Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mid - Year Review - What I've been reading, yada yada....

It`s been a couple of months since I last posted anything. It`s not that I lost interest, but many things have happened in recent months and I`ve been very busy at work, all this full-time work and things like that. I just haven`t found the energy to write another and also wasn`t sure what I wanted to write about.
I thought now, that since it`s the middle of July and 2011 is half-way past that it might be nice to look back at what I`ve been reading and what books have struck my fancy the most of those I`ve read so far in 2011.
I have found this year to be much more directed or maybe guided as to what I`ve read. I discovered a website late last year,, which basically is groups of people in various clubs that like to talk about the books they`ve been reading and various other interesting topics that crop up. I joined Goodreads and gradually joined five `clubs` or groups;

The James Mason Community Book Club, dedicated to the late great actor, James Mason. There are no specific genres that are discussed, just general interesting discussion on varied and sundry topics;
The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group - discussions center on, of course, whodunits, mysteries, thrillers, great for a mystery lover like myself;
The SciFi and Fantasy Book Club - another title that`s self-evident, where discussions revolve around scifi and fantasy stories, movies, TV shows and the like;
The Book Addicts - another that suits my personality. Ask Jo and she`ll probably confirm I`m somewhat of a book addict, enjoying reading, having books around to look at and hating to part with any book, even when I haven`t enjoyed it; and
UK Book Club - OK, this one`s a bit of  stretch as it generally is for folks from the UK. The nice thing is they don`t limit themselves to it and I`ve found discussions enjoyable and interesting. Besides I do have a link to the UK, what with Jo coming for there and her family still residing there. :0)

Thanks to my membership in the various clubs I`ve found my reading this past year, as I mentioned earlier, somewhat more guided. Various of the clubs have challenges that go on over the course of the year and also most of them choose a book or two a month for specific discussion. While I haven`t necessarily took part in the specific discussions, except for the discussions pertaining to Harry Turtledove`s Opening Atlantis which I will say was somewhat disappointing.

I have taken part, or more correctly, am taking part in various reading challenges, from a couple of the groups and these are what is helping me in guiding my reading in 2011.

In The Book Addicts, they have both Group and Individual Reading challenges. In the Reading Group Challenge, group members choose 12 books plus two alternates from their bookshelves, their To Be Read lists and try to read them over the course of the year. My list is as follows -
Rennie Airth - River of Darkness (4*), a very interesting mystery, set in England after WWI.
Nevil Shute - On the Beach (5*), a classic, one I`ve read many times and enjoy every single time.
H.H. Kirst - Night of the Generals (4*), interesting story about WWII and also a murder mystery. Also a very good movie.
George Orwell - Burmese Days (3*), I didn`t know what to expect and wasn`t disappointed, interesting story about British colony in Burma.
Graham Greene - Brighton Rock (4*), excellent story. I now want to see the new movie with Helen Mirren.
E.M. Forster - Howard`s End. Not much to say, it was eminently readable.
Timothy Findley - Pilgrim (4*). Quite a different, interesting story.
Simon Winchester - Krakatoa - The Day the World Exploded. Very interesting analysis of the world at the time of Krakatoa and the science and many other facets surrounding this volcanic eruption.
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything. Currently reading. One of Jo`s favourite authors and I can see why so far as he is able to make what could be an extremely dry subject very interesting.
C.J. Samson - Sovereign. still to be read, but I have enjoyed the previous mysteries revolving around Matthew Shardlake.
Donna Leon - Dressed for Death. Still to read. One of the best mystery writers I`ve ever read.
William Gibson - Spook Country. still to read. I do find his scifi ideas very interesting.
Giles Blunt - Black fly Season - (4*). Loved it, very interesting Canadian mystery.
Edmund Crispin - Glimpses of the Moon. still to be read.

I think for today, I`ll stop here. It`s been nice just to open up this Blog and write a few words. Over the next few days (weeks, maybe more accurately), I`ll try to write about some of the other challenges and review some of my favourite books so far that I`ve read in 2011.

I`m still loving reading and still enjoying buying books and wandering around book shops. Keep on reading!

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