Monday, January 25, 2016

The Pleasure of Reading at Random

Since I decided not to participate in any reading challenges this year, I’ve been having so much fun! Instead of considering whether or not a book falls into any of my chosen challenge categories, I’m reading almost entirely at whim. Yes, I’m still reading from my own shelves—lest the books completely overtake my closet—but when a book catches my attention, sometimes I immediately request it from my library. Here’s a peek into what I’ve been reading since 2016 began:

Elizabeth Peters’ Vicky Bliss novels. I’ve finished Street of the Five Moons and I’m reading Trojan Gold. (I read Borrower of the Night and Silhouette in Scarlet last year.) Even though I know I’ve read these before, I don’t remember anything about them. I’m thoroughly enjoying Vicky’s adventures with that slippery character Sir John Smythe. 

Ngaio Marsh’s Death in Ecstasy. Last year, I bought a handful of Marsh’s Inspector Alleyn mysteries at my library’s bookstore. These vintage mysteries are a cut above the average—interesting plots and characters as well as some humor. I’m now developing a literary crush on Roderick Alleyn. 

Last week, I read about How to Blog a Book on Leanne Sowul’s blog. I picked it up from the library this morning, though I haven’t yet had time to open it.

The Cruelest Month is the third book in Louise Penny’s Three Pines series. I just discovered these books, and I’m loving them. Oh, to be enjoying the hospitality of Gabri and Olivier in the local bistro. 

How am I keeping track of all these series books? I just learned about FictFact.com from Danielle over at A Work in Progress. FictFact is free, and in addition to keeping track of your series reads, it can also help you with recommendations of other book series, help you connect with readers with similar tastes, and let you know when a new book in your series is about to be released. Sometimes it’s tricky to find out which book comes first, or next, in a series, and now I don’t have to rely on my memory to keep track of where I am in the ones I’m reading.

To round out the month, I borrowed two books that had been on my TBR list for ages: Bridget Jones’s Diary and Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life. Bridget was a hoot, and Beatrix Potter is fast becoming one of my heroes.

Even though I loved participating in reading challenges, I’m rediscovering how much simple pleasure can be had when I have no agenda, and no rules to follow. Now let’s see what that Vicky’s up to…

What have you been reading lately?

See what I mean about the books taking over? This is just one shelf.
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6 comments:

Leanne Sowul said...

Ooh, Kathy, so happy that you picked up How to Blog A Book! Keep in touch as you read it- I'd love to hear your thoughts on the process.

I keep hearing about Louise Penny's books… maybe I should check them out too.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

I will, Leanne--thanks for the recommendation.

Yes, check out Louise Penny's books. I think they're outstanding.

Debbie Nolan said...

Dear Kathy - all your books sound so good. I try to read at least a little each evening before I go to bed. Been reading Karen White's novels. Discovered her last year and even got my Mom hooked on her. She writes about the south and there is always two tales going on. Reading her latest right now. So if you run out of reading material I can recommend her (doesn't look like that is going to happen to you soon though). Have a great day.

Janet Van Dijk said...

I see some Georgette Heyer in the picture ... I think you introduced me to her crime novels, then I went on to read her historical fiction. I'm trying to get through "Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee at the moment but it's just not drawing me in (possibly because I only get time to read a few pages here and there). Some of my all-time favourites: "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini, "The Joy Luck Club" and other books by Amy Tan written in the '90s (not a fan of her later works), "The Help", "The Secret Life of Bees", "Wild Swans", "The Book Thief" , "Twelve Years a Slave", "Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom", "The Warmth of Other Suns" ... and so many more. Books by Anne Tyler, Jodi Picoult, Wilkie Collins, Jane Austen (of course!, autobiographies, biographies, fiction, non-fiction. In fact, I could be here for hours listing my favourite writers... so many wonderful books to read :)

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Debbie--No, I'm not going to run out of reading material, but I'm always happy to find a new author. I'll have to check out Karen White. Hope you're staying warm and having a great week!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Janet--Yes, I do have a couple of Georgette Heyer novels on that shelf. She's always good for an enjoyable read. I love both her crime novels and her historical fiction.

I haven't tackled Go Set a Watchman because it just sounded like a disappointment--you'll have to let me know what you think when you finsih it. I've never read Amy Tan, but I've thought about reading her--I'll have to start with the 90s books. I loved The Help and The Secret Life of Bees, but I don't think I've read any of the other books you mention. I'm a recent convert to Wilkie Collins--I've enjoyed every book of his I've read. And, of course, I will always love Miss Austen.

Oh, how I wish you and I could sit down together for a good long chat--it seems we still have a lot in common all these years later!