Reading Roundup: Strange Summer and Frantic Fall

Strange things are afoot at Reading in Bed. I’ve noticed a couple of things since I finished reading Moby-Dick back in July:

  • I’m kind of addicted to read-alongs, as I signed up for another one immediately, this time for Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. And I’m signing up for yet another this month.
  • I keep stumbling on books that I connect with on a really profound and personal level. And I’m still trying to figure out how to review them without it becoming a weird confessional kind of exercise. They were: Bumped by Meaghan McCafferty, Rosina, The Midwife by Jessica Kluthe, and Love Letters of the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist.
  • I read Fifty Shades of Grey and didn’t hate it with the fiery passion I thought I would. (I hated it, yes, but I didn’t HATE it, you know?)
  • I’m reading, like, SUPER fast. Six months ago I was barely managing ten pages per day. Now I’m flying through books in four days, or less. My secret is that I’m reading multiple books at the same time. This is something I’ve NEVER done. I’ve always been a serial monogamer in romance and in books. It’s like reading Moby-Dick flipped a switch in my brain and now I can just go back and forth between books with ease.

Lawrence Office Space Meme

Anyway, these are all good things and I’m enjoying reading, and blogging, and chatting with other book bloggers, more than ever. In fact, after my social media break (social media free August, thanks Momaccounts) I logged on to Twitter and went on an unfollowing spree so that my timeline is now 80% book-related. Bloggers, authors, literary journals, and the like. And I love it.

Fall Plans

So things are great at the moment, but I must admit, I’m feeling a tad overwhelmed with all the stuff I have planned for Fall. Here’s a preview.

  • Agnes Grey read-along: I mentioned that read-alongs are addictive, right? I signed up for this one on a whim. I’ve followed Unputdownables for a while, and honestly, find the read-along rules a bit intimidating. But, this is the only Bronte sister I haven’t read, and it’s fairly short, and it’s a 1,001 Book and Classics Club pick, so I gotta go for it. Still a few days to join!
  • Storytellers Book Club: Intro post coming soon. I’m about to get legit into CanLit. (Sorry, that was awful)
  • Local books and events: Tons going on here in Edmonton.  In addition to these readings and launches, LitFest and STARfest are on in October. More on those later.
    • The Dilettantes by Michael Hingston: Sept. 14th, 2:00pm, Audreys Books
    • Love Letters of the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist: September 24, 7:00pm, Audreys Books
    • Pilgrimage by Diana Davidson: September 25, 7:00pm, Audreys Books
    • Fran Kimmel (The Shore Girl) and Meredith Quartermain (Rupert’s Land): October 9th, 7:00pm, Audreys Books
  • Middlemarch George EliotDragon Bound read-along: I don’t think I can improve on the introductory post, so just go read that. Or if it’s tl;dr, here’s all you really need to know: dragon sex. Still plenty of time to join!
  • Novellas in November: Another Another Books Blog event. So far, I’m planning to read The Suicide Shop, which is getting a lot of buzz.
  • (Middle)March to the end of 2013: For the last two years, I’ve chosen a big, scary book and challenged myself to read it by year’s end. In 2011, it was The Magic Mountain. In 2012, it was Infinite Jest. This year, I’m going with George Eliot’s Middlemarch.  At 904 pages, it’s a doozy. Virginia Woolf famously called it “one of the few English books written for grown-up people.” And I’m gonna assume that unlike The Magic Mountain and Infinite Jest, this one has a hope in hell of passing the Bechdel test.

Save a Book, Read a Blog Post

If blogging was better than ever this summer, it’s thanks in no small part to these blogs – some old favourites and some new discoveries. This will be a regular feature in Reading Roundups, so don’t worry if I missed you this time!

  • Another Book Blog: The Book-a-Week Project is back and better than ever. We also have him to thank for the upcoming dragon shenanigans.
  • Reading in Winter: One of my original inspirations for starting a book blog and the leader of the Oryx and Crake read-along.
  • Fourth Street Review: Great reviews of great American books. And some Canadian ones – she made me giggle when she referred to The Sisters Brothers as a book that “deserved more recognition.”
  • Between the Covers: A prodigious reader and reviewer, she consistently made the dirtiest remarks about Moby-Dick during the read-along.
  • ebookclassics: Recently dedicated a Ethan-Hawke-in-classic-literary-roles post to me. Need I say more?

Time to get to it. What are your reading plans and goals for Fall?



  1. Heather

    A dirty mind is my claim to fame. Heh.

    I also started reading more when I started reading more than one book at a time (it stands to reason). I used to hate the thought of doing that, but then one day I tried it and realized that it’s fine. (I used to have this thing where I imagined that the characters in one book would be pissed and jealous if I read another book at the same time. Weird, I know.)

  2. Megan

    You have been busy! I always want to join read-a-longs, but I’m bad a pacing myself and reading multiple books. I kind of want to join Rick’s drsgon sex one 😉

  3. Carolyn O

    I wish I had time to join The Storytellers Bookclub before the end of the month! I’m American, but I love Canadian lit (and music — oh, Leonard); I got hooked on Robertson Davies in high school. I wanted to teach an intro lit class on Canadian lit, but never had the chance. I’m looking forward to reading your post about it!

    This fall I’m reading novels for the Literary Wives series (and Moby-Dick again, because I apparently like to give myself homework), finishing up Hugh Howey’s Silo trilogy, and trying to enter all my books into Library Thing so I can come up with a plan to systematically read the unread ones. Homework, like I said.

    Happy fall!

    • lauratfrey

      I really want to revisit Davies. I read Fifth Business in high school and HATED it, but I think I was too young.

      That all sounds very ambitious! My homework is to finally install some bookshelves in my room. Might help me determine was I own too 🙂

  4. Rick @

    Okay, this comment is going to be stupidly long, but this was a great post, so deal with it.

    1. TOTALLY get the read-along addiction. Apparently all it takes is one. Now we’re both kind of hooked. I feel like blogging was just a gateway drug to read-alonging. Meh, it’s better than heroine!

    2. Seriously, when are we going have the pleasure of reading your Fifty Shades review?! It’s killing me. Although you didn’t HATE hate it. Which has me strangely intrigued.

    3. I almost wrote a post the other day about how I’ve become a multiple-books-at-a-time reader. Literary polyamory, if you will. I always assumed it would make my reading slow to a crawl, but, like you, it’s actually allowed me to read so much more. If I even get stuck with a particular book, I’ll just bounce over to another one. My momentum never stops now, basically. It’s amazing. And it’s not nearly as hard to keep things straight as I assumed.

    4. When I created my new Twitter account just for the blog, I did the same thing as you: stick to mostly blogs and book related stuff. It’s made Twitter so much more interesting to me.

    5. So that Agnes Grey read-along is pretty strict, hey? Lol. Jeez.

    6. The Storytellers read-along: what a creative way to get people to read your autobiography! Lol.

    7. You should have re-titled your local books section your “Audrey’s Books” section. They might start charging you rent there. At the very least, you might as well set up a cot.

    8. Googled “tl;dr”. Fair statement…

    9. Yay for your Middlemarch challenge (and yay for that awesome header title). I love that Woolf quote, it makes me laugh every time I read it. I like that you challenge yourself with a big book at the end of every year. Bold.

    10. Thanks for all the shout outs! Dragon sex, y’all!!!

    • lauratfrey

      Readalongs – I’m getting the sense that for most bloggers, a readalong is really just about the comments on their own master post. I think the way we did it was kind of weird (and awesome.)

      Fifty Shades – the thing is, I have so many things I want to write about, and never enough time to do it. So much has been said about this book that it’s kind of obscene to put even MORE out there. And not the good kind of obscene. So I’m trying to think of something original and short I can say. Maybe I’ll just do a storify of the tweets!!

      I just heard there’s ANOTHER reading at Audreys on Wednesday for Amanda Leduc’s Miracles of Ordinary Men, which I totally want to read, but I just can’t add more to my schedule right now! I wonder if Sept. is always like this? I wasn’t paying enough attention in years past.

      • Rick @

        Well it’s the Fall publishing season right now so everything kind of comes out at the same time, so I guess it makes sense. There are just so many good novels out this year from local authors. It’s great, but hard to manage!

        I get what you’re saying about the Fifty Shades thing. I haven’t read a whole lot of reviews on it, so maybe I’m different than most. Not trying to pressure you haha.

        I much prefer the style of read-along that we did for Oryx. It was great. And everyone gets content out of it, which is always a good thing.

  5. ebookclassics

    Ooh, you are going to busy for the rest of the year. Not too sure what to think about “dragon sex”, but have fun!

    I think Moby-Dick did something to me too because I’m reading multiple books now, something I also swore I would never do. But right now it’s a piece of cake!

    If you need a reading companion for Middlemarch let me know.

    • lauratfrey

      Weird. Moby-Dick changed us, man.

      I would love that! I’ve been pondering make it a full-on read-along but either way I’ll give you lots of notice. Probably start late Nov/early Dec.

  6. Kristilyn

    I’ve noticed that reading more than one book at a time really is a life-saver for reading ALL the books. Lately I’ve had 4 or 5 on the go at one time … including an audiobook for driving or dinner-making. Here’s hoping it’ll help me reach my bookish goal by the end of November!

  7. Laura V. Duta

    ladies, you have just planted a seed in my mind, that of reading more than one book at a time. never did it for the pure pleasure of it (because I hope it’s understood university tasks are a separate ordeal 😀 ). for this fall I am in reading panic already: I am struggling with David Bezmozgis’ The Free World for about 3 weeks due to some utter lack of time (working, writing my PhD, trying to have a family life, too, and now this idea with blogging, really, I don’t know what I’m actually thinking!). of course the pile of “I absolutely need to read this book” books keeps growing, both on my desk and my kindle. I’ll give it a try and I’m going to brag about it on the blog :D. greetings from somewhere in Europe (I’m always on the road and I’m not even a rock star…)

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