Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Books of 2013 - January

January was a great reading month for me - which is good because my stack grew exponentially and turned into 3 stacks.

No, I'm not kidding.

And I also had two books that I was working on a little at a time have to go back to the library because someone put a hold on those books.

Also, I joined the Goodreads site, so I've included links to those pages here. If you're on Goodreads, let me know. I'm trying to use it, along with my Commonplace book, to keep up with my reading this year.

1. Celia's House. Fiction by D.E. Stevenson. One of those gentle British vintage books that I enjoy.{Goodreads}

2. Belinda Goes to Bath. Fiction by Marion Chesney (AKA: M.C. Beaton - author of the Agatha Raisin mystery series). I picked this one up at Half Price Books a few years ago and never got around to reading it. I finished it all one night when I couldn't sleep. Not much to it and the POV jumped around alarmingly. Somewhat interesting characters and setting. Decent way to spend a few sleepless hours, I suppose, but I don't intend to keep it on my shelves any longer. {Goodreads}

3. A Wreath for Rivera. Fiction by Ngaio Marsh. Series mystery. Maybe not the best Marsh but still, a fun read and a most intriguing murder method. {Goodreads}

4. Shadows on the Water. Fiction by Elizabeth Cadell. Another vintage British fiction, although this one is set primarily in Lisbon. {Goodreads}

5. The Mind of the Maker. Non-fiction by Dorothy Sayers. Brilliant. The one book I finished in January that I most want (need?) to re-read. {Goodreads}

6. Spinsters in Jeopardy. Fiction by Ngaio Marsh. Series mystery. This one hasn't aged as well as some Marsh mysteries. Concerns the international drug trade, set primarily in France and also the plot endangers the Alleyn's son. Which: no. I do not find kidnapped / endangered children stories diverting. {Goodreads}

7.Don't Say I Didn't Warn You. Non-fiction by Anita Renfroe. Comedy / memoir. Laughed out loud several times, particularly concerning her take on birth order. {Goodreads}

8. Who's Pushing Your Buttons: Handling the Difficult People in Your Life. Non-fiction by Dr. John Townsend. Solid, Biblical advice. Recommended. {Goodreads}

9. The Old Man's Birthday. Fiction by Richmal Crompton. Vintage British fiction, not cozy. And I can't find it on Amazon or Goodreads. Makes me feel like I read something that doesn't exist, although I suppose that just means it's out of print.

10. The Franchise Affair. Fiction by Josephine Tey. Mystery. A British mystery that doesn't involve murder and yet keeps you intrigued until the end. {Goodreads}

11. Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey. Non-fiction by Joanie Demer and Heather Wheeler. I always like to renew my frugal skills at the beginning of the year. Lots of advice on getting started couponing, or taking your coupon skills to the next level. {Goodreads}

12. The Lazy Couponer. Non-fiction by Jamie Chase. Another frugal / couponing book. Have to say I preferred the previous book because I didn't really get what was so "lazy" about this approach since you still have to know how to make various "deal scenarios" (which the author depends on a lot) work out. And, let me go on record here as saying that I have a pet peeve that nearly ALL Frugal blogs and books do: they count their "Extra bucks" or "Rewards cash" or whatever twice. They say something like "the actual price you pay for this item is $. such and such, after sale, coupons, and rewards cash" and then they turn around and count those same rewards cash in another deal. That's not how it works (either you count it against your first total or your second) and it annoys me that they ALL do this. There. Just had to get that off my chest. {Goodreads}

13. Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels. Edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke. This collection of essays is partially responsible for my already massive "To Be Read" stack growing completely out of proportion, although I have to say that it also confirmed some books for me that went on to my "I am not ever going to read this book" list, for whatever reason. (Too graphic, not my style, etc.) {Goodreads}

14. Publish and Perish. Fiction by Sally Wright. First in a series of mysteries. I wanted to like this more than I did (Academic setting, visits to England, WW2 Hero, etc.) Something about the writing style did not appeal to me and some sloppy POV bugged. I think I'll try at least a couple more in the series, though. Eventually. {Goodreads}

15. Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. Non-fiction by Kay Wills Wyma. This is a subject I've dealt with before and shared many links about. This book has a lot to recommend it and a few things that felt like significant drawbacks: 1) the author and her husband are basically as spoiled as their kids and 2) the author and her husband were not on the same page about how to fix the entitlement issue with their kids which leads to some tense moments (both for the family and for the reader who has to read about them and cringe). And, just to get on my soapbox for a minute, here's one advantage I see to homeschooling: my kids are under no illusions about how jobs are done. There is no Laundry / Cleaning / Cooking / Errand Running Fairy. We do all those things together and even the two year old can help in some ways. [/soapbox] Anyway, I recommend this book because I think this is a discussion we First World parents need to have, but I don't think this book presents a one size fits all solution. {Goodreads}

16. The Thirteenth Tale. Fiction by Diane Setterfield. Creepy and atmospheric. Madness, abuse, neglect, books, writers, secrets, and stormy nights. I guessed one of the twists fairly early on but it didn't ruin the suspense of the story for me. Not perfectly written, and the main narrator is somewhat boring and yet obsessive. (Ever wanted to slap a character and say something like, "No, really, snap out of it!"?) Right on the edge of what I'll read as far as suspense and such (and some of the descriptions made me a bit queasy, I'll admit). {Goodreads}

17. The Passing Bells. Fiction by Phillip Rock. Newly re-issued (although I was reading an old copy from the library) novel trilogy, of which this is the first book. Set in the First World War, with all the baggage that entails. Memorable characters and decent writing. Poignant ending. Definitely "Downton-esque". A sprinkling of "intimate" scenes that would have been best left to the imagination means I can't whole-heartedly recommend it. {Goodreads}

And I read through (and copied at least one recipe from) these cookbooks, although I'm not counting them in my total:

Totals for January:
Fiction: 10
Non-fiction: 7

What did you read in January? Anything I should add to my stack?
(If you'd like to read more, I recently shared some tips on how to do that. And Crystal Paine, of Money Saving Mom, also has a new post: 15 Ways Moms Can Fit More Reading Into Their Day.)

You can find me on Goodreads with this link:
my read shelf:
Karen's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

You can also find me on Paperback Swap (referral link):
Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.
Book covers are Amazon Affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me.

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