Bookish check-in

by Sunita

Much has been happening, including reading, but not including blogging. Time to rectify that, so here are some random updates:

E-reading: I broke down and got a new ereader last week, a Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2. That is an even worse name than Nook Glowlight Plus, but I will give it a pass because the reader itself is terrific. I’ve been using Kobo as my ebook store more and more over the past few months and it still offers a Blackberry app, so I’d been syncing across my phone, tablet, and computer. And my Glowlight was starting to get a bit glitchy. The great thing about the Kobo is that it’s a 6.8″ screen in a form factor that is only slightly larger than the Nook. The larger screen size lets me read pdfs! This is very exciting, since I still occasionally get a book in pdf form that doesn’t want to convert nicely to epub. And while the Kobo store is sometimes more expensive than Amazon, they have a price match feature (difference + 10% of the lower price) and I’ve taken advantage of that.

Goodreads & LibraryThing: Readers, I updated my lurker account at Goodreads. I know I said I’d never go back, and I’m staying far, far away from the romance, YA, and m/m communities, but there are a bunch of people reading general and literary fiction who don’t kerfuffle and say interesting things. Not that interesting things aren’t said in the rom community, I still lurk there, but once bitten etc. Anyway, if you have a GR account you can find me under sunita_p and I’m writing brief notes on books as I finish them. I’m not commenting much but I’m there. And I’m still at LibraryThing (also as sunita_p). I like their cataloguing system and interface a lot, they just don’t have much conversation.

Social media stuff: I’m still on Twitter, although I don’t tweet much these days. I get notifications and try to respond, but it’s just not an enjoyable place to me so I do drive-by lurking for the most part. I visited Mastodon after a hiatus and discovered a whole bunch of romland people had joined the instance, where I have an account. And Natalie is on Mastodon too, along with a bunch of other bookish people. I hope more people join, it’s a nice environment and the mix of book talk is something you don’t easily find at larger social media sites.

Reading challenges: I am going to finish the PopSugar challenge this year, including the additional list (52 books total). I’ve been three books away from completion for a month, but the last three shouldn’t be difficult. I have to polish off a steampunk novel, a novel with a red spine, and a book I bought on a trip. I’ve chosen the first two and I have several for the third category in states of partial completion (plus a bunch more on my shelves). This year’s challenge went pretty easily, I’m not sure why. Either because I’m reading more or the categories are more in line with my tastes, or both. I’ve looked at the 2018 challenge and although I don’t like all the categories, I’ll probably do it again. I like the combination of structure and serendipity. The other challenge I do, the Mount TBR challenge, is done. I’ve read more than 24 books from my TBR (my goal) and I won’t get to 36, which is the next level.

Actual reading: Oh yes, I’ve been reading books! I still have a bunch of award longlist and shortlist books on the go, but I’ve also finished an old John le Carré and a newish Edward St. Aubyn. A Murder of Quality is le Carré’s second novel and it’s more of a Golden Age detective mystery than a spy novel. Smiley investigates a murder at a boys’ public school. It’s full of class/status snobbery issues and echoes of wartime. St. Aubyn’s Lost for Words is a satire of awards processes, most particularly the 2011 Booker Prize (the one where Dame Stella Rimington was Chair and “readability” was touted as a primary criterion). The book received mixed reviews but I loved it, and it (ironically?) won the 2014 Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction. Alex Jennings narrates the audiobook and does a very good job (I found his Indian accents funny and not over-egged as opposed to exploitative, but mileage will undoubtedly vary).

I’m away for the week, visiting TheHusband’s family in Alaska. It’s COLD. Yesterday we went to beautiful Hatcher Pass and trudged uphill and down in a foot of snow. The sun was out and the temperature refused to get out of the single digits. Farenheit. It was gorgeous, and eventually my toes thawed out and became warm again. Eventually.