Reading Re-set

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July hasn’t been a good reading month for me. I’ve only finished two books (out of dozens tried) and have not been enthused about my reading life. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve applied the ’50 page rule’ to this month and then have listlessly let fall from my limp hand after feeling utter disinterest and ennui about those 50 wasted pages. Yes, I’m being melodramatic. But it has felt like a reading tragedy.

Yesterday I realized that I need to lower my expectations, return to reading books I actually want to read and take a little break from reading galleys for a while. I deleted all my ‘Currently Reading’ books from Goodreads and decided to start over. Then I listened to my  heart and discerned that what I really feel like reading right now are Victorian novels and other classics. I love new, I love contemporary, but I think I have overdosed in the past few months and need to return to the land of old-fashioned delight that I truly enjoy.

I’m also going to keep my Goodreads ‘Currently Reading’ list to only five titles. This might seem a lot to some people –  I’ve never been the ‘one book at a time’ kind of person yet having 20 books on my currently reading list is a bit much. So, five is a good number for me.

And now I’m excited about reading again and can’t wait to share my thoughts!

Do you ever have to press the re-set button on your reading life?

Cover Collection: I Capture the Castle

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I started reading I Capture the Castle yesterday and so far find it thoroughly charming. I have seen the film, but I think the book is probably infinitely better as the film wasn’t very good, even not knowing the story beforehand. The copy I own and am reading is quite ugly and not very representative of the tone of the novel so I didn’t include it here. It does have very large print, however, which means I can read it in the bath with my glasses off. If I had a chance to buy a new copy I think I’d purchase the bottom right edition.

Which one do you like best? Have you read I Capture the Castle?

Disclaimer by Renée Knight

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One of my very favorite genres is the ‘suburban suspense’ or ‘domestic suspense’ novel. Books like The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, etc. They can be extremely well done with vivid writing, well drawn characters and clever, tight plotting. Or they can be predictable, messy and dull. Thankfully, Disclaimer is in the former category. It is an excellent example of this particular brand of novel.

The story is told in alternating chapters first from the viewpoint of the revengeful stalker who is trying to ruin the life of an award-winning documentary filmmaker, and then from the filmmaker, Catherine’s, point of view. Twenty years previously the stalker’s son died and he’s convinced that Catherine was the cause. His late wife wrote a fictionalized version of the accident that killed their son and the stalker has found it, self-published it and made sure that Catherine, her husband and her son have seen it. Though it is fictionalized there’s enough truth in it for Catherine’s husband to realize that it is about her and their marriage and family is utterly devastated. As the novel progresses, the suspense increases and the stalker gets angrier – the stalker wants more than to ruin Catherine’s life – he wants to end it. But then the plot takes quite a turn, something I didn’t see coming at all – and it left me breathless and quietly horrified.

Disclaimer is not only an excellent suspense novel but a novel that makes you question your own assumptions about how well you really know people, even your own family. I think this is a stunning novel and if you are in the mood for a meditative page-turner this summer this is the book for you.

My Reading Life Lately

I know I haven’t been around the blog much in the past few months and I miss it. I honestly don’t know why my posts have dwindled off, but I suspect it has something to do with my new reading habits. Back in April I decided to really devote myself to reading galleys, participating in the LibraryReads nominating process and to becoming a well-rounded readers advisory expert in my library system. This means that I’m not reading the type of books that I’ve read in the past or the authors that I normally devote myself to. Also,  I’ve been reading books about 2-3 months in advance of publication and find that many publishers, when granting access to a digital galley, ask that you not write about the book until 1 month before the book is released. As I’m not a very organized person when it comes to scheduling blog posts I completely forget all about writing about a book that I read 2 months ago when its publication date is near.

Though I love reading new books and am pleased with the difference it’s made in my approach to my job and my satisfaction in fulfilling my duties as a librarian, I don’t want to abandon this space or stop reading my true loves (all those Persephones, Viragos, and other British classics). So I just need to find a way to have better balance in my reading life and to incorporate all of my interests into the mix. I also want to write reviews for the new books I’m reading so I can not only share my opinions with you, but remember them better when I suggest them to patrons. Overall, returning to posting on the blog on a regular basis will be a good thing!

And I also hope to set aside time every week to catch up on my blog reading.

Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend and here’s to a lovely week to come!

Forgotten Photos from England

I took two cameras on my trip to England back in October – my primary camera and my backup camera. On the day we went to Westminster Abbey, the Churchill War Rooms and Kensington Palace I was very glad to have that backup. My number one camera failed to charge the night before (user error I’m sure) so I pulled out my second camera and didn’t have to miss taking photos that day. As you can see it was a pretty grey and rainy day and I ended up not taking as many photos as I usually do as I was huddled underneath an umbrella trying to stay dry. And that might have been why I forgot that I had these at all. I downloaded a few when I got back, but just remembered on Saturday that I had more on this camera than I had thought. I thought I’d share them here to remember what I lovely time I had and as a reminder to start being more frugal so that I can afford to go again next year.

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