Tag Archives: monthly wrap-up

Monthly Wrap-up: April 2015 Reads

I hadn’t thought April was a good reading month for me. My mom broke her hip in the middle of the month and I’ve been running around pretty tired ever since. And when I’m tired, I tend to read less. I certainly didn’t think I spent much time reading—not even for the Readathon, where I managed to read only about 200 pages and didn’t finish a single book.

But when I took at look at my reading spreadsheet I was surprised: I read 13 books in April! It turns out audiobooks were what saved me. I’ve been way too tired to feel like reading much in print, but I listened to a lot of audiobooks, especially the first week after my mom’s accident. She was in a hospital out in the suburbs during that week, which meant an hour and fifteen minute commute there and back for me, and I visited her daily, so that added up to a lot of additional listening time.

Here are the books I read in April (not in chronologically-read order):

April reads 1

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (audiobook) (reread)

Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie (audiobook) (reread)

Black Coffee by Agatha Christie (audiobook)

Behind the Curtain by Peter Abrahams (paperback)

 April reads 2

Leader of the Pack by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)

One Dog Night by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)

Dog Tags by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)

Unleashed by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)

April reads 3

Pet Sematary by Stephen King (paperback)

Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag (trade paperback) (my review here)

Working Stiff by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell (audiobook)

Motive by Jonathan Kellerman (audiobook)

April reads 4

Lumberjanes, issues 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, by Noelle Stevenson (counting these as one book)

So altogether, eight audiobooks this month! I’m actually finishing up another audiobook right now, but I’ll probably listen to less audiobooks in May.

How did your reading go in April?

Monthly Wrap-Up : March 2015 Reads

MonthlyWrapUpMarch2015Reads.jpg

I was going to say, “wow, this past month has just sped by”, but I suspect it’s something I’ll more or less be saying every month. So consider it not said. I’ll just think it!

I’m doing well with my goal to read 96 books this year. In March I read approximately 15 books—I say approximately, because I read ten issues of The Woods; currently the first four issues appear as Volume 1 of The Woods, and Volume 2 isn’t out yet, so I’m counting The Woods as two books in total (although it really should be 2.5,  I guess, but my reading spreadsheets aren’t designed to accommodate half a book!).

The Books

Taking a step back from my month, I can see it was very much a mystery month around here. I sped through several of S.J. Bolton’s Lacey Flint books, as well as a number of standalones, for a total of eight mysteries read:

Four of the books I read were graphic novels or comics:

  • Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn
  • An Age of License by Lucy Knisley
  • The Woods (issues #1-10) by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas
  • Lumberjanes (Volume 1, or issues #1-4) by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen and Shannon Watters

I also read 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and The Camelot Kids by Ben Zackheim.

The Year-to-Date Stats

Okay, can I just say how I love being able to trot out my year-to-date stats like this? Hurray for spreadsheets and all the fantabulous tabulating and calculating and other stuff they do! (Mind you, I messed up this month and didn’t enter my books read in a timely manner—not that anyone’s very surprised—so I had to leave out the actual dates I completed certain books, as I didn’t remember exactly what those dates were.)

So far this year, I’ve read 41 books, for a total of 12,716 pages. Sixteen male authors (40 percent), 24 female authors (60 percent). Thirteen of my reads, or 30 percent, qualify as diverse books (I track that based on whether there’s a POC, LGBTQ person, disabled person or a person older than 60 as one of the main characters).

In terms of format, print books take the lead so far this year, with 24 books being in print format (five hardcovers, seven paperbacks and 12 trade paperbacks). Eight were ebooks and nine were audiobooks.

So that’s how my reading went in March! What was your March like in terms of books read?

Monthly Wrap-up: February 2015 Reads

February kind of flew by, didn’t it? It turned out to be a great reading month for me, though – I managed to finish 13 books! It breaks down to three audiobooks, two graphic novels, and eight print books. No ebooks! Which is a little surprising, although I did finish Stephen King’s IT in ebook format (because it was too suspenseful to finish in audio).

Here are my February 2015 reads, in the order I read them – and oh, can I just say here, I love love love my reading spreadsheets – never before have I had access to such information about my reading! Before I started keeping track this year, I would have been hard-pressed to tell you what I’d just finished reading the previous week, much less the format and the order of reading!

February1

What Did You Eat Yesterday? by Fumi Yoshinaga (manga/graphic novel). This is definitely one for those who like graphic novels about food. It’s the story of Shiro and Kenji, a gay couple living in Tokyo and the food they eat. Lots of cooking on these pages, plus a recipe after each story. Do not read on an empty stomach, or you’ll find yourself raiding the fridge.

Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton (Sharon Bolton) (print copy). This is the third book written by Bolton, but the first one of hers that I’ve read (although I think I may have previously read the first in her Lacey Flint series a while back). This was a suspenseful mystery, with a nice twist at the end. My favourite character was Harry, the vicar. I didn’t like the way the book ended, in the epilogue, but I really enjoyed the book as a whole.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (print copy). The story of a truly epic detour that Amy, whose dad has recently died, takes with Roger, the son of an old friend of her mom’s, when they drive cross country to the new life her mother’s making for herself in Connecticut. This is not the type of book that normally finds its way into my TBR, and I don’t know what prompted me to put it there in the first place, but I’m very glad that I did. The depiction of Amy’s grief felt so very true to me.

“Good-byes didn’t seem as important to me as they once had – I’d found that when you’re never going to see someone again, it’s not the good-bye that matters. What matters is that you’re never going to be able to say anything else to them. And you’re left with an eternal unfinished conversation. (p. 118)

IT by Stephen King (audiobook) (I talk about it here). I started this one in January, but it got so intense near the end, I had to wait until I could get an ebook copy from my library to finish it.  I really liked the way King went from the present to the past so effortlessly, without giving the reader any jolts. An enjoyable read, although I still say – what was up with that scene with Bev and the boys? It was SO unnecessary.

February2

Saga Vol 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (graphic novel). I really enjoyed this one, although I’m a little embarrassed to admit, I was talking with Tasha earlier today about the Saga series and totally forgot I’d read volume 4 already. (I told her I really had to get to it – haha!). I think mostly I had it confused with volume 5, which hasn’t been released yet. That’s my story, anyway, and yes, I’m sticking with it. My bad book memory should in no way reflect on the awesomeness of this series.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (audiobook). I will probably be in the minority here, but I enjoyed Fangirl mostly for the Simon and Baz segments (and I’m thrilled that Rowell is going to be releasing a book about Simon and Baz!). And it was lovely seeing Cath finally figure out how to be her own person who can stand apart from her twin Wren. The characters are also nicely developed – not just Cath and Wren, but Reagan, Cath’s roommate and Levi, Cath’s boyfriend. Where the story dragged a little for me was Cath and Levi’s relationship, once they were clearly together. But overall, I enjoyed this one.

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (print book). This was another good read – my first Murakami that wasn’t a short story, although I can’t call it my first full-length Murakami either, as it’s more of a novella. The illustrations really added to the very strange and quirky story. It was a fun read, and at the end, there are quite a few ways you can take the final paragraph. It does take some getting used to, this not being able to say with any certainty exactly what’s meant by that last paragraph. But that’s also part of the appeal, I think.

Sacrifice by S.J. Bolton (Sharon Bolton) (print book). I enjoyed Blood Harvest so much, I decided to check out Bolton’s debut novel. It definitely didn’t disappoint, coming as it does with twists galore. You do have to read it fully willing to suspend your disbelief, as the plot does get quite wild there at the end. It’s a page-turner, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself staying up late into the night to finish this one.

February3

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (print copy). Trigger Warning is a collection of Gaiman’s short stories and poems. Very very lovely read, especially if you’re a Gaiman fan. I wrote more about it here so I won’t repeat myself now.

Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry (print copy). Yes, I finally did finish this one! And it took me a while not because it wasn’t good – it was very very good – but because I’d put it down on my desk and it got buried under a pile of papers. (I find it impossible to keep my desk tidy.) Since it’s nonfiction, I didn’t miss it the way I would a story I was in the middle of. But I’m glad I remembered to dig it out and finish it, because it was very very good (oh, did I say that already?). If you’re interested in creativity, imagination or drawing comics, this is a fun one to read.

Victims by Jonathan Kellerman (audiobook). Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series is basically a comfort series for me. For the longest while now, I only ever read these in audio, and I obviously don’t retain much of what I hear, as another blogger recently reviewed this book and I was all like “hey, you mean there’s an Alex Delaware novel I haven’t read?” because the plot did not sound familiar at all to me. So I borrowed this from the library, and started listening to it. And while I was listening to it, bits and pieces felt very familiar. It wasn’t until I was about halfway through that I realized I’d already read this one before. But despite this, I still couldn’t remember how it ended, so I just kept on going with it.

Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders (print copy). If E. Nesbit’s Five Children and It formed any part of your childhood reading, then you really must pick up this wonderful book by Kate Saunders. Saunders has taken the story of the five children (now six) and the Psammead ten years into the future, when England is at war with Germany. It is a lovely read, and it made me cry. I knew it would.

awakening

Awakening by S.J. Bolton (Sharon Bolton) (print copy). As you can see, I was somewhat enamoured of Ms. Bolton last month. Awakening is her second book, and another enjoyable read. It wasn’t quite as twist-worthy as Sacrifice and Blood Harvest but it was still a good read. I do enjoy the characters Bolton creates – in this case, particularly Clara, with that giant chip on her shoulder (and understandably so). And the larger than life Sean North! He was fun to read about.

So those are the books I read in February. Hopefully I will do as well in March! How did your reading go in February?

Monthly Wrap-up: January 2015 Reads

In the six plus years I’ve been blogging here, I’ve never been organized enough to put together a monthly wrap-up post, so I’m rather thrilled right now to be writing this. This is what happens when you set a “books read” goal and then actually track every single book you read – neither of which I’d ever done before this past month either!

I am on track with my goal to read 96 books this year. Actually, I’m a little ahead, as I read 13 books last month, rather than the eight required to meet my goal. I’m also ahead on my audiobooks goal: I want to listen to 36 audiobooks this year, or three per month, and last month I listened to four audiobooks. Since February is a short month, I feel like I’ve created a kind of buffer in case I get behind.

But I really shouldn’t get behind, as I won’t have as much work in February as I did in January. I’m actually amazed I read as much as I did, and I do think having a reading goal really helped me to, well, read more. When I had a little pocket of unexpected time here and there, in between deadlines, I’d remember my reading goal and pick up a book instead of doing something else like I would have in the past (this is actually how I ended up reading as many graphic novels as I did – it doesn’t feel as daunting to pick up a graphic novel when you’ve got a spare 20 minutes. Although I’ve noticed I’m actually starting to pick up novels too when I have a spare bit of time, rather than waiting for when I have at least a few hours.)

Here’s what I read in January:

January reads 1

168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam (audiobook). This book was a good way to start the year, although I didn’t get around to doing the time tracking like I’d planned – mainly because I went full tilt into a series of heavy deadlines, and when that happens, I already know where most of my time is going. What I need to do is track my time when my schedule isn’t so crazy with deadlines (as in, next week).

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam (audiobook). I’m blaming my rather poor book memory, but a month later (I listened to this at the beginning of the year, too) I don’t actually remember much about what the most successful people do before breakfast. Exercise is one of the things, I’m pretty sure.

Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the book I was hoping it would be. It had a lot of good ideas, but not ones I could apply to my own situation (lots of ideas for novels, and in need of strategies to actually complete the stuff I’ve been working on). It’s a good book for the creative entrepreneur, though, who either has a team or finds herself working with a team for most of her assignments.

January reads 2

I started the Saga series (by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples) and eagerly read through volumes one to three. LOVE! I think this is probably my favourite graphic novel series right now. I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy of volume four this month.

January reads 3

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. I’ve had this book in my TBR for so long now, and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it. It was so original, and with lots of complexity to it. I just loved it.

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor. I went straight from Daughter of Smoke and Bone to Days of Blood and Starlight (one of the advantages, I guess, of waiting so long to read the series) and wow! What a lot of twists and turns. At times it was so intense, I had to put the book down and do something else. Sometimes the second book in a trilogy can be more of a “meh”, but not this one. I’m really looking forward to getting the final book, Dreams of Gods & Monsters.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (audiobook). Technically, I started this one in 2014, but I finished it last month so I’m counting it as a January 2015 book. I probably should have read this in print rather than listened to it in audio – I have a harder time keeping focused when an audiobook is a mystery, unless it’s a reread. But still, I enjoyed it, although my inattention at times lead me to miss parts of the plot which I probably would have been better off not missing.

January reads 4

The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll. I really enjoyed this one – it was a little bit quirky and at times weird and strange, in a very good way. The ending surprised me. It’s got a bookish theme, too (the main character sets out to write the official biography of a world famous children’s author). When I finished this one I went immediately to the library and put a hold on another of Carroll’s titles (he has written several books).

The Unwritten: Dead Man’s Knock (volume 3) and The Unwritten: Leviathan  (volume 4), by Mike Carey and Peter Gross. I’m playing catch-up with this series – the 11th volume will be out this May. As always, I enjoyed how there are so many literary things scattered throughout the stories. Leviathan actually made me think about reading Moby Dick. (I’m not much of a classics reader, so the impulse fled soon after I finished Leviathan.)

yes please by amy poehler

 Yes Please by Amy Poehler (audiobook). Another enjoyable read. As I mentioned in a previous post, I didn’t even know much about Amy Poehler before I started listening, as I haven’t watched Parks and Recreation and it’s been a long time since I watched SNL, and I still really enjoyed this audiobook. If you’re thinking about reading Yes Please and you’re not sure whether to read the print version or the audio version, I’d highly recommend the audio.

There you go: my very first monthly wrap-up post!

How did your reading go in January?