Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October - This Month in Reading

I think this month was the worst one yet in terms of the number of books read - a measly 3. In my own defense, the first one was more than 900 pages as a paperback, and the second was more than 400 pages and about scientific subjects, not necessarily my strong suit, so I did read a lot, just not a lot of different books. I did get behind on Moby-Dick but I know I can catch up ASAP.

Another positive was that I wrapped up the Around the World Challenge this month. I read 11/12 books, so even though I was ultimately unsuccessful in finding a book set in The Gambia, I'm counting this as a success overall since I read an alternate book as well. Of course, if I find a book for The Gambia before the end of the year I'll read it to complete the challenge - if you know of one, please let me know in the comments!

Last month, my goal was to read at least 4 books, preferably one for each remaining challenge, or at least 2 TBR books and the last 2 Mixing It Up books. I did manage to read 2 TBR Pile Challenge books, one of which doubled as a Mixing It Up book, so that was good. In fact, here is my current challenge status:

TBR Pile Challenge - currently 9/12 books read; 1 in progress as a chapter a day read, so 2 more to go!
Around the World Challenge - completed, 11/12 books and 1/2 alternates read as of October 2012.
Mixing It Up Challenge - currently 15/16 books read - 1 more to go!
Color Coded Reading Challenge - completed.

For November then, I'd like to read the last book for the Mixing It Up Challenge and at least one of the TBR Challenge books. 

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you enjoyed a good spooky book or two this month! 

A Dark Enchantment - Roland Vernon

Another Library Sale book that worked for one of my Around the World Challenge countries, Greece. I enjoyed it on its own merits.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson

I am terribly embarrassed that it took me about 10 years to read this book. I think it's partly because science interests me but on the other hand is so often rendered as hopelessly dry and plodding that it's easy to lose interest in reading about it. This book did go a long way toward making scientific concepts understandable to someone like me, but didn't necessarily inspire me to become more scientific - but that's a failing on my part rather than the author's. Overall I suspect I'll turn to this book when I need a refresher on some of the topics presented, and I'd like to see an updated version (which I think is in the works - ?) since things seem to advance so quickly now I'd be interested to see what may have changed since this book was originally published. Recommended.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Autobiography of Henry VIII - Margaret George

Apparently the saying "the third time is the charm" is true. I have had this book on my shelves for at least 5 years now, and I even started it twice before, but failed to make much headway and it would end up back on the shelf. Enter the TBR Pile Challenge! I vowed to read this book this year for the challenge, and was worried that based on my past failures I would have a hard time with it. So imagine my surprise when I was fascinated and had a difficult time putting the book down! I'm not sure if it was the charm of October/autumn, or maybe my having read some related books about Henry VIII last year,  but whatever it was, it worked.

I will confess the book sagged a bit at the end for me; I think it was a deliberate stylistic choice, as it illustrated the slowness of age and infirmity that seemed to overtake the king in his later years. It could also be that in a 900+ page book, one would get tired of a first-person narrator regardless of who it was. In any case, I am glad I finally conquered this book and even more glad that I enjoyed it. Recommended.