't really make me want to know what happens next and it's easy for my mind to wander as I'm listening.


I'll borrow from popsugar because it was a fun question.

A lot of readers learn words through reading, but don't know how to say them because they've not heard them spoken. Are there particular words like that for any of you?

I have so many! A few of the worst were ingenue, colonel (seriously, where does r sound come from?) , supercilious (I still won't actually attempt to say that, i've heard it said and I just cant' wrap my mouth around it). My husband is always correcting me and it kinda drives me nuts because it's like "YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN" haha.

message 2: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 163 comments I hope you feel better soon, Sheri!

I only read one book this week: Einstein and the Quantum: The Quest of the Valiant Swabian. The book's thesis is basically that Einstein's contributions to the early development of quantum mechanics were more significant than is often acknowledged, now lost in a sort of revisionist history to which he himself contributed due his own later dissatisfaction with the progression of the theory. I was concerned that this was going to be very "Einstein did everything he is the greatest!!!11!1!" but it mostly wasn't; it did discuss the other major contributors to statistical and quantum mechanics who were his contemporaries.

QOTW: The one that comes to mind is segue. You made me nervous about supercilious - I had to go look it up to make sure I hadn't been embarrassing myself.

message 3: by Jen (last edited Jul 24, 2020 11:15AM) (new)

Jen (piratenami) | 220 comments Last week I finished Peace Talks. Honestly, probably one of the weaker entries in the series, just because it's part 1 of a longer story. Thankfully, part 2 comes out in just about 2 months. It was great seeing old friends, since it's been at least five years since the previous book, but overall, I think we really need part 2 for this one to shine.

I'm actually in the middle of reading three books, a rarity for me.

On audio, I've been listening to Kingdom of Needle and Bone while working. Seanan McGuire's books as Mira Grant are always well-researched, but this is really, eerily reminiscent of current events, almost terrifyingly so. This is going to be my Popsugar medical thriller. Thankfully, the other two books I have going are lighter, when I need a break from this one.

I started reading Twenties Girl in the lull after Peace Talks. It's cute so far, but I kind of cringe in embarrassment at what a fool her heroine makes of herself, admittedly with help from a ghost. That's going to be my Popsugar book with "20" or "twenty" in the title.

I had to put it aside temporarily, though, when A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking came out. It's a new T. Kingfisher, and, I mean, that title! I am loving it so far. Putting it in my challenge as my Popsugar book you picked because the title caught your attention.

QOTW: I'm sure there are many I can't think of right now, but the one I'll always remember is "gilt" or "gilded" because it was the first word I had to go look up in a dictionary when it came up in a Mercedes Lackey novel. That's not exactly a hard one to pronounce, though. For me, it's most often made-up names or names from unfamiliar cultures, especially in fantasy/sci-fi. Audiobooks help a lot with that, though, when they're available.

message 4: by Daniele (new)

Daniele Powell (danielepowell) | 165 comments Easy summer reading for me this week:

Two Kathy Reichs, Deadly Decisions and Fatal Voyage, which I slotted into the Hufflepuff/Poppy Pomfrey/medical profession and Ravenclaw/Myrtle Warren/about a murder prompts. Deadly Decisions bugged me because I felt it needed editing by a French speaker: there were a bunch of little bugs that slipped through that a Montrealer would have caught, something that I didn't notice in her first two novels. Other than that, lively paced stories but, ultimately, books that will get donated back to fundraising book fairs if ever that part of normality ever resumes.

Redwall to fill the most difficult prompt of the One PHRC challenge, Hufflepuff/Badger/book with a badger on the cover! It was a decent enough story, without any great surprises. I'm a bit flabbergasted at the reviews on here, though, particularly those who either felt it was too simplistic (it's a middle grade story, not LOTR!) or couldn't get a handle on the scale of things or get over the fact there didn't seem to be any people in this universe, both of which made me understand the concept of "centering" a bit better!


QOTW: When I was a teen, it was "awry" (thanks for setting me straight, Dad!) The latest was probably "heathen", which I always heard in my head like "heather" with an n at the end, never making the connection with "heath".

Then there's the words I didn't realize were pronounced differently in AmE and BrE until I listened to audiobooks read by British narrators, like "shone" and "Islington"!

message 5: by Shel (last edited Jul 24, 2020 06:07PM) (new)

Shel (shel99) | 270 comments Mod
So, I was so excited to finally get Space Opera on library loan...and I have to say, I'm struggling with it. I've made it up to chapter 11 or so, and every time I have some free time when I would normally sit down with a book, I find myself playing phone games instead. I'm bummed, because I REALLY loved the two other books of Valente's that I've read (Palimpsest and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making) and I expected to love this one too. But I keep getting lost in the convoluted sentences and losing track of what she's saying. Maybe I will try it again at a time when I'm not under so much mental strain and be able to follow it better, but I think I'm probably going to put it aside for now.

I did finish reading The Sea of Monsters with my son, and we loved it and promptly started The Titan's Curse.

QOTW: I still have to stop and think before pronouncing "melancholy" and "annihilation" because I said them to myself incorrectly for so many years. They're not really words that come up much in casual conversation!

message 6: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 877 comments Mod
No worries Shel, I think a lot of us didn’t really love it as much as we expected. I finished it ok, but it did leave me feeling a little flat. I’d be amused by the long convoluted sentences but the story wasn’t super cohesive.

message 7: by Shel (new)

Shel (shel99) | 270 comments Mod
Glad I’m not alone there!

message 8: by Daniele (new)

Daniele Powell (danielepowell) | 165 comments I haven't gotten around to Space Opera myself, but I feel you.

I'm dealing with a book of short stories by an author who enjoys long, convoluted sentences. Mind you, French finds comma splices acceptable and she's doing it for effect, an effect that is made clear later in the story, but...

The third sentence of the very first story is 142 words!

message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan LoVerso | 297 comments It has been a couple weeks since I last checked in. I've been catching up on a couple magazines I still get in paper form so I don't have any finishes.

I'm still listening to Abaddon's Gate. I am about 12 hours into this 18 hours audiobook. It is tracking the TV show pretty well. I feel both are well done.

Although I still have Brothers K in progress I haven't touched it in a couple weeks. In the meantime, I finally went through our family room book shelves and donated a ton of books. One I intend to donate but caught my eye was The Cardinal Sins. It is short and I'm reading that right now.

QOTW: I cannot think of any examples right now, but I'm sure I have some words. Lately I've been definitely having the exact opposite happen to me as I've been listening to audiobooks. I've been hearing words but then I'm really surprised when I see them written that they are not spelled the way I spelled them in my head. Two recent examples are both from John Scalzi books. "Haden" syndrome in my head should be "Hayden". And I didn't actually have a spelling, but The Last Emperox was not how I thought emperox would be spelled.

message 10: by CJ (new)

CJ I finished three different books this week, go me!

The Making of a Saint: The Life, Times and Sanctification of Neophytos the Recluse is an academic book that's pretty generally accessible. It's a topic I wrote my undergrad dissertation on, but I didn't read much at the time. Of interest on the topics of 11th-13th Century Cyprus, Byzantine sainthood and hagiography, Orthodox Christian stuff in general. I found it fascinating but slow going.

Redshirts I listened to the audio of, which was fun, but did throw up some writing tics that probably wouldn't have annoyed me in written form. I really enjoyed the story, the Star Trek references. And the unexpected appendices, which were fun.

The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 I found this when I was helping my mum organise her massive TBR pile. The cover mentioned it was like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which I enjoyed despite the melancholy. Frank Derrick though just wasn't the same. There was very little drive towards an end. It's sort of an interesting look at loneliness and ageing in a small UK seaside town if you're into that sort of thing. I've decided I'm not.

I'm part way through listening to The Constant Rabbit. I was planning to diversify my audio listening, but I realised this way I didn't have to wait for the paperback to come out. It's fun so far, I'm sort of waiting for a twist I feel like is pending.

QOTW: I'm sure I learned a lot of words via reading since I've always been a voracious reader and was constantly above my presumed reading age. Mostly I wasn't bad at figuring out how they sounded. Even the long ones. For some reason though I was convinced mage was pronounced madgee for a long time. I have no idea why. I'm sure there are lots more, but that's the one I remember. Thankfully I heard someone say it before I tried saying it aloud myself.

message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan LoVerso | 297 comments CJ, Redshirts was my gateway book to John Scalzi. I've enjoyed all that I've heard. And for some reason I have only listened to his work as audiobooks, never read in print. Of the several, my favorites are Lock In and the Interdependency series. I have not yet gotten to hear The Last Emperox.

message 12: by CJ (new)

CJ Susan, I've read Old Man's War (although only the first of the series), so I knew I liked Scalzi's writing. And now I've seen all of TOS Star Trek I figured I was safe to read Redshirts without spoilers!

I'm relatively new to audiobooks of long-form works I haven't already read. I doubt it's going to become my norm, I'm definitely finding myself better with written info than heard info.

message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Pace (space1138) | 127 comments Oh yikes, when was the last time I checked in??? I'm still not working, but am managing to be slammed with life in general, all the same. Part of it is the fellows program that I'm working on right now- for which I'm doing a ton of reading, but not really anything that I can discuss on here. On the leisure reading side however, I am still managing to get at least a bit of progress made.

I'm currently working on Caliban's War which I am absolutely loving, so far! I plan to read up until book 4, and then I need to do some thinking and soul searching: I've really enjoyed watching The Expanse TV series, so the question is, do I want to read or watch the plot as it unfolds for the first time? I will most likely end up caving and reading the books first, but I've never found a screen adaptation of a book/series that's been well enough done to prompt this question. It's a rather odd feeling.

I also managed to read Circe a few weeks back and was unfortunately rather underwhelmed, following sooooo many glowing recommendations. I loved the how lush and lyrical the descriptive language was, making for a wonderfully escapist adaptation of the Odysseus myth, which I think is what many people really loved about it. The characters kinda killed it for me though. Every one was mean, petty, narcissistic, and/or spiteful (which is admittedly pretty accurate for the Greek pantheon), and it just wound up being emotionally draining to read, especially during this weird season of life.

I'm in line on the library holds list for The Fifth Season, which has been in my TBR pile for quite awhile. I'm looking forward to discussing it!

QOTW - All. The. Time. This is doubly true with proper names and place names. I've gotten into conversations with people about a book point and had no earthly idea what they were referring to, as their pronunciation was so radically different from mine.

In particular, I tend to do a lot of reversing of letters and sounds, which I always thought was just a weird quirk, until it was pointed out to me by a knowledgeable source that I actually have a number of the markers that could point to un-diagnosed high-functioning dyslexia (which would explain a LOT!).

message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan LoVerso | 297 comments @sarah I am one book ahead of you. I have 3 hours left in book 3, Abaddon's Gate. I have seen all of the TV shows. When I saw your post I had a discussion with my husband who has read all of the books. He suggests if you want to pause to do it at the end of Book 4. He says that is a good story that has an ending that makes a good break and it tracks most of season 4 pretty well so you'll be satisfied in that way too.

message 15: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Pace (space1138) | 127 comments @susan, thanks so much for the advice! I’ll definitely keep it mind. My reading time is so filled with class stuff right now, that it’s super good to know that there is a natural stopping point, too.

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