Bookish check-in

Much has been happening, including reading, but not including blogging. Time to rectify that, so here are some random updates:

E-reading: I broke down and got a new ereader last week, a Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2. That is an even worse name than Nook Glowlight Plus, but I will give it a pass because the reader itself is terrific. I’ve been using Kobo as my ebook store more and more over the past few months and it still offers a Blackberry app, so I’d been syncing across my phone, tablet, and computer. And my Glowlight was starting to get a bit glitchy. The great thing about the Kobo is that it’s a 6.8″ screen in a form factor that is only slightly larger than the Nook. The larger screen size lets me read pdfs! This is very exciting, since I still occasionally get a book in pdf form that doesn’t want to convert nicely to epub. And while the Kobo store is sometimes more expensive than Amazon, they have a price match feature (difference + 10% of the lower price) and I’ve taken advantage of that.

Goodreads & LibraryThing: Readers, I updated my lurker account at Goodreads. I know I said I’d never go back, and I’m staying far, far away from the romance, YA, and m/m communities, but there are a bunch of people reading general and literary fiction who don’t kerfuffle and say interesting things. Not that interesting things aren’t said in the rom community, I still lurk there, but once bitten etc. Anyway, if you have a GR account you can find me under sunita_p and I’m writing brief notes on books as I finish them. I’m not commenting much but I’m there. And I’m still at LibraryThing (also as sunita_p). I like their cataloguing system and interface a lot, they just don’t have much conversation.

Social media stuff: I’m still on Twitter, although I don’t tweet much these days. I get notifications and try to respond, but it’s just not an enjoyable place to me so I do drive-by lurking for the most part. I visited Mastodon after a hiatus and discovered a whole bunch of romland people had joined the instance, where I have an account. And Natalie is on Mastodon too, along with a bunch of other bookish people. I hope more people join, it’s a nice environment and the mix of book talk is something you don’t easily find at larger social media sites.

Reading challenges: I am going to finish the PopSugar challenge this year, including the additional list (52 books total). I’ve been three books away from completion for a month, but the last three shouldn’t be difficult. I have to polish off a steampunk novel, a novel with a red spine, and a book I bought on a trip. I’ve chosen the first two and I have several for the third category in states of partial completion (plus a bunch more on my shelves). This year’s challenge went pretty easily, I’m not sure why. Either because I’m reading more or the categories are more in line with my tastes, or both. I’ve looked at the 2018 challenge and although I don’t like all the categories, I’ll probably do it again. I like the combination of structure and serendipity. The other challenge I do, the Mount TBR challenge, is done. I’ve read more than 24 books from my TBR (my goal) and I won’t get to 36, which is the next level.

Actual reading: Oh yes, I’ve been reading books! I still have a bunch of award longlist and shortlist books on the go, but I’ve also finished an old John le Carré and a newish Edward St. Aubyn. A Murder of Quality is le Carré’s second novel and it’s more of a Golden Age detective mystery than a spy novel. Smiley investigates a murder at a boys’ public school. It’s full of class/status snobbery issues and echoes of wartime. St. Aubyn’s Lost for Words is a satire of awards processes, most particularly the 2011 Booker Prize (the one where Dame Stella Rimington was Chair and “readability” was touted as a primary criterion). The book received mixed reviews but I loved it, and it (ironically?) won the 2014 Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction. Alex Jennings narrates the audiobook and does a very good job (I found his Indian accents funny and not over-egged as opposed to exploitative, but mileage will undoubtedly vary).

I’m away for the week, visiting TheHusband’s family in Alaska. It’s COLD. Yesterday we went to beautiful Hatcher Pass and trudged uphill and down in a foot of snow. The sun was out and the temperature refused to get out of the single digits. Farenheit. It was gorgeous, and eventually my toes thawed out and became warm again. Eventually.

14 thoughts on “Bookish check-in

  1. I am reading and quite enjoying ‘Minds of Winter’. Though I do wonder why I didn’t postpone this book until warmer weather! The Washington Post did their Best Books of 2017 roundup on Sun 19th. As usual for me, I had heard of almost all of them and had actually read very few. ‘Reservoir 13’ didn’t make the list. I remember the reviewer thought the book was going to be a mystery and was vastly disappointed that it wasn’t. Wasn’t fond of the writing style, either. Oh well, her loss.
    I just got ‘A Line Made by Walking’ from the library. It now sits atop my TBR.


  2. I’m reading Minds of Winter too! I’m about a third of the way through it and it is quite interesting. I am surrounded by Arctic experts so they know all about these expeditions, but I’m less well versed. Still, I’m not getting bogged down in the names and plots like some reviewers apparently did. I’m also reading Bellevue Square (which won the Giller Prize last night) and it’s very good as well.

    Thanks for the heads-up on the Post’s Best of 2017 lists. I’ve read 7 of the 50 Fiction and have 7 more in the want-to-read category. Of the Top 10, I agree with some but not others, but I guess that’s how it always goes. Speaking of awards, the Costa shortlists came out today and Reservoir 13 and Home Fire are both up for Best Novel. That makes up for them not being on the Tournament of Books longlist.

    Oh, Barb, I have NO idea why you keep getting moderated when you comment. I’ve tried to whitelist you and looked up help stuff for WordPress and I can’t get you out of moderation! So if it takes a while for your comment to post, that’s why. As soon as I see the email I fix it, but sometimes I’m not online. I’m so sorry!


    • Sunita–not to worry about the whole ‘moderation’ thing. I just figured it was a WordPress hang-up. Honestly, nothing I say is so timely that it must be read immediately… As long as you eventually see it, all is well.


      • I fixed it! It was a WordPress hangup but it was bothering me. 😦 I just turned off moderation. I had it set at first comment moderation, but for some reason you kept getting caught in it and WordPress doesn’t have a whitelist function, only blacklist. Hardly anyone spams me and so until my spam becomes bad I can just go crazy and let strangers talk to me. 🙂


  3. Checking in (waving)

    I can’t seem to get into anything but am starting with another Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient….I know you don’t care for her but she usually gets me out of a reading slump.

    I deleted my Twitter account and have zero plans to go back to that service. When they doubled the character count that’s when I decided to hang it up. Now 45 can tweet out 280 characters to make people’s blood boil and RT’s galore. I will miss the folks on there but I wasn’t all that engaged and got tired of hearing the latest Trump disaster with no one doing a damn thing about it. RT’s and signing petitions can only do so much.

    I want to dive more into literature and finally read Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, Thomas Hardy, H.G. Wells, etc. Yes. Literature was my favorite class in college. Even though I changed the name of the blog, I am still drawn to crime fiction. But I am definitely branching out to read other genre’s for sure.

    Have fun in Alaska where it’s COLD. Wish I was there!

    Look forward to reading your reviews, too.


    • Hi Keishon! *waves back* Christie is perfect for reading slumps. I’m not the hugest fan, as you say, but I can see why people like her so much. Everyone needs a comfort read mystery writer (mine is MC Beaton, I think). I just started a Dick Francis audiobook (the first Sid Halley) and realized I barely remembered anything from when I read it ages ago. So it’s like a new book! And excellent.

      Even the Alaskans finally admitted that it was kind of cold. 🙂

      Life is calmer without Twitter, no question.


      • That’s great! I remember enjoying the first one and I did read and enjoy Whip Hand as well.

        I started reading/peeking at Proof by Dick Francis last week and so far that one is good. No horse racing, the protagonist sells wine. Love that.


        • Francis has a few non-jockey, non-racing ones. In the Frame has an artist. He paints horses, but the book isn’t about horses. I just checked the plot on Goodreads and Barb gave it 3 stars.

          I’ve read all the Francis books, I think, up through the ones he co-authored with his son Felix, but I don’t remember half of them! Which means it’s time to reread, I guess. I like them for audio, too, because they’re not that long.


          • I like the short format as well.

            I sent a friend request for GR. I rarely comment there unless moved to do so. But I like seeing what people are reading.

            I cannot figure out this mystery with The Murder on The Orient Express. This has to be her hardest mystery to crack. And Then There Was None was somewhat difficult but I guessed correctly. A few more pages to go.

            Enjoy the rest of your trip.


            • LOL. If I remember MotOE correctly, it’s a fun reveal. I have no desire to see the new film version, but I loved the old 1970s one, with Albert Finney as Poirot.


          • For what it is worth–I was bulk loading the Francis mysteries when I first joined GR back in 2008. I think I just routinely gave each of his books 3 stars at that time. I know read them all, enjoyed most, and remember few after all this time. I do remember that PBS Mystery did several Francis titles (including ‘In the Frame’), with Ian McShane starring as David Cleveland. The Sid Halley stories also hit the small screen, with Mike Gwilym as Sid.


            • Ooh, thanks for the heads-up on those! I think I remember the Gwilym ones but not the Ian McShane series. Sadly they don’t seem to be available for streaming but the DVDs are reasonably priced at Amazon.


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