January Reading Update

31 Jan

If I’m going to give myself a reading challenge, it’s only fair that I check in from time to time and give a progress report. In the spirit of Nick Hornby, I’ll also note if I bought any books–after all, one of my goals is to read what I already own and clear out the shelves a little bit, so buying books, while fun, isn’t exactly something I’m trying to do this year, unless, of course, I read everything I own, at which point, I may start thinking about rereading some books or making good use of the library.

That said, here’s January’s update.

Books bought: zero (!) – Right on plan

Books read: five

States covered: three

Countries covered: two

This month’s reading list:

  • Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins (Connecticut)
  • Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls – David Sedaris (New York)
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (Ohio)
  • The Mormon Murders – Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith (Naifeh was born in Tehran, Iran; Smith was born in New York)
  • The Secret Olympian – Anon (United Kingdom – Anonymous author was a member of Team GB in Athens)

It was a really good month for reading. I blew through the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy, only to discover that book two is a “to be continued” tome, rather than a stand-alone piece. I’ll have to get Mockingjay to round out the series, but that’s not an especially high task on my to do list. Still, I’m enjoying the series so far.

Sedaris is good, as always. I’m reading him for structure more these days, and so his books have a permanent spot on my shelf.

Ready Player One is a book I’d remotely heard about as being good, remembered that fact while I was at Powell’s during my August book-buying binge (the Sedaris book was part of that too….and now that I look at the photo again, I’ve read seven of them, which is quite a feat, given my track record). “Good” is an understatement. This book was so much fun to read–if you’re a 1980’s kid, you’ll love all of the references in this futuristic look at the world when virtual reality has taken over. This found a permanent spot on my shelf.

I’ve owned The Mormon Murders for probably a good ten years. I bought it at the Newberry Library Book Fair, probably in 2001 or 2002, a little after my friend Missy and I had taken a road trip to Salt Lake City and encountered full-on Mormonism for the first time. At the time, I did a little more reading about Mormons, and that’s when I bought this book. It’s taken me this long to want to read it. Why? I don’t know — it was a mighty good read. The authors write about this big trial from the 1980s when a guy named Mark Hofmann, who forged a bunch of documents–particularly supposed early Mormon texts–and then when he was caught in this huge spiral of deceit, set off a few pipe bombs, killing a couple of people and injuring himself. It was an amazing story. Also interesting is that on the book jacket, Naifeh is listed as being a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma. That was one of the reasons I picked up this book — I’d be able to check off Oklahoma. But I suppose that if your book comes out in 1988, you probably don’t want to mention you were born in Iran. Interesting how history can change over time.

Since I have Olympic Fever, I wanted to read a book that was in my Olympic pile (that is, a pile of books about the Olympics, not a pile of Olympic proportions…though I have that too).  The Boy got me this one for Christmas, and it’s a decent read–a little bit behind the scenes of being an Olympian, albeit, not a famous one. Interesting look at what it takes to be at the elite levels of sport, although I wasn’t quite sure it really needed to be anonymously written.

So that’s January. I’ve covered a few northern states and a couple of countries. I almost feel like the Iran entry is cheating–Naifeh is the son of a diplomat, and that’s just where he ended up being born. But rules are rules, so that’s that.

What’s up for February? I’m not quite sure yet. I’m currently reading a first draft of a novel a friend wrote, and I owe another writer friend a look at her novel too. Then we’ll see what captures my fancy. What have you been reading, and where’s it from?

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