Thursday, May 11, 2017

What Are You Reading?

"For a girl who often felt like she lived more in the cozy world of books than in the unforgiving world of the playground, a book of books was the richest journal imaginable; it showed a version of myself I recognized and felt represented me." I'm reading Pamela Paul's My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues. Bob is actually her list of books read, kept since she was a junior in high school. Okay, honesty here. How many of you keep a list of your books read? It can be Goodreads, or whatever. I've been keeping a list of my books read for years, first in junior high, and then later. One of my favorite possessions is the list my grandmother kept of the books she read. And, I love the sentence I quoted from Paul's book. Because I certainly wasn't a playground person, that sentence speaks to me.

I'm reading about Bob right now. It's Thursday! My favorite day of the work week. I get to talk about books for an hour with other librarians and readers. Our conversation is on Twitter at #AskaLibrarian. It's for one hour at noon Eastern time. And, usually on Thursday, I get to talk about books with you. What are you reading or listening to this week? Is it a book that speaks to you? Is it something for fun? It's Thursday, and some of us would like to know what you're reading.

35 comments:

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I do. I first started a list of books read in 1971 for a short time. I picked it up again in 1975 and have kept in going in annual At-a-Glance type books ever since, after going back and trying, as well as I could remember, to write down whichever books I could remember reading before that. Besides notebooks of fiction and non-fiction read, I have two databases of the same on the computer, so I can tell you which books and authors I've read and when, not to mention how many books a week, month, or year, and which authors I've read the most of (Simenon, Evan Hunter/Ed McBain, and Agatha Christie are the top three).

Just put this on hold and will read it as soon as I get my hands on it. I love reading other people's book lists! For instance, here is Art Garfunkel's.

I finally finished Lydia Davis's collection of stories (most very short), CAN'T AND WON'T, and have two other library collections ready to start: Peter O'Donnell's second Modesty Blaise collection, COBRA TRAP, and CRIME PLUS MUSIC: Twenty Stories of Music-Thumping Noir, edited by Jim Fusilli with stories by Reed Farrel Coleman, Brendan DuBois, Craig Johnson, Alison Gaylin, Val McDermid, and Peter Robinson, among others.

Also reading two other library downloads:

Mur Lafferty's SF mixed with a murder mystery, SIX WAKES
Liesa Mgnogna, ed., LAST NIGHT A SUPERHERO SAVED MY LIFE

As soon as I finish the Lafferty, I have another download that has to be read first, Jodi Taylor's second Chronicles of St, Mary's book, A SYMPHONY OF ECHOES.

Then...there are the regular library books, starting with Julie Dahl's CONVICTION.

Bill Crider said...

I don't keep a list. I envy the people who do. I finally finished slogging through AMERICAN GODS last night and will read Martha Wells' ALL SYSTEMS RED today. It's short, just what I need right now.

Sharon said...

I keep a list. It is interesting to see that the number of books I read in a year varies by less than 5. And my monthly totals are pretty exact from year to year.

I finished reading Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey. It got 5 star reviews on Goodreads and was also recommended in several blogs that I follow. I did not like it. I liked her writing style. It was told in alternating chapters between Ansley and her oldest daughter, Caroline. Caroline wasn't particularly likeable and it was going okay until I reached page 188. There Ansley made a choice about her infertility issues that offended my moral (not religious) compass. I considered stopping but went ahead finished it. To be honest I would have been okay not finishing it.

Now I am reading the last Max and Annie book (sniff) Walking on my Grave.

Karen Reittinger said...

I don't keep a books read list. I do have an author list through my county library. The library sends me an email when they order a book by one of the authors on my list. I am reading WITCHES ABROAD:A NOVEL OF DISCWORLD by Terry Prachett. My son thought I would like the book. I do. The book is an ebook from the library.

Miranda James said...

I have a list that I've been keeping since May, 1984. For a long time written in a notebook, then a few years ago transferred to a spreadsheet so I can see when/if I have read a particular book or author in the past thirty-three years.

Lesa said...

Lists! It was fun to read about your lists, or your lack of a list. And, I enjoyed seeing Art Garfunkel's, Jeff. Like yours, Sharon, my number of books finished seldom varies by more than 5 or so. Bill, I see you said you "slogged" through American Gods. I have the feeling you won't go back and read it for a third time. Karen, I need to get more organized as to my Terry Pratchett reading. For instance, a friend tells me I should read Guards! Guards! because it's for fans of police procedurals. I've read scattered ones in the Discworld series.

You people who keep spreadsheets. I admire you.

Charlotte said...

Finished The 7th Canon by Robert Dugoni and Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris.
Enjoyed both books.
Starting to read Hide and Seek by M J Arlidge and Imminent .Peril by Melissa F Miller

Deb said...

I have been keeping notebooks of books I want to read (checking them off when I've read them) since the late 1990s. These notebooks also include interesting quotes I encounter as I'm reading. For the past few years, I've also kept a separate notebook that lists (in date order) books that I've finished (or started and--for a variety of reasons--could not finish), along with a paragraph or two about how I felt about the book.

I'm still working my way through Frances Parkinson Keyes's DINNER AT ANTOINE'S, the book I was reading last week. It's moving at a swifter pace now that the murder has taken place and all the suspects have been introduced, but the racial attitudes are bothersome. I keep having to remind myself that the book was published in 1948.

One of the reasons it's taking me so long to read DAA is that I got side-tracked by a "second-chance" romance (a favorite "catnip" for me) by Julianna Keyes (no relation to Frances Parkinson, I assume) called TIME SERVED, about an attorney who reconnects with her high school boyfriend--now an ex-con on parole. It was a bit darker and sadder than many "second-chance" romance novels, but I liked how it didn't try to romanticize the ex-con's crime or the uncertain relationship the couple were trying to sustain.

Charlotte said...

I keep a written list of authors and put each book I read by that author under that name. I also have added the year I read it.
I also keep all my read books and authors on Goodreads. Easy way to know how many books I read each year.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

When I got involved in mystery fandom in the mid-1970s I started reading every fanzine I could get my hands on (and then started my own), so my reading dropped precipitously. I went from an incredible to me now 333 books read in 1973 (100 were plays, mostly O'Neill and Coward) and 262 in 1975 and 249 in 1976 to 102 in 1977 and 39 in 1978! (That was the year I started my fanzine, plus started selling books by mail order.)

My goal every year is 200 books, but I haven't been there since 2002. I'm usually around 150 a year now.

Pat S. said...

Wow! I didn't realize that I am not so unusual for keeping a list of all the books that I have read starting in 1980. First I made my own notebook and then as computer apps became available I found "BookBag" and had the flexibility to organize by Author, Title, Category, Format, Location, Ratings, etc. I am still nursing this app through all the new computer formats and am dreading the day that it will no longer be supported. I also keep track of when a series I particularly enjoy has a new title available. This app also allows me to include a synopsis or review of each book so as I am getting older and sometimes forget the story plot of the book it acts as a reminder. I look forward to reading this book by Pamela Paul.

I just finished reading Alexander McCall Smiths newest stand alone book "My Italian Bulldozer" which I enjoyed because we had just visited so many of those "hill towns" in Tuscany and Umbria last year. I am now starting "Swiss Vendetta", listening to "A Perilous Undertaking"on my ipod as I walk and Fannie Flagg's newest on CD in the car when I am driving. I can't imagine a life without books!! :-)

Glen Davis said...

I used to keep a list, but now goodreads does it for me. Last couple of years managed to read almost a book a day.

Just finished River Of darkness by Rennie Airth. I think it's the first book in the John Madden mystery series.

It's between the wars in England, and a madman is invading houses and bayoneting everyone inside. The author does a good job of portraying the horror of the event.

Grace Koshida said...

I not only keep a list but have a database containing a review of every mystery fiction book read since 1984. So far over 5900 books reviewed and counting! I can generate annual lists of books read from the database. I only started duplicating the entries on Goodreads since 2016.

Currently reading the latest books in several series I enjoy: A TWIST OF THE KNIFE by Becky Masterman, ELUSIVE ELIXIR by Gigi Pandian. And the first book from a new author (for me): THE DRIFTER by Nick Petrie.

Jeffrey: Are you enjoying COBRA TRAP? I haven't read any Modesty Blaise stories in over 20 years and am curious.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Grace, I haven't started it yet. I did read the previous collection, PIECES OF MODESTY, a week or so ago and liked it.

Margie Bunting said...

I've been keeping a list of the books I've read since the beginning of 2007, and right now I'm transcribing them into an Excel document so I can sort and compare. I also list my rating (5 being the highest) for each. It is interesting to see that even some of the authors I hold in highest esteem have received lower ratings from me once in a while. Since I am a fast reader (200 last year), it's important for me to keep track since I usually forget most of what I've read as I read the next book. Yes, I've occasionally been guilty of reading the same book twice (and not realizing it until close to the end of the book)! My list also comes in handy because it allows me to catch up on authors I've read several years ago and who have new titles to enjoy. Lorna Landvik is one example--I didn't know she had published a book in January, but I was able to find it at the library.

Right now I'm reading the latest Bill Slider mystery, Old Bones, which I am enjoying tremendously. Cynthia Harrod-Eagles certainly has a way with words. This is the third one I've read from this series I have read, and I will certainly look for more.

Lesa said...

This has been fun! Thank you. I'm impressed by your lists, the number of books read. And, it's always fun to catch up with what you're reading right now. I'm with Jeff, in the range of 150 or so a year. I can't imagine over 300!

Thank you, all of you, for sharing books, and your lists.

Grace Koshida said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grace Koshida said...

Margie: Good to know that the latest Slider book is enjoyable. I really like this series and have a library hold for Old Bones. And like you, I use a 5-star rating scale but I rarely give 5 stars to any books I review to even authors I admire. For example. I like Louise Penny a lot but I have NEVER given any of her books 5 stars (lots of 4 stars).

Lesa: Yes, I am like you and Jeff reading 150-175 books a year when I worked full time. 2016 was a big surprise since I ended up reading FEWER books than usual as a retiree. I never would have predicted that would happen!

Lesa said...

Isn't it great, though, Grace, that your life is that full and busy?

Grace Koshida said...

Lesa: Yes, I am an active retiree for sure. I am ahead of schedule for my 2017 Goodreads challenge despite not reading much in March (travelling). But I expect that I will be reading less once spring and summer decide to arrive here in Ottawa and I am enjoying outdoor activities. This means, of course, that my overwhelming TBE mountain does not shrink much. But it's still nice to see what others are reading and discover what treasures are in your closet each month.

Sandie Herron said...

You all are such early risers! I find I add my comments later in the day and wonder if anyone else is still reading!

I'm currently reading the new book in the Joe Grey series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy - CAT SHINING RIGHT. I'm enjoying it, as always and as expected. I've just started tho.

I've been using Goodreads to keep track of the books I've read. I wish I had started earlier, much earlier in my life. I do have a lot of the books I own on Goodreads from when I packed them up for our renovation and then put them back on the shelves. I scanned each bar code as Goodreads requests, and up popped a whole bunch of books. Unfortunately I may have marked them read or not, but no idea when the read date was. Oh well, I'm doing it now and find it fascinating how keeping a list can motivate me. I far exceeded my reading challenge goal on Goodreads last year, and hope I do again this year.

Lesa said...

I'm still reading, Sandie! In fact, I go back sometime the next day as well because some people answer later tonight. I want them to know I'm interested in what they're reading as well.

We're all such avid readers. It doesn't surprise me at all that many of us are keeping lists.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

The first book on my database is from February of 1969. It was a play, Ben Jonson's VOLPONE, though I have others listed as early as 1961. I bought the paperback copy of BEN-HUR by Lew Wallace (from Scholastic in school, in all probability) and read it. First on my non-fiction database was THE AGE OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI by J. E. Neale in October of 1967.

I have always been a list maker and keeper so this is natural for me. I can also tell you every restaurant we've eaten in for the last 40+ years, plus all the shows we've seen, etc.

Lesa said...

My gosh, Jeff! That's impressive. And, I'm sure it's a lot of fun to look back.

Page's Book Blog said...

I keep a list of books that I found memorable, this year I'm using the GoodReads challenge of seeing how many books I read. I've slowed down in the last few years, not sure why.
I'm reading Murder at the 42nd Street Library. The author mentions you in his foreward. I also keep an electronic list of my TBRs

Grace Koshida said...

Sandie, I come back the next morning to read later comments, so keep it coming!

My biggest fear is that some day my customized DOS mystery book database won't work on a new OS (computer). But so far Windows does provide DOS emulater apps to allow me to use it.

Lesa said...

It's funny, Page. I had the ARC of 42nd Street Library at first, and there are no acknowledgements. Then, when I picked up the book, I was surprised - a nice surprise.

Carol N Wong said...

I have had a spreadsheet of my TBR books since 2002 with the title author, when received and genre. Then I also have a short stack of books that I am too chicken to add to the list. In 2002, I had 435 on the list, now have 230. As I get older, I am more determined to read the books that I have (mostly won in book contests). GoodReads has more lists that I keep and the reviews. Then on Amazon.com there is a list of the one that I would love to read (about 200 now).

Finished The Mother's Promise by Sally Epworth, crying at the end. Amazing book! Also start listening to David McCullough's Truman. Now I realize how much I didn't know about and finding some things in common with him! Today, I will start My Ruby Slippers by Tracy Steele, on my TBR for a long time bur I am excited to start it.

margaretlerch said...

I have a book list going back years. I haven't added anything to it since 2010. I moved to Sacrameento County and then just listed them on Goodreads.com and Ficfact.com. I keep your newsletter in a file in my email too.

I am now reading BROOKLYN GRAVES by Triss Stein. I just finished DYING IN THE WOOL by Frances Brody.

Lesa said...


Carol, It's hard not to cry at the end of A Mother's Promise. Those TBR piles just continue to grow, don't they?








Lesa said...

Thank you, Margaret. That's such a nice thing to hear, that you keep the newsletter. Is that the list of Treasures in My Closet, or something else?

Patricia Stoltey said...

I just started Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple.

Sandie Herron said...

Thanks Lesa. It's good to know that others are still reading and commenting ... I noted several people still posting as well. I won't hesitate in the future. Cyberspace is fun, but it is good to know that "someone is out there."

Lesa said...

So many people loved Semple's Bernadette book, Patricia. I'm behind, and haven't read it yet.

Lesa said...

You're right, Sandie. It's nice to know someone is reading when you write.