February 1, 2011

January Reading Recap

At the beginning of January, I posted a list of the books I intended to read during the month. This was my first time trying this, and I'm pleased by how the experiment turned out.

I believe that I read more than I would have otherwise, motivated by knowing that at the end of the month I would have to report on my progress. I made an effort to read every day, and once I realized I was doing well on that score, this became another formal goal. I would even say I read too much this month, since there were numerous times when I ignored other things I'd planned to get done in favor of reading more. I figure this is a forgivable sin.

Last year I found myself reading multiple books on a more consistent basis than I'd ever done before. A big reason for this was that I started using ebooks, so I began a habit of reading a digital book on-the-go and a paper book at home. This month, I kept three books going at once.

I've decided I really like reading several books simultaneously. Partly it's the flexibility of choosing the most convenient format, or the book that most suits my mood. But another factor is that I enjoy taking my time with books. Whenever I'm so excited about a book that I tear through it in a few days, I'm sorry for squandering it so quickly. Switching between books means that I spend weeks with each one, with plenty of time between readings to ponder what's going to happen.

I announced four books that I'd read in January. I completed one of them, read another that wasn't listed, and read about half of two more. Since I was less concerned with finishing all the books than with improving my reading habits, I'm entirely satisfied with this system and intend to continue. My reading calendar is already filling up.

Here's how things went down in January:

RED MARS by Kim Stanley Robinson - About halfway through. This is a long book. I'm really enjoying it, but I'm getting through it very slowly, especially since it's my current e-read, so I tend to consume it five minutes at a time. In some ways it's a good book for small increments because it's dense reading, and the story moves slowly enough that it's usually interruptable. But for those same reasons, I might prefer reading the book for longer stretches, which I sometimes have been doing. I think I'm going to buy the whole series in paperback. So far, highly recommended if you want to know what life on Mars would be like, and you want to know it in great detail.

AURORARAMA by Jean-Christophe Valtat - About halfway through this one, too. Like RED MARS, this is a dense read. Valtat has imagined the Arctic city of New Venice in impressive detail. The book is more full of rich description than I'm partial to, but it's well done if you like that sort of thing. The characters are entertaining, and I'm intrigued by the plot that's unfolding.

THE CITY, NOT LONG AFTER by Pat Murphy - Haven't started it yet. The first copy I ordered was lost in the mail, so by the time I got hold of a copy, I decided to save it for next month.

NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro - Finished. Still wonderful the second time around. Still highly recommended. I'm working on assembling some spoiler-free thoughts about the book that I'll post soon.

THE WEIRD SISTERS by Eleanor Brown - Finished. I did mention after this month's list that this book would be coming out, and it turned out that once I had a copy, I had no intention of waiting to read it. Fantastic story about three grown sisters who don't particularly like each other and all return home at the same time when their mother gets sick. I'll post some thoughts on this book soon, too.

Tomorrow, I'll announce my February reading plans. As you may guess, they bear a certain resemblance to the January plans.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ The Santa Clara City Library blog boldy states I Like My Titles Like I Like My Women: Awkward and Confusing. Don't you all agree that THE EXTENT OF THE DAMAGE is a much better title than simply DAMAGE? (Thanks, Louise!)


Anna Scott Graham said...

Yeah for great books, and a huge hurray for that blog title! Novel titles can be difficult, but I prefer something with some meat to it, even if I don't quite get it on first glance... :)

Lisa Eckstein said...

Anna, I always like your titles. You have a real talent for thinking them up.

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