This is a combined reading update and unread shelf project update. … Mostly it’s a reading update as I haven’t made much progress on my unread books.
Guys! I finally finished the ebook I’ve been reading for 3 months! Halle-freaking-lujah!
Sadly, other than that one ebook and a couple of the magazines that I bought over the past few weeks, I didn’t make any progress on my unread shelf. Heck, I don’t feel like I read much at all. This is partly because of life getting in the way, but I think I was also just bored with reading for a few weeks and more interested in working on other projects or perusing my new art books (thanks, dad!).
In addition to not reading much from my unread shelf, I also didn’t do a good job of keeping track of what was being added. I bought a lot of books, in April. Thankfully, most of them were reference books that weren’t added to the unread pile (reference books and copies of books I bought to keep). Unfortunately, I kept forgetting to make a note of what I bought and why. I’m sure that my numbers are a bit off, but this is what I think came and went:
- Items out:
- Read – 1 ebook, 2 magazines
- Weeded – half a dozen (I think)
- Items in:
- Bought and added to my unread shelf – 4 books, 3 audiobooks, 4 magazines
- Bought and added to my general collection – 1 colouring book, 3 previously read books, 3 nature guides
- Given and added to my general collection – several art books
I’ll do a reset count this month, but I’m not too worried about the numbers. Yes, I added more than I removed from the unread shelf, but I don’t regret the purchases I made. Especially not the book club selection, The Great Alone – it’s enthralling!
As for what I actually read, there were some really great books, but there were also a lot that bored me.
- Dead Reckoning – The March book club selection. This is a non-fiction book about a woman who decided to contact the man who murdered her father when she was a kid. It was interesting, but I have to admit that I skimmed through quite a bit.
- Manhattan Beach – This was one of my favourite books of the month. It was a great story with interesting characters. This is my review.
- The Little Book of Hygge – I had a few weeks in February and March when I was a bit obsessed with hygge (cozy) and lagom (enough). This is a good introduction to the concept with some good ideas for making your life a bit more hygge, but I was bored with hygge by the time I read this book.
- The Strays – I loved this book so much that I bought a copy to keep. This is my review. I loved the story, the drama, the art, and the characters.
- Chasing Slow – I read this as part of my year long goal to embrace “slow.” While it wasn’t one of the most inspirational books I’ve read recently (that award would go to The Year of Less or Soulful Simplicity), I found the content quite useful and I have several pages of notes and thoughts about the authors suggestions. But, I did get a bit bored after a while and I skimmed through most of the second half, focusing more on the chapter summaries.
- The Nature Fix – Last year I tried to read Your Brain on Nature, which I found to be painfully repetitive and long-winded (yes, I actually wrote that on Goodreads). The Nature Fix, though a bit slow at times, is written in a more conversational manner, so it’s much easier to read. It’s also quite interesting. Basically, get outside if you can, bonus points if you can find a wooded park or an actual forest.
- Unplug – I quit this in the first chapter or so because the author annoyed me. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but after going on about the science behind the benefits of meditation (which I support wholeheartedly) she decided to slap science in the face and disregard it for her own convenience (science says that you benefit the most from 30 minutes of mediation daily, but her business is based on quick fixes, so she decided that 10 minutes is more than enough). The silly thing is that she’s not entirely wrong (science also says that 5 minutes a day is still better than 0 minutes), but the way she did it made me lose all my trust in her, so I quit the book.
- You Can Buy Happiness – Another book that I quit. I think this book is probably very good and useful for people trying to embrace slow living, simplicity or minimalism, but I got bored with it. I may give it another try sometime.
- Solitude – This is the ebook that took me three months to read. It started really strong, but eventually strayed from what I thought the book was about and, frankly, got a bit whiny about “kids these days.” But, it was still interesting.
- Cruising Through the Louvre – I went to the library with my brother and I found this while we browsed the graphic novel section. He was nice enough to borrow it for me (we live in different provinces, so I didn’t have library borrowing privileges) and it was an interesting story with really lovely coloured pencil art and sketches of pieces in the Louvre.
- Flat Broke With Two Goats – I borrowed this on a whim. It was the Overdrive/Libby pick for their book club, which they do periodically. Honestly, I didn’t think that I would stick with it, but I found it very interesting and amusing. It’s non-fiction about a family who go from living the American dream to being close to having no home. I appreciated the author’s honesty about the tough times and strains in their relationship.
- Glacial Period – This is another graphic novel about the Louvre (there’s a series of them, all by different authors/artists). It was more of a sci-fi story (in a distant future when the world is covered in snow) with a bit of a fantasy twist. It was interesting, but I wasn’t really in the mood, so I mostly skimmed through it.
- Life Reimagined – As a middle aged person, this was a tough read. I spent most of the book lamenting about how I’m going to die immobile, demented and alone. And, no, I am not making light of dementia. The book focuses on how our current choices can have huge impacts on our mental and physical health when we’re older. We always hear about fitness and nutrition, but this book also talked about how our social lives can affect our future mental and emotional well-being. It was hard to read and it’s hard to not feel a bit despondent about how many things I need to improve if I want to avoid being immobile, demented and alone when I’m old. But, I’m glad I read the book because now I know about some things that I need to do to improve my current and future well-being.
- Moonshot – This is a collection of short comics by indigenous artists/authors. Some of the art was quite fantastic and many of the stories were really interesting. There were one or two where I lacked the context to understand what was going on, but overall, I really enjoyed this collection.
- Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics – I know the benefits and science enough to be bored with these types of books, but I keep looking for ones that might hit that sweet spot of inspiration. This was not the book for me, so I quit. I found the humour to be annoying – it felt like they were trying too hard to be cool.
- The Corrections – I keep hearing about how great Jonathan Frazen is, so I decided to read one of his books. This started pretty strong and I can see why a lot of people enjoy his writing, but I didn’t like the characters and I didn’t find this to be even remotely funny (the synopsis promised me a “darkly hilarious” book, but I wasn’t even particularly amused). I considered reading to the end, but I’m reading two books that was much more engaging.
So, my big question this month is this: should I give Jonathan Frazen another chance? If so, what should I read?