Reading update, April 2015

I’m using two book lists as inspiration and challenge to myself this year and I’m keeping track of what I’ve read via Goodreads, even though it doesn’t include some of the indie books I find. See last update

I read a lot of books this past month. Though, to be fair, I finished a bunch of out-standing books and listened to a number of audio books. (My new favourite thing? Finding an audio book to play while I do chores and such on the weekend. It means something in the background while I work and a very good chance of finishing a book despite being busy.)

One weekend in particular was very awesome: I finished a book, read another book, then made a really good dent into a third. It was a quiet 3-day weekend. Needless to say, I got nothing else done!

This is what I finished in April:

1. Neverwhere

I “read” this as an audiobook, except that the version I listened to was actually the dramatic radio play version. At first, I hated it on account as I find dramatic, multi-person readings of books to be very annoying and often over loud (because of the background sound affects and such). I made it about 10% in before I got tired of it and spent months telling myself that I’d love it in the end because it’s a Gaiman book and not actually getting around to finishing it. Then a co-worker mentioned that it was one of his all time favourites, so I put it on while doing chores one day. About 30 minutes later, I finally hit that sweet spot where I can’t stop listening. It was a great story!

PopSugar list: A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet – I love Gaiman books!

Bringing Up Burns list: A book a friend loves – It’s probably a bit of a stretch to call my co-worker a friend, but we get along well enough to be a “work friend”, so I’ll take it.

2. Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury

I left this at my aunt’s (out of town) last year and finally got a chance to visit this month, so I finished it off. On the whole, I loved the stories, but one of the last stories I read was confusing and terrible. I almost read it again, thinking that I must not have been paying attention the first time, but it was long and after re-reading the first few pages of the story, I decided that it was the story’s fault, and not my own. They aren’t Ray Bradbury stories, but some of them where definitely on par with his work and most of them were delightful and imaginative.

PopSugar list: A book that scares you – Holy heck, one of the stories gave me the creeps! Though, to be fair, I’m easily creeped out and I was reading late at night.

Bringing Up Burns list: A book you started but never finished – See explanation above.

3. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

I can’t remember why I originally added this to my “to read” list, but I’m so glad that I did. It was a beautiful story with a very unexpected twist in the end that made it all that much more beautiful. The bit with Harold’s followers in the middle made me antsy, but I think that’s mostly because I found them loud, offensive (in that they were arrogant and clueless about Harold’s purpose, except o the most elementary way), and aggravating, which made reading those chapters frustrating, but they do leave and the story goes back to being Harold’s story.

I will definitely read it’s partner book, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.

PopSugar list: A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit – I’ve always wanted to visit England.

Bringing Up Burns list: A book set in the summer – Self explanatory.

4. Foundation

All of my nerdy (guy) friends have read this and recommended it after I finished the Robots of Dawn. Aside from the oddness of reading a book with no woman (save for the occasional show piece or bitter wife), it was very interesting.

The no woman thing … I don’t even know what’s up with that. But, it was really weird.

PopSugar list: A book set in the future – I can’t remember if it ever specifically claimed to be in our future, but it was set in a society more advanced than ours and spanned generations.

Bringing Up Burns list: A book “everyone” but you has read – OK, this is a huge stretch, but several people recommending it felt like a lot. Close enough!

5. Goliath

I started reading this alternative history trilogy back in 2010-ish. It’s a great story and full of imaginative creatures (some of which I would love to own). The editions I read included occasional illustrations which were lovely and something to look forward to as you read. This book (the third) included Tesla, which was fun. This would be a great book for any tweens looking for a good adventure story that includes a girl who does a lot of rescuing and being brilliant (the two main characters, male and female, are equally capable and adventurous).

I “read” the last few chapters via an audio version read by Alan Cummings. It was so fantastic. I wish I’d listened to the whole series. He’s so good at doing the various accents (the cast of characters are from several countries) – it brought the whole book alive. I’m going to look for more books read by him.

PopSugar list: A book with more than 500 pages – Self explanatory … though, I might be cheating a bit, as the illustrations might bring it just under 500.

Bringing Up Burns list: A book you own but haven’t read – I’ve owned this since it was published (2011).

6. Interesting Times (Discworld #17)

Not my favourite Discworld, but still fun.

PopSugar list: A funny book – This is not Pratchett’s funniest book (in my opinion, anyway), but it did still get a few chuckles out of me. I suppose it might be more precise to call it “amusing”, but close enough!

Bringing Up Burns list: A book that’s more than 10 years old – Originally published in 1994 and reprinted in 2004.

7. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

I was not expecting this to be what is was. Based on the description, I thought it would be a quaint, fantastical story with magic or something. Instead, it was a delightful story of mystery, friendship and, bridging paper and digital worlds. As someone working in the information management industry, I found the latter to be especially interesting. I really wish we could require everyone in my department to read this book and participate in a study group, because it does a good job of showing the advantages and the pitfalls of sticking with tradition (doing things the old fashioned way) and of trying digital solutions (trying to use technology to solve a problem). In the end, both were needed to find the path to the solution, but it was good old accidental discovery and brain power that found the proverbial treasure.

PopSugar list: A book with a number in the title – Self explanatory.

Bringing Up Burns list: [none]

8. The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France

I really enjoyed this book because it was full of interesting stories and history lessons about France and food. It sounds like a boring history lecture, but the author is really good at taking interesting side roads in his writing, so it feels more like a conversation. And, if you like to cook, it’s peppered with tips and it has the recipes for his “perfect meal” at the back.

PopSugar list: A memoir – It’s not about the author’s whole life, but it is based on his real life and in the library catalogue it’s listed as a memoir (as one of it’s many subjects).

Bringing Up Burns list: A book you learned about because of this challenge – I wouldn’t have known about this book had I not read another book by the same author (The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris), which I picked because I was looking for either a true story or a book based in a place I want to visit.

***

In progress:

I got back into How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens  and I’m absolutely loving the stories.

As mentioned in a post a few days ago, I dropped two books off my “currently reading” list, but I still have Silently and Very Fast to get back into.

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