This is a Good Book Thursday, January 12, 2023

The NYT recently headlined a column with “What Are Your Reading Goals for 2023?” and I thought, “People have reading goals?” I mean, sure the kind of goal that says, “I want to read the next Murderbot sequel,” or “When the next Rivers of London novel comes out, I think I’ll reread the whole series,” or “Whatever Loretta Chase publishes next, I’m in.” But the kind of reading goals where you say, “I want to read X books in 2023,” I don’t get. First of all, I don’t want to know how many books I’ve read because it shows how much time I spend sitting on my ass swiping through Kindle. I got a message from my laptop telling me that my screen time was down last week: Only nine hours a day. Yeah, the last thing I need to know is how many books I read, too. At that point, people could legitimately ask if I ever move.

Still it’s an interesting questions. Anybody here have reading goals, or are you just ripping through libraries and BookBub as fast as you can?

Oh, this week I liked Mhairi MacFarlane’s Mad About You. It’s closer to women’s fiction than romance, although it has a romance in it, but MacFarlane is just good, so she’s another one like Loretta Chase: If she publishes, I must take a bite.

What did you read this week? Was it part of a goal? Or did you just want to read a Good Book?

126 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, January 12, 2023

  1. I read Four Kings. I’m reading Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Tea and Sympathetic Magic. The serial Variation on a Theme continues to be serialized, so I continue to read it. I listened to Drake and Flint’s An Oblique Approach and In the Heart of Darkness, the first two books of the six-book Belisarius saga. I’m listening to It Had to be You by SEP right now.

    I have a Goodreads goal of 50 books this year.

    Official Weight 253.4 pounds. OWID #91. The diet continues.

  2. I’m ripping through the library as fast as I can. And giving Amazon rather a lot of my money. If I had a reading goal, it’d be to read less and sleep more.

    A few weeks ago, someone asked about TJ Klune’s Wolfsong werewolf series and I thought ooh, that sounds like my kind of book. So I read them. The person wanted to know if they were twee, like Cerulean Sea. Uh, no. They’re basically standard werewolf stories, by which I mean there’s a fair bit of blood and guts interspersed with a bit of sex and a lottttttt of feelingsdumps about how wonderful having a pack and a mate is. Some named characters die.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the first couple but after that it got a bit repetitive. Each book is from the POV of a different pack member, but each pack member basically makes the same mistakes. By the end, I skimmed the last quarter to get past the feelingsdumps and find out what happened to the big bad. So, not sure whether I recommend or not. Maybe don’t binge read them all at once.

    1. Thanks for this. I was planning on getting around to trying them eventually. I will probably push it back until later.

    2. I was the person who asked about whether or not they were twee. And I’ve read the first two now. The first half of the first one was excellent! Really a coming of age story more than anything. And then it got …laborious. Did that thing I don’t love where an author writes all paragraphs with only one sentence. I guess (?) it’s supposed to be dramatic but it starts being melodramatic when an entire book is written that way. Paragraphs have a purpose, people; use them. Anyway, I’m going to finish the series…but slowly.

        1. Hilariously, I just read a view of Prince Harry’s book that criticized him (or his ghostwriter) for the same style.

          1. Okay, I’ll be the dissenting voice. This is not a review. It’s a twat taking aim at a person, which is evidently a popular thing to do in the British press, so he’s playing to his crowd, taking no chances on blowback. If I were the ghostwriter on this book, I’d be annoyed. This is the kind of review romance novels get from literary critics. “This is junk so I don’t have to treat it seriously, I can just make fun of it and look cool.” I remember one lit critic who said, “This woman obviously knows nothing about small towns in Ohio.” As I was writing from my third small town, and her ass was in NYC.

            Sorry, I’m sensitive about reviews that don’t take books seriously. You want to be a comedian, go on late night TV and snark with Corden.

          2. I don’t get this. You would think everybody would be thrilled about Harry and Megan finding a way to support themselves instead of drawing an allowance. In a few decades Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are going to have to either draw an allowance or find another way to support themselves. It is okay for Murdoch to make millions off Harry and Megan stories but it isn’t okay for Harry and Megan to make money off their own stories. It really isn’t any different than the Kardashians, or Paris Hilton or any other number of reality stars.

          3. I agree with Jenny on this one, although I think the newspaper guy is clearly skilled at sarcastic style mockery. It was kind of a show-offy critique of someone that came across to me as snidely critical.

            Plus I quite like Harry. For a young boy, growing up with a loving, attentive mother and a distant, philandering, cerebral sort of father, Diana’s death had to be a disaster and a wound that few people would be able to cope with. I’ve often felt that the little boys I babysat for were essentially much more vulnerable than their sisters or girl cousins of similar age. And every sort of peer pressure on young boys makes it less and less likely they will independently figure out any way to cope with their own, or anyone else’s psychology. Expecting him to be all zen about his history and his family treatment feels kind of unfair.

            I haven’t read “Spare” or heard any of the press interviews that have been popping up, but I would guess that the palace undermining was real, the tabloid press was 150% more awful than any of us could imagine, both to him and to his little family, and all the pressures to behave “appropriately” for his age, rank, and class would have left any young man ready to go off like a rocket. Regardless of his wealth, his fame, or any other excuse for trying to do the humorous sneer treatment.

          4. The Royal Family aren’t supposed to make money if they draw an allowance, even though the allowance doesn’t usually cover what they need to keep up appearances. Sarah Ferguson got into rather a lot of debt during her married life and she had to get a divorce so she could actually earn money. To give her credit she did manage to clear her original debts with a few years of hard work

          5. I haven’t read Spare nor have I watched the documentary because washing dirty laundry publicly feels yuk to me, especially on this level.
            I get it that both biys didn’t have the best upbringing and it’s good that one got out. But he’s actively ruining any hope for reconciliation imo.
            I liked Meghan at first and how the press (and the court) treated her was not fair to day the least. But come on, she sure went into this relationship very naively. One doesn’t just go on a date with a royal because a friend thinks they might fit. With some proper research she’d have had an inkling what she’d have to face.
            Even the ones marrying into the far more relaxed Scandinavian royal families don’t have it easy…

    3. I agree that they get repetitive and the first is the best. But I thought it was a cop-out in when the protag turned into a werewolf. The story was much more interesting before that.

      The other one I really liked though – can’t remember it’s name – was the one where you gradually realise that the protag has lost his memory/been magicked somehow, and that nothing he believes is right.

  3. I read Bob Mayer’s Phoebe and the Traitor then re-started Agnes and the Hitman yesterday – read it umpteen times but it’s the first time for this year. I cannot tell you how happy I am that you guys are collaborating. It adds such a realistic touch.

    My late husband always said he could not understand when I read to him about people running for their lives but they stop and have sex. He pointed out that his whole thought process was on saving us, not sex – well, until after! 🙃😁

  4. I tried the Goodreads challenge once, setting an ambitious goal, but I found it to be stressful. I was raised to be very goal oriented and it’s hard to let go of that training, even when there is no benefit to “winning” and no harm in “losing”. So I don’t do that anymore. And I don’t really need any incentive to read, so it’s not a good idea for me.

    This week I finally finished the latest short story and full book in the Amaranthine Saga by Forthright. A lot happen in both. I am going to have revisit to see what all I missed. Then a lot of dnfs. I have come to the place in my life where I don’t want to read about a somewhat dislikable character growing into a likeable one. I just want to like them, damnit.

    So I am listening to the Goblin Emperor again, and all is right with the world.

  5. Due to pitiful amount of new books read last year. Reading goal for this year… read all my fiction library books, before I borrow anymore

    1. Yes, the library is an excellent way to set goals to finish the books you already have! Before your next holds arrive. For this week, Achievement Unlocked.

  6. I had a reading goal last year which was a book a day – and grew to regret it because I became goal-oriented in my reading, which is not how I want to approach one of the great joys of my life. I ended up selecting or selecting out of some books because of their length, and didn’t do as much rereading as I want because I didn’t ‘count’ that. So no goal this year. And I promptly reread the Murderbot series. Laughed all over again. Maybe harder.

    Finished the Megan Derr Tales of High Court series – I liked the first one best and probably should have stopped there.

    Also read Tough Luck, M/M romance with former navy seal acting as bodyguard for celebrity with a stalker (a surprisingly common trope).

    Plus Chacha1 let me beta read her Ren Faire book which I thoroughly enjoyed, not the least of which because I know nothing about ren faires – didn’t even know they were a thing!

    1. Oh yes – I actually have a goal to read all the books I’ve actually purchased but not read.

          1. I don’t like even having 17 books that I purchased that haven’t been read. I would prefer to have zero and instead have a list of books that I’d like to read. I did say I was goal oriented… I don’t like having emails in my inbox that haven’t been dealt with either…

        1. I have something like 430 books purchased and unread. Mostly nonfiction (aspirational!). I’m only 57, there’s plenty of time. 😉

      1. Since I buy 99.9 % of my books on Kindle, I only buy a new book once I have finished the last one. When I come accross a good rec, I put it in a note on my phone, after checking the reviews on Amazon.
        Usually I know which book I fancy reading next without looking at the list, but if I don’t, I look at the list to refresh my memory.
        I also go through the list once in a while to delete the books I probably won’t read since they are at the bottom of the list and I clearly won’t read them. Sometimes, they come back on the list through a new rec.
        That system works for me.

        1. I mostly use the Nook app, and sometimes the Kindle app, and on both I download samples of books I want to read but don’t buy them until I’m ready to read them.

          But I have a lot of print books too.

    2. Omg. Ren Faire is so fun! It’s like a comic con, where pretty much anything goes, but outdoors with themed food. Last year I got medieval German hand pies. And everyone is basically there for the same reason, and really happy to be there and also happy to compliment a good outfit or help with a wardrobe malfunction.

      Last year on time travelor day, we met a group of older men all dressed up as characters from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The Black Knight was Arthur’s backpack, sans limbs. They had the coconuts and walked around spouting lines from the movie. When they got to the mermaid dive tank, she came out to her hatch to blow her horn, saw them, blew it again and yelled “Bring out your dead!” It was great. There also was a dead wringer for Older Luke Skywalker and an elderly lady in tall wig and hoopskirt bedecked in real peacock feathers.

      Anyway, I highly recommend if you ever get the chance.

      1. We attended a neighborhood New Year’s brunch and were regaled with stories from the kid who became a fireman. Part of his territory involves the Larkspur Ren Faire and from his perspective it’s an 8-week nightmare: people in heavy costumes at altitude who are always dehydrated and possibly inebriated, possibly having heart attacks, passing out, but coming to in time to scream “DONT CUT THE COSTUME”. Plus other horrors.

        1. I shouldn’t laugh, but I did, a little.

          The official PA Ren Faire is very well established, with permanent structures and first aide stations, water fountains, etc. Of course anywhere you have a large group of people and alcohol and weapons, things can happen. But so far my experience has been positive.

          1. For good ren fair fiction, check out Jen DeLuca. She has a series of 4 (so far), all set in the ren fair world. (They’ve been mentioned on here before, but in case you didn’t see it.)

          2. I have tried three of hers. I like her characters and the overall vibe, but I don’t care for her endings :/

        1. Yes! The Circus Siren Pod is a performing group of mermaids who are based in the Mid-Atlantic but they’ve performed in Renaissance Faires throughout the country.

          My coworker is a volunteer for the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Apparently it’s very intense: tons of practices and they’re expected to volunteer every weekend the Faire’s open. They’re also not supposed to cut their hair during the season, and every visible article of clothing is supposed to look period-appropriate. Not something I’d be willing to take on, but she really enjoys it! She was also thrilled when I told her about Jen Deluca’s Well Met series. Not that she had time to read it until after the Faire had wrapped for the year…

          1. Wow once they get a believable dragon ride, I am taking a plane to the US to go to Ren Fair, the UK doesn’t have Ren fairs, we have Viking/War Enactments and Regency balls

          2. Regency Balls are lots of fun, I went to one held at the Bath Assembly Rooms, rented a costume, got dinner and there was a training session before the evening to teach you the basics of the dances. The military uniforms were in great detail too. My friends and I love Pride and Prejudice

  7. My reading goal is to catch up—all the old New Yorkers and Funny Times and books on my bedside table and dresser and coffee table. I don’t think I will ever catch up on the books and samples on line .

    I have been trying Edmund Crispin and Catherine Aird. Aird seems ok although I have only read one so far. But after two Crispins I’m done. It’s hard to tell his characters apart because he does a terrible job with them, and giving them similar names (Jane and Jean, Robert and Richard, Nigel and Nicholas) just makes it worse. And his plots are weak—one person gets killed by a bullet going through three windows which strikes me as an extremely difficult shot yet we are given no reason to think the murderer even knows how to shoot, it’s just meant as an innovative solution to a closed room murder.

    I also read two New Yorkers so at this rate I should be done by the end of 2023.

    1. Actually I do also have a goal of reading more nonfiction which I basically stopped during the pandemic and want to get back to. But no specific number.

  8. I don’t understand the reading goal mentality whatsoever. It makes a chore out of something that is just a part of my living. I read some thing every day, not because it is a chore, but because I love to read.

    1. I think that it is more for people who are not in the habit of reading? Trying to push past their usual choices to establish new ones? Most of us here are book people, and thus don’t need to make that choice. We just need to buy more bookshelves…

      1. I am totally a book person AND…I’m also goal oriented. I’ve simply learned this year that these two tendencies are in opposition.

  9. I made a reading goal for this year to read a book a week. My reading has gone way down the past couple of years because I’ve been writing so much. This year I want to make sure I made time for books.

    I’ve started 2 books this past week. The first was a contemporary Christmas romance, but I couldn’t connect with the characters so put it down. The second was a historical Christmas romance, but I didn’t care for the writing so put that one down, too. Now I’m not sure if I should count those books in my goal or not and the week is almost over.

    1. I’d count them, even though it feels unsatisfying. You could always read the last chapter of each and then feel more done ;-).

  10. My only reading goals are to enjoy what I’m reading & to learn to stop reading it if I’m not. %P

  11. I don’t have reading goals as such, either. I’m with Jenny-I kept track of my reading last year, and I averaged close to a book a day (although I do count rereads). With that, and the amount of time my phone tells me that I’m using it, it’s surprising I get anything else done. I’ma make some goals right now:
    1) Go to the library more, and Amazon less.
    2) Always have something on the TBR shelf or the library shelf that I really want to read. (I hate the feeling of not knowing what I want to read next.)
    3) Decrease my phone time 😁.

  12. I have kept a reading log for several years. It’s not fancy, just the title, author, and if it’s a new to me or a reread. Yes, I do count rereads; I am reading them after all! If it’s a book that I really didn’t care for, or thought was awful, I will put a comment like “so, so” or “don’t bother rereading” and that’s all. I start each new year with a fresh page in my notebook. Last year I read 144 books, way down from years past where I read anywhere from 180-215 books, but I don’t worry about that. Some of my time is now being spent walking to keep fit and healthy.
    What I think is kind of funny is that Goodreads wants me to set a reading goal. I’m not interested in that. I do record some of what I read on there, but not all. According to them I read a grand total of 39 books last year! I just don’t like sharing too much online.

  13. Goodreads always wants you to make a reading goal and I never do. The only goal like reading thing I do is my library’s summer book bingo which I like because it gives me a different way to think about what I’m choosing to read.

    Last week I read The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston about a ghost writer who can see ghosts which sounds overly cute but was heartfelt and romantic. I really enjoyed it. Then I read Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. I was just swept away. It is about a girl and boy who meet in the 90’s playing video games and then they meet again in college and write a video game together. I’m not a gamer and I still loved it.

  14. Reading goals: finish up the library stockpile, and then stop adding things to the library stockpile so I can get through the 60ish unread books sitting on my kindle 😆 And somehow try not to get distracted by the anticipated preorders when they finally release.

    TLDR: finish the TBR pile

  15. I have a vague ambition to conquer Mount TBR someday. But I’d be sad if there really were no books left to be read. Although it would be neat if I could time reaching that goal just hours before I die. Lol.

    1. Join my insanity: numerous TBRs! Library, kindle, bookshelves, goodreads. If I ever get through the first three (debatable, I’m constantly adding), then I have the goodreads “want to read” list. It’s basically like a “Must Read – Want to Read – Would be nice to read” sliding scale 😅

  16. I have so many books to read and struggle to decide how to read them.. so, last year I set an alphabet challenge for myself. For each letter of the alphabet, I read one book I own, one book from the library and one book on my kindle by an author whose last name starts with that letter. Where I don’t have any books that meet my criteria, I give myself a free pass to read whatever I want then move on to the next in my cycle.

    It worked well last year, so I’m continuing for 2023!

    1. I have so many books I own on the book shelves and stored in categories, so no library books. Extended family borrows a lot of books. So…reading goal is to read a good book I own, whatever format. Although I like the alphabet challenge. I just bought twelve new books. Crazy, I know.

  17. I don’t have reading goals. I have reading hopes. I hope to start, or finish, certain books that are challenging to my abhorrence of violence, like Jurassic Park, and the next Murderbot Diary in the pile. This week, I read What the Lady Wants while I waited for the books I ordered with my birthday money on Amazon. I started Legends and Lattes when they came. This time, re-reading WTLW, it struck me that Stormy suddenly became fairly intelligent and decisive at the end, which was out of character, for her. The fact that it got my attention only in this re-read, of many, shows that it wasn’t that disturbing. That book is also one of two where Jenny mentions 45 in a way that foreshadows his infamy to come. I love her prescience!

  18. I too have the reading goal of reading/finishing a bunch of things I have bought/downloaded but not read/finished yet. I have a tendency to get out of the mood for a book I’m reading, or just something that I have been really anticipating comes out and I start it before finishing the book I was currently reading and then lose track of the previous one.

    I once again read a bunch of space opera and the 8th book in a fantasy series that started in 1986.

    The one book I read that I think people here would be interested in is a new collection of shorter stuff from Rainbow Rowell called Scattered Showers. It has four novelette or so length stories three of which were pretty good and one I thought was meh.

    And if you have read any of Jennifer Roberson’s Delilah and The Sandtiger books, starting with Sword-Dancer, published in 1986, then you will perhaps be interested to know she has published another one called Sword-Bearer, the 8th in the series. And it’s pretty good. Book 6 came out in 2003 and book 7 in 2013, so I found it a little disconcerting to have to leap back into a storyline that starts a mere 6 weeks after the events of book 7.

    1. I read the first 4 of those when they came out, I think — not 1986, but definitely some time in the 1990s. I never would have thought to look for more! (And now I will have to hunt those down for a reread. I wonder what the chances are that I held onto my paperbacks?) Thanks for the update!

  19. I don’t have a reading goal. I used to go on a website called Shelfari. It didn’t keep count it just provided a virtual bookshelf. You could also put stars or a sentence or two about how much you liked or didn’t like the book. Amazon took the site down but I gained two friends that I am still in touch with in cyberspace since 2006.

    I just bought Circle, Coven and Grove by Deborah Blake. I asked her for a recommendation of one of her books that might have a blessing for the dreamcatcher I plan on making and she recommended that one. Looking forward to diving in.

    I am rereading Jayne Ann Krentz again / still. This time the Dark Legacy series except I read them backwards. There are only 2 books in the series. The first is Copper Beach and I’m reading it now. The second is Dream Eyes and I read that one first.

    Respect for Jenny and the Jenny/Bob collaboration team! Oh it looks like I don’t respect Bob on his own and that’s not true. I do respect Bob. In fact if I survive any kind of disaster it will be in part thanks to him!

  20. I can’t imagine having a reading goal. I’d love to maybe catch up with all the books I bought and haven’t read but that’s not actually a goal. For Christmas a dear friend gave me a bag with book things on it and in it was a diary to keep track of your books to read.A Reading log. I am so never using this. But it would make a great giveaway when I restart my blog. right now I’m listening to my own book at night, but I have a great bunch of books to read, including the new Jane Ann Krantz, and Sally thorns Angelica Frankenstein meets her match and a YA- A comb of wishes.
    And then there’s all the books I bought and haven’t read on my Kindle. And all the TV I haven’t watched and all the movies I haven’t watched. My son told me that the series hunters comes out today. He and I are both in it. We did this series in 2021. Sometimes it takes a long time for stuff to come out, I’m in the first episode playing a Nazi victim in the quart room. He plays a Nazi and I can’t remember which episode he’s in. I must look that up happy reading everybody.

  21. My only reading goal this year is to actually read more books. I miss reading but for the last while my glasses have made it difficult. I really should investigate reading glasses. Barring that, more e-books since I can change the font size.

    Currently, I’m listening to Wee Free Men. I have a few books on order from the library, ones I know will come in hard cover and therefore have slightly bigger print.

    I read the new Seanan McGuire Wayward Children book, Lost in the Moment and Found, yesterday morning and it was good.

    1. Reading glasses are the best. I went back to my optician less than a week after I had my first pair of varifocals and demanded a pair I could relax and read with.

    2. Was having trouble with the progressive glasses when reading in bed. I had my old frames made into my reading prescription only. Works very well even at 2:30 am on iphone and ereader.

  22. I don’t have a reading goal, never had, but I do keep track of my reading on GoodReads. According to its Stats page, I read 140 books last year. And that is only new books, not re-reads.
    My new reading last week:
    Ruby Dixon’s Ice Planet Barbarians was a ‘sort-of’ sci-fi romance, but I don’t think ‘science’ was anywhere near the making of this novella, no matter how fictitious. The story was too silly, too absurd, with too much smut. On the other hand, this book had an elusive charm that kept me reading it, even though I skimmed over the sex interludes and shook my head in consternation the entire time. I mean, inter-species sex (and pregnancies), for Pete’s sake. But I finished it and even enjoyed it. Somewhat…
    Sherry Thomas’s My Beautiful Enemy was OK. A blend of a love story and a spy thriller, set in the end of the 19th century, it didn’t inspire me, but I did finish it. Half of the action happened in the exotic locale of Chinese Turkestan, another half – in England. Overall, it was engrossing enough to read, and the tension was high throughout. But I disliked the heroine. And I disliked the structure of this novel: the author hopped through time, alternating the chapters between eight years ago and the current timeline. I don’t like such structure. I prefer a linear time flow.

    1. I’m finally watching Magpie Murders (on PBS), and I thought the dual timeline (one “real” and one in a fictional past) would annoy me, because I don’t generally like that format, but they’re handling it well so far (just saw the first episode). Or maybe I’ll just put up with a lot to watch Matthew Beard (one of the suspects, so not a lot of screen time).

  23. I have a partial reading goal with a Historical Mysteries group on Goodreads. I joined partly to see if it would be any use re promo (it isn’t) and partly because it helps me find new authors to read. They have a challenge every year re different periods of history or similar criteria. I usually plan to do the minimum because there are plenty of other books I already know about and hope to find time to read.

    This year my first book in the challenge takes place in Ancient Greece. It’s proving to be a great history lesson but not such a great read. So I may not finish it, but I have learned some interesting history in the process.

    1. Desr Barbara, what’s the title of the Ancient Greece not-real-romance?
      I haven’t come across such a book for a long time, so am curious…

  24. My reading goal this year is to nuke my thyroids, so they’ll stop causing my eyes to water and tire easily, so I might actually be able to read paper/ebooks again. For now, I’m mostly reading audiobooks. Currently on an Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot binge. Listened to the Peril and End House and Lord Edgemere Dies and now I’m halfway through Card Games. All narrated by Hugh Fraser. Still impressed by him, but may have reached saturation point for Agatha Christie — the problem with bingeing, where things that seem fresh and interesting become repetitive after too many books in a series, when read back to back.

    1. Gin, I find it interesting about the thyroid and watering eyes. My eyes have started watering this past month as well negative hypothryoid symptoms resurfacing. Going to investigate this. Thank you.

  25. I reread a Nora Roberts (The Liar) and then found a new-to-me one by her in the library: The Awakening. I wasn’t optimistic – I’ve found her more miss than hit recently – but I’m enjoying it. It’s pretty gentle so far (I’m nearly halfway through), set in Ireland + a magical parallel world. I’m guessing it’s the first of a trilogy. (I’m always thankful I’m not Irish when I read her stories set there. Some of them are real favourites of mine, but I’m pretty sure they’d be unreadably irritating if I were from there. As it is, I surrender to the cliches and misinformation, and don’t let them spoil my enjoyment.)

  26. I don’t have a reading goal, but if I did, it might actually be to read less, because that’s when I write more. Right now, I want to be writing, but I also have lubrary holds that have come in, and thanks to a comment above and a whim that led to the discovery of an old book now available as an e-book, some re-reads I want to get to. Unfortunately, I also have many other projects, plus a family and a job. Maybe the real goal should be to sleep less so I have more time for all the other things…

  27. For some reason, my kindle app on my phone really wanted me to set a reading goal. It flickered every time I opened it, asking if I wanted to read 1 or ten books in the year. Since I read a minimum of 200 a year, that irritated me so I put 200 but that’s really a minimum and frankly I don’t care how many books I’ll read or reread this year, I just want to keep reading all the good stuff that is recommended here.

    This week, I enjoyed Law man by Kristen Ashley as recommended here.
    I am also reading my son’s christmas gift, CM Waggoner’s Ruthless Lady’s guide to wizardly. The very inventive language used by the main protagonist cracks me up and the love interest is lovely.

  28. Last year was the first year in which I might have kept track of the books I’ve read. Fiction books that is. It’s much more difficult to record the papers and non-fiction I’ve read as most of them are not in their database.
    I don’t set myself a goal though I’ve set one on Goodreads (1 book per week): it’s more meant as a reminder to keep track of what I’ve read. I’ve started a reading log on paper as well. A light one so that I can schlepp it around if I feel like it.
    So far only one book is recorded, another one is awaiting the small review:
    Around New Year (Eve and Jan 1) I’ve listened to A Gentleman’s Position by KJ Charles which felt like a meditation on consent and love when faced with different positions in society. I liked it fine but didn’t connect much with the MCs which might have been due to a dislike for how the narrator has portrayed Richard, the rich nobleman (sounded very pompous and stuffed to me).
    In spite of that I’ve started to listen to the first book in the series (A Fashionable Indulgence) and the voices are much younger and more relatable. With audiobooks I tend to get distracted fast- just listening makes me fall asleep easily.
    Got distracted by a recommendation from an old friend who reconnected after a 13+ year hiatus. She always used to have excellent rec’s, so I tried Two Man Station by Lisa Henry. I had stayed away from this author after a dnf (tortured her hero literally to a degree I could not stomach). But the excerpt was excellent and since it was a KU, getting immersed was an easy choice. The story and especially the atmosphere sucked me in alright. If I had got the chance to get to know those MCs a little bit better, it’d have been even a well-rounded read.

    Reading goal at Goodreads: I’d thought about setting me a goal to read more broadly. But that would feel forced. I detest being forced to read. Even by myself.
    But I’ll pick up non-fiction over fiction anytime and what would forcing myself to read certain genres against my wish (schizophrenic, right?) achieve? I like my reading light, quirky and positive (at least in the end) and there are plenty of books out there to allow escapism.

    1. Lisa Henry is tricky – she has those books where she really does torture her heroes, she has silly fantasy books with elves and orcs, she’s written reimagined Regency M/M, contemporary, science fiction, comedy, you name it. You have to assume that you need to read the description for content and tone very carefully for one of her books before embarking on it. Personally, I love almost all hers except the roughest ones and somewhat boring ones she wrote with Tia Fielding.

      1. I’ve downloaded the second title in this duology taking place in Australia.
        The tone is very similar to the one I’ve enjoyed. I’m curious if I get a bit more sense of a connection this time.

  29. No book reading goals. I read what I want, when I want.

    Right now, it’s AJ Lancaster’s Stariel series. And more Jodi Taylor. And then, we’ll see.

  30. As a librarian, now retired, I have a fondness for the simplicity of my old friend, the Dewey Decimal System. I am starting my third cycle of reading one book a month in Dewey order, with the 2 extra months as biography/memoir. This not only pushes me into reading more than fiction but also broadens what I’d choose. So far I’ve read Annie Austen’s Shelf Respect, full of lists, quotations, and short essays. The Dewey classification principle goes for only one book a month, though I can read more. I track my reading of these plus whatever book club book is assigned. (We go by a list from somewhere, with random things—read a book with a bird on the cover, a book published int he 1800s, and other such things, some interesting, some annoying.)

  31. No goals for me either. My reading time is dependent on so many other things that it’s not simply a matter of choice & planning — it’s opportunity, which of course has to knock first.

    And Audrey S –I just read the first of the Stariel series too and really loved it, but of course my library doesn’t own any — I had to access interlibrary loan for it, and that system has only two others of the 5 books by the author set in that world, so I may have to do some purchasing…. The characters in it are by and large so reasonable, peaceful, and polite — (well, apart from the malevolent fairies, but what can you do about fairies?). I ascribe their personalities to the book’s NZ origins. Make note for future — be born a Kiwi if there’s any choice in the matter!

    Am now about halfway through Julia Whelan’s “Thank you for Listening.” It’s a book with many plusses (pluses?) and I’m enjoying it, but it has about three or four interwoven plots, only one of which is a classic romcom relationship. Makes it interesting to read. I was never close to elderly relatives — half of them died before my birth, and the others were far away for most of my life, but I can appreciate the hassles as well as the heartbreak the MC goes through with hers.

  32. My only reading goal this year is to read all the book sale purchases piled up on my bedroom floor. I did manage to deliver a stack of picture books yesterday to be delivered to my friends’ grandchildren, only to discover 2 middle grade readers that were hiding in the aforementioned pile.

  33. Goals? Reading for fun and for learning! Not a quantity thing.
    But I’m writing about gluttony, so I’m on a tear of culinary mystery books. So far, I like If You Can’t Stand the Heat by Robin Allen the best. The Gourmet Detective was okay, but I roll my eyes when he starts commenting on women’s bodies and if they’re dressed to his standards. Killer Critique made me realize that writing about food can make you a snobby jerk where someone really does want to blow a curare dart into your neck.
    Not food-related: I enjoyed A Broken Blade, Killers of a Certain Age, and Ten Dead Comedians.
    Martha Beck’s The Way of Integrity retreads some of her ideas but is a pretty good intro to her work. I like the idea of lightly incorporating Dante into my series.
    If you want to make immersive theatre (no? Just me?), Creative Worlds is excellent. My husband bought it for me for Christmas. Yay!
    My friend wrote an excellent book that explores German Christmas markets, music, and demisexuality!
    I’m able to say all these because I finally figured out how to connect my Kobo with two library systems! Fantastic!

  34. I have reading plans — I want to read my thesis advisee’s book, since she’s going to spend all semester working on mine, so it seems professionally polite. And I am HYPED for Georgie All Along by Kate Clayborn.

    But no, I don’t have reading goals. I’m Catholic. I have enough guilt without adding reading goals into the mix.

  35. In the past week:

    ‘Swan Dive,’ memoir by Georgina Pazcoguin, 20+ yr veteran and soloist at New York City Ballet, makes me glad I didn’t pursue my youthful infatuation with ballet.

    Re-read ‘Vampire with Benefits’ by EJ Russell and followed up with new novelette ‘Second First Date’ which picks up exactly where VWB leaves off and provides the happy ending that’s hinted at in the novel.

    ‘Merry Measure,’ by Lily Morton, a sweet and funny M/M holiday romance, going on my ‘best for Xmas reading’ list.

    ‘Here Comes My Man’ by Lauren Blakely, a M/M second-chance romance featuring a bestselling author with writer’s block and the breakout-star actor he had a brief love affair with. They have a long history, the breakup was regretted by both, they are articulate about things. Thumbs up.

    ‘Winging It’ by Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James. M/M. I like this writing team, even when the setting is hockey. 🙂 This is teammates-to-lovers with good character development, good friends, conflict that is carefully established and then exploded by very credible trigger, resolution that is based on accepting what you want and talking about it.

    Re-read ‘Dying on the Vine’ by Aaron Elkins, a mystery starring Gideon Oliver, which is workmanlike but not my favorite in series; seems like maybe ‘I want to go to Tuscany, let’s set a mystery there.’ 🙂

    ‘Right Where I Left You’ by Julian Winters. M/M YA. Summer after high school, Atlanta, BFFs facing imminent separation as one goes to college and the other takes a parentally-contested gap year to try getting a gaming business off the ground; it’s an angst-fest heavily weighted by POV character’s social anxiety. Friends are made, characters grow, slow realization that one kind of love does not exclude another is rewarded. Not a fun read but I think for a younger reader who could really see zirself in these characters, it would be highly valuable.

    ‘Very Sincerely Yours’ by Kerry Winfrey, F/M featuring a 30 yr old retail worker and a young version of Mr. Rogers. Many writers would’ve made FMC annoyingly flighty and MMC too good to be true, but both characters are given good solid arcs. Some funny stuff, great friends on both sides, people doing the work (you know I always like that). Rounded up to 5 stars for two intelligent people willing to be pushed out of their blind spots.

      1. I don’t know why this comment showed up here because it was meant to be under Olga’s post.

    1. Winging It has a Christmas novella follow up that’s pretty good. Although I am wounded by your “even when the setting is hockey”. Humph. And I’m going to read Vampire with Benefits next. You’re worse for my non goal oriented reading than Lupe.

  36. Hey Smith,. This is Matt Conner. I was thinking of you the other day and wanted to say hello. Although I rarely read, never write and am completely non-artistic, I still count you as my best teacher and one of the most influential people in my life. Stacey and the kids and I are living in Phoenix now. Please connect if you are out this way. Hope you are well.

    1. Oh, how great to hear from you! I’ve had a lousy day and you just cheered me up. I think you used to do that way back when, too. Please give my best to the family, and thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  37. I am currently reading A Life with Footnotes: the Terry Pratchett biography, and Butter: A Rich History. Both enjoyable and I’m learning things.

  38. My reading goal is to read *less*. I stay up too late and spend too many hours reading. It’s a serious problem. I need more balance in my life, maybe starting with getting a job. 😀

  39. I am really tired out lately and have started numerous books, only to stop after the first few pages. Mostly, I am looking at knitting patterns. I did re-read the first two books in Jill Shalvis’ Animal Magnetism series. I am currently reading The Spare Man. I am enjoying it, and hope it may kick start some reading energy.

  40. I am not a goal sort of person. I do know people with reading goals that are qualitative, not quantitative, though. Read more in a particular genre, or a particular non-fiction field, or read everything you can cram into your head while you have access to an academic library.

    This week I’ve read a couple of romances that were nice, but not great. Lately I’ve been finding books in every genre I read going completely meh in the middle. Some I have finished, some not. To counteract this I’m rereading all the Penric and Desdemona books, which means going to the library during lunch hour to pick up holds because they only have them in paper, and then holding the books open with my increasingly arthritic hands. But worth it.

  41. New York Times is offering $20.00 year for one year all access digital subscription, just in case any Canadian is interested. There is a Canada Letter every Friday, always interesting.

  42. I read Jennifer Bond’s Miles and Miles of You because it was a bookbub deal and the “look inside” made me laugh and want to keep reading. Road trip romance, funny and really well done relationship arc. I have pre-ordered the sequel because more please.

    I’m also still reading Pawpaw; In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit, which has led to picking up other books about native plants and early American naturalists.

    I don’t have reading goals other than I need to read for my sanity and happiness and also to learn things I’m interested in. Not everything has to be a goal or a metric.

  43. For me, reading is more of a vice than a virtue, so my reading goal ought to be not to be. But I won’t likely cut back as it is my brain’s default resting state.
    This week escapism appealed so I reread some Garth Nix novels of the Old Kingdom- magic… zombies…, and today I am rereading TheSea King’s Daughter, Barbara Michaels, which pops me into Santorini instead of grey bleak winter prairie.

  44. I don’t have reading goals because reading is a pleasure and I read so much anyway. Plus the goals they suggest are always ridiculously low.

    I’m just finishing off the Vatta’s War series – the latter books aren’t as strong as the early ones, but by now I’m so invested in the characters that I’m not going to stop. I did have a try at reading a few other things this week, but gave up on all of them. Wrong timing, not necessarily wrong books.

    I tried Fearne Hill’s To Hold a Hidden Pearl, but while I liked the story, the dialogue was way too heavy handed for my taste, so it was another DNF.

  45. Oh, forgot to add that I also read Four Kings which, while very different from Book of Firsts, I enjoyed very much as a “how do we make the relationship work/deal with relationship obstacles” which is the logical follow-on to “we are going to have a permanent relationship” from the end of Firsts.

  46. The responses to reading goals are not unlike the comments regarding New Year Resolutions. Some espouse no goals, some lofty goals, some quantifiable, others denying quantity over quality. Fun answers, all are.

    I admitted to setting 50 books for Goodreads, a number I expect to achieve easily before summer is over. This week alone, I counted 5 books (all complete except the serial), so I should reach 50 in just 12 weeks, and 36 more chapters of that serial (which will probably double that.)

    That assumes the rigors of Home Moanership do not finish me. The newest problem is the “knob and tube” electrical system which is inadequate for the modern oil furnace, resulting in brownouts and outages – without tripping a breaker nor blowing a fuse. The electrician called in by the dotter has given estimates of roughly $23K to rip out the old system and upgrade 100-amp service to 200 amps. This will require ripping out wiring through plaster, the repairs to which are not covered by the estimates.

    My agent said, “Oh no! Pay no attention to [electical contractor redacted] – they’ll want to redo your entire system even if all you need is a new fuse.” Games are afoot.

    1. If it really is knob and tube wiring you have in your house, rewiring is definitely a good idea for safety purposes.

    2. I asked my husband, who actually worked as a union electrician’s helper while working his way through college. Also we have a 97 year old house. Which has/had knob and tube wiring – some of which is still in place. We changed out the panel and rewired most but not all of the house. We ran some new lines up from the basement and some down from the attic.

      His first suggestion is to get at least two more bids -although he didn’t find 23 K surprising (well, we had to spend almost 30 K on the sewer project from hell). Make sure the electrician gets building permits and knows code. There are a lot of guys out there who think code is something that spies do during wartime. We did some work ourselves and some by Scotty our electrician. All of it was done with building permits and all had to be signed off by an inspectors. The city will have a record of building permits issued for your house. The kitchen looked fairly new and may have been rewired. It is a good idea to check to see what work was done and when. He seems to think you probably need a new panel.

      In Portland the city lists a history of building permits for each property on line (When we are curious about work in the neighborhood we go look at the listing of building permits for the property we are curious about).

      1. I have a second electrician coming Monday. Our agent is checking if the repairs are under warrantee. There’s a fuel truck delivering home heating oil any minute – the tank is empty. (Oops!) It’s a 275 gallon tank, but I’m getting 200 gallons at $5.25/gallon. Nothing but good times ahead.

  47. No reading goals – well at least not quantity so much but a few years ago I made a conscious effort to read more broadly – more writers of color, more works in translation etc. Sometimes I pick up a book bingo from somewhere, or put all the books on an award or “best of” list on hold at the library. Sometimes I find new authors, sometimes I dnf the book but I like to get out of my comfort zone.

    The idea of a set number goal stresses me out just thinking about it.

  48. Thanks to the pandemic I switched away from reading goals because I got tired of feeling like a failure. Now I just have reading intentions. I tried to read another Tal Bauer, but it pretty much went like the other two I’ve tried. The beginning of the book was great and then about halfway through it just got too dramatic and OTT and I haven’t picked it back up. I think maybe TB is just not for me. So I’m back to reading fanfiction and I started Good Omens last night and am loving that so far.

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