Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: reading-goals
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-01-04 17:41
Which book project to tackle in 2018?

Yesterday while i was in my car running some errands Hector Berlioz's "Rob Roy Overture" came over the radio. Listening to it reminded me that I still have David Cairns's two-volume biography of the composer sitting unread on my shelves. It's right next to the three volumes of Alan Walker's biography of Franz Liszt, which I started a few years back but had to set aside, and near the three volumes of Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago, which it has long been my intent to read.


Thinking about the Cairns volumes and the others left me contemplating about how to make the best use of my 2018 reading resolution. Over the years I have envisioned a number of reading projects, yet once I acquire the books for them the urgency dissipates, in no small part because once I own the titles I can start them anytime I want. It's a nice feeling to know that they're there when I'm ready, but the number of projects that are piling up is a sign that I need to turn intention into reality.


So this year, I'm going to find some time to undertake at least one of them. These are the ones that I'm thinking of starting soon:


Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago

Cairns's Berlioz biography (plus music)


Walker's Liszt biography (plus music)


John C. G. Röhl's Wilhelm II


Robert Skidelsky's John Maynard Keynes (plus related writings)


Completing any one of these would give me a feeling of real accomplishment; it's just a matter of deciding which one to do. Feel free to chime in on which one you would most like to see me undertake, as you'll encounter the results in your feed later this year.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-01-02 05:52
My 2018 Reading Resolutions

I hate resolutions -- except when it comes to reading! So here are mine for the upcoming year:

1. Rein in my podcasting and its related reading requirements. I love podcasting: the free books, the opportunities it provides to interact with amazing authors and to give their books greater attention, and the ways in which it has pushed me. But as I noted in a previous post, I need to rein it in. The flip side of reading so many recently published books is that it's taking me away from older titles that I've long intended to read. If I want to get to them, then the first step is to keep the number of podcasts at a manageable level. Of my reading resolutions, this will be the hardest one to keep, but it will be key to my success in keeping the others.


2. Whittle down my "to-read" list. Isn't the TBR pile both the joy and bane of every reader's life? It is the unconquerable mountain of promise, scaled with intent and hopefully never to be surmounted because then we will have run out of books to read. For me, though, the "to-read" lists on sites like Booklikes is different, as mine is a mix of books I want to read but not own and ones that I started but need to finish. The bigger mine is, the more it annoys me and prevents me from adding to, so this year I'm going to make more of a concerted effort to shrink it by reading some of the titles on it.


3. Read more non history/biography nonfiction. I love love love reading nonfiction for the ways in which it broadens my understanding of our world.When it comes to doing so, I favor the historical approach, but I've long appreciated that it cuts me off from a lot of knowledge that I should discover. So this year I'm gong to read some nonfiction that isn't just history, starting with Daniel Lieberman's The Story of the Human Body and moving on from there. Even if I only get to 3-4 books, I'll be richer for the experience.


4. Read poetry! Last April for National Poetry Month, I resolved to start reading poetry -- right as the month was coming to an end. I don't need an event to read poetry, (well, I shouldn't anyhow), but I'm going to make an effort this April to incorporate more poetry into my reading diet. I certainly have plenty of poetry books in my collection; it's simply a matter of taking one off of the shelf and reading it.


So, those are my goals. Now it's time to start meeting them!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-05-01 16:51
It's almost summer reading time!

It's May Day, which means that summer is fast approaching. While for most people it means summer fun and vacations, for me it means something even more fun -- reading projects! Here's what I'm already preparing to undertake:


Reading up on Martin Luther - 2017 is the quincentenary of Martin Luther's issuance of the 95 Theses. Reading more about Luther has long been a goal of mine, and for the past couple of years I've had the three volumes of Martin Brecht's biography of Luther taunting me from the shelf. The time has come to read them, along with some collections of Luther's writings so as to better understand the development of his theology and his arguments.


The Paraguayan War - This is actually a continuation of a reading project I started last month in preparation for interviewing Thomas Whigham this fall about the long-awaited second volume of his history of the conflict. Having finished Chris Leuchars's shorter overview, it's time for me to tackle volume 1.


Multi-volume composer biography - I posted about this a few weeks ago; I want to read one of the multi-volume biographies of classical composers that I have been adding to my shelves of late. I really want to read that Mahler biography, but ever since I read that La Grange was finishing a revision to the first volume when he died I've been restraining myself, as I really don't want to have to read that twice just yet. So I'm probably going to end up reading about Liszt or Berlioz.


Broadening myself - In case you haven't noticed, most of my reading is in the realm of history and historical biography. And while that won't change, I would like to broaden myself over the next few months by reading Daniel Lieberman's book on the human body, Siddhartha Mukherjee's new book on genes, and some of the classic lit that has been sitting on my shelf unread for years.


That, of course will be is addition to my podcast-related reading, reviewing obligations, writing-related efforts, and whatever I read to/with my son. So this summer will definitely be a busy one reading-wise -- and I can't wait for it to start!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2016-12-01 21:34
2017 Reading Goals

My reading goals for 2017 is going to be much simpler than last year's goals.


1. Read 100 books.

    This will be tracked at Good Reads. I dropped the number from 2016 because I plan on reading a lot more non-fiction which slows my reading pace.


2. Read 15 non-fiction books (Diseases and Disasters).

    The non-fiction books sitting on my TBR since forever all deal with diseases (small pox, influenza, etc) or disasters (natural and man-made). I'm going to focus on my physical TBR, but there will be a few books I put on my OverDrive wish list I want to get to as well.


3. Physical TBR Read Down

    We 18 months left here in England and I don't want to pack up my physical fiction TBR again (we had six boxes of books just between me and hubby). So I am going to try to knock out the reading, then donate to local charity shops.


4. 2017 Pop Sugar Ultimate Reading Challenge.

    I have some books attached to appropriate prompts, but keeping most open so that I can attached books I am already reading to those open prompts. I see only two prompts that are going to be problems - 1) 800+ page book (all the chunky books I have are 650-700 pages) and 2) audiobook (I have issues with paying attention).


5. Continue to volunteer at the library on a regular basis.

     I have been volunteering at the base since October and it is very rewarding to give back to my military community. I have learned a lot about the library business and the librarians who work in public libraries! It is hard not to add to the TBR pile while I am straightening out shelves (looking at you YA section!).


7. Bookish travel.

    I'm registered for RT in May and have all my travel/hotel arrangements set. I also hope to make it to the British Library this year.


A mil-spouse friend of mine is leaving to go back to the U.S., so another friend and I are going to take her to London for an overnight Girls' Night Out that includes a B+B/boutique hotel that is decorated/themed in all things Harry Potter. We plan on taking her on a Harry Potter walking tour and going to the movies to see Beauty and the Beast (and drinking ALL the Beer/Cider/Wine/Shots of liquor). 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2016-09-20 14:42
The Darkside War (The Icarus Corps) - Zachary Brown

Dark side war by Zachery Brown


So, I promised you a review of this book and here it is.   First, a caveat, I read this book as part of my awards read.   The good thing about this reading method is that you occasionally find books that really surprise you, surpassing your expectations.  The down side is, that you are just as likely to come across books that simply weren’t written for you.  Books that are written in a writing style/voice that leaves you cold or a genre that you just don’t get on with.   This book falls into the latter camp.   If you like what I call ‘mainstream genre” fiction you will like this book.  But, I prefer books that have a more experimental structure and/or lyrical language style.   So, this book is not for me.



“Aliens have conquered Earth, but they haven’t conquered humanity—yet. A young army conscript battles for survival in this action-packed futuristic thriller that will appeal to fans of Halo and Inglorious Bastards.

People used to wonder if we were alone in the universe. Well, we’re not. Not by a long shot. Aliens come in all shapes and sizes, and even the good guys are likely to haunt your nightmares. And oh, you’ll have nightmares, even after you leave the service. If you leave the service.

Devin is a reluctant conscript to an alien-run army: when the Accordance conquered Earth, they said it was to prepare against the incoming alien Conglomeration forces. But as Devin travels to the dark side of the moon for boot camp and better acquaints himself with his so-called allies, his loyalties are increasingly tested. Because the enemy of the enemy is not always a friend. Sometimes...” http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/The-Darkside-War/Zachary-Brown/The-Icarus-Corps/9781481430357


Sample Quotes

“I stood at attention. My boots dug into the sad, scraggly patch of open field that was all that remained of what had once been called Central Park, and I remembered standing in the middle of a baseball field here, once. A long time ago.”  Page  1.


This book had a diverse range of characters.   The characters represented different ethnic groups.  There were interesting girl/women characters.  The characters had different levels of power/privilege.   They came from different political perspectives and had very different views on how to deal with their alien conquerors.   


To me, this novel felt disjointed.   It felt like it was divided into 3 distinct sections; each of which opened questions that weren’t satisfactory answered.    The first section, a rebellion narrative, was an interesting look at how earthlings would deal with an alien invasion, asking how many would rebel and who would acquiesce; for what reasons? It would have been interesting to explore these sections further.  But, then we and Devin are whizzed into space and intro the second section of the novel which is set in a kind of boot camp; where earthlings are tested, trained and killed by their alien overlords.  This could have been an interesting look at conquest and how people can fight for their overlords.  It could have been an interesting look at the differing earthlings and how they survive this environment and the social conditions that they found there.  To a limited extent it was. But, that was short.  Since, then we were catapulted into section three and into a tradition alien shoot out; which, I found really boring. 


As you see from the quote at the beginning of this review, the writing was workaday/mainstream.  Which, while did work as first person narration from a teenage boy and made the work easy to scan, made the text feel boring to a reader who prefers a more lyrical/ experimental form of prose.   To me the professionalism of the writing wasn’t exciting and didn’t feel like the speech of a young boy under stress. Surely, Devin’s speech would have been more fragmented, and less structured.  So, if you like YA type books with fairly diverse characters, set in a dark space landscape, then this book is for you.  But, this book was not for me.


More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?