Category: Features

The recommendations book tag

I have mixed feelings about tags, but I love that this one is straightforward and book focused (none of that “name a book that has an orange tea cup on the cover” or whatever), and I was tagged by the lovely Naty, so here we are!

The rules, as set out by original poster Ally:

  • Tag Ally @ Ally Writes Things so I can see your recommendations!
  • Give at least one recommendation for each of the prompts below
  • If you don’t have a recommendation, talk about a book you want to read
  • Tag your friends

I will additionally challenge myself to mention recently read books, or at least, ones I haven’t talked about much.

A book about friendship

Days by Moonlight by André Alexis is a roadtrip novel about unlikely friends. A troubled young man accompanies an older friend of his deceased parents on a quest to find a reclusive poet, and their travels through Ontario take them to some weird places. I was about to call it a fever dream of a novel, when I remembered their destination ends up being a town called Feversham. Alexis is the type of author who can pull this off.

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The Reading in Bed Tenth Anniversary Starter Pack

The blogger and her writing partner, circa 2011

This month marks ten years since I started Reading in Bed, with the less-than-SMART goal of reading the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Assigning no numerical goal or timeline, it was neither Specific nor Timely, but the blog was conceived as a way to Measure my progress. How Achievable or Realistic it was I will leave for you to judge.

I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know what a “book blog” was. I didn’t know what an ARC was. I didn’t know about tags, or Top Ten Tuesday, or what “YA” meant. I was a reader without a community or a culture.

Forays into Bookstagram, Booktube, podcasting, and formal book reviewing were fun, but not my thing. I kept coming back to the blog. And so did some of you. Thank you so much. I’m not a stats person, but it’s nice to know someone’s reading.

If you’re new here, or just want to accompany me down memory lane, here’s a Reading in Bed starter pack, with your favs and mine.

Reading in Bed’s greatest hits

My favourite posts

No life lessons on this anniversary, but my thoughts from five years ago still stand.

Read books. Mostly backlist. Not too much. (2021 goals)

Let me begin by apologizing for using “much” where I should have used “many,” but it’s a play on Michael Pollan’s “Eat food. Mostly Plants. Not too much.” thing, so I’m letting it go.

And yes, Pollan’s advice would probably make a better 2021 goal for me, but alas, this isn’t a food blog.

Here are my plans for 2021, a little more than 10% of the way through.

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2020 Year in Review

Remember last year when I whined about “only” reading 64 books?

Speaking of 2019: the first book I read was The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai, about a new and mysterious virus, and the last one was Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. And yet I wasn’t prepared for 2020, not for a pandemic, and not to take it stoically. Which just confirms my stance on reading, that it does not make one a better person nor prepare one for life’s challenges. It’s just entertainment And That’s Okay.

My reading in 2020 was even less prolific (whether or not it’s as portentous remains to be seen). I read 44 books, a low point in my blogging career, not counting years in which I gave birth. Covid is a simiarly life-altering event, I suppose. I’m relatively unscathed, but not much reading was happening in spring and summer. I still managed to read a few gooders though, and I am hopeful for next year. I even have some plans in mind. Planning ahead: what a concept!

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I’m still listening to book podcasts

The biggest hit to my media consumption, bigger than blogs or ‘tube, has to be podcasts. I never had a long commute, only about 45 minutes or so in the car most weekdays, but I also used to drive to yoga classes, offsite meetings, and other archaic activites. Now? Well, I filled my tank (in a panic) on March 13 and didn’t get anywhere near empty till August…

My Pocket Casts app, which I do recommend!
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I’m still watching Booktube

My Booktube consumption took a bigger hit than my book blog reading when the pandemic hit. Not only were my usual contexts for watching gone (putting makeup on in the morning being the main one), but there was something about it, as a medium, that felt more frivolous than blogs. It certainly didn’t fit in with my new daily YouTube schedule, consisting of Justin’s morning chat at 9:00 am, and the Chief Medical Officer’s daily scolding at 3:30 pm.

For the first few months, I would mostly just peek at random channels, to see who was keeping up with the grind of wrap ups and TBRs despite it all, and who was adjusting their content. Now, I’m slowly getting back into watching, but the urge to create is pretty much gone. Never say never, but… it might be a never. There are plenty of reasons for that, most of which have nothing to do with the pandemic. Here are some of the channels that I’m still watching:

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I’m still reading book blogs

This post by The Paperback Princess has me thinking about how my reading has changed, six months into the pandemic.

I don’t think my *book* reading has changed much at all, except in quantity. That was already on a downward trend. In 2019, I read 64 books, far from my usual 90+. The reasons for that are here. This year I’m trending towards forty books. The reason for that, briefly, is that…

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20 Books of Summer 2020

Embarking on a quantity-based reading challenge in the midst of a pandemic-induced reading slump? What could go wrong?

Fortunately, Cathy, our fearless 20 Books of Summer leader, is very flexible. This challenge will be less about quantity for me, and more about making time for some books I’ve been meaning to get to, and hopefully, posting reviews here. I had so much fun in 2019, writing about disgusting teen boys, Puritans, cannibals, and yes, Jonathan Franzen (and he’s back this year!)

Here’s the stack, and a quick note about each book’s providence:

  1. The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang – purchased at Glass Bookshop‘s Valentine’s Day sale
  2. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Coles, bought “for my husband”, no he hasn’t read it
  3. Give War and Peace a Chance by Andrew D. Kaufman – Garage sale, I think?
  4. Green Darkness by Anya Seton – not a clue, had this for many years
  5. Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy – Garge sale
  6. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner – Chapters
  7. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay – Coles
  8. This Marlowe by Michelle Butler Hallett – from the publisher, years ago (sorry)
  9. The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell – Wee Book Inn
  10. The Known World by Edward P. Jones – borrowed from my mom
  11. In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje – a long-ago library sale
  12. The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrente – an emergency same-day delivery from Glass Bookshop
  13. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo – borrowed from a coworker
  14. Milkman by Anna Burns – Wee Book Inn
  15. Quartet by Jean Rhys – antique mall
  16. Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos – Blackwell’s
  17. Real Life by Brandon Taylor – Glass Bookshop
  18. The End of the End of the Earth – Coles
  19. Nerve by Eva Holland – Glass Bookshop
  20. Weather by Jenny Offill – Glass Bookshop

Given that I haven’t even read 20 books this year, the chances of me reading, let alone reviewing, this whole list is slim. Expect DNFs, random order, round up reviews – you know, the usual.

Are you ready? Let’s see those stacks!

How to read the 2020 International Booker Prize longlist in Canada

Once again, I have rashly decided to follow the International Booker Prize. I learned some harsh lessons in 2018 about how difficult it is to get new and obscure UK books in Canada, and I’m back to share my wisdom (and spreadsheet) with you.

This year’s longlist looks a bit easier to manage than the 2018 edition. I found at least one way to access each book in Canada. I was able to start Faces on the Tip of my Tongue immediately on my Kindle, for the low price of $5.59, and I will use an Audible credit for one of the three audio titles available, perhaps starting with the The Memory Police, which appears to be the most straightforward plot (that’s saying something, given TMP’s surreal premise.)

If you’re in Canada, take a peek at my spreadsheet for a variety of options, including bookstore cover prices, plus ebook, audio, and international ordering. For books that aren’t published yet, I noted the publication dates, though hopefully some will change – one book isn’t published here until September!

A few other things to note:

  • I didn’t include library options here as it will vary by system, but always check the library first! In my library, two titles are on order and one is available but waitlisted. See if you can request titles that aren’t in your library’s catalog.
  • I took my cover prices from Amazon and Chapters, but you should of course avail yourself of your favourite local indie bookstore.
  • I included Blackwell’s as my international ordering option because I’m not a fan of Book Depository, but it’s probably safe to assume anything at Blackwell’s is available there too.
  • Direct-from-publisher prices were converted to CAD by me, your credit card company may have different ideas.
  • Feel free to make a copy of my sheet and use it to track your progress.
  • I am not responsible for any TBR explosions or book budget overruns that may result from irresponsible use of this spreadsheet.

Canadians, and Americans of North, Central, or South varieties: are you reading the IBP this year? How are you getting your books?

2019 Year in Review

I didn’t do a Goodreads challenge this year. I didn’t even use Goodreads (looking up one-star reviews of books notwithstanding), but I was keeping track of my reading, and as the the year went on, I could tell something was amiss.

I’ve never cracked 100 books in a year, but I usually get close. By Novellas in November time, I start doing calculations, and look for super-short novels to speed things along. This year, I was barely past 50 books read on November 1. No amount of novellas was going to get me out of this one.

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