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Merry Christmas!

Merry CreepmasIt’s become apparent that I won’t be posting again until after Christmas, so I’d just like to wish you all a wonderful few days with family and friends! I will be back next week with end of the year lists, my reading list for the week off, and hopefully even some reviews one of these days.

(Image brought to you by my husband and his new obsession, Minecraft)

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Remembering

Today my brother Matthew would have been 23.  He would have bragged about the fact that there was temporarily only one year between our ages, as he always did (I’m 24), and he probably would have asked for some expensive electronic device that we’d struggle to buy him.  He might have had a degree and a job by now.

He passed away nearly five years ago of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and I still miss him.

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Wondering Where I’ve Gone?

For the next few days, you might find me here!

My husband and I are celebrating our first anniversary with a long weekend in Paris.  It was actually last weekend, but this one worked better for our trip!  I’ll be back on Tuesday, probably with a whole new lot of unread books along too. Have a great weekend!

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TSS: September Reading Wrap-Up

September was a bit of a crazy month around here.  First of all, my Kindle arrived, and I’ve read quite a few books on it.  I’m surprised by how much I like reading on it; I don’t want to give up my books but I definitely haven’t wasted my money.  Then I won the Best Historical Fiction Blog award for BBAW 2010, which was really exciting, and I’m still really happy about that.  Then, through a few interesting events at work, I’ve landed into a new job, which is by all means a good thing but also has meant that I’ve spent quite a bit of the last week learning things, and I’m not going to stop learning for some time yet.  The new job is probably all good for my blog though; it should involve far less writing, which means I may actually be able to blog after work and not feel sick of writing all the time.  We’ll see how it goes, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

September was a pretty good month in terms of reading too.  I somehow read 22 books.

Historical Fiction

Non-fiction

  • Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature, George Sullivan
  • Katherine Swynford, Alison Weir
  • Geisha of Gion, Mineko Iwasaki

Romance

Fantasy/Sci Fi

Children’s

Contemporary Fiction

Obviously, historical fiction has completed its comeback and now makes up the majority of my reading once again.  I mainly enjoyed the books I read this month, but I vastly preferred Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion to the rest.  It just completely set itself above much of what I’ve read lately – I found myself marking passages and thinking about it almost constantly.  I feel like I love very few books these days, and this was one I loved.  I can’t wait to tell you about it later this week.

In the meantime, October looks to be another amazing month, or so I’m hoping!  The Read-a-thon is next weekend; I haven’t even begun to think about what I plan on reading and I may join in a bit late, but I will be reading and I’m looking forward to it.  Then, towards the end of the month, my husband and I are going to Paris for a short holiday, which I absolutely cannot wait for.  Otherwise I’m looking forward to reading a lot of good books and enjoying some nice autumn weather if it ever stops raining!

What do you have planned for October?  Will you be reading or cheering during the Read-a-thon next weekend?

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July 2010 Reading Wrap-Up

I’m going to go ahead and assume I won’t finish The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet or How Dolly Parton Saved My Life today, so my wrap-up for the month should be accurate now.

July was a pretty busy month, given that we had two weeks’ holiday in the middle, but I still managed to read plenty.  I completed 19 books and I enjoyed most of them.  As you can see below, I have probably overcome my aversion to historical fiction.  It’s just about choosing unfamiliar places and time periods these days, I think.  I also have a depressing number of reviews to work on!

Historical Fiction

Romance

Fantasy/Horror

Non-fiction/memoir

  • The Boy Who Loved Books, John Sutherland
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby
  • Down Under, Bill Bryson

YA

  • The Ruby in the Smoke, Philip Pullman (mystery)
  • Envy, Anna Godbersen (historical fiction)

Women’s Fiction

  • The One that I Want, Allison Winn Scotch
  • Writing Jane Austen, Elizabeth Aston
  • How to be an American Housewife, Margaret Dilloway

At least this month, I am able to choose a favorite, and that’s Brooklyn.  I just adored that book and looking at it makes me want to read it all over again.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

I don’t have too much planned for next month, but I know I’ll be reading and giving away copies of The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The White Queen last year so I’ve found myself looking forward to this one, and I hope I’ll be as excited to share it with you after I’ve read it.

How was your month in reading?

Some of these books were sent to me for free for review.

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June Reading Wrap-Up

Can you believe that it’s July?  I certainly can’t; months seem to be flying by these days!

I’ve done pretty well with my reading this month.  I managed 18 books, so I’ve read a little more than half a book every day.  I think that’s pretty good; I have no idea how I’m managing it, but I’m pleased with this rate and I hope I can manage it.  I think I’d have managed to read even more if I hadn’t spent most of the last three days of the month working!

I won’t be doing a genre breakdown today; I don’t have my spreadsheet with me so it isn’t as easy as normal.  I’ll just list them instead.

  1. Eden Springs, Laura Kasischke
  2. Day for Night, Frederick Reiken
  3. Wild Romance, Chloe Schama
  4. Flirting with Forever, Gwyn Cready
  5. The Mistress of Nothing, Kate Pullinger
  6. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, Bill Bryson
  7. Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater
  8. Magic Bleeds, Ilona Andrews
  9. Girl in Translation, Jean Kwok
  10. The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, C.W. Gortner
  11. Ten Things I Love About You, Julia Quinn
  12. The Blue Orchard, Jackson Taylor
  13. The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, Kelly O’Connor McNees
  14. Dragon Haven, Robin Hobb
  15. Katherine, Anchee Min
  16. The Radleys, Matt Haig
  17. Don’t Tempt Me, Loretta Chase
  18. The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight, Gina Ochsner

I actually had a few disappointments this month, so my favorites are very easy to choose!  I’ll have to go with The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner for making historical fiction interesting again.  I definitely recommend both of those.

I’m not sure what I’ll be reading in July.  I have two weeks off to visit my parents, so I’m sure I’ll get some read, but I’m going to leave my choices up to the whim of the moment!

Do you have any summer reading plans?

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May 2010 Reading Wrap-Up

It was a bit quiet on my blog here last week.  I intended to post more and participate more in Armchair BEA, which was a great idea, but I found that I didn’t have the energy for it at all.  I’ve discovered that I generally prefer reading to blogging; if given a choice, I will read and ignore the reviews that are piling up.  I even have maintenance to do with regards to my change in address – change my feed and redirect all my posts, for just two things – but I haven’t managed to convince myself to do that either.  Writing lots for work has in some respects taken the fun out of writing for my own blog.  I’m resolved to try and get back into it this month now that everyone is back from BEA and the chatter about it will quit depressing me!

Anyway, May wasn’t too bad as months go.  I read 18 books, which isn’t very much for me but still amounts to a book every two days.  I’m impressed with that; at times I didn’t feel like I was getting anything read!  I think that’s because I read three chunksters, particularly the 900+ page Lonesome Dove, but I managed to read quite a few shorter books in between.  Here’s what I finished:

Historical Fiction

Historical Romance

Non-fiction/Memoir

YA (all genres)

Fantasy

  • Kitty’s House of Horrors, Carrie Vaughn

Literary Fiction

Overall, I think my month was spread fairly evenly across genres, with the exception of fantasy.  As you can probably see, I still have a lot of review writing to catch up on.  I’ve almost finished the review for Wicked Becomes You but the rest are pretty much untouched.  I’ll be working on those this week, but I don’t think I’m going to get back to daily posting unless I hit up some memes or come up with and actually do a weekly feature.

I also wanted to give everyone a quick reminder – next week, on June 8th at 4:30 pm EST, I’ll be on That’s How I Blog chatting with Nicole.  The book we’ll be discussing is The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer, so if you’ve got it handy, give it a read and join us!  Even though I’ve had to have an earlier time, I still hope at least of few of you will be able to listen in.  I’m a bit anxious about it already, but I’ve really enjoyed listening to the previous shows and hope mine is half as fun.

I hope some great reads await you in June!  I hope to get through:

  • Day for Night, Frederick Reiken
  • Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan
  • Magic Bleeds, Ilona Andrews
  • Dragon Haven, Robin Hobb
  • The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, Kelly O’Connor McNees
  • The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger
  • Empress Orchid, Anchee Min
  • The Passage, Justin Cronin

Any great ones in that list to start with?

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April 2010 Reading Wrap-Up

I was really interested to see what happened with my reading this month.  It’s my first full month working full-time ever, so I figured my reading was going to take a hit.  It did, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought.  I finished 18 books this month.

Fiction

Classics

Romance

YA Fiction

  • Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld
  • How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
  • What I Was, Meg Rosoff

Fantasy

Non-fiction

  • Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  • Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah

I’m also pleased to see that I managed three non-fiction books.  Okay, one was a YA memoir and the other was a very short celebrity memoir, but I am trying harder to include non-fiction in my reading choices.  You’ll also notice that only three of these books were set before the twentieth century, and one was written in the nineteenth century anyway.  How unusual is that?  I’m actually reading a historical fiction novel at the moment, but typically it’s not resonating with me.  So we’ll see how that goes.

I read a ton of great books this month, though.  Favorite non-fiction is definitely The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  I would put it above much of the fiction as well, actually.  I’m not sure I can choose a fiction novel – it may have to be Under the Skin by Michel Faber which has remained with me so far.

A few changes are going to be taking place around here.  I am moving my blog to medievalbookworm.com very soon, so I may have a new feed address.  I’ll be sure to post it on twitter and facebook when that happens so if you’d like to keep subscribing, please stay aware!  I have a lot of changes to enact with all of this so some links may be broken, etc., but this is something I need to do before it gets even more difficult!  If anyone knows of a good way to redirect all of my old review links to my new site, please do share.  =)  In the meantime, have a great weekend!

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January 2010 Reading Wrap-up

Apparently deciding to read less means I read more.  I read 28 books this month.  I know, I was surprised too, but I’m not complaining as I still got everything done that I needed to do this month.  I read a lot of shorter and lighter books to balance out my heavier reading, so I think that’s what happened.  Please ignore my efforts to fit in the books that fit more than one category!

Historical Fiction

  • The Dark Rose, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
  • The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, Lauren Willig
  • The Island of the Swans, Ciji Ware

Fantasy

Women’s Fiction

  • Saffron Dreams, Shaila Abdullah
  • Roses, Leila Meacham
  • Crazy for You, Jennifer Crusie (with lots of romance)

Literary Fiction

YA

  • Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson

Paranormal Romance

  • Legend of the White Wolf, Terry Spear

Historical Romance

Classics

Non-fiction

I also reviewed The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England. That contest is still open if you want to head over and enter!

I have trouble choosing a favorite this month, but I think it will have to be The Children’s Book. It was just such a thorough, absorbing read.  Honorable mentions, of course, go to Persepolis, The House of the Mosque, and A Suitable Boy.  I also loved The Decisive Moment and I think everyone should read it; that review is coming up later this week!

As far as I’m concerned, I’m doing a fair job diversifying my reading.  I didn’t stick too much in any one genre, barring what I call “literary” fiction.  I don’t like that label, but not sure what to replace it with.  I didn’t do very well adding in more classics, but in March I’m going to fix that.  Tasha from Heidenkind’s Hideaway and I are going to have a classics-themed month and I aim to read at least four classics.

This month, though, I’m making a goal to read more authors of color.  I’ve taken a look at my TBR pile and the authors are there, it’s just a matter of prioritizing those.  I haven’t actually decided on which big book I want to tackle this month.  I think it’s East of Eden to join in on the group read, but it mostly depends on how many review books I can read before I head home on the 11th!

How was your reading month?

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2009 Reading

My reading has slowed way, way down this month.  I’ve only read 11 books, roughly half of what I’ve read each previous month this year.  I’ve had fairly frequent distraction in the form of a husband who has had about half the month off work due to the holiday we were saving to visit my parents.  We didn’t get to, and as a result we’ve been hanging around here, and believe me, it’s hard to read with someone who often wants attention and distraction.  I have no idea how anyone who has full-time jobs and kids manages to get anything read.  I applaud all of you.  I know that when I eventually land one of the five million jobs I’ve applied for, my reading will go way way down, as I won’t have the alone time I’m used to.

We also happened to acquire an Xbox 360 a couple of weeks ago, and have shifted full on into gaming mode.  Obviously I’m still reading, but at a much reduced rate as my in-laws have taken the opportunity to buy us lots of new games.

I doubt I’m going to read another book in the next hour, and so I bring you reading statistics for 2009. I read a total of 283 books.  In genres (these don’t add up, as I’ve included some overlap):

  • Historical Fiction: 76
  • Literary Fiction: 34
  • YA: 29
  • Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror: 88
  • Non-fiction: 23
  • Romance: 36
  • Graphic Novel: 4
  • Women’s Fiction: 8
  • Classics: 6
  • Thriller/Mystery: 11

I read 15 5-star (according to LibraryThing) books this year.  Choosing a favorite out of those fifteen is hard!  Unlike the past two years, I haven’t had a book jump out at me as an instant favorite for the year.  Those that will remain favorites include Possession by A.S. Byatt, Nothing but Ghosts by Beth Kephart, Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Emma by Jane Austen.

I definitely have some things I want to change for 2010 about my reading.  I want to read more classics for a start.  I loved five of the six I read this year and I have so many sitting around waiting for me.  I’m pleased with the non-fiction I read, but I want to read more of both history and memoirs and perhaps other topics as well as they interest me.  I also want to approach blogging differently.  I want to include more non-review posts, but while I have so many reviews left to write, it’s hard to make this a priority.  I do want to continue reviewing every book I read, so until I start to read less consistently, I will have to brainstorm.  I also want to visit more new blogs and leave more comments on the blogs I do read.  I’m still very shy on others’ blogs when I know I have no need to be.

champagne_toast

As it is nearly upon us, I’d like to wish you all a very happy New Year!  Here is to a successful, happy, and healthy 2010 for all of us.

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