Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Notes from the Bunker
I spent most of 2015 mired in a reading slump and it seems to have carried over to the start of 2016. It's not that I'm reading "bad" books. It's more like I don't have the energy or mental brain power to pick up a book and actually read. I'm traveling over the weekend so I'm hoping being stuck in airports and on airplanes provide a kick start.
I still haven't seen Star Wars. Yes, I'm an extra special kind of unicorn.
The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo on audio. This was a recommendation from Keishon and I liked it, but wasn't over the moon in love with it. I'm glad I listened to it because I truly don't think I would have lasted reading the print version. It's a long book, with loads of set-up, dual time lines (World War II and early 2000s) and the mystery is fairly intricate. There's a very deliberate pace to the story which made it slow-going at times. I did end up enjoying it (it was a B read for me), and I'll continue on with the series - but Nesbo doesn't strike me as the kind of writer I'm going to be able to "binge" on...even in audio format. I'm going to need breaks in between books.
When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning. This is another book I'm glad I'm listening to on audio because I think it would be a slower read for me. I have a lot of thoughts about this one - mostly when you juxtapose the history of the World War II home front against the current climate of the American public. It's really striking. Also I'll admit I'm highly annoyed that ultimately the librarian's efforts early on were dismissed out of hand when they were up against something they couldn't control - format. World War II was really when the paperback format took off in popularity (in large part because of paper rationing and publishers having to adopt the format to fit the serviceman's unique needs), and librarian-organized donation drives mostly collected hard cover books, because that's what was widely available. Also the profession, by that time, had shifted to largely female-dominated so yet another example of how "those in power" slapped down the librarians (who were a bunch of women anyway so what did it matter?) gets my hackles up.
Baggage, I haz it.
Anyway, I'm not massively in love with this book (yet - I'm only about halfway through), but I could see it provoking some good book club discussions if you have the sort of book club that could discuss historical vs. current events without breaking out into fisticuffs.
I'm taking part in a webinar for the library database NoveList which will be all about romance book clubs. It's being moderated by Lisa Schimmer, RWA Librarian of the Year 2014 (and the bee's knees) and we'll be joined by Jennifer Lohmann, Harlequin SuperRomance author, librarian and all around good egg. Jennifer has run several book clubs for her Day Job (and has a romance-centric one!) and they've asked me to join the discussion to talk about the TBR Challenge! That's right TBR'ers - we're going to be famous.
Also, I encourage you to check to see if your local library subscribes to NoveList. It's what we in the profession call a "reader's advisory" tool - and it's fun to search subject headings, browse the lists of suggestions and hunt down titles that may interest you. It covers all ages, and while it's predominantly known as being a fiction tool, they do feature non-fiction as well. Lisa's been instrumental in overhauling the romance lists - where you can now find everything from Men In Kilts to Lesbian Love Stories.
The plan was to spend most of 2016 catching up on ARCs I did not get read in 2015 (because I suck like that - SO MUCH TO READ!!!!). I've got a pile of great books waiting for me and I'm at the point where I have things scheduled in a queue. Here's hoping I find my reading mojo while turning over rocks in the Bat Cave bunker...