Reading Update – April 2022

Sooo… my reading goals for 2022 are probably not very realistic, judging by my current progress. For my 2022 Goodreads reading challenge, I have set a goal to read 89 books. So far, I’ve finished 12 of them, putting me 14 books behind that pace.

This graphic above shows those I’ve read. I’m not sure how I can read at any faster pace unless I quit my job, sleep even less than I do, or figure out how to bend time and space. I’m already listening to audiobooks to help make use of my otherwise useless driving time. At the end of the day, it isn’t truly about the numbers. It’s about the enjoyment of reading. But I agonize over my list of books and how there are so many that I feel like I will never get to, thus the attempt to set reading goals.

So what am I currently reading? I have started on Children of Dune by Frank Herbert but haven’t made it very far on this one yet. I’m about halfway through The Witch’s Heart by Genivieve Gornichec which I bought on a whim, and I’m a short way into Light by John M. Harrison in audiobook format for an upcoming book club discussion.

I’m enjoying Children of Dune and The Witch’s Heart but I’m struggling to get into Light. I haven’t found the characters very compelling and the futuristic cyperpunk-type of world is difficult to understand.

Coming up, the next few books on my to-be-read list are In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power (thanks to NetGalley), The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time #4) by Robert Jordan, The Skull Throne (Demon Cycle #4) by Peter V. Brett, and Station Eleven (audiobook) by Emily St. John Mandel.

Hopefully I’ll get a review up by the end of the week for The Witch’s Heart. I have some travel planned and a 2-hour flight can help to create some uninterrupted reading time.

What are you reading? Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Let me know in the comments above.

March Reading and Writing Updates

Wow! Somehow it got to be March already! And of course I’m behind schedule from where I wanted to be on my reading, but I’m not surprised, given that I set a bit of an unrealistic goal.

Looking back at February, here is how it went: I managed to finish Magical Midlife Madness by K. F. Breene (review here) and All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (review here). I just finished Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert this past weekend (technically in March) and I have a review coming up on that book later this week. With some work-related projects and other obligations, I got bogged down and didn’t get through all the other books I wanted to.

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The other books I’m currently reading are The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan and Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. With a long drive this weekend, I’m making solid progress on Harrow the Ninth because I’m listening to that as an audiobook. I also pulled out The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett (my physical non-e-book read) after I finished Magical Midlife Madness, but then decided I needed to catch up on The Dragon Reborn before starting it.

I haven’t given any writing updates recently. I hardly made any progress in February, but I’m expecting that to improve in March. Current projects include the first draft of a hard sci-fi stand alone novel with a working title of East of the Sun, continued work on a stand along sword and sorcery novel called Daughter of the Sun, and a rewrite of a short story involving dream magic. I don’t know why both novel projects involve the sun, but I think East of the Sun will get renamed at some point.

Also, if you haven’t seen it already, Brandon Sanderson sort of shamed all writers out there in regards to productivity last week. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out his video here. So clearly I need to up my writing game.

Are you reading as much as you had hoped this year? Are you a writer? Tell me about your projects in the comments above.

Reading Update – 6-ish Weeks In

I wanted to stop to check in on my reading progress, given that I set a rather ambitious reading goal for the year of 89 books. It felt like I wasn’t making any progress at all for much of January. But part of that was because I tend to read several books at once.

How do I sort out what I’m reading when I’m tackling multiple books at once? I actually don’t have a good system, but I’m trying to come up with one.

For this year, I’m trying to choose my books partly by how I’m reading them. So at any given time, I’m going to read one e-book on my Kindle, one e-book on my phone, one physical book, and one audiobook. This graphic above shows what I have already read for the year.

I’m also trying to be a little more intentional about my reading. What I mean by this is that I’m using Goodreads to create multiple shelves. I already have a 2022 books-to-read list (and a 2023 one, but that’s a separate problem). But now I’m dividing it out into monthly shelves as well. I’m hoping this will help keep me on track with longer series by seeing how long it will actually take me to get through those books. Look below to see what is on my February 2022 list:

So you can see from these books that I’m gradually working my way through several series. One goal I have is to read one book from The Wheel of Time every month, as well as one Dune book each month. That by itself will keep me busy! And then there’s this darn Demon Cycle (The Skull Throne) I really want to finish but have a hard time continuing.

I also have set this up to work with the different formats. I have The Wheel of Time as e-books on my Kindle and Dune is an e-book on my phone. Harrow the Ninth and Instinct are audiobooks, and Magical Midline Madness and The Skull Throne are physical books. If I finish up by the end of the month I’ll throw in another short book or start on my March list.

This plan still doesn’t get me to my goal of 89 books for the year, but that’s okay! I do have a lot of long books frontloaded in my plan for the year. I’ll have to add some shorter novels or graphic novels as I go. I also delete books from my list once I’ve read them so I feel like I’m checking them off.

How do you organize your reading? How is your reading year going? Let me know in the comments above.

Read some of my book reviews here.

Book Review – Neverwhere

This was the second time that I read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. One of my book clubs had decided to read it and since it had been quite a while since I read it the first time, I picked it up again.

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Here is the blurb:

Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

I found this to be an odd little book. Richard Mayhew is cast into a secret fantastical world beneath London after he stops to help an injured girl on the street. He encounters rat-speakers, a fierce bodyguard, and numerous other strange beings in his pursuit of the girl named Door. Trying to reclaim his former life, he is caught up in Door’s quest and the mystery surrounding the death of her family as they flee enemies with an ever-changing agenda. I enjoyed this book, but I felt like I never quite knew what was going on. It lacked tension until the end but was otherwise enjoyable to read.

I’m always torn on Gaiman’s books. I really didn’t like American Gods, but found this book readable and intriguing, despite its flaws. Many years ago I read some of the Sandman graphic novels, but I don’t remember them well. So, I’m going to try to read The Graveyard Book soon because that is one that’s been recommended to me a few times.

Have you read Neverwhere? Do you have other books by Neil Gaiman you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments above.

Find more of my reviews here.

Book Review – Gideon the Ninth

I had heard a lot of buzz about this book and finally had a chance to grab the audio edition. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is the first book in The Locked Tomb series, and the audiobook is narrated by Moira Quirk.

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Here is the blurb:

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

Given that description, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. And even as I delved into it, I wasn’t on familiar ground in this story. Gideon and Harrowhark start from a place of long-standing enmity but are forced to work together to solve the mysterious challenge set before them by the Emperor amid strange necromancy, a crumbling tower of secret puzzles, and a competing cast of necromancers and cavaliers from the other houses.

As some of their number die mysteriously, suspicion between the houses increases and no one can be trusted. Does an ancient necromantic monstrosity stalk the halls of Canaan House? Are the necromancers and cavaliers stalking each other? Or is there something even darker going on?

The narrator in this audiobook is British and the accent adds an archaic flair to what is supposedly a science fiction story (given that each house occupies a different planet).

I really enjoyed this book and I’m planning to read the second one (Harrow the Ninth) soon.

Have you read Gideon the Ninth? Let me know in the comments above.

Find more of my reviews here.

Reading Goals for 2022

Looking ahead every year, it’s nice to set goals, right? I feel like I always want to be reading more, but it’s so hard to keep that to-be-read list under control.

For 2022, I have decided to let all self-control go in creating my books-to-be-read list. First I took all those books I had intended to read for 2021 but failed to get to and rolled them over to 2022. Then I added more books! I have a few series that I’m trying to finish so the list keeps growing. That leaves me with 89 books for 2022.

Can I actually read 89 books in a year? I don’t think I ever have. But why not try?

Here is the current list for 2022:

And here are the books I’m starting out the year with (already included in the list above):

How do you plan out your reading? What books are you most excited for in 2022? Let me know in the comments!

Books Read in 2021

I had set myself a goal to read 50 books for 2021. And while I didn’t quite make that, ending up with 43 books read, I feel like I still accomplished a lot of my reading goals. As this graphic format always seems popular, here are the books I read in 2021:

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

For my favorites for the year, click over to this other post of mine.

Next up, I’ll take a look at what I’m planning to read for 2022.

Upcoming Books to Read

We’re a bit past the halfway point of the year and I thought I’d stop to look at what I’m reading and hoping to read in the near future. I’m a bit behind where I wanted to be in terms of simple numbers, and my to-be-read list for 2021 has not shrunk at all as I add more books all the time. But here is what I’m currently reading or is in my upcoming pile:

Books I’m currently reading: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine, Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, and The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett. (Paid links help to support this blog.)

Books I put down but need to pick back up: Bone by Jeff Smith, Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. I am at least 75% of the way through Bone, but it’s just so long!

Upcoming audiobooks: The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty, Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson.

Other books I’m planning to read soon: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, Rocket Men by Robert Kurson, The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, A Blight of Blackwings by Kevin Hearne, Magical Midlife Madness by K. F. Breene, Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett, and Return to Earth by Buzz Aldrin.

And there are so many others!

How are you doing on your reading goals for the year? What books are you excited to read soon? Let me know in the comments.

To read some of my book reviews, look here.

How Do You Plan Your Reading?

Cover art

Well we’re a week into the new year and I haven’t finished reading any of the books that I’ve already started. If I truly intend to read 50 books for the year, that equates to about a book a week, so I’m already behind!

View of my monthly and yearly goals, and my January books.

I thought I’d take some time to think about how to organize my reading beyond my Goodreads to-be-read list for the year. One feature that I would really like to see on Goodreads would be an easy way to sort books within a shelf into a particular (reading) order. Now I know you can sort them, but it’s not user friendly at all and I gave up on that some time ago.

I’m trying out a new App that I just found called Read More, which you can find here. It still isn’t quite what I want, but it let me import all of my Goodreads books and shelves with the premium version. I can sort books by to-be-read month and then I can track how many pages or minutes I read each day. I can set a goal for the year as with Goodreads.

It looks like you can highlight sections of a book you are reading, although I think you either have to type in your own notes/text or can possibly scan a page of the book since you don’t actually use the App to read the books.

Highlight screen.

We’ll see if this helps me stay on track to finish some books I started quite a while ago. You can also set a deadline for each book and the App will tell you how many pages you should read per day to meet that goal.

How do you stay focused to meet your reading goals? Do you have a favorite App or technique that you use? Tell me about it in the comments.

Reading Plans for 2021

I try to keep a list of books I want to read in the upcoming year on Goodreads. Inevitably, I go terribly off that initial plan, but here is what I at least see myself reading at this early point:

I set my 2021 goal at 50 books and there are already over 60 on this list. I imagine I’ll add more as my local book clubs make their selections and I find new releases that I can’t resist.

In the past, I’ve also set more detailed goals within that overall number, such as “read two non-fiction books” or “read two classics”. But most of the books on the list this time have just been rolled over from those I didn’t get to in 2020. Many are continuations of series that I have liked and keep trying to finish – Peter Brett’s Demon Cycle, The Earthsea books, etc.

Ultimately, I hop around a lot, grabbing whatever strikes my fancy that day. I also tend to read too many books at once which slows my pace and divides my focus. So maybe that’s something I should work on going forward – finish one book before I start the next? It’s so hard though when they’re all whispering READ ME urgently from their place on my shelves or the Kindle. I wish that Goodreads had a non-laborious way to sort the books on a shelf into a specific order, but I haven’t found that yet.

How do you decide what to read next? Are there any books that you are particularly looking forward to reading this year? Let me know in the comments!

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