Category Archives: General

Vacation Reading Status

I have finished two books so far on vacation and am about 2/3 the way through a third.

Almost done:

Done:

Still have almost a week to go so I hope to finish a few more. Reviews when I am back!

Vacation Books!

I am heading out on vacation tomorrow for about 10 days. Among many things, I am excited to get some reading done! Here is the pile of vacation books I am planning to bring with me. (Assuming they fit. They may not. Sigh.)

I am aiming for books that are going to be engrossing and keep my attention. They don’t have to be light, but I don’t want anything that’s a chore to get through. Hopefully this list will hit the mark.

A few other reading-related items:

  1. I went to the new Amazon Bookstore in downtown Bethesda, MD over the weekend. My impressions: it’s a fun place to browse, but it’s not a full-service bookstore. The inventory is too spare. According to this article in the Washington Business Journal, “Every book in the store is either a best-seller, new release or has an online rating of at least four stars. Curators consider books based on Amazon customer ratings, pre-orders, sales and popularity on social cataloging site Goodreads in making selections. The curators will also determine what gets on the shelves by looking at Kindle reading behavior — Amazon is a data company, after all — to let customers know where to find the real page turners.” So it’s a good place to get recommendations and discover new books based on other books you’ve liked. But you’re not going to have much luck looking for a specific book that isn’t on the best-seller list. If you’re a Prime member, you pay Prime prices. My office will soon be moving to Bethesda, but I doubt this will be a regular lunchtime destination for me.
  2. I have a winner from the June Is Audiobook Month giveaway! Congratulations to Pat Burke!

OK, I’ll be back to review vacation reads, either from the trip or when I get back.

June Is Audiobook Month

So, are you listening to audiobooks yet??

I’ve been extolling the virtues of audiobooks for years here on EDIWTB. I cannot live without them. I am always, always listening to an audiobook, and I usually get through one or two of them a month. (Is it weird to say that I wish my commute were longer?) Before I started listening to audiobooks, I feared that I wouldn’t be able to focus, that my mind would wander and I’d lose track of the book. That almost never happens. With a good audiobook – and a good narrator – my mind is very focused. I am not tempted to pick up my phone when I’m driving and listening to a good audiobook, and it definitely helps the minutes fly by much faster. And, of course, I get through even more books in a year!

A good audiobook enhances my enjoyment of books, too. It’s a different experience from reading, but it’s just as rewarding. Here are all the recent audiobooks I’ve listened to.

A few tips for audiobook newbies:

  • Keep the print or ebook version of the book on hand, so that you can reread or refer back to sections after you’ve listened to them.
  • Once you find narrators you like, research their profiles to find more books they narrated.
  • Your library has a lot of audiobooks that you can download onto your phone. Get on a bunch of waitlists if there are no copies available and one will come in before you know it.
  • Get creative – listen when you’re walking your dog, cleaning your house, or sitting on a plane.

Finally, June is Audiobook Month (JIAM)!! This post is part of the JIAM Blog Tour – check out what other bloggers have had to say this month about audiobooks! As part of JIAM, I am giving away a selection of 8 audiobooks donated by Blackstone Publishing, High Bridge Audio, Hachette Audio, LA Theatre Works, Macmillan Audio, Post Hypnotic Press Audiobooks, Scholastic and Tantor Audio. The books will be available on Audiobooks.com. If you’d like to enter to win, leave me a comment here with your favorite audiobook of 2018 so far.

Here are the books you can win:

  1. Seven by Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith, and Susan Yankowitz
  2. Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman, narrated by MacLeod Andrews
  3. Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris, narrated by Kevin Hely and Cathleen McCarron
  4. Wings of Fire Book One: The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland, narrated by Shannon MacManus
  5. Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, narrated by Todd McLaren
  6. Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan, narrated by David Shih
  7. A Girl Stands at the Door by Rachel Devlin, narrated by Robin Miles
  8. Torn from Troy, Book 1 in the Odyssey of a Slave Trilogy by Patrick Bowman, narrated by Gerard Doyle

Ok, leave me a comment to win free audiobooks, load up your devices with great reads, and check out the other JIAM blog posts on the blog tour!

I Am Indeed – Friday, June 1

The Book’s the Thing – Monday, June 4

Beth Fish Reads – Tuesday, June5

Collector of Book Boyfriends – Wednesday, June 6

To Read or Not To Read – Thursday, June 7

Adolescent Audio Adventures – Friday, June 8

Carol Baldwin Blog – Monday, June 11

Brian’s Book Blog – Tuesday, June 12

Caffeinated Book Reviewer – Wednesday, June 13

Under My Apple Tree – Thursday, June 14

Shelf Addiction – Friday, June 15

Enchantress Of Books – Monday June 18

Books, Movies, Reviews, Oh My – Tuesday, June 19

AudioGals – Wednesday, June 20

Sarah’s Book Shelves – Thursday June 21

Under the Boardwalk – Friday June 22

A Bookworm’s World – Monday, June 25

Fangs Wands and Fairy Dust – Tuesday, June 26

Books of my Heart – Wednesday, June 27

AudioGals – Thursday, June 28

The Audio Flow – Friday, June 29

 

2018 Summer Reading List

It’s June, which means it’s time for the annual EDIWTB crowdsourced reading list. Thanks to my readers and Facebook friends for submitting their favorite reads from the last year. I always like this list because there are many books on it that I’d probably not read on my own, and therefore would not include on the blog. You’re getting a much more well-rounded list than I’d come up with myself.

Here’s what the crowd came up with. I’ve put ** next to those that were recommended by more than one person. When it’s a book I’ve read too, I’ve included a link to my EDIWTB review.

**The Nix by Nathan Hill

**Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

**Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (reviewed here)

**The Power by Naomi Alderman

**American Fire by Monica Hesse

**The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

News Of The World by Paulette Giles

Hunger by Roxanne Gay

Brotopia by Emily Chang

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Bad Blood: Secrets And Lies In A Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

Young Jane Young, Gabrielle Zevin

**The Leavers by Lisa Ko (reviewed here)

**The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

**Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (reviewed here)

**This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel (reviewed here)

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (reviewed here)

Unabrow by Una LaMarche

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (reviewed here)

You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld (reviewed here)

**Saints For All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan

Star Of The North by D. B. John

Mrs. by Caitlyn Macy

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

Between Me And You by Allison Winn Scotch,

We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

**A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles

**Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Circling The Sun by Paula McClain

March by Geraldine Brooks

The Sleeping Dictionary by Sujata Massey

Time Of The Locust by Morowa Yejide

A Long Way From Verona by Jane Gardam

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

The Black Penguin by Andrew Evans

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

**Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (reviewed here)

Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (reviewed here)

Strings Attached by Joanne Lipman and Melanie Kupchynsky 

The Lost Girls by Heather Young

**The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

The Wife by Alafair Burke

A Closed And Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

The Genius Plague by David Walton

The Great Quake by Henry Fountain

Vacationland by John Hodgman

Our Short History by Lauren Grodstein (reviewed here)

Vintage Hughes by Langston Hughes

My Last Continent by Midge Raymond

Educated by Tara Westover

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer (reviewed here)

Silver Girl by Leslie Pietrzyk

White Houses by Amy Bloom

Gateway to the Moon by Mary Morris

Elmet by Fiona Mozley

**The Twelve Lives Of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (reviewed here)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi (reviewed here)

The Two Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman (reviewed here)

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty (reviewed here)

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Circe by Madeline Miller

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Calypso, David Sedaris

The High Season by Judy Blundell

The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis

 

Book Expo 2018 Wrapup

Earlier this month, I attended Book Expo 2018 in New York City. As always, the two-day conference was jam-packed with author signings, book giveaways, industry panels and lots and lots of walking. Here are my impressions of the show and some highlights of the books I picked up while I was there.

First, the show seems to shrink every year – smaller booths and fewer people. The lines were long, but they didn’t seem as insane as in previous years. This is probably due to the evolving publishing industry and smaller marketing budgets. Second,there weren’t any standout celebrity author signings. I saw the Michelle Obama book cover but no Michelle Obama. Overall the wattage seemed a little dimmer than in previous years.

Also, there were lots of memoirs and fiction dealing with difficult, of-the-moment issues like race, poverty, loss and addiction. These themes are getting a lot of attention and seem to be hitting a chord. I saw fewer light, women’s fiction-y books, and fewer lifestyle titles.

OK, onto the books. The first session I went to was the Editor’s Buzz Books 2018, which is where editors submit the book they are most excited about, and out of many submissions, a panel chooses the 6 they want to highlight. This event happened the day before BookExpo, and it was packed. Here are the 6 Buzz Books selected:

  • Maid by Stephanie Land (Hachette Books; December 26, 2018) – nonfiction about a single mother working as a maid to make ends meet while living under the poverty line
  • Ohio by Stephen Markley (Simon & Schuster; August 21, 2018) – novel set in post-industrial, post-9/11 Rust Belt about four former classmates returning to their hometown
  • She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore (Graywolf Press; September 11, 2018) – a novel telling Liberia’s history through three different characters
  • Small Animals by Kim Brooks (Flatiron Books; August 21, 2018) – non-fiction exploration of “fearful parenting”
  • The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman (Ecco; September 11, 2018) – the real-life kidnapping story on which Vladimir Nabokov based his famous novel
  • There Will Be No Miracles Here by Casey Gerald (Riverhead Books; October 2, 2018) – a coming of age story dealing with race and class and the new American dream

I also attended the annual Book Blogger Speed Dating session, where publicists rotate to tables and pitch their books to bloggers and book clubs. That’s where almost a third of my books came from.

Here are photos of my book haul. There are a lot! Under each pic, I’ll note the ones I am most excited to read.

That Kind Of Mother by Rumaan Alam is our next book club pick. Vox by Christina Dalcher looks dystopian and disturbing, a la The Handmaid’s Tale. A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza is picking up steam too (see Ron Charles’ review from today here).

Sold On A Monday by Kristina McMorris is historical fiction set during the Depression. The Martin Chronicles by John Fried is a coming-of-age story told from a boy’s perspective in 80s Manhattan.

Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood is a novel retelling the same kidnapping story that Lolita is based on. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton is a murder mystery with an element of Groundhog Day thrown in.

Left by Mary Hogan is a novel about a woman slowly losing her husband to dementia. A Cloud In The Shape Of A Girl by Jean Thompson is a multi-generational family saga about three women living in a small college town.

I’m very excited to read The Dreamers, written by Karen Thompson Walker, who wrote The Age Of Miracles (reviewed here). Gone So Long is the latest novel from Andre Dubus III, and his first book in a decade. (He won the award for friendliest and chattiest author at BookExpo.)

I have it on good authority that Gary Shtegyngart is extremely entertaining, so I am hoping to get to Lake Success soon. The Other Woman by Sandie Jones also looks really good – there’s a menacing Other Woman in the picture, but this time it’s a mother-in-law.

Unsheltered is a new Barbara Kingsolver (I haven’t read her for decades). Ordinary People by Diana Evans follows two London couples facing stress in their marriage.

There There by Tommy Orange got a glowing review from Ron Charles in The Washington Post the day before I got to BookExpo. Cherry by Nico Walker is a tough novel set in the opioid crisis.

In The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon, a suburban family contends with a missing father after a terrorist attack in New York City.

Now here are the memoirs I picked up. Notably, ones from Steve Jobs’ daughter; Megan Mulally and Nick Offerman; the mother of an opioid addict; and a grieving daughter.

Here’s the non-fiction pile:

A few YA titles I picked up for my daughters:

And a few extras: a graphic novel and a teaser for a Nutcracker popup book.

I didn’t include the board books/middle grade fiction that I got for my son and his elementary school library, but there are some pretty cute books in that pile.

Whew! Long post, lots of books. Let me know if there are any you want more information about!

 

First Book 2018

Every year on January 1, Sheila at Book Journey hosts First Book at her blog. She posts photos of readers from around the world and the books that they are starting off reading in the new year. Check out her blog today to see the photos that people have sent in and what everyone else is excited to read.

Here is my first book of 2018: The Leavers by Lisa Ko. It has been on my TBR since it came out and I’ve moved it up to the top of the list.

To all of my EDIWTB readers: Happy new year!! I hope it’s a happy and healthy one, filled with lots of books and time to read them.

2017 Reading Year In Review

I made it! I read 52 books this year, same as last year. That was my goal, and despite falling way behind in March, I managed to catch up. Here is my 2017 Reading Year in Review.

I did stick to my resolution of reading only books I wanted to read this year. They weren’t always great, but I chose them for no reason other than that I wanted to read that particular book at that time. My mother-daughter book club ended after 7 years, but I started a new adult book club this fall, and we’ve gotten two books under our belt so far.

Next year, my goal is to read more non-fiction. I read only 3 this year. Next year I am going to try to get to 10.

Here are my standout reads from 2017:

Best audiobooks were What Happened (read by Hillary Rodham Clinton), Stay With Me (read by Adjoa Andoh), Our Short History (read by Karen White) and Perfect Little World (read by Therese Plummer).

Most disappointing book: The Turner House by Angela Flournoy.

Most creative read goes to Every Day by David Levithan.

For the last several years, I have tracked the Depressing Themes of the books I read. Here are some of the depressing subjects covered by the books I read in 2017: WWII, orphans, cults, killing a lover, high school, giving up children, incarceration (especially when wrongly accused), terminal cancer, Indian reservation, death of sibling, horrible husband, drug addiction by parent, wife beaten into coma, the whole book 1984, horribly abusive mother, children lost in South America, racism, infertility, technology run amok, THE 2016 ELECTION, dead spouses, communicating with dead people, dog maiming, middle school. (This list seems actually less depressing than in previous years!)

The breakdown:

  • 49 fiction, 3 non-fiction (ugh!)
  • 14 repeat authors during 2017: Sarah Dunn, Jami Attenberg, Lauren Grodstein, Anita Shreve, Curtis Sittenfeld, Carolyn Parkhurst, Caroline Leavitt, Ann Hood, Catherine Heiny, Tom Perotta, Siobhan Fallon, Celeste Ng, Michelle Richmond, Sarah Pekkanen
  • 19 audiobooks
  • 13 male authors, 39 female authors

How was your 2017 in reading? What were the highlights?