After the disappearance…

Having a job that is mentally challenging consumed all the time and energy that I used to spend on reading and creative projects. I decided to try getting back after a long period of hiatus.

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I have a lot of work to do with clearing out my reading lists. I’ve reached a point where I don’t even remember what books I started reading or what they are all about! So sure, with some I have the bookmarks and the number of the page I last opened but all this has kept me wondering that maybe it’s time for a clean slate.

I stopped with the reading altogether when reading started to feel like running with no end in sight. I was left with anything else being a more appealing option than reading a book. And that is simply sad since all I need to do is turn around the room and I can see books that I was happy and dancing with joy at the thought of reading them when I got them. That desire is still there.

So what went wrong?

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One major thing I decided to do this year is to stop trying to finish the books that make me feel bad in any way. Keeping to reading a book that is not sitting well with me out of some silly notion that I must not quit is doing me some serious harm.

I get very emotional in my reading and while some stories inspire me; some others just drag me down and make me emotionally depleted. I had no will to read, no books to write about and no energy to create content or even talk about books in general.

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Before I can decide to focus on all the books I love I need to do some clearing of the books I’m stuck on.

Last four books I’ve kept on my Currently reading shelf on Goodreads without making any progress for months on are:

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The Joke by Milan Kundera

There is nothing funny about this book. Especially if you ever lived in a country where telling a bad joke to a wrong person can get you incarcerated. I remember watching a movie based on one of other Milan Kundera’s works The Unbearable Lightness of Being. All I remember of it is the unbearably anemic scenography and a boring plot. This was one of the last books I picked up for my reading club in August last year I think. And it was the last one since then because I went on a hiatus form the book club as well. I’m well over two thirds in and I just cant stand the characters or the themes in the book. I’m officially putting and end to it and letting it go.

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Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics

by Erich Fromm

This one has gone on for well over a year. Truth be told I can’t even remember the last time I picked it up. This one might stay since the problem was not in the reading experience. The problem is being concentrated and having the time to read it without rush. If I’m willing to make changes to my reading in general then this might prove to be a rewarding experience in the end. I must make a triage of the books I like the thought of reading and the books I actually want to read. This one is somewhere in the middle.

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Serpent’s Kiss (Elder Races #2) by Thea Harrison

I generally like the UF genre but this book is going back to the shelf. While I liked the first book of the series and the writing style in general the characters in this one have left me disinterested. I might go back to it in some other time in my life.

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The All Souls Complete Trilogy:

A Discovery of Witches is only the beginning of the story

(All Souls Trilogy #1-3) by Deborah Harkness

I have so many great books I’m looking forward to on my shelves and after I watched the first season of the series I had to read this one again just to compare it to the show. While i liked the first book of the trilogy I never picked up the other two. After getting a Kindle for present and having issues with buying the translated edition I wanted I got this trilogy as a bundle combo on Kindle. This is the only book of all those above I’m actually reading. i’m reading it before bedtime sometimes when I can’t fall asleep and I’m taking my damn time with it.

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I realized that I need to be honest with myself about my reading needs and interests. Conserving my emotional and creative energy takes precedence over finishing a book that makes me struggle and brings me no joy. This does not mean I will give up on books as soon as I have problems with it. It means I will consider my issues with the book in question more seriously and not pin it on the quitting shame.

I do this in hope to have more exciting reading moments in 2019.

Happy New Year in reading and all the best!

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August Book a Day overview

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Here is the complete list of all the books I’ve covered in this year’s August Book a Day countdown. All the books I’ve posted about were books I’ve read for a book club reading. I used this opportunity to evaluate my book club experience for the last four years. These are only some of the books from the long list of books I’ve read for the book club and the whole list is a lot longer since for the last few years I was a part of more than one book reading groups.

  1. Book a Day – Middlesex
  2. Book a Day – Blindness
  3. Book a Day – Bonjour tristesse
  4. Book a Day – Unterstadt
  5. Book a Day – Frankenstein
  6. Book a Day – The Uncommon Reader
  7. Book a Day – Little Women
  8. Book a Day – Soumission
  9. Book a Day – Lord of the Flies
  10. Book a Day – Women Who Run With the Wolves
  11. Book a Day – Norwegian Wood
  12. Book a Day – A Christmas Carol
  13. Book a Day – Steppenwolf
  14. Book a Day – Factotum
  15. Book a Day – The Shadow of The Wind
  16. Book a Day – Cosmétique de l’ennemi
  17. Book a Day – La Dame aux Camélias
  18. Book a Day – Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  19. Book a Day – Cat’s Cradle
  20. Book a Day – The Elegance of the Hedgehog
  21. Book a Day – A Brief History of Time
  22. Book a Day – A Mercy
  23. Book a Day – The Turn of the Screw
  24. Book a Day – Mrs Dalloway
  25. Book a Day – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
  26. Book a Day – The Circle
  27. Book a Day – Therese Raquin
  28. Book a Day – And the Mountains Echoed
  29. Book a Day – To Kill a Mockingbird
  30. Book a Day – Bizarij
  31. Book a Day – A Doll’s House

I will soon have to make a short pause from my book club activities due to some work related obligations. While most of these books I would not pick for myself I’m glad I had the opportunity to read them and discuss them in good company. Book club groups are a treasure and a source of good friends and good books. I deeply recommend this experience to every reader out there!

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Book a Day – A Doll’s House

Book a Day I read because of my reading club – August 2018

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I decided to finish my August Book a Day journey with one rather recent book my book club read – A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. This was our book for May this year. We try to be careful with books that are required reading in schools. Those are not always available when students need them.

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We were very active during our meeting and debated on life choices women face regarding family and work. Expectations and realities crashed. At one point we even dubbed Nora, the main character, a gold digger! This book stuck out as one of the most thought inspiring for me from all the recent book club reading choices.

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The reason I picked this book to talk about last is the sense of promise and possibility it made me feel at the end. I decidedly enjoyed reading this book and found it to be very optimistic. This stuck out even more when we discussed how the book was received trough the years.

Book a Day – Bizarij

Book a Day I read because of my reading club – August 2018

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Bizarij by Jasna Horvat was the book I read for my very first book club meeting. I do not read Croatian authors often and this was an excellent opportunity to pick up the slack. The title of the book translates into “bizarre” and it deals with some little known historical details and quirks of real people from the past. I wanted to fit in so I made an effort with this book.

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I was pleasantly surprised with the topic. It is a string of chapters where each is based on an actual person or time in the history of my hometown Osijek. I feel like I need to point out that the first time Osijek was mentioned in historical documents was over 800 years ago. We also have a lot of old local historical sites from the times of ancient Rome and the city of Mursa that used to be here.

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And just little to the east there are excavations that date around 3000 years BC. A lot of interesting history to learn about indeed. We were all kinda shamed for all the things we did not really know about. The author Jasna Horvat tends to dip all of her books with themes inspired with history and real past events.

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The Excavations of Roman city of Mursa in the park in front of the city hospital in Osijek

I remember it was a meeting at the start of October in 2015. It was also a first meeting for one other book club member I later got really close to. I have fond memories of this book and my introduction to the book club.

Book a Day – To Kill a Mockingbird

Book a Day I read because of my reading club – August 2018

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One of the book we read in April 2015 was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. At the time the author had only recently published another book with the title: Go Set a Watchman. These books are connected by plot but I’m still somewhat confused as to which book was supposed to be the first one chronologically.

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While the book was mostly easy to read the themes were quite serious and relevant today so we had no choice but to get a lot of cookies and sweets while we were busy debating. The topic we were especially reflecting on were the parenting skills of the main character.

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I found come characters endearing but I was not pleased with the tone of the book. It reminded me of style of Mark Twain which I don’t like. While the book has a certain value it was not one I enjoyed reading.

Book a Day – And the Mountains Echoed

Book a Day I read because of my reading club – August 2018

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I enjoy it when readers from my book club suggest a book by an author I have not read. This way I have a reason to venture out of my reading comfort zone more. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini was a book we read for May 2016.

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I read the Croatian translation and was actually pleased with it. The story was bittersweet as is much of the authors opus as I’ve learned at our meeting. The tale twisting on how our choices affect us and those close to us was something we all agreed was expertly written.

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There was much sadness and tragedy in the book but there was hope also. Our thought on the book were mostly positive but some readers who are fans of the author decidedly commented that this was not his most representative work.