Tuesday, January 31, 2012

a bookish ennui


Most of us occasionally talk about our reading slumps, and how we trick ourselves out of them, but I'm suffering a different sort of book malaise: a writing-about-books-I've-read ennui. I haven't managed to write one impression of a book this year, though I've read almost six. What gives? I've enjoyed the books. I have many things to say about them. But when sitting down to actually write anything, it all goes away, and everything comes out canned and punchless and bleh. Then I give up and go read something else, or watch Sherlock or Doctor Who or something. And am left with a sadly neglected blog.

I plan to snap out of it soon, one day waking up inspired, blog-writing rendered de-chore-ified. But, in the mean time, any useful or humorous advice or tricks would be much appreciated.  Beyond the normal sit-yourself-down-and-just-write run of the mill writer's block advice. Commiseration welcome!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Bookish Marriage Post

We just got a sneak peak at our photos on our lovely photographers' blog. We can't say how much we love the Rasers' work - they are fantastic! Also - they travel... Just sayin.

And, in somewhat related fashion, I just came up in the library queue for The Marriage Plot. Excitement abounds at the House of White.

Let the Marriage Plot begin...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Smooth Criminals reading challenge

Ben at Dead End Follies is hosting Smooth Criminals, a 2012 reading challenge focusing on different elements of crime fiction. I've promised myself not to sign up for too many challenges this year, especially now that I'm participating in a book club - I don't want half my books to be chosen under constraints. But I like crime fiction, and this seems like a good way to learn a little more about the genre.

Tentative book choices:

  • Hardboiled: The Big Sleep or The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler - Chandler has been on my to-read list for ages so it's about time I read him.
  • Noir Classic: In a Lonely Place by Dorothy Hughes. The movie is one of my favorites & I had forgotten it was based on a novel, which I understand is quite different from the movie. Also, how could I resist a classic noir written by a woman? 
  • Prison Book: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood 
  • Author did time: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut or Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Psychopath protagonist: The Collector by John Fowles
  • Gothic novel: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde or Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Classic revolving around a crime: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne or We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Making myself read it: The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Reading Wrap Up

2011 was quite a year. I started out with the lofty (for me) goal of reading 50 books, which is 35 more than I read in 2010, and ended up revising it to the lucky fortuitous number of 37 for a total of 11,668 pages. Yes, I am including an awesome children's book, I Want My Hat Back, in the count, what of it, I like the number 37. And, after all, I did read it. Several times. It was the choice gift of the coconspirator to a couple wee people we know.

The end of the year kicked my butt, with book club obligations, the wedding, minimoon, and then holidays and carpet pulling and gatherings. The coconspirator is traveling much much less, which also cuts into reading time, not that I'd prefer him to be out of town for months again. And I still have not finished Infinite Jest. But hey! I read more than twice as much as 2010, so that's an accomplishment in itself.

Some ratios:
Female to Male Authors:: 22:15
Fiction to Nonfiction:: 33:4
Adult to YA:: 32:5
Serious-ish to lighter, fun reads:: 31:6
My diversity stats are pretty embarrassing, and definitely leave much much room to work on this year. I wasn't really paying attention this year, though, and it shows.

Favorite books read this year, in no particular order:

Room by Emma Donoghue
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

Happy New Year, bookish people!
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