Reading in March 2017

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This March I avoided making a post about the books I’m in the middle of reading of. Reason is that, while I enjoy reading more than one book at a time this March I have been reading them mostly one by one.

The Tsundoku Project I’m working on with the goal of reading more of the books I already own has given me three options to read this month and I’ve picked not one, but two from the books I’ve pulled out of my TBR jar.

I am in the middle of reading of:

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The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12) by Kim Harrison

As one of the books I pulled out of my TBR jar this one was an easy choice. I’m going trough slowly. Something about getting to the end of the series is making me reluctant to finish it quickly – this is the second to last book of the series!

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Ottoline and the Yellow Cat (Ottoline, #1) by Chris Riddell

I’m reading this series in Croatian translation. For some reason the second book of the series Ottoline goes to School was translated before this one. I loved Ottoline goes to School for it’s lovely illustrations. It reads fast so I’ll probably be over with it by tomorow anyway.

Books I plan to start reading by the end of the month:

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Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden Vol. 01 by Yu Watase

This is a second choice from the TBR jar. It has been a while since I’ve read a graphic novel or a manga. They read fast and I used to enjoy them quite a bit. This one I got years ago on some kind of sale. Usually I’m reluctant to start reading manga series if I don’t have more than one volume ready since I want to keep on reading the story right away if I like them.

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Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1) by Veronica Roth

I’ve been in the mood for some angsty YA drama and this one is close by. It’s new and while I have not read the Divergent series I’m strangely attracted to this one.

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Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan

I’ve actually loaned this book from the library. That was more than two weeks ago. I’ve been inspired by watching k-drama about rich chaebol heirs. Reviews are divided about it and I’m curious.

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The Handmaid’s Tale – Book review

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Finished reading

The Handmaid’s Tale

by Margaret Atwood

★★

Expectation

I was so happy when I found a really cheap Croatian edition of this book last year on a book fair Interliber in Zagreb. The publisher was selling older – and I might add only edition in Croatian language on the market, but the books were totally new and seemed to be pulled out of some warehouse they’ve been locked up for the last thirty years. So I got a new old book! The book and the author intrigued me for a while now and this is the first and only book by Margaret Atwood I’ve read so far.

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Summary

I actually had no idea that the movie already existed. This book is a dystopian vision of the future written in the eighties and is often mentioned alongside Orwell’s 1984. While I was reading the book I was riveted to the pages and I’ve literally read it trough in three days!

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

It has been a while since a book had my attention like this one did. My eyes were glued to the pages. Reading this kind of book from a female narrative left me feeling raw. It was the little things, the emotional tidbits and everyday things most of us take for granted that really got to me.

“Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

For me this book was emotional and mesmerizing. At times it read like a thriller or crime novel and next page was all drama. The translator of Croatian edition used a quite catchy phrase in the commentary on the book: thriller, critique of society and an anxious literary vision.

The trailer for the new TV series that starts by the end of April looks scary. I can’t help but think on author commentary and the fact that Margaret Atwood had some reservations on The Handmaid’s Tale being described as a science fiction. She argued that most of the stuff she wrote about and used in the story were part of the real world at the time when the book was written. I find it scary how believable and plausible the story actually flows from the pages.

Conclusion

I’m glad to have read this book. I will try to watch the TV show but I’m not sure I will like it in such visual form. Some parts were quite brutal and I very much appreciated the perspective form the main character. I felt that there was a buffer trough narrative and the flow of the novel, while still riveting and intense, was much easier to swallow this way.

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Taking on my TBR pile

I am finally set to do something about my pile of TBR (To-Be-Read) books! Big part of the problem are the books I hoarded over time. I believe the Japanese even have a word for this apparently not so uncommon hoarding disorder – tsundoku!

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Mostly all were and are still the books I am genuinely interested in reading. Some of them were collected since they simply fit the profile and genre I like to read. Some were the books I heard enough about to get me interested to get them and put them on my TBR. Some are gifts and I’m not so sure about those :/

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One of my goals is to cut this pile to be closer to 300. I know it doesn’t seem like much but most of the books I end up reading every month are not already in my TBR pile. I usually read two books a month for my RL book club. Those are mostly books that come as a group choice and offer a variety of genres and authors I don’t normally read.

Also, since I work in a bookstore there are always new arrivals that grab my attention. Reading those can be a part of the job. (Almost a dream job there :p )

Type of books I mentioned above take up almost half of my reading for any given month. These are not the books I can always count on or expect in the form of the time that it takes me to read them trough.

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The books I can do something about are those that are already on my bookshelves. Right there! (right behind my computer screen, right of my desk, left of my desk, on the shelf by my bed, on the shelf by my BFs computer…)

I have gone trough my GR TBR list and sorted out the books I already own. I wrote the title of each on a little pink piece of paper. On the list were lots of books that were part of a book series. With those I only wrote down books that were first in the series or those that continue on the books I already read. I took all the little pink papers and put them into a glass bowl.

IMAG0404I realized too late that since the glass is dyed turquoise I should have used blue or green paper :/

As it turns out there are exactly 82 little pink papers with titles of books that are waiting patiently on the bookshelves in my room for their turn to be read.

Starting this month I will draw three titles from the bowl and pick at least one of them to read in the current month. The ones not chosen for the month will go back into the bowl, and if by chance I draw the same ones for three times I will forgo the choice and read the one that has been drawn the third time!

First three titles I’ve drawn are:

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1 # Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden Vol. 01 by Yu Watase

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2 # The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12) by Kim Harrison

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3 # The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

 

I am actually pleasantly surprised by the titles I’ve drawn. For now I will keep all the choices until the end of the month. I’m undecided which one to start first. Since one of them is a manga I might go and read more than one! I’m just too damn pleased with what I’ve drawn right now 🙂

Hopefully this will start a habit of reading more of the books I already own 🙂

Wish me luck!

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Monthly reading review – February 2017

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Monthly reading review – February 2017

This February I have read:

Le Bal du comte d’Orgel by Raymond Radiguet ★★★★

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy ★★

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James ★

Married By Morning (The Hathaways #4) by Lisa Kleypas ★★★★

Factotum by Charles Bukowski ★★★

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1. How many books you’ve read last month? Are you happy with the amount you read?

This February I’m back at a reading pace of around one book per week. It is generally a good number but I get greedy for more.

2. What was the best of all the books you’ve read in February? Any scenes or characters that made a lasting impression?

From all the books I’ve read in February I’ve liked a historical romance Married by Morning the most. Aside from being a work of one of my favorite authors – Lisa Kleypas, it was by far the happiest read I’ve had all month.

3. Were there any not so good books for you last month? What made it hard or not enjoyable to read?

From five books I’ve read three of them are set in English countryside and one in French! The scenery was very much the same but the characters were not. Turn of the Screw was a baffling read for me. I gave it one star mark on GR for more than one reason. The topic and how the work was presented were at best confusing. I felt like the author wanted to write a novel that was modern at that time – ghost story and just threw few ideas on the paper without making an effort.The whole story just felt boring and out of balance.

“Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

4. How did the books you were reading last month fit in your reading plans if you had any?

Three out of five books were for my RL book club! This is seriously turning around my reading habits and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Other two books were a random picks in the spur of the moment. I had plans for reading more books I already own, but aside from Tess of the D’Urbervilles which I bought for the purpose of reading it for book club (!) not one other of the books I’ve read in February is actually owned by me.

As plans go, I’m not pleased.

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5. Any updates on the series you are reading or are you starting any new series?

From the five books I’ve read in February only Married by Morning is a part of a book series. Since I jumped in with book 4. from the series I’m interested in reading some other books from The Hathaways book series.

6. Would you like to recommend any books or authors you’ve been reading this last month?

Much of my February reading has been done out of book club obligation and it is about time to take my own advice and read more books for fun. I don’t think I would have made it out of my February reading without Lisa Kleypas and her HR romance series. Bukowski was painfully sarcastic and reading it now when I’m older is a completely different experience that it was when I was younger. I would recommend it as a reading that gives perspective on life better than any sugarcoated self help book could do.

Final thoughts on February reading

All that stayed with me for reading classics these last two months is that I prefer reading my funny, trashy, romance and fantasy books more and more!

I like keeping track of my monthly reading in this manner because I keep getting surprised by my own reading habits. It felt good getting all the required RL book club reading done in time. Turning around I feel I miss my free reading more and more. Again I’m thinking about book club required reading becoming a chore instead of a favorite hobby. It gives me something to think about while I pick out books for March.