Reading Roundup: March 2013 and Moby Dick Read Along Preview!

I’ve struggled to keep up with reading since having kids. This month, I feel like I’ve finally hit my reading stride after four years of pregnancy and parenting. I’ve been held back by legitimate things, like exhaustion and postpartum depression, and self-inflicted things, like television and Twitter.

My epiphany (I almost wrote “a-ha moment” and now I hate myself) is that if I want to read, I need to read *instead* of watching TV, *instead* of scrolling through hundreds of tweets. I need to read not just before bed, but at lunch, and in the morning.

I read a challenging book this month, The Magic of Saida. And I read it fast. It felt great. I’m totally out of the loop with the #GoT and #WalkingDead overtaking my Twitter feed right now, but that’s okay with me. (I will move Heaven and Earth to watch Mad Men, though. We all have our vices.)

Books Read

  • The Magic of Saida by M.G. Vassanji. 4.5/5 stars, review coming soon. Was nothing like I expected, terribly difficult to get into, but worth it.
  • The Paradise Engine by Rebecca Campbell.  4/5 stars, review also coming soon! Deliciously moody and dark, just how I like it.

Books Obtained

  • The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje – signed copy! 
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville – from Wee Book Inn

Books I Want to ReadThe Girls

  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Peer pressure addition, though I’ve also recently been told I should save it for a rainy day in my next life time.
  • The Dinner by Herman Koch. Lots of buzz on this one.
  • The Girls by Lori Lansens. Recommendation from Brie at Eat Books. Conjoined twins coming of age story? Yeah, gonna read that!
  • Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison. Stumbled on this on Goodreads and it sounds brutal. Good brutal.
  • Naive. Super by Erlend Loe When Kristilyn at Winter Distractions calls something her favourite book, I’m listening, cause she reads a whole lot of books!

What’s Next on Reading in Bed

  • Catching up on reviews. First up is North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I’ve been putting this off, but it’s my first Classics Club read, and while I’m not a big fan of the book, I am a big fan of the main character. She’s got lady balls (not literally.)
  • I’m reading Persuasion by Jane Austen, even though I should be reading Dirk Gently by Douglas Adams, as it was my Classics Club Spin pick. I’m loving it. It’s hitting a lot of notes that I wished North and South did.

Moby Dick Read Along Preview: May Long Weekend 2013

After much consultation (i.e. Googling and asking the Edmonton Book Bloggers) I have made a few decisions about this Read Along. Here’s what you need to know. A real post is coming soon.

  • It’s all going to start on May Long Weekend (that would be May 24 for international readers. I see you, two Singaporeans who landed here today!) 
  • It will end on July 22nd. On the 23rd, I’m heading to the wilds of Cape Breton Island and plan to be reading something far trashier than Moby Dick.
  • There will be a give away for a sweet Moby Dick T-shirt from Out of Print Clothing.

So go on, find yourself a copy. Start early if you’re worried about finishing on time, but really, it’s not going to be that formal. 


  • Michael Hingston didn’t like Belinda’s Rings as much as I did, but you should read his review because he makes some really good points. The only part of his review I strongly disagree with is describing the book as “amiable,” because that’s something I would say about a puppy or something. Kind of a burn! This is another excellent review.
  • Speaking of Belinda, I’m super excited that I’ll get my copy signed on May 15 at NeWest Press Spring Spectacular! Four authors with new books coming out this year will be on hand, including Corinna Chong and Rebecca Campbell, and there will be live music too. I will definitely be out past my bedtime.


  1. Rick MacDonnell

    I’m working my way through “The Dinner” right now, actually. Reading chunks of it in between other reads. I actually heard about this last year, before the English translation was published. Been excited about it for a while. Really interesting concept, in that almost all of it takes place during one single dinner conversation between two couples. I’m liking it. (Although I’m only about 100 pages in.)

    Sidenote: I can’t wait until your kids are in school. More Laura time means more reading (and blogging!) 😀

    • lauratfrey

      The reviews I’ve read have been spectacular. I’ll wait for your review so I will know where to set my expectations!

      I don’t know if school will make a difference. I’m back at work now, so it’s not like I’ll have more free time. I’ll probably have less time, because they’ll be in sports or something (please not hockey, dear god not hockey.) If anything, I’ll just keep getting better at using my time wisely. I’m that person who reads a book on my lunch hour now.

  2. Kristilyn

    I’ve had Oryx and Crake on my shelf for YEARS and I still haven’t read it. I really must change that — I’m thinking this year. AND I want to reread The Handmaid’s Tale. Probably through audiobook (since I hear the Claire Danes narration is pretty good).

    And yay for finding the time to read! I can get really busy and try to remind myself to read in the morning and before bed when that happens. I like to catch up on shows with hubs, but he goes to bed a few hours earlier than me, so I have time to fill (and where I have to be quiet).

    Good luck with the Moby Dick read-along! I’m not sure if I want to read that one yet … but I know lots of people love it!

    • lauratfrey

      Claire Danes reads it? That’s cool! I should challenge myself to try an audio book this year. I drive to work by myself everyday, that’s 20 mins or so of listening time. How long is a typical audio book, anyway?

      • Kristilyn

        They can vary. I like listening to ones around the 8-10 hour mark. One I’m listening to now is about 15 hours. I think it depends how much time I’ll have to listen on what length of a book I’ll choose.

        I like to pick books that I can go a few days without listening since I know I’ll usually carry them over into a new week and not listen on the weekend.

        I say give it a go!

      • lauratfrey

        Any recommendations? Has there been a Top Ten Tuesday for audibooks yet? 🙂

        Actually. Kelly Oxford’s new book would probably be perfect. Hmm…

  3. Brie @ Eat Books

    You mean, like read before you go to work in the morning?! Haha! Otherwise, I totally agree – I’m horrible for wasting time when I could have been reading instead. I’m pretty good about trying to read in my car during my “lunch” break, but sometimes I get so caught up in just reading tweets that I never actually crack open my book…I’ve gotten better with not spending as much time on twitter, but there’s still room for improvement. I like your “rule” you mentioned in another post about reading at least one chapter a day. I’m always a little disappointed in myself when I go to bed and turn off the lights and realize I haven’t read even one chapter that day. I have to say though, I’ve been very impressed with how much you’ve been reading lately! 🙂

    Oh, The Girls. I’m scared for you to read it. What if you *gasp*, you don’t like it? I don’t know if I can handle that. But, you also NEED to read it. I’ve been wanting to reread it for months now, I’m going to see if I can find it on audio maybe…and speaking of audiobooks! You definitely should try listening to an audiobook on your commute to work. Start with something fun, like a humour book. There’s no plot to follow so I find them a little easier to follow without my mind wandering.

    OK, and lastly, I’m feeling very much like I want to join your readalong! I will never, ever read Moby Dick (even as much as I think I want to) without doing so in a readalong. And I didn’t know you were the one hosting it, so that makes me much more inclined to join!

  4. ebookclassics

    I may join you for Moby Dick because I need some motivation. Everyone told me not to read it, but it’s on the list. Why does everyone dread this book? Is it really long and boring?

    • lauratfrey

      It’s pretty long (750 pages) and I hear there are some boring parts, but, it’s so massively influential, even today, so there’s gotta be something to it… sounds great, I’ll have a sign up post out there pretty soon!

      • ebookclassics

        Oh yay, another long book … zzzzzz. I’ll load up the coffee card and lookout for your post.

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