Sunday, November 23, 2014

Chronicling: What I Read from August to November

Here's something I haven't done before, and will hopefully never do again: I've read so many books from August to November, and not written about them, that for the sake of chronicling while not letting this post go mile long, I am simply going to list them month by month and add a rating (and maybe a few words for some).
I've been thinking about the blogging and where I want to go with it lately (looks like I am not the only one, I've seen others reorganising their mental fields before the end of the year as well), and I'm planning to get back into writing more actively as of the new year. I think I'll do some changes as to what I write about, and how, and for how much, so that the book blogging experience was more customized for my personal taste.
But let's get on with this post. I was in a major slump for the end of summer-beginning of autumn, after which I got into a MAJOR reading spree (that should explain 28 completed books in October - and by completed I mean I finished off everything that I had ever started before and books that had been next to my bed for months; in the end I felt extremely liberated).

August 2014:

1. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison - 4/5
2. Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie - 3/5
3. A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki - 5/5
     - so so good. Pick it up if you crave for some violence-zen combo in your life.
4. 172 Hours on the Moon, Johan Harstad - 3/5
     - a bit of a missed opportunity there. Or maybe I'm just not the target group...

September 2014:

1. Death on the Nile, Agatha Christie (for RIP) - 4/5
2. The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell - 5/5
     - do I even need to comment? I'm soon done with everything Mitchell has written, and then what? *dreads the day*
3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling - 4/5
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling - 4/5

October 2014:

1. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, Chris Hadfield - 5/5
   - I think this book can have two possible outcomes, depending on a person: you either 1) feel like the worst, most depressed under-achiever in the world or 2) inspired to the moon and back and ready to take on the whole earth.
2. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester - 2.5/5
3. Andeka kingsepa surm, Vaclav Erben - 1/5
4. State of Wonder, Ann Patchett - 4/5
5. Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home, Laura & Lisa Ling - 3.5/5
   - one of my favourite non-fiction topics; I felt the content was good, but it was so obvious the book was written by journalists, and often I felt like things could have been edited out for the sake of smoother narrative flow.
6. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki Murakami - 3/5
   - I think this was disappointment mainly because I have read so much Murakami in my life. He tends to write about the same people all over, and it can get a bit too much.
7. The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie R. King (for RIP) - 4/5

8. Asylum, Madeleine Roux (for RIP) - 2/5
9. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier (for RIP) - 5/5
   - a bit of a soap opera, granted, but so well done I could not stop until it was over. Very atmospheric read.
10. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen (for RIP) - 4/5
11. Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling, Michael Boccacino (for RIP) - 2/5
12. The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells - 4/5
13. The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton - 4/5
     - not sure I'd recommend this book to anyone, but it was certainly and interesting and mind-provoking read. If you like(d) Deadwood, you might connect well with the setting in The Luminaries.
14. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz - 4/5

15. The Shining, Stephen King (for RIP) - 4/5
     - the hedge animals!
16. The Distant Hours, Kate Morton (for RIP) - 3/5
17. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami - 4/5
18. The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield (for RIP) - 2/5
     - I feel like I should get into defence mode, this book is well loved. I didn't connect to the prose at.all. Just wasn't my thing. Mainly I waited for it to be over.
19. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain - 4/5
20. NOS4A2, Joe Hill (for RIP) - 4/5
21. Altered Carbon, Richard K. Morgan (for RIP) - 3/5

22. The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own, Nina Garcia - n/a
23. Roosi nimi (The Name of the Rose), Umberto Eco (for RIP) - 4/5
24. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley (3.5/5)
25. Dreamcatcher, Stephen King (for RIP) - 3/5
26. Nana, Émile Zola - 4/5
27. Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie - 5/5
     - the book that won all possible SF awards, as well as my heart.
28. Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy - 5/5
     - the world is a bleak place and human efforts go unrewarded; shallowness and deception will reign. Recommended to all the cynics and those who wish sunshine and happiness in the end of their e-mails.

So I read 12 books for RIP IX - not too bad at all, considering my initial aim was to complete two. :)


  1. Wow, you were on a serious roll in October! I've got far too many books half-finished by my bed from the last couple of months. I should probably take your example and get them finished off, if only to feel liberated.

    I always love your posts so I look forward to seeing what you come up with the new year :)

    1. Thanks Ellie! The fact that I finished off all the books doesn't of course mean I haven't already started a new pile next to my bedside - sigh... :)

  2. YAY for October -- that was one awesome month! I am so with you on the blogging slump (and the catch-up) but I think it's honestly a good thing sometimes -- you probably could not have read so much recently if you also were blogging regularly, so I think it's probably worked out in the end. I hope you find what works for you in the new year -- it's definitely different for each person.

    So excited to see you've finished Harry Potter with some high ratings for the final two books :) And now I really want to read Rebecca even more -- I always mean to read it in the fall or around Halloween, but haven't managed it yet -- though I guess winter wouldn't be a bad time for an atmospheric read either :)

    1. Good point! It tends to be that either you are in blogging mojo and not reading as much, or vice versa - I would very much like some sort of balance in this.

      About Harry Potter - I'm thinking I'm going to up The Half-Blood Prince from four to five. That was a really good book.

    2. Half Blood Prince is my favorite of the whole series :)

    3. Yes I was trying to remember if this was the one you liked. I think the whole thing about the past of the parents added really different dimension to the whole story.

  3. Holy crap girl, that's a lot of reading! Awesome :) This book has me giddy with excitement! Let's see...
    - So glad you liked The Bluest Eye, HP, Rebecca, Northanger Abbey...
    - Extra excited that you liked Ancillary Justice, because I've been itching to try that for a while now but hadn't actually seen any praise for it, but somehow it seemed like it was everywhere
    - I didn't like The Thirteenth Tale either. I get it.
    - I really need to try out some David Mitchell. Really.

    I'm just glad you're back into blogging :) I missed your posts. Hopefully you can find a good rhythm that works for you.

    1. Thanks, Sarah!

      I hope you'll like Ancillary Justice, many people do but then there are many who don't get into it. The tip I can give is to not be discouraged during the first 100 pages, I think it's meant to be a bit heavy-going, at some point things should click and get really good.

      Omgosh good to hear I'm not the only one who wasn't into The Thirteenth Tale. That was a bit disappointing experience.


Leave a comment if you feel like it - it warms my little bookish heart. :)