TSS – Progress: Notes From A Reading Life ~ December 20, 2009

The Sunday Salon

The Sunday SalonI have been thinking about getting this post up for a really long time.  The last time that I did a progress notes post  was back on October 20th.  I really wanted to track my reading a little bit more regularly than what I have been doing.  My progress notes will be even more important next year as I try to make more deliberate choices about my reading.

There are a number of challenges that I am looking forward to working on which will be guiding me in those deliberate reading choices.  I will be examining those in one of my first posts of the new year.  I think by the time all is said in done I am in about 14 challenges, but there is enough overlap that most of them should not only not be a hardship, but each one also allows me to read more books from my TBR shelf (one of the limitations that I placed on my challenge reading is that the books come from books that are already waiting for me on my shelves.  Thankfully I have vast shelves!)

Among The Thugs, by Bill BufordI just started reading Among The Thugs, by Bill Buford as apart of the 50 Books For Our Time/Newsweek Project that My Friend Amy is hosting.  We have until the end of the year to turn in our reviews, and I just recently picked up a copy of this one.  It’s always fascinating for me to discover the depth of the books that I have lurking in my apartment, just waiting to be read.  When I put this book into my Goodreads catalog I discovered that I already owned a book by Buford entitled Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany that I bought earlier in the year.  It has also been waiting patiently along with a  host of other books I have picked up over this year and past years.

So far I have read about twenty pages of Among The Thugs and I plan on making a further dent in it later on this afternoon after I finish up the last half of the fantabulous More of This World or Maybe Another.  I really Buford’s prose and straightforward way of reporting on the dangerous ‘firms’ that rise up around English Soccer teams.  It reminds me a lot of the movie The Green Street Hooligans, a fictional account with  fictional street thugs that examines the same culture that Buford is exploring in his book.  I really enjoyed watching The Green Street Hooligans, so I am looking forward to seeing the truer version behind what is portrayed in the movie.

More Of This World Or Maybe Another, by Barb JohnsonMore of This World or Maybe Another is collection of short stories is set in and around New Orleans, which is probably the place I have read about most this year. I have also read  City of Refuge, by Tom Piazza and Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans, by Dan Baum, which are both excellent books. This collection of moving and emotionally evocative short stories just adds to the excellence of the aforementioned books about New Orleans.

What’s great about these stories is that they are linked, so we get to see the different characters several times and at different stages in their lives and since the characters know and are related to each other we get to see their relationships to each other and how they see each other.  It avoids that short story feeling of, huh?, that I often associate with not enough information.  That being said, each of these stories is so beautiful and the feelings and stories of the characters are so palpable that they work totally on their own.  Barb Johnson is a wonderful writer and I am looking forward to finishing these up today.

Books I have read in the last week:

  • The Swan Thieves, by Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Cradle, by Patrick Sommerville
  • The Girl on Legare Street, Karen White

Books I have read since my last Progress Notes:

  • The Dancing Plague, by John Waller
  • Labor Day, Joyce Maynard
  • The Story of A Marriage, Andrew Sean Greer
  • Ash, by Malinda Lo
  • The Carnivore, by Mark Sinnett
  • The Magicians, by Lev Grossman
  • Seven, by Jacqueline Leo
  • Daniel O’Thunder, Ian Weir
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan
  • The House on Tradd Street, by Karen White
  • Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garci & Margaret Stohl
  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  • The Hidden, Tobias Hill
  • When She Flew, by Jennie Shortridge
  • In A Perfect World, by Laura Kassischke
  • What the Witch Left, by Ruth Chew
  • Isis, by Douglas Clegg
  • Dragon House, by Jon Shors
  • Life After Yes, by Aidan Donnelley Rowley – This book isn’t due out until June of 2010, but I have already read it and loved it.  The main character was a flawed and difficult woman but the story was so rewarding.  I was fortunate enough to read a pre-publication copy and I can’t wait to see it released.  The cover they are using for it now is gorgeous.
  • The Help, by Katherine Stockett – I finally finished listen to this book on audio and it is truly as great as everyone says that it is.  If you have already read the book I highly recommend listening.

What is everyone else looking forward to reading today?

Disclosure- I am an Amazon Associate.  Some of the books listed above were sent to me by the publisher or author for review, while others were purchased by me for my ever expanding personal library.

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  1. You have read a lot of the books I am hoping to read in 2010. I have signed up for quite a few challenges myself for the new year but, like you, I went into them with a different set of priorities than I did this year. I am hoping to read more fiction this year, which I read much more quickly. I like nonfiction a lot, but it does take me some time to get through them as a general rule. I also made sure I was amazingly excited about each one and didn’t sign up for any just because I thought I “should” because it would be “good for me”. I want to make it as fun as possible and not have to read a book only because it fulfills a challenge requirement.
    .-= Rebecca´s last blog ..Friday Fill-Ins #155 =-.

  2. I am so impressed with the number you have read since October!

    I second Kathy’s opinion — I am very anxious to hear what you thought of The Swan Thieves.

    Today has been a baking day for me – and will probably continue through Christmas Day. However, on December 26, I plan to start a long reading period that should last for about a week 🙂
    .-= Molly´s last blog ..TSS 12.20.09 =-.

  3. Oh I am completely envious of your opportunity to read The Swan Thieves! You have seriously been on a roll with your reading. As far as challenges for next year, my biggest goal is to get to all the wonderful books on my shelves that have been ignored. I feel guilty just looking at them!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Sunday Salon: The Christmas cheer continues =-.

  4. Thanks so much for commenting on my blog! I think this may be the first time I’m commenting on yours, too, though I’ve lurked for some time. I read Among the Thugs several years ago and I still remember how disturbing it was to me. Soccer really brings out the worst in people, I think (and the best, it’s true). And I saw an ESPN show about the racism prevalent in European soccer that attributed it to Europe having no Civil Rights movement like we had in the US. That seems a somewhat weak argument to me as Europe has been home to so many different ethnicities for at least a generation or so.
    .-= Aarti´s last blog ..Sunday Salon: How Fast Do You Read? =-.

    1. This was truly disturbing read. Scarier that any horror book I have ever read. I wanted the author to go further into the cause of the violence and address what is being done to handle the situation. It seemed to focus almost solely on the feeling of violence and documenting what happened. That was a bit unsatisfying.

  5. What did you think of The Magicians?

    Sounds like you’ve got a ton of reading done. I cannot believe how many challenges you are doing!

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