Sunday Salon

November is going by so fast, I almost want it to slow down! After such a stressful day on Friday, this weekend was just what I needed to relax. I devoured The Taste of Salt, started reading Bless Me, Ultima, and I’m almost finished with Wonderstruck. I’m on a reading roll though I did lose momentum for a little while yesterday while I was reading Wendy’s post over at Caribousmom. Wendy’s picking out which books she can fit in before the end of the year. I’m pretty aware that I’m 47 books away from my goal of 312 books read this year but I haven’t thought about what exactly to read!

I think the problem is that though I’ve read some great books this year, not many have knocked my socks off. I talked to both Heather and Ana about this and they agreed. I don’t understand it. Am I expecting too much? Is there too much hype in book reviews? What?

So with the end of the year just around the corner, I’m becoming more selective with what I’m reading. Or at least I’m trying to because I thought I was being selective. I know my reading tastes and I try to read outside my comfort zone but not many of the books I’ve read are books I would want to keep in my permanent collection.

With the year coming to a close, I still have this to deal with:

That is my ARC bin. I place all of my unread ARCs here so I can keep track of them and they don’t take up space of my shelves. It’s about twenty books, so I’ll finish them before the year’s end.

I also have my library loot which looks very different from the loot I checked out two weeks ago. I went through PW and Amazon’s Best of 2011 lists and placed a few of these books on hold. The funny this is that many of the books on PW’s list, I’ve never heard of while I’m familiar with many of the books on Amazon’s. I don’t know if I’ll get to all of my library loot, but we’ll see if PW and Amazon are right about some of the books they’ve recommended.

Now I’m off to curl up with Wonderstruck and another cup of coffee. What books have you read this year that knocked your socks off?


About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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35 Responses to Sunday Salon

  1. Tanya says:

    I definitely want November to slow down! I don’t want life to happen too fast. Although I’m already planning reads for next year. I haven’t read many of the books on the “best of” lists so I’m saving those for next year. And I’m hosting a “Reading the Awards” challenge for next year – so those books are top of my list.

  2. Sandra says:

    The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah
    Lovesong by Alex Miller
    A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr
    The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
    On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry
    The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
    The Paperbark Shoe by Goldie Goldbloom
    Wish Her Safe At Home by Stephen Benatar
    The Secret Lives of the Four Wives by Lola Shonyin Nigeria
    The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
    Beside the Sea by Veronique Olmi

    • Vasilly says:

      Thank you, Sandra! I loved The Buddha in the Attic! It was one of the few books I read this year that blew my mind. I own The Secret Lives of the Four Wives, so I’m putting it in my tbr pile for this month. I can’t wait to check out the rest! 🙂

  3. Jodie says:

    Well I just finished Kraken by China Mieville which was pretty mind blowing and reread Jazz by Toni Morrisson (no socks knocked off, because I’d read it before, but reminded how great it was). I think because I’ve been reading a lot within my comfort zones this year I’ve tended to have less bookish revelations.

    Your ARC bin is monumental btw, that would scare me so much every time I looked at it.

  4. Nymeth says:

    I keep thinking about what went wrong this year, and I think that part of the reason for me is that being under so much stress for most of the year really impaired my ability to enjoy things. So I’m thinking it wasn’t so much the books but me – stuff I might have loved a year ago just didn’t grab my attention now. I really hope 2012 is better for us both – and who knows, maybe some amazing books still await us in the next month and a half.

  5. Nymeth says:

    PS: Oh yes, Kraken is awesome! I read it back in the summer after a prolonged reading slump and it made me remember what a joyous experience it was to pick up a really amazing book.

  6. Edi says:

    OK, I’ll have to admit I’m not a bookwork. I’m too slow to get to a book to be a bookworm. I think I have to get over feeling guilty about actually doing something I enjoy so much. That’s probably a vestige of having been a wife and a mother.

    • Vasilly says:

      I think it is, Edi. I’m a mother so I try to read when the kids are at school to get the most out of my reading. I think it helps that I’m not in school this semester or that I’m married. That would probably slow my reading down a lot unless I’m married to a reader. 😉

  7. BermudaOnion says:

    I loved Praying for Strangers by River Jordan and The Blueberry Years by Jim Minick and neither of those books have gotten much attention.

  8. Vassily: 1Q84 just about knocked my socks off! I’ve never read so many genres in the same book.

  9. Kailana says:

    There are so many books I want to read by the end of the year, but I am having a hard time reading lately…

  10. I am certain now that we are, in fact, reading twins, separated at birth. Yes, I completely agree about this year’s books…nothing that’s really wowed me, that has me telling everyone, “You gotta read this book!”

    Here’s my Sunday Salon: Reading 264 Books.

  11. Akilah says:

    I’ve had the same experience this year. I’ve read a couple of awesome books, which is par for the course, but the number of books that I’ve read that I’ve felt really meh about is larger than usual.

  12. I haven’t read anything published in 2011 that has really knocked my socks off either. Let’s hope we both find those magical books in the last few weeks. 🙂

  13. Gavin says:

    I read fewer “5 star” books this year, not sure what that’s about. It might have had something to do with my reading slump. Some of my favorites were rereads and Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk and The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker were a couple of the others. Have a good week!

  14. I haven’t read a ton of knock-my-socks-off books this year either. I’ve read a lot that I’ve loved, but fewer that I’d say are life-changing. It’s weird!

    • Vasilly says:

      Isn’t it, Kim? I don’t know why that is. Is it reading slumps, stress, new jobs?? I think it’s funny that we’re all going through it.

  15. I love your ARC “bin”! LOL I have many to read too. Ugh – pressure! But you sure do read at a fast clip and that is lucky for you; it probably takes a lot of the stress off!

    • Vasilly says:

      Reading a book a day takes the pressure off a little bit but definitely not enough! There’s so much I want to squeeze in before the end of the year! 🙂

  16. Reading a book a day takes the pressure off? Argh. I just get pressure reading that part of that sentence, let alone trying to do that.

    As for what I’ve read this year that knocked my socks off, I think of two off the top of my head: Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand and The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian O. Selznick.

    • Vasilly says:

      LOL! Yes, reading a book a day takes the pressure off! It’s when I don’t read a book or the majority of one that leaves me stressing out! 🙂 I really need to read Unbroken! Hugo Cabret is a great book! I just finished Selnick’s newest one, Wonderstruck. It’s really good.

  17. Kathleen says:

    Come to think of it I’m not sure I’ve read anything that really knocked my socks off this year. I really hope that 2012 will bring great reads for all of us!

  18. You had a great reading year – I wonder how many I have read? 🙂

  19. Carrie K. says:

    I finished The Heroine’s Bookshelf today – it was good – and made me want tor reread a lot of old favorites. Last book that knocked my socks off? Hmmm… Probably The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.

  20. I love the bin! Much better use for it than laundry… My best book of the year (so far) was The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay, which I highly highly recommend.

  21. Beth F says:

    YOu can probably read your 20 books before the end of the year. I lost count on my books so I have no idea how many I read. I’ll figure it out in December. I’ve read some amazing books this year, so I hope you find one or two in the next few weeks. Good luck!!!

  22. I’ve definitely read a few socks-off books this year, but I haven’t narrowed the list yet. That’s one problem I find with reading such a volume, it’s hard to summarize at the end of the reading year. And, anyway, there’s the question of my socks and other readers’ socks: mine were off with Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table for sure, but that’s mainly because I loved the intricate and artsy structuring of it, and I know that kind of thing just leaves a lot of lint in other readers’ toes.

  23. zibilee says:

    I also have a huge list of books that I want to read before the year is out, but I am not sure if I am going to be able to get to them all. I did do really well and finished 2 this weekend, and that made me really happy, but I am falling short of my goals, and that makes me stressed! If you haven’t already read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, that would be my recommendation to you. It was probably my favorite read of the year. Good luck with your goals!

  24. I’ve read a decent number of books that knocked my socks off, but I think it’s contributable to a couple factors:
    1. I have had a horrible year in terms of numbers. With only 26 books read, the standouts REALLY stand out.
    2. I have been very selective about what I read. In the past I might’ve jumped on a book just because it was short or just because of hype. Not this year! I knew it would be a lighter reading year with Greyson in the mix, so I’ve made a concerted effort to read books I think I’ll find fulfilling.

    Good luck polishing off the year! As always, I’m toootally jealous of the number of books you read. Awesome!

  25. Aths says:

    I’m also trying to finish off the books that I don’t want to carry over onto next year’s reading lists. But I know what you mean – although I liked and loved a lot of books this year, none of them have knocked my socks off either, and I don’t know why.

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