The Sunday Salon: Taking Stock at Mid-Year

How can this year possibly be halfway over?  Or could it be the best is yet to come?  Either way, I’ve been taking stock of my reading and blogging lately, and here’s where things stand …

I’ve read 28 books so far, with one 5-star read (read my review of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life).  This is a snail’s pace compared to every other year since I began blogging.  I’ve paid more attention to work, family, and other hobbies. As I consider my 2013 Reading Resolutions, it seems like my reading interests might be heading into some different directions.  I’m still reading a ton of classics (11 from my Classics Club list already!), and I’m keeping up with my short story project, reading one collection each month.  But I’ve read far fewer literary prize winners & nominees (just 2 Bookers, and 1 Women’s Prize), and I’ve been enticed by some recent podcasts to explore some recently published literary fiction, which I’ve kind of ignored in recent years.

I’ve also been reading much more for myself, with less involvement in the book blogging community.  Even my Sunday Salon posts have become less frequent.  And I’m in a serious “book review funk.”  I’ve posted short comments on two recent reads over on LibraryThing but just didn’t feel like writing full reviews to publish here.  I’m not sure exactly what that means for this blog, but for the time being I’m not going to force myself to do something that feels like a chore.  I might write the occasional post summarizing several books, or pop in on Sundays for The Sunday Salon.  And hopefully someday I’ll get my “blogging mojo” back!

So now we are deep into “summer reading season,” and I have an interesting stack lined up for July:

  • The Sweet Dove Died, by Barbara Pym:  Over in the LibraryThing Virago Group, we’re reading one Pym each month in honor of her centenary.
  • The Stories of Edith Wharton, Vol. 1:  This is my short story project choice for July.  I just love Edith Wharton, so I’m excited about reading her stories every night before bed.
  • Taking Chances, by M.J. Farrell (Molly Keane):  Keane is one of my favorite Virago authors, and this book is on my Classics Club list.
  • One by One in the Darkness, by Deirdre Madden:  This is an early Women’s Prize nominee (back when it was the Orange Prize), that came highly recommended from … someone, I can’t remember whom!  Oops.  Well, anyway, July was once a big month for reading Oranges, so I’m hoping to get through a few.
  • May we be Forgiven, by A. M. Homes:  This is the 2013 Women’s Prize winner.
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple: No, this one’s not in the picture, because my daughter took it with her on a trip. We are both planning to read this 2013 Women’s Prize nominee in July, and I’m looking forward to comparing notes with her.

I have a habit of choosing more books each month than I finish — a holdover, I suppose, from speedier reading years.  But who knows, maybe this month I’ll manage it!

I hope your summer reading is going well.  I’ll see you around here sometime …
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11 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Taking Stock at Mid-Year

  1. I also seriously struggle with blogging mojo. If not for organising an event this month, I do not think I would have blogged at all. Good luck with sorting out your preferences. I do agree, you should always do what you feel like doing in case of something that is a hobby. We will miss you, but I do like that you are checking in every once in a while 🙂

    • Iris, I was surprised to find that simply writing this post and reading the comments reminded me of the more positive aspects of blogging. The support from other bloggers can help you keep going when motivation is low. Thank you!

  2. Sometimes I feel as if writing about books slows me down from reading more. I try to stay away from counts, but still feel I should have read more books. I don’t like to start a new book until after I’ve posted about the one I’ve just finished. That’s partly because writing is a way to inhabit the book a little longer for me — to open it’s doors and closets and see what I might have missed. It keeps bringing back the question: why am I doing this blogging thing? Who am I writing to?
    Answer is usually: to me — as in a journal – –and secondly, also to anyone else who is interested.

    • Barbara, I am the same in that I prefer not to start a new book until I’ve written a review of the one just finished. Although in the past few months I’ve done less of that, probably because my desire to read is greater than my desire to write reviews. But I really like your description of inhabiting the book a little longer — some books are difficult to leave behind! You’ve also reminded me of why I started blogging in the first place, which was just to have a journal for my own use.

  3. so that’s why you’ve been so quiet recently. i think I saw something in Librarything that you’d changed jobs (or did I just dream that) so I put it down to pressure of work. it sounds like you do need a break from reviewing since the last thing you want is for it to be a chore. just know that we’ll be missing you so don’t go too quiet on us

    • Karen, yes I have a new job — still with the same company, but a new role which is fun and challenging. I am not necessarily working more hours, but my brain is more tired at the end of the day! There have also been a few things on the home front that have been more time-consuming, and then there are other hobbies like gardening and knitting. Just not enough hours in the day sometimes. But thank you so much for your supportive comments, they really do help!

  4. This seems to be The Year of Missing Blogging Mojo–it feels like quite a few of us are talking about feeling off-pace on our reading and/or blogging! That said, I think one if the benefits to having done this for so long is that we’re much less apt to stress over not blogging the way we “should.” Good luck with your July book stack!

    • Florinda, I’m glad I’m not the only one. The strange thing is, this is the first time I remember feeling this way so I am stressing about it more than someone who’s been through it before.

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