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The Sunday Salon: How’s That TBR Dare Going?

by Kim on January 30, 2011 · 19 comments

The Sunday Salon.comThis Sunday has been pretty slow, but in a good way. I spent the morning finishing up my eighth book of the month, The Postmistress by Sarah Blake, which capped off a great month of reading. I spent the early part finishing up the  nonfiction reads for the Indie Lit Awards, plus some other nonfiction I’ve been excited about for awhile. Here’s the list:

  • At Home by Bill Bryson
  • The Devil and Sherlock Holmes by David Grann
  • Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
  • Lonely by Emily White
  • Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
  • The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood
  • Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
  • The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

There are a few things I love about looking at that list of books. First, I’m not sure that I could pick just a single favorite book from the month. Lonely was an excellent, well-researched memoir. I loved The Edible Woman because Margaret Atwood is such a fun writer. And Nothing to Envy was amazing — it has earned well-deserved honors on a number of best of 2010 lists. I can’t wait to write the review for it.

And, in even better news, seven of the eight books count for the TBR Dare, hosted by Ready When You Are, CB, which I signed up for at the beginning of the year. The only one that didn’t count was The Postmistress, which I got as a review assignment for our local newspaper later this month. Yep, I’m going to be a real book critic! I’m pretty psyched. I think that’s a worthwhile TBR Dare exception.

And last, the list really reflects the kind of reading I want to be doing. Half were my own books, two were from the library, and two were review copies. The split between fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, and narrative nonfiction was totally even. And there were actually more female authors that male authors (six to two, which is awesome!). It’s a reading month I look back on and feel really proud of.

I think my focus for February is going to be review copies, since I read mostly own books in January. I have a number of them I’m looking forward too — Reading Women by Stephanie Stall, My Maasai Life by Robin Wiszowaty, Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri, and Ugly Beauty by Ruth Brandon have all been calling my name recently.

But first, I’m going to watch some more Parks and Recreation on Netflix, make some lunch, and enjoy the rest of a really lazy Sunday.

How was your reading in January? What was your favorite book from the month? Any exciting reading plans for February?

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Elysabeth January 30, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I read about 4 books this month, and my favorite of those four were Mary Ann in Autumn, the newest Tales of the City books. LOVED it. I’m also reading God Shaped Hole right now which I am really digging.

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Kim January 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Elysabeth: I’ve never heard of the Tales of the City books, but glad to hear you enjoyed it!

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Ash January 30, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I’m not sure what my favorite book of the month was. With my trip I haven’t been keeping track of what I’m reading so I’ll need to go back and start my books read in 2011 list. I’m mostly focusing on review books in February too, I actually have five to read! Definitely the most review copies I’ve ever had in a month.

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Kim January 31, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Ash: I imagine that can be tricky to keep track of while traveling. I do all my book lists on the computer, so when I’m offline it’s easy to lose track. I don’t think I’ve ever had five review copies to read in a month, but I don’t do a ton of reviews with a specific scheduled date in mind, either.

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softdrink January 30, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I’m just about to type up some thoughts on Cleopatra, even though I still have 50 pages left. I found Cleopatra to be a bit absent from her own book.

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Kim January 31, 2011 at 5:42 pm

softdrink: Yes, I thought that about Cleopatra too. Especially the first few sections, which were so dense. I felt like the book improved as it went on and really liked the last few chapters.

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Melissa January 30, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Congrats on the “real book critic” gig! That’s wonderful … um, news (pun intended) … although we considered you a real book critic for some time now. :)

Looks like you had a great month of reading too!

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Kim January 31, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Melissa: Thank you! I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek with the “real book critic” comment, but I do think there will have to be some differences between how I write reviews for the blog and how I will write it for the newspaper. I’m just not sure how to articulate them yet, but perhaps it will be clearer as I start to actually write the piece!

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Colleen (Books in the City) January 30, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I listened to The Postmistress on audio and really enjoyed it – the radio scenes translated very well into audio. Congrats on writing for the newspaper – they are lucky to have you!

I have My Maasai Life to read too – I look forward to seeing what you think.

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Kim January 31, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Colleen: Oh yes, I bet the radio parts would be great on a well-produced audio book. I almost wish I’d listened to the book rather than read it, the idea sound so cool.

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Jenny January 30, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Parks and Recreation was never my favorite of NBC’s Thursday shows, but I have to say, the first two shows of this season have been making me laugh more than ever before. Rob Lowe is cracking me up, and he had a few lines in the last episode that made me laugh until I cried. And I don’t even like Rob Lowe!

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Kim January 31, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Jenny: I never watched it before, even though I watched almost all of the rest of the NBC comedy line-up, but I caught one of the episodes recently and got intrigued. I don’t think I’ve laughed out loud so much at a tv show as I did going through season 2 yesterday. It’s hilarious!

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Trisha January 30, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Sounds like a lovely month! I really should imitate you and make February ARC month. I have too many waiting to be read, and I’m feeling a bit guilty.

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Kim January 31, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Trisha: I have so many of them too! I went on a, “Yes! I want every book!” sort of binge at the end of last year and I feel like I’m digging myself out of a hole trying to read them all. If I can get through 8 in February, that will be a good start to start lessening the guilt.

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Christina January 31, 2011 at 7:12 am

Congrats on the “official” book critic job! I didn’t sign up for the Dare (and would have failed miserably, if I had). I’m hoping to read more off my shelves in the next couple of months, but there are a few library titles that are catching my eye.

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Kim January 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Christina: Thank you! It’s pretty exciting. I’ve been doing a books column for them for a couple of months now, but this is the first review. I’m nervous :)

I’ve been limiting my library requests this month, which has helped. I am going to have a huge list by the time April rolls around.

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Amy January 31, 2011 at 8:28 am

Wow, congrats on the local review gig, and on doing so great on the TBR dare! Here’s to month 2 :D

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Kim January 31, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Amy: Thank you! It’s pretty exciting :) And yes, cheers to month two, which I hope will go just as well.

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