Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Midyear Musings and a List of Favorites


Halfway. How is that even possible? But because that is indeed the case, and this is supposed to be a book blog, I though I'd share a few reflections on my 2018 reading.

Observations:
  1. Compared to last year, the numbers are down. I've only read 23 books, but that's still fairly close to my one book per week average.
  2. I'm not reading as much nonfiction - only 26% as compared to nearly 50% last year. 
  3. Female authors comprise 75% of my reading this year. It's usually about half.
  4. I've spent much more time in my "comfort zone" - reading favorite authors (Anne Tyler, Anna Quindlen, Frances Mayes, Meg Wolitzer, Laura Lippman) and literary fiction.
  5. What happened to classics? I've read a grand total of two - one Trollope and one Henry James.
What will change in the next six months?
Probably not much. I seem to be reading more for comfort these days (what a world!) and will likely continue to do that... at least through the summer.

Goals:
  1. I would like to finish Trollope's Palliser novels this year - two more to go, The Prime Minister   and The Dukes Children.  
  2. I want to read more nonfiction this summer and fall. Nonfiction November is coming!
Bottom line: 
Keep it simple; keep it real.



2018 Midyear Favorites 

Fiction
(in no particular order)


Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes


The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman


Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller


The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer


Sunburn by Laura Lippman


A read/listen combination, the audio version is excellent


Modern Lovers by Emma Straub


A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler



Nonfiction 




What are your favorite books so far this year? Have you made a list?

32 comments:

  1. I think bloggers tend to put too much pressure on themselves to read more, more, more and we really shouldn't. We read for pleasure and blogging is just a hobby. It looks like you've read some great books this year.

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    1. Kathy - You're right, of course. Overall my reading has been very enjoyable this year.

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  2. I'm more of a comfort reader these days as well except for my monthly book group read. I loved Eleanor Elephant and hope to read Gunners and Modern Lovers as well.

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    1. Diane - The switch to comfort reading has been pretty dramatic for me so far this year. Hope you enjoy The Gunners and Modern Lovers as much as I did!

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  3. I started Women in Sunlight and let it go back to the library unfinished... too much Savannah, not enough Tuscany? But since you liked it so much I will try it again. :)
    The Prime Minister in September?

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    1. Audrey - It's takes a while to get to know the characters and get them all to Tuscany, but once you'e there it's definitely worth it. The audio version is wonderful, too.

      Yes! Let's plan on ThePrime Minister in September.

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  4. I'm doing about the same as you -- just about to finish my 23rd book for the year. As soon as I finish listening to A Gentleman in Moscow (a re-read), I plan to listen to Women In Sunlight. I bought it quite a while ago after reading Candace's glowing review and I'm anxious to begin. A Gentleman in Moscow was a great read, but the audio is a little slow. Maybe I shouldn't have tried to re-read it so soon, but I wanted to refresh my memory before my book club discussion.

    I've really enjoyed the books I've read this year, but my favorites so far are:

    Rules of Civility (Amor Towles)
    This Is How It Always Is (Laurie Frankel)
    The Heart's Invisible Furies (John Boyne)
    Dear Fahrenheit 451 (Annie Spence)

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    1. Les - Our numbers may be down, but at least we're still enjoying books. The audio version of Women in Sunlight was excellent! It was a read/listen combination for me, and I think the audio added to my overall enjoyment.

      I loved Dear Fahrenheit 451, too, and still have my copy of The Heart's Invisible Furies in FL... may give it another try next winter.

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  5. Replies
    1. Diane - There may be one or two of Lippman's stand-alones I missed along the way. Still have some catching up to do :)

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  6. I like the "keep it simple, keep it real" motto.

    I have read two of the books on your list and have a few of them on my to-read list.

    This world. It's depressing me so I can relate to comfort reading. I am not sure my reading has all be comfort based but it is certainly different from what I normally read.

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    1. Ti - Yes, no more lofty reading goals. I just want to read what strikes my fancy :)

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  7. I read Swimming Lessons last year and enjoyed it. I love that you're reading for comfort!

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    1. Angela - She has a new book... think it's already out in the UK!

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  8. I'm actually at a record high for this point in the year for me. But some of that is attributable to my dad dying in February. While I sat vigil with him, he was mostly unconscious, and I did a lot of reading. Then, in the aftermath, reading for comfort. Now, reading to avoid politics (which can't be fully avoided, but at least can be kept at bay now and then). There are worse ways to cope.

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    1. Amy - You've had an especially difficult year and I'm glad reading helped you get through that time. And you're right, there are definitely worse ways to cope! Here's to a happier second half!

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  9. Hi JoAnn,
    I always like to see other people's statistics--it's always interesting and usually prompts me to analyze my own reading.
    Did you include your audiobooks in the number of books read?

    I've heard so many good things about Eleanor Oliphant that I need to add it to my list. Also, and most definitely, The Female Persuasion, and the Frances Mayes book looks intriguing as well. I am suffering from the malady known as "Just Too Many Books."
    I hope you have a joyous 4th!

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    1. Judith - Yes, I included audiobooks. For whatever reason, this just seems to be an off year for reading. Sure hope things pick up in the second half. Maybe my renewed interest in blogging will help with reading, too. Hope you're enjoying this holiday weekend!

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  10. I see a few books I've had on my list, and a few I want to check out.

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    1. Vicki - Seeing lists from other readers always inspires me, too.

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  11. My reading started off with a bang number wise, but has slowly decreased. At least I have enjoyed what I have been reading for the most part. It sounds like you have too. Here's to a great rest of the year!

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    1. Wendy - You're right... even though there hasn't been as much reading, I have enjoyed the books I have read. Hope we both have a great second half!

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  12. It's always nice to step back and take stock of the year to date. It's interesting that your focus has shifted a bit, less non-fiction, and more tried-and-true. That's what is so special about favorite authors--they're not a sure thing, but they're usually pretty reliable.

    Thanks so much for posting about The Gunners--I never would have read it--and it was marvelous--had I not read your post.

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    1. JaneGS - I'm so pleased you enjoyed The Gunners... other bloggers pointed it out to me, too. Not sure I would have discovered it on my own. We'll see where our reading takes us the rest of the year!

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  13. I always enjoy seeing your favorites. This summer I am reading for Ute entertainment, and catching up with titles placed on my TBR list awhile back. I hope you are having an enjoyable summer.

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    1. Bonnie - It's good to hear from you! Our summer has been great so far... and the reading hasn't been bad either. I just stuck in a comfortable, old routine. No complaints :)

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  14. JoAnn, my numbers are down this year too, but as long as we're enjoying our reading that is all that really matters isn't it? I am currently working on a top 10 list of favourite books so far this year for the up-coming Top Ten Tuesday topic. While I've not finished it is definitely going to include: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte and The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier.

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    1. Jessica - That is exactly right... I'm still reading and enjoying the books I am choosing. There just aren't as many of them. Glad to hear Anne Bronte will be on your midyear list!

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  15. Keep it simple, Keep it real. I like that! Enjoy yourself this summer with reading. I've read two so far from your list above: Eleanor Oliphant and Sunburn both of which I liked but Oliphant more. I think I will keep nonfiction for fall but fiction for summer! Just quick fun reads now.

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    1. Susan - I haven't been in a nonfiction mood for months and it doesn't seem like summer is the best time to try and recapture one. It may very well be fall for me, too.

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  16. I'm doing a terrible job on reading nonfiction this year, too. But I'm with you on reading for comfort this year. I'm finding myself drawn to things that take me away from reality.

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    1. Lisa - I don't think we're alone on that front. There are days when I have to avoid watching too much news... I just get so angry and upset. Books are definitely my comfort this year.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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