Stuff I Read

Six Months In

It’s been about six months since I began the first year of my “Grand Life Plan” by reading as many books on my TBR as I can. Here are my thoughts so far, in no particular order:

  • I’m not going to make it. I always knew I wouldn’t make it to all 122 books read in a year, but I thought I would get a little closer than I am. In six months, I’ve read 36 books (33 of them from my TBR). If I keep it up, I’ll have read roughly half of what I have sitting around.
  • I’m really impatient about getting to read new books. While I mostly love (or at least enjoy) what I’m reading, it’s hard to be reading books from several years or decades ago. All my friends are talking about hot new books – I want to read them too!
  • I like a good helping of political intrigue in my fantasy and science fiction. One of the biggest surprises for me so far was In Conquest Born, which I flatly adored. I knew that I liked politics, as shown by my love for Kate Elliot and Jacqueline Carey, among others, but this really drove it home. It’s something I’m going to start looking for as an indication that I’d probably enjoy a book.
  • There’s a subgenre of “female-penned science fiction of the 80’s and 90’s”. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but consider: C.S. Friedman, Melissa Scott, Emma Bull, C.J. Cherryh. They all “taste” the same to me. It’s a sub-genre I really like.
  • I’m probably not going to read all those Book 2’s. Other works by Tanya Huff. The trilogy after Obsidian Mountain. Book 2 of Lord of the Isles. I often buy Book 1 of a series that I want to see if I enjoy, thinking I’ll go get Book 2 if I do. Sometimes it works (Kushiel’s Dart, Daughter of the Blood). But with books this old that have sat unread for so long, I’m just not motivated to keep reading if they tie up well. Strongly related to wanting to move on to new books, I suspect.
  • I’m finally old enough to stop reading books I don’t like. There was a time I couldn’t not finish a series, much less an individual book. But with 122 books lined up, I’ve learned to be a bit more discriminating. DNF’ed so far this year: The Power of Myth, Aphrodite’s Daughters, and A Heart for Freedom. All for, in some way, values that I find outdated and offensive. I just realized typing this up that those are all non-fiction, so I may still have trouble letting fiction go.
  • I’ve given 1 book a 5-star rating: The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. However, I’ve rated 12 books 4 stars. I apparently really hesitate to give out that “superlative” rating.
  • I’m actually “reading” audiobooks. I don’t know that I’d enjoy reading fiction audiobooks, because the voices really bug me. However, I really enjoyed listening to A Heart For Freedom, and I’m now listening to Whose Bible Is It? Of course, this have lead to another “TBR” pile.
  • One of the reasons for my slow pace is that I need breathing space after completing a book. I can’t just finish a book and immediately pick another one up. I do usually pick it out, and put it on my smaller pile of what I’m actively reading, but many books leave me with a “mental aftertaste” I want to savor.
  • I kind of suck at writing reviews. I wish I didn’t, but I never really know what to say in reviews. A lot of people seem to start theirs with a summary of the plot or theme, but that seems like a waste of time to me. Did you read the blurb? Okay, then. The only time I really highlight what the book is actually about is when I think the cover/summary information leaves out a key point or is otherwise misleading. Other than that, I tend to pick out the bits I particularly liked (or disliked). Writing spoiler-free reviews sometimes means these are incredibly short.
  • I may not actually like short fiction. Dangerous Women was the first anthology I picked out to read. According to GoodReads, I started it on March 15, and I’ve yet to finish it. On the other hand, I quite liked Bone and Jewel Creatures and Portrait of Lisane de Patagnia, so perhaps the fault is not in the format…