The Sunday Salon: First Quarter Progress and a View of April

Best wishes on this Easter Sunday, for those who celebrate it.  It also happens that we are now 1/4 of the way through 2013, which is a good time to check progress on my 2013 Reading Resolutions, and then look ahead to April’s reading.

So far this year I’ve finished 13 books.  I haven’t had any 5-star reads yet, but have read several good, solid 3.5-4 star books.  I’m well into my 14th book, Sarah Grand’s The Beth Book, which I’m reading for the Classics Spin.  The challenge was to read the book by April 1.  Um … did the rules say I had to finish it by then?!  I’m bending those rules just a teensy bit, and will count this one as a March read.  So that’s 14 books in the first quarter, just off the 5-books-a-month pace that became my norm in 2012.  Now let’s take a look at those Reading Resolutions:

  1. I will read more books from my stacks than I acquire. YES!  I did it!  First of all, I only added 5 books to my library this quarter.  And all but one of the books I read came from my stacks.  The other was from the library.  Huzzah!
  2. I will continue making progress on all reading projects, but especially the Booker Prize, Women’s Prize, and Virago Modern Classics.  I’m doing OK with this one, except for getting distracted by other books in January and not reading a single Women’s Prize/Orange Prize book as I’d planned.  Well, there’s always Orange July.
  3. I will continue to foster community with other book bloggers.  I’m really enjoying The Classics Club, and had fun with a group read sponsored by my book buddy Rebecca from Love at First Book.
  4. I will read more short stories.  I’m really happy with this one.  I started the year with a stack of 9 short story collections on my nightstand, and through a simple bedtime reading routine I’ve managed to finish 3 of them.

So what does April have in store?  The other day I caught Woody, my 5-year-old yellow lab, checking out my book stack:


He was curious about my reading plans, so here’s what I told him.  From top to bottom:

  • The Thing Around Your Neck, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:  Adichie’s two novels, Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus, were absolutely great.  I’d like to read these short stories before her new novel, Americanah, comes out later this year.
  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald:  My husband read this last month, and is really grumpy I haven’t gotten to it yet. I want to make hubby happy, of course, and I’d like to read it before the seeing the new film.
  • The Misses Mallett, by E.H. Young:  I have several of Young’s novels in my Virago Modern Classics collection.  They are a delight, and this story of three spinsters and their niece sounds like a fun read.
  • The Big Rock Candy Mountain, by Wallace Stegner:  Welp, This was on my March stack because of a LibraryThing group read, but I got so caught up reading Anthony Trollope that I didn’t get to this one.  Every time I checked in with the discussion thread I could tell people loved it.  So, April it is!

And finally, there’s The Dinner, by Herman Koch.  This book isn’t in the photo because I’ve requested it from my local library.  After nearly a month, I’m finally at the top of the queue.  I’m really intrigued by this dark, disturbing book that everyone seems to be talking about.

So that’s it for me — a pretty good year so far,

How is your 2013 reading so far?
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15 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: First Quarter Progress and a View of April

  1. I absolutely loved The DInner, but it seems to be a really polarizing novel. People either love the slow, ticking descriptions or can’t stand the style and characters. I hope you’re with me!

    • RCR, I know what you mean about the polarization. But that was all I needed to send me rushing to my library’s website. I can’t wait.

  2. I am in the middle of writing my round up post for March, it will get published tomorrow as I have another book review to post before then. I love your resolutions – I am no good at keeping resolutions – especially when they involve not adding any more books to my already over flowing shelves.
    I loved The Misses Mallet – I’ve enjoyed everything by E H Young that I have read so far. It is so long since I read the Great Gatsby that I fear I can remember very little of it – it is on my list to re-read though. I will be interested in what you think of The thing around your neck as I have had it TBR for a wehile now. Enjoy your April reading.

    • Ali, I am normally hopeless at not adding to my shelves. I’m not sure why it’s been different these few months. I’m glad to hear you liked The Misses Mallett. Like you I’ve enjoyed everything by Young I’ve read and am looking forward to this one.

    • kaggsy, Gatsby is one of those books I can’t believe I’ve never read. I’m looking forward to remedying that situation. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it enough to reread multiple times.

  3. After reading your resolutions, I went to look for mine’s before realizing that I didn’t make any! It’s not too late, right? 🙂 What’s your bedtime routine for reading short stories? Do you just read one a night? I have a ton of s.s. collections that are unread. My reading so far this year has been all over the place. I really need to start reading my own books. Enjoy your day!

    • It’s never too late for resolutions, Vasilly! I know some people who make them around their birthday, and I’d say just about anytime is fine. My short story routine is pretty simple: I read for a short period in bed every night. When I start to nod off, I’m done. Sometimes I get through an entire story, and I love it when that happens, it just feels right. Sometimes I don’t, but then I usually finish it the next night. There are also some nights I’m just too tired … Still, each book I’ve read so far is somewhere in the 200-250 page range with 12-15 stories, and I have finished each with a few days or a week to spare. Then I read something else at bedtime until the new month starts, which is nice because it adds variety.

  4. you’re doing better than I am with my resolutions (will post about this next Sunday Salon)!
    I see that the Adichie new novel is due out towards end of April so not long to wait

    • Rebecca, how brave of you to admit to not reading your “spin” book! I’ve fit in a fair amount of reading time this weekend but I’m still only about halfway through my 500-page book. Still, that’s enough for me to count it for April without guilt. Well, with less guilt anyway. 🙂

      • I had every intention of reading my spin on time. . . but honestly, other things just got in my way. I will read it and April is my new goal. But I just have so many books in the way! I’m instituting a few of my own read-a-thons. I just need to get through a stack I committed to read for others and then I’ll be able to come back and read my choices.

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