Thankfully Reading For The Next Few Weeks

To sign up, even if only for a day, click on the button above to go to Jenn’s blog to do so.

Earlier this month, I announced that I was joining Jenn of Jenn’s Bookshelves for Thankfully Reading Weekend Nov. 27 to Dec. 1. However, in light of this past week and for the next two upcoming weeks that I have two days off each week from my usual five-day work week, I have decided to extend the “weekend” to three weeks. Today I am starting the event unofficially and continuing it through Dec. 5, the last of two days that I will have off from my usual five-day work week until Christmas.

Today, I plan to read, or at least begin reading, The Lord God Made Them All, the fourth book in the All Creatures Great and Small series (at least in the order here in the US), by James Herriot. I slowly am making my way through the series (the first couple a reread, the rest new to me) that I started last year.

Then on Thanksgiving Day here in the US and this coming Friday also known as Black Friday, again for those of us here in the US, I plan a reread of Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I just watched the adaptation on Amazon and I felt it was/is time for a reread since it’s been so long since I have read the book.

For the final two days of my own version of the Thankfully Reading Weekend, I plan to read Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography by Eric Idle. I bought it via a Kindle deal last year but haven’t read it yet.

So how about you? Wherever you are in the world, no matter whether you have time off from work in the near future for holidays or not, what have you read, are reading or plan to read that is, or you think might be, good?

In other news:

  • For the past month, I have been joining in with other book bloggers for an event called Nonfiction November. The first week, Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, I looked back at my year in nonfiction. The second week, Nov. 4 to Nov. 8, I paired a nonfiction book with a fiction book. The third week, Nov. 11 to Nov. 15, I shared a list of books on a topic that I’d like to read or “become the expert,” as host for the week Katie from the blog Doing Dewey explained the prompt. Last week, Nov. 18 to Nov. 22, I talked about what makes a nonfiction book I’ve read one of my favorites. This coming final week, Nov. 25 to Nov. 29, I will share what books I am adding to my TBR as a result of the reading others’ posts during the event.
  • In December, I will be joining hosts Tanya and Kim along with other bloggers for the event A Month of Faves. I already have started a note in Evernote that includes ideas for the days and topics in which I will be participating.
  • Yesterday, Nov. 23, my wife Kim and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary anniversary. She is in the middle of a vacation that began Tuesday and lasts through Thanksgiving night when she returns to work, and, as I mentioned above, I had two days off from work. We didn’t do anything special as we both are on the mend from various medical issues (me, a successful arthroscopic surgery on my left knee last month; and her, too complex to explain here, but don’t worry, she’s getting better day by day).
  • But from Wednesday through Friday, we enjoyed an impromptu binge-watch of an Australian show called Upper Middle Bogan (titled Bess of Both Worlds on Hulu here in the US). It was really good. I’ve added the (NSFW) trailer below. We also watched Brittany Runs A Marathon at my sister’s suggestion and it was excellent. We ended the night with watching/rewatching a few episodes of Gavin and Stacey, which is one of our favorite TV shows ever.

2019 #thankfullyreading Weekend: I’m in!

To sign up, even if only for a day, click on the button above to go to Jenn’s blog to do so.

Jenn at Jenn’s Bookshelves is hosting Thankfully Reading Weekend again, this year from Wednesday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Dec. 1, and I’m joining in. As Jenn says, “There are no rules to the weekend, we’re simply hoping to devote a good amount of time to reading, and perhaps meeting some of our reading challenges and goals for the year.” I plan on starting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, after work, and continuing through Sunday night.

The only time I know for sure that I won’t be reading — well, of course, other than sleeping — is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. when I’m working at the library. I also probably won’t be reading during times when my wife and I are watching something on streaming together as she is off both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Other than those times, I plan to devote a good chunk of the long weekend to reading.

So what will I be reading? I’m not exactly sure, but I have possibilities, including the following three very strong probabilities:

  • The Lord God Made Them All, the fourth book in the All Creatures Great and Small series, by James Herriot, as I continue making my way through the series (the first couple a reread, the rest new to me) that I started last year.
  • Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, since we just watched the series on Amazon and I felt it was/is time for a reread.
  • Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography by Eric Idle, which I bought via a Kindle deal last year but haven’t read yet.

I only just noticed that all of my choices are British. While not by design, it will be nice to get out of the U.S. for a while over the holidays, given our current political climate. I mean, the United Kingdom isn’t having any issues right now politically, are they? 😉

So how about you? Are you reading over the holidays? If so, what are you planning to read? IF NOT, — because I’m not judging if you spend time with family and friends and/or busy at work — AND PLEASE SEE THIS PART OF THE POSSIBLE QUESTIONS :), what are you reading otherwise that is good? Or what do you have on the radar that you are looking forward to reading? Because I really want to know and I and my readers might get some good ideas for you and vice versa.

In case you missed it, I have been joining in with other book bloggers for an event called Nonfiction November. The first week, Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, I looked back at my year in nonfiction. The second week, Nov. 4 to Nov. 8, I paired a nonfiction book with a fiction book. This week, Nov. 11 to 15, I shared a list of nonfiction books on a topic that I’d like to read.

300 books on Goodreads since 2014

I used to keep track of my reading via LibraryThing and then a number of other sites and services before landing on Goodreads in 2014. A couple of months ago when I realized that I was approaching 300 books finished, I started drafting this post in anticipation of reaching the number, which I did at the end of October…

…or so I thought.

Then I noticed that while I had factored in The Lord of the Rings as a collection, adding two, and adding one, The Sun Also Rises that I had just finished as part of another collection of four novels by Hemingway, I had forgotten to add in one other collection of two novels: Wind and Pinball by Haruki Murakami – hence the asterisk in the graphic above.

The numbers have gone steadily down in the last six years, as the chart above shows: from the highs of 64 in 2014 and 82 in 2015 to middling numbers with 48 in 2016 and 45 in 2017 and last year with 33 and this year (so far) 29. I’m about on target for what I read last year, if not hopefully a little more than that number.

With this month Nonfiction November, I would also be remiss if I didn’t break down my reading into fiction and nonfiction. Sadly, I have been remiss in my nonfiction reading, with only 39, or 13 percent, of the 300 nonfiction. Also in the low numbers are graphic novels at 17 and poetry at 14. However, in the high numbers are series, especially series related to crime, with 189 out of the 300, or 63 percent, being series and out of those 137 are crime-related. Ironically, one book with “crime” in the title, Born A Crime by Trevor Noah, I did not count as crime-related.

Overall, I had 41 books that I rated five stars; 37, 3 stars, and only 2, 2 stars. Most were better than average, but somehow just short of great. However, an additional 13 that I didn’t give five stars, I still considered favorites despite that missing “something.” I would have made more infographics, but to be honest, just putting together these two, especially the first one was fairly time- and labor-intensive, since I’m not super tech-savvy. That said, I decided to try Piktochart after seeing a post in which Sarah at Sarah’s Bookshelves used the design website and I’m glad I did.

For my entire list on Goodreads, click my read shelf on Goodreads on the logo below:

Bryan's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

So what do all these numbers mean?

What all these numbers mean is…well, I read a lot of series, mostly crime-related, and not a lot of nonfiction. The good news is that this year out of the 28 books, I’ve read so far, 12 of them have been nonfiction or about 43 percent. Of course, that percentage is bolstered since the numbers overall are down. I attribute that to a number of factors, including stress over thinking about health, work, and politics (although at least one of those is improving for both me and my wife) and an increase in watching streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

Does this mean that I will change anything for the future? I have high hopes to read more nonfiction than I have been, but probably I’ll continue to read mostly crime fiction series and even have a few new-to-me series in my TBR (to-be-read) pile already. Through October, I’ve done pretty well on reading nonfiction for me, with a total of 11, which is a high for me in a year. I have a number of nonfiction books in my TBR too for the next year (or two or three, let’s be honest), many of which I’ll be mentioning in a blog post tomorrow and then next week for Nonfiction November. Stay tuned!

So numbers aside, do you find trends in your own reading? Do you tend to read on one subject or in one genre? Or all you over the place?

Note: I realized that as I ended drafting this post that I neglected to mention young adult books so I went back and added them up for a total of 27 books, if I counted right. I only learned about many of them from book bloggers and without doing a count, I’d say a fair amount of them were among my favorites.

In case you missed the first two Nonfiction November posts, here are the links: Nonfiction November: A Look Back At My Year in Nonfiction and Nonfiction November: A no-brainer fiction/nonfiction pairing. I’ll be back tomorrow for Week 3.

My Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon for October 2019

Tomorrow starts another Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, and starting today, I’ll be keeping track of the readathon here and on Instagram, from pre-readathon prep to post-readathon analysis on Sunday. I’m in the midst of convalescing from arthroscopic knee surgery this past Tuesday (to learn more about that, visit my previous post), and I haven’t gotten much reading done so far, thanks to a slight haze of Norco (hydrocodone and acetaminophen). However, now that I’m coming out of the fog, I’m ready for some reading.

Pre-readathon prep

I only have two books on my list that I definitely want to get to, one in a collection:

  • Four Novels: The Sun Also Rises; A Farewell to Arms; For Whom The Bell Tolls; The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway that I bought last week from our library’s bookstore.
  • Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises by Lesley M.M. Blume that I was reminded that I had bought last year in ebook when I saw The Sun Also Rises among the four novels.

I’m thinking that they will complement each other well for tomorrow’s readathon.

I also have other possibilities, but most likely they will be saved for next week, while I’m still off from work, and probably even later for some:

  • Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • Heaven, My Home (A Highway 59 Mystery Book 2) by Attica Locke
  • Orphan X (Orphan X, #1) by Gregg Hurwitz
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (an annual Halloween reread tradition)
  • Ruth Galloway Series: The First Three Novels by Elly Griffiths
  • The Lord God Made Them All (All Creatures Great and Small Book 4) by James Herriot
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1) by Robert Galbraith
  • A Morbid Taste for Bones (The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael Book 1) by Ellis Peters.

This past week I finished one book, A Story To Tell by Lisa R. Howeler (my sister), and started another, The Best American Poetry 2014 (edited by Terrance Hayes, guest editor, and David Lehman, series editor) that I probably will finish today before tomorrow’s readathon.

My wife and I also started watching Mindhunter, Season 2 on Netflix Wednesday night, and we plan on possibly getting to these other series this coming week:

  • Good Omens, Season 1 on Amazon Prime
  • Narcos Mexico, Season 1 on Netflix
  • Money Heist, Season 2 on Netflix
  • Criminal: UK, France, Germany, and Spain on Netflix

We had started watching the Narcos and Money Heist seasons previously, but have yet to get to the other three.

The Readathon

8 a.m.: Opening Survey!

  1. What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Northcentral Pennsylvania
  2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? The Sun Also Rises, the first book on my “stack” of two, the second being a nonfiction book about The Sun Also Rises
  3. Which snack are you most looking forward to? Crackers, cheese, and wine, especially after having arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this week.
  4. Tell us a little something about yourself! I had arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this week and now that the pain meds are wearing off, I’m ready to focus on reading.
  5. If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I’m not going to be as obsessed with time. Just read as much as I can, and especially with aforementioned knee surgery, rest as I need.

Update No. 1: 10 a.m.

  • I’ve read 50 pages in The Sun Also Rises.
  • I remember why I love Hemingway: the short, back-and-forth dialogue.
  • I do:n’t remember the use of the casual n-word, but when it came 50 pages in, it slapped me in the face. “The n***** drummer waved at Brett.”
  • I had breakfast: sausage, egg, and Swiss cheese on a croissant.

Update No. 2: 12:40 p.m.

  • I’ve read 165 pages in The Sun Also Rises.
  • I’m about to grab lunch: probably a turkey and cheese sandwich on rye bread with potato chips on the side.
  • I’m still enjoying the book, not just the dialogue, but the long, almost stream-of-consciousness descriptions at times. I’m remembering why he is one of my favorite authors.

Update No. 3: 2 p.m.

  • I just finished The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.
  • And I just got these two books, in the mail, a perfect break from my Hemingway reading:
  • I’m starting with The Score.

Update No. 4: 6:30 p.m.

At about 2:30, I took a nap and woke up about 4:30, had a snack and then got back to reading The Score. I’m more than halfway through.

Best quote so far

The book is about a group of robbers planning a heist of a town. In the one part, the one robber explains to the other about taxes:

“You’re a young man, you still can learn. Pay attention to this. You can steal in this country, you can rape and murder, you can bribe public officials, you can pollute the morals of the young, you can burn your place of business down for the insurance money, you can do almost anything you want, and if you act with just a little caution and common sense you’ll never even be indicted. But if you don’t pay your income tax, Grofield, you will go to jail.”

Littlefield in “The Score” by Richard Stark

8 p.m.: Mid-Event Survey

  1. What are you reading right now? Nothing right now, but about to start Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises by Lesley M.M. Blume.
  2. How many books have you read so far? Two: The Sun Also Rises and The Score by Richard Stark.
  3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Everybody Behaves Badly. Other than that, I’m not sure what I’ll read although I have possibilities (see above).
  4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I’ve had several, including a two-hour nap. I’ve rolled with them, because I’m recuperating from arthroscopic knee surgery earlier in the week.
  5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? That I forgot my sister was sending me two Parker novels by Stark in the mail. It was a nice surprise and came at the right time when I needed a break from Hemingway. Now back to…well…about Hemingway, anyway.

Shortly after completing this survey, I had a small glass of wine and then promptly felt tired, so I went to bed. I did get up at about 5 a.m. and started Everybody Behaves Badly. I will be continuing that later today with my own readathon.

Post-Readathon Analysis

Especially considering that I am recovering from knee surgery on Tuesday, I am pleased with reading two books, although they weren’t the two books I expected to read. I also got started on another, the second one that I had intended to read.

What are you up to this weekend? Readathon? If so, what is/was on your stack of possibilities? If not, what have you been reading good lately or what do you have good planned to read? Whatchya up to otherwise?