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Not Much News

My reading has slowed down considerably, again. I did manage to finish the latest Peter Grant/Rivers of London book, False Value, by Ben Aaronovitch. It took me a week and a half, but it was a really good book. Whilst doing other things I’ve been listening to Usher’s Passing, by Robert R. McCammon, which I’m also enjoying.

Animal Crossing New Horizons is taking up a good chunk of my daily recreational time, still. I’m also working on my biggest diamond painting yet (I have an even bigger one to do after that), but at least I can listen to an audio book when diamond painting.

I’ve been doing some wishlisting on the Audible website. I’ve decided that when I get my next credit I’m going to get either Stephen King’s The Stand (if I’m in the mood for it), which is almost 48 hours long. Or, if I’m not in the mood for The Stand, I’m going to get Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection, read by Stephen Fry, which is almost 72 hours long. I’ve also added several books to my wishlist which are between 20 and 30 hours long. I’ll probably won’t be able to finish the Sherlock Holmes in one month, which isn’t a bad thing. That way I get a chance to accumulate some points to spend on book that are shorter. I will be seeking out longer books to listen to, at least for now. If I manage to build up a library with longer ones I can also get some shorter audiobooks that interest me.

On my eReader I started Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber, second book in her Lady Darby series, yesterday. I did a lot of reading, so hopefully I can finish the quicker than my last couple of books.

Audiobooks

With everything going on I find that I have a hard time concentrating on reading a book, even books I am really enjoying. I have found more distraction with doing diamond painting, sketching and watercolouring. Usually I listen to podcasts when doing those things. And even though I have a long list of podcasts I haven’t started yet, but I’m interested in I had a hard time finding something that fits my mood.

So, I’ve decided to try out Audible. You get the first month for free, after that it’s $15 a month. With the basic subscription you can pick one book and two of the six selected Audible Exclusives. If you want to listen to more books you can get a 30% discount.

I’ve picked Robert R. McCammon’s Usher’s Passing as first listen. It’s over 16 hours long, yesterday I listened to about two hours whilst diamond painting. I’m really enjoying the book so far. I was thinking of listening to The Stand by Stephen King first, it’s well over 40 hours long. I’ve been thinking of rereading the book for a while, but I decided against it; the topic hits a bit too close to home at the moment. Maybe next month, when I hope I’ve settled into a routine a bit more.

I’ve tried listening to audiobooks before. The first time I tried to just listen, whilst doing nothing. That didn’t work out; the story went too slow for me. A couple of years ago I started listening to the first Harry Potter book, and I did really enjoy it. But then I got really into podcasts and I never went back to the Harry Potter. It’s a monthly subscription, so if it turns out I still can’t get into audiobooks I can always cancel.

I will have to look into longer listens; I have more free time since I’m working less hours and I’ve planned to get more creative. I’ve just found Sherlock Holmes, read by Stephen Fry, it’s over 70 hours long! I’ve also decided to count the books towards my reading goal. I’ll take the page count of a/the paperback edition as listed on GoodReads.

To Read Or Not To Read

When I had just gotten my first eReader in 2009 I got into the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. For me it started out okay-ish, but it grew on me the more books I read. However, the last couple of books were, okay. The last book to be released up until now was Skin Games (book 15) in 2014. Since then Jim Butcher hasn’t released anything in this series, until this year.

In July Peace Talks is set to be released and, according to Butcher’s own website, Battle Ground will be released in late September*.

However, it’s been six years since I’ve read Skin Games. I can only vaguely remember what was going on. And while I do want to continue with the series I’m not willing to reread 15 books plus several short stories. The only option is to see if I can find synopses of each book, including spoilers.

On the other hand; can be be bothered to do that? Do I like the series enough? To be honest the Peter Grant/Rivers of London series has taken The Dresden Files place as my favourite combined urban fantasy and crime series with a snarky main character.

Also, in the past when I’ve been stressed I’ve turned to reading. Something has changed and, at the moment, it’s hard for me to concentrate on reading for longer periods of time. In the past I usually spend most of my Sunday afternoon reading. Right now I get distracted too easily and I find that other things are better at taking my mind of the things happening. This in turn means that I read less books and that I’m careful which books I read, picking those that I’m fairly certain I’m going to enjoy.

I’ve still got a couple of months to decide and, if I want to, find a good write up of the series up until now.

* Keep in mind that due to the pandemic some book releases have been postponed. It might happen to these books as well.

Strange Times

It’s impossible to live a normal live at the moment. Life has come to a standstill. Although our family’s store is still open it’s really quiet. I’m not complaining about this, it’s a good sign that people take the virus serious and are staying at home as much as possible. Since it’s quiet I’m working less and have more time on my hands. Much of that is filled with playing the new Animal Crossing New Horizons game, which is very addicting. But I’m also reading and have been diamond painting.

This week I finished Lincoln Child’s Utopia, which was written in 2002. It’s set in a state of the art amusement park. I expected it to feel dated, since technology has changed so much. But it didn’t, since the technology of theme parks hasn’t gone in the direction of what was described in the book.

After that I read the shortest book of the month so far, just under 200 pages, Clarissa Johal’s The Island. Which is about a haunted island. I liked the characters and the type of haunting was original. Very enjoyable.

I’ve started with the latest Peter Grant book, False Value, by Ben Aaronovitch. But I haven’t gotten far. But with its humour and fantasy elements it’s, for me, a great read in these times.

As I’ve said before, no more goals for this year. Whatever I read I’m happy with. I’m also just going to pick books I’m in the mood for, I’m not going to stress about by active series list or my first in series list. Reading is now something to do to keep my mind off the situation and not something that has to have annual or monthly goals.

A Difficult Week

Last week wasn’t the best reading week, again. I was feeling under the weather and just in case I self isolated. It was a very anxious week, not helped by all the news reports, which I switched off by Thursday and tried to manage my news intake. I’m feeling fine now, luckily.

I did get some reading done. I read V.E. Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows, the second book in the Shades of Magic trilogy. I enjoyed it very much, a bit more than the first in the series. I also started Lincoln Child’s Utopia, a thriller set in a state of the art theme park. Despite it being written in 2002 it doesn’t feel as dated as I expected. It also reads quickly, which Child’s book usually do for me.

I think I’ll be reading easy reads for a while. My reading challenge is on hold for now. Anything I read is great. It’s an anxious time for me, which means I can read a lot more than normal or stop reading at all, or anything in between. Animal Crossing New Horizons also came out last Friday, which is a great game but takes up some time to keep up you island.

My only reading goal for now is to have fun.

Muddling On

Even though I finished two books this week it isn’t much of an achievement. I took a bread from Makaryk’s Nottingham to read Black Canyon by Jeremy Bates, which was less than 100 pages long. Today I finished Nottingham. I really enjoyed it, even if it was a slow read. I liked how it wasn’t your typical swashbuckling Robin Hood story. But the story was told from the point of view of various characters. Dealing with the motivations, insecurities and the misunderstandings that can happen.

To be honest it wasn’t just the book that caused it to take me over two weeks to finish it. The stress of the Corona virus, having a family member who’s very much at risk if she contracts it, is causing a lot of anxiety for me. I’ve found that diamond painting whilst listening to podcasts is a better distraction for me than reading (also it’s less easy to pick up a tablet and check the Corona virus news when doing that).

I wouldn’t be surprised if within the next couple of days it will be announced that all stores except supermarkets and pharmacies are to close for at least several weeks. Including our store. Yes, it would be difficult, but with the current measures I don’t expect it will be very busy anyway. I’d rather have the government announce stricter measures sooner rather than later. I think it would also give me some peace of mind; not having to come in contact with customers, hoping they’re responsible and not ill.

My next book is a lighter read; V.E. Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows, the second book in the Shades of Magic series. The first book was a quick read, so hopefully this will offer more of a distraction than Nottingham.

Doing Well

The past week has been a good reading week, each day I’ve read enough for me to log as a reading day. Today I haven’t read anything yet, but I’m planning to read for a while tonight. I’m not back at my old level of reading, it’s unlikely I read my average for February (2744 pages), but at least I’m back to reading again. As long as I pick books I like. When I pick a book I’m not liking very much I tend to stop reading I’ve noticed. So one of my goals will be to stop reading a book when I’m not enjoying it and not keep plodding through it.

Last week I finished the first book of the Lady Darby series, The Anatomist’s Wife, by Anna Lee Huber. I really enjoyed this book and have added the series to my series waiting list. This means I crossed off a book from my huge first-in-series list, which I hope to bring down a bit this year. Although I probably end up with a huge series waiting list.

Currently I’m reading the latest book in the Agent Pendergast series, The Crooked River, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The last couple in this series I found at best okay. But I’m liking this book a lot more, though I’m only 60% in. Hopefully I can finish it tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest.

After my current book I plan to read the second book in Desmond Doane’s The Graveyard: Classified series. In March I want to read at least one long book, probably Robert Galbraith’s Lethal White, which was released about a year and a half ago. In February all books I’ve read were part of series, to prevent me from burning out on series again I want to read some of my stand alone books in March. I won’t limit myself to those, but I’ve got quite a few stand alones on my Kobo.

I already know that in late March I won’t do much reading; on the 20th the latest Animal Crossing game is going to be released and I expect that I’ll spend a lot of time playing the game the first couple of weeks after the release. I’m also going away for a couple of days, since my vacation in January was partly spoiled due to a nasty cold. It’s the weekend after the Animal Crossing release, so while I normal read more than normal on a city trip I expect I won’t this time since I’m bringing my Nintendo Switch with me.

Although I have to wait and see if my reading slump is nearing its end the signs are positive. Though with my new hobbies and the game release I might end up reading less than over the last couple of years.

First DNF

For the first time in over a year I didn’t finish a book. I was really interested in Lucinda Riley’s The Seven Sisters, and I liked the first part of the novel, but then it went downhill for me. In the second part the romance started, I can see how someone who loves the romance genre would love this. But the long, draw out build up was just too slow for me. Almost half way through the book I decided to take a break, read something else. But then I realized that it’s unlikely I’ll ever return to it, so I DNF’ed it, I did count the number of pages I read towards my pages read total for this year.

Right now I’m reading the second book in Paul Cornell’s Shadow Police series, The Severed Streets. The series currently has three books released and I went on a search if more were ever going to released. On Cornell’s blog he explained that the series was supposed to be five books, but that the publisher dropped the series after releasing three books. He’s uncertain if the other two will ever be released. His Witches of Lychford series, which is apparently popular is taking priority right now. I did read the first book of that series back in 2015, not long after it was released and gave it 4 stars, so I liked it. Reading the description it doesn’t ring a bell. I will have to reread that book before continuing with the series (after I finished The Shadow Police). The books in The Witches of Lychford series are relatively short, so it’ll be a nice change to read those between longer reads.

Today is a great day for reading. Like last Sunday there’s a storm (though not as heavy as last week). It’s grey, rainy and windy and not the least bit inviting to go outside. I’ve done all my Sunday chores so I’m going to curl up and see how far I can get with The Severed Streets.

Silver Lining

I had an okay reading week. I did procrastinate on finishing The Dark Man by Desmond Doane. I probably could have finished it on Tuesday. But I didn’t know what to read next, only that I wanted to tackle one of the longer books on my Kobo. Eventually I decided on Lucinda Riley’s The Seven Sisters. The latest book in the series was recently released, with a lot of publicity, even in the Netherlands, and I wanted to see what the fuss is about.

I’m already almost a third into the book. And I’m enjoying it, though I’m not sure if I enjoy it enough to put it on my Active Series list. To be honest I got this far because what I thought was a cold, but realized is probably the worst hay fever I’ve ever experienced, has returned. It causes me to cough a lot. Especially at night, making sleeping very difficult. So far non of the hay fever pills that used to work has worked this time. No cough syrup or lozenge works either. I did find that my coughing fits quiet down quickest when I’m reading. So I’ve spend a lot of hours at night reading, hoping the coughing will stop and I can get a bit of sleep. Tomorrow I’m making an appointment with my doctor, to hopefully confirm what is the problem and get something for it.

In other reading related news I had the fun plan to have movie week. Each night I wanted to watch a movie based on a book I’ve read but haven’t seen before. I went through several “Best movies based on books” lists. And the only book I’ve read but haven’t seen the movie yet is The Joy Luck Club. There are several Stephen King films I haven’t seen before, but I know I need to be in the mood to enjoy those. So now I have to think of something else. I can watch the Studio Ghibli movies that Netflix released last week. Or maybe watch those classic movies I have had on my to watch list for an eternity. With the Oscars being tonight I might also watch Best Film winners I haven’t seen before.

My plans for today are to spend a lot of time reading. A storm is coming later in the day, it’s already very windy, with lots of rain. So ideal weather to curl up with a good book, a snack and a big mug of hot chocolate milk.

Comfort Zone

It’s the first time in quite a while I stepped out of my reading comfort zone. I usually read horror, mystery, crime, ghost stories or thrillers, sometimes mixed with some (urban) fantasy, history, or a teeny tiny bit of romance.

I do not read romance books. I just don’t enjoy those. But I just started Lucinda Riley’s The Seven Sisters series, the first book being The Seven Sisters. This tells the story of Maia. She and her five (six?) sisters were adopted by Pa Salt and grew up in a mansion situated on an island in a lake in Switzerland. None of the girls seem ever to have been interested enough to found out about their birth family. That is until Pa Salt suddenly dies and he leaves each of them with an envelop with a clue about their heritage. Each book is about one of the sisters following the clue to their birth family.

The historical part is that besides telling the story of one of the sisters it also tells the story of one of their ancestors. I haven’t gotten that far in the book, I’m only twelve percent in and all the sisters have been just introduced and have gotten their envelop. I expect from now on the story will focus on Maia and her ancestor.

Reading the reviews on GoodReads it seems you either love or hate the book, so I’ll have to see what I think of it. I just hope the romantic parts aren’t too predictable/sappy/over the top.

It’s the first book of several longer books I plan to read in the near future. I’ve been delaying reading them and it’s time to get them read. There were years when I read a bunch of 800+ page books a year and considered 700+ pages a long book. At the moment I think a long book is 450 pages or longer. Probably all due to my reading slump, which I can get rid of as soon as possible.

Do I want to read more books out of my comfort zone this year? I’m not sure, it sounds nice but reality can be different.