Sunday, December 4, 2011

TSS: Winding Down, Planning Ahead

Good morning and Happy December! It's hard to believe 2011 is winding down and those 'best of' lists I love so much have already begun to appear. My reading month is off to a great start, so any lists I compose will have to wait a few more weeks.

Last week I read The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonya Sones. Subtitled 'A Novel About Marriage, Motherhood, and Mayhem', it was a quick read that had me both laughing and crying (and slightly embarrassed, since the latter occurred in the dentist's waiting room).

A couple of trips to the mall put a good dent in my Christmas shopping and allowed just enough time to finish State of Wonder by Ann Patchett on audio. The combination of a great story, beautiful writing, and an excellent narrator made this a near-perfect audio experience.

I'm currently reading The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman (Jill's review sold me) and started Peony: A Novel of China by Pearl S. Buck on audio. Both are off to very strong starts.

Now it's time to 'close the book' on 2011 and begin planning for 2012. There are currently eight reviews in my draft folder that need to be completed before the end of the year. I really don't want to start the new year with a backlog, so they will be a December priority.

2011 was a challenge-free year at Lakeside Musing. I participated in events, dares, and group reads... and enjoyed every moment. My strategy for 2012 will be identical. Early plans include:

Sponsored once again by James at Ready When You Are, C.B., it runs from January 1 until April 1. You can modify the rules to suit your needs, but basically James dares us to read only books from our tbr (to be read) pile for three months. I'm in for the entire time, but will make exceptions for book club selections, audiobooks (no tbr pile), and Stewart O'Nan's new novel that I have already pre-ordered. Full details are here. Will you take the dare?

Co-hosted by Bellezza and Ally, this is technically a challenge but I'm calling it an event (much like Paris in July). Details, reading suggestions, and collected reviews can be found on this dedicated blog. Since this coincides with the TBR Double Dare, I am scouring my shelves for books set in Venice. Miss Garnet's Angel is all I've come up with so far. Will you join us in Venice?

Now it's time to relax with another cup of coffee and tackle my google reader. We're having a birthday party for my father later this afternoon, and I'm hoping to spend time reading The Lost Wife this evening. What are you up to today? Have you started planning you 2012 reading?


  1. Ooh, I'm glad you're doing Venice in February too!

    I am hoping to read more of my TBR next year instead of just adding to it but I'm too cowardly to take the TBR Double Dare!

  2. Thanks for the plug. I hope we can get a bigger group in the TBR Double Dare this year. I loved your Hemingway quote, by the way.

  3. Hi, JoAnn -- I, too, look forward to the "Best of" December posts from all the book bloggers! I'm going to make 2012 the year of my TBR pile and keep things simple and easy. Have a great Sunday!

  4. I really should join the TBR dare but there is always something new that comes to my attention that I can't resist! That's why too I don't plan ahead about what to read - too many variables, including my mood!

  5. My 2012 plans look just like yours except I am also in for the group read of The Savage Detectives in January. And remember, the TBR Double Dare lets you keep acquiring those books to be read right up until the end of the year so that can be more Venice books in your future if you wish. Which kind of defeats the purpose I know. But still. :) Happy reading!

  6. I think I'm going to sign up for the TBR Double Dare this year. I have so many books on my shelf that I want to read!

    I'm glad you enjoyed State of Wonder. I plan to read it at some point!
    I haven't heard about The Lost Wife and will head over to Jill's blog to read her review.

    I'm impressed that you braved the mall, glad it went well for you too! I'm a cyber shopper for almost all my shopping!

    Have a nice Sunday!

  7. It sounds like you've read some really great books this recently. Aw, crying while reading in public is one of the best things! :)

  8. I'm joining in with Venice in February and am definately going to re read Miss Garnet's Angel and maybe one more...

  9. I'm all over the TBR Dare. I just have to start planning now what I need to put on hold, buy, or convince my book clubs to buy so I can abide by the rules! I have State of Wonder on my iPod. I may read that one next.

  10. JoAnn, so glad you're joining in the Venice in February which now that I think about it is an event more than a challenge. I wonder if I should change the button... ;)

    Miss Granet's Angel keeps popping up. I think I'll have to look into that title, but I have a few set aside in anticipation, and Frances and I briefly mentioned the idea of a read-along for Henry James' Wings of a Dove. We'll see, there's lots to choose from that's for sure!

  11. I did not participate in any challenges this year and I am glad I didn't. I got too caught up in reading to satisfy challenges and ended up not reading what I wanted to read.

    Here's my Sunday Salon.

  12. Sam - I'm looking forward to spending time in Venice this winter!

    C.B. James - After reading A Moveable Feast, The Paris Wife, and seeing Midnight in Paris, "good and true" was the first Hemingway phrase to pop into my head. Looking forward to the TBR Dare, once again.

    Joanne - Sounds like a great plan to me! Can't wait to see more of those lists...

    Rhapsodyinbooks - I was really tempted to drop out a couple of times but, in the end, the tbr dare was a highlight of my reading year. I knew I bought all those books for a reason;-)

    Frances - I've actually considered stocking up on a few more titles, just in case ;-)

    Amy - I hope you do join the dare! It got me started reading Richard Yates again. The Easter Parade was in my tbr pile and it turned out to be a favorite.

    Amy - LOL! I have read some great books lately, but crying in public isn't really my style;-)

    Joan Hunter Dunn - Sounds like a good sign if you're willing to reread Miss Garnet's Angel. I'm looking forward to it!

    Sandy - I'm making an exception for my book club and will still buy/borrow any books they choose during the dare. State of Wonder was excellent!

    Bellezza - I'm still in, no matter what you're calling it! I'm intrigued with Wings of the Dove, but at the same time intimidated by James' later novels. I hear thats's when things get difficult and convoluted...

    Deb Nance - That's what drove me to avoid challenges this year... and my reading was much more enjoyable!

  13. My tbr stacks are a mess, so I'm definitely participating in the tbr challenge next year. Have a great week.

  14. It seems like everyone is backlogged with reviews to complete (me included). I just have not felt like writing lately, but hope to complete about 5 sometime soon.

    I may go challenge free this year as well -- still not sure.

    Have a great week JoAnn.

  15. I absolutely LOVED the Hunchback of Neiman Marcus and hope to re-read it again next year. It was indeed a quick read - but so much depth as well.

    Venice in February?! I promised myself I would not join any challenges in 2012, but this is ever so tempting. I think I may have to go check out the dedicated blog.

    I do plan to be a part of CBs Double Dare - but I consider that a necessity rather than a reading challenge :)

  16. Vasilly- Mine, too! Even with this year's dare and culling a ton of books for the library sale, there are still way too many books on my shelves. It'll be hard to decide where to start.

    Diane - It must be that end-of-the-year crunch we are all feeling. Oh well, as long as we're still reading. Will be curious to see what you decide on the challenges. Hope you have a great week!

    Molly - I LOVE your new profile pic (and blog design, too). My copy of The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus was from the library, but I may need to buy one for myself. Glad you're in for the TBR Double Dare. Bellezza mentioned in her comment above that Venice in February is more an event than a challenge, if that makes any difference;-)

  17. I'm considering the TBR Double Dare Challenge, too - wondering if I could actually do it.....

  18. Carrie - You'll never know if you don't try ;-)

  19. I definitely think I'm going to join Venice in February, since it is Italy!

  20. I'll probably join you and James and everyone for the TBR Double Dare. I could do with focusing on my TBR shelf!

  21. Natalie - Who can resist Italy? ;-)

    Nymeth - The dare provided some of the highlights of my reading this year... hoping next year's choices will prove just as good. Hope you decide to join!

  22. I cannot believe that this year is almost over. In some ways it seems to have just blown by and in others it feels like one of the longest years (probably because of the pre-baby, post-baby breaks).

    Hope you'll share your thoughts on The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus. I could use a good crying and laughing book!

  23. Trish - Ask and you shall receive... just finished my review of The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus. Look for it tomorrow morning :-)

  24. I am making 2012 a challenge free year, but might have to check out the Venice event. It's my favorite city and I have several books here to fit the bill that I'e been wanting to read. Thanks for the heads up.

  25. Stacy - Hope you decide to join us in Venice this winter!


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