Reading Roundup: November 2013

Is there a statute of limitations on monthly roundups? Let’s hope not! Already 20% into December (and #Middlemarch13,) so let’s do this.

Book Events:
40 Below Official Launch #1: 
I’m really impressed by the continued buzz around this local, indie book. I only attended one of the two official launches, but it seems everywhere I turn I’m hearing about a TV appearance, or seeing the book on the bestseller list – really well done, 40 Below crew!

Dani Paradis reads her contribution to 40 Below

Dani Paradis reads her contribution to 40 Below

I got my book signed straightaway by mastermind Jason Lee Norman and contributors Michael Hingston and Dani Paradis. Dani read her poem about her hippy parents, which may or may not be based on a true story.  There were a few awkward moments when people asked me to sign their books because they thought I was her – I guess I can see how brown hair + glasses + purple sweater + sitting as same table was confusing. I’ll take it as a compliment as Dani is much younger and more fashionable than I!

Vernon R. Wishart was my favourite reader. His story about his wife’s speedy Christmas Day labour and delivery was even funnier read aloud. I learned that it was a true story, as that Christmas baby, now in her 50s, was in the audience.



Don Perkins didn’t read, but he did write my favourite sentence in the whole book, and signed right next to it with a real fountain pen! Check out his take on the event here.

Martin gets extra points for signing books with a real fountain pen.

Before heading home, I bonded with fellow 40 Below reject Matthew Stepaniac and had a good chat about book blogging. Watch for a post very soon about his Bookstravaganza project.

(I also attended a little event with Margaret Atwood this month, which you can read about here.)

Books Read:
For once I actually posted about most of the books I read this month, thanks to Novellas in November and #ReadWilkie. Here are the two exceptions:

  • Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann: I was let down by this book, which was billed as The Great Gatsby meets The Talented Mr. Ripley. It’s a character study that moves through five people’s perspectives, and unfortunately, each narrator is weaker than the last. 
  • Why Here? by Michelle Ferguson: Similar thematically to her debut From Away, Why Here? is a better written sophomore novel but has a terrible title. Full review to come.

Books I Want to Read:EatIt
I suddenly have a slew of non-fiction books to read. I’ll probably wait till January to get to them, given my Middlemarch ambitions. Non-Fiction New Year? More about those later, but let’s give a quick shout-out to Eat It, a collection of women’s writing on sex and food, for having a great title. I also added On Beauty by Zadie Smith, my Classic Club Spin pick (was to lazy to do a post) and discovered it’s the only Smith book that doesn’t appear to even exist at the library.

Coming up on the blog:

  • Middlemarch Read-Along hosted by Too Fond: Intro post coming soon (hopefully no statute of limitations on those, either) but so far, so good. I feel like I’m learning a life lesson on every page.
  • Storytellers Book Club: Finally getting into this! I’m reading Alice Munro’s The Progress of Love. I’m five stories in and each one is better than the last.
  • 2013 Wrap Up: Might do another vlog. Hope I can do it in fewer than five takes, unlike last time.

In the interests of time, I’m skipping the list of blog posts that usually appears here. Tell me all of your December reading plans! Are they ambitious like mine, or are you taking it easy for the holidays?



  1. Too Fond

    So glad to hear that you’re enjoying Middlemarch. It’s been so long since I read it that it’s like a brand new book to me, and I’m really liking it, too. I keep highlighting things! Will try to get my thoughts together for a check-in post over the weekend.

  2. tanya

    I really liked Tigers In Red Weather. I mean, really liked it. I blew through it and thought it was a captivating read. And kind of creepy too.

  3. ebookclassics

    Don’t laugh, but I’m still reading The Moonstone! I decided not to join anymore read-a-longs this month so I can finish the book and maybe my final Sherlock Holmes book. Also, I’m thinking ahead to January and have no clue what book(s) to start the year.

    • lauratfrey

      I’m not gonna laugh, you finished The Count of Monte Cristo which is more impressive than The Moonstone anyway 🙂 I don’t know what I’ll read in January either but I think I will also take a break from events and readalongs because I’ve been doing them non-stop since summer. I need to read whatever I want for a bit (though realistically I’ll be catching up on review books!)

  4. Juliana @ Epilogues

    Sounds like a good month! Let me know if you decide to do anything with the non-fiction! I’ve been enjoying non-fiction so much, I was actually thinking of putting a challenge together for myself next year. If I come up with anything, I’ll keep you posted.

  5. Brie @ Eat Books

    My December reading goals is to complete my 50 book pledge. Ha! Ya right..I’m a good 17 or 18 books behind, sigh. Actually, I need to write my review for 40 Below, and I really want to write up something for Roost because I just loved it so much. My mom also just read it and I enjoyed texting back and forth with her so much about the parts we loved that I kind of want to read it again.

    You need to start scoping out the book section at Value Village – I always see a copy of On Beauty there.

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