Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sunday Salon: July in review

This past week I finished How to Be a Canadian, which was a perfect, fun read to get me out of my funk. I still feel tired all the time from the heat but at least I don't feel so blue anymore. I also posted my review of Shutting Out the Sun this week (links to both reviews below). So this weekend I've started reading Clouds Over Mountains by Matt Joseph. I'm still meeting the main characters so we'll see how it goes, but it's holding my interest so far and I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

This coming week, I'm hoping to get my hands on When Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason. I've pre-ordered it so hopefully it won't take too long to get here after it's released on Tuesday. Fingers crossed. I've also watched a couple of trailers for the movie Twilight lately and of course lots of people are reading Breaking Dawn this weekend, so I'm beginning to feel a vampire mood coming on. In the series, I've only read Twilight so far but New Moon has been leering at me from my shelves the last few days, not that I really have time to fit it in as I'm getting rather behind on my challenges. Maybe I can wait and read it for this year's R.I.P. Challenge.

Anyway, July was a little disappointing in that I'd hoped to get more reading in. This darn heat and humidity are just wiping me out. Lately I can barely keep my eyes open to read at night before bed. Blah! What do you do to beat the heat?

Books completed in July:
(click on the title to read my review)
29. Matrimony - Joshua Henkin
30. 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style - Matt Madden
31. Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation - Michael Zielenziger
32. How to Be a Canadian - Will Ferguson & Ian Ferguson

Favourite of the month:
That's a hard question this month as I enjoyed them all and they were all quite different. Matrimony was a good relationship story, 99 Ways to Tell a Story was an interesting look at the variations of storytelling, Shutting Out the Sun was a well-researched analysis of modern Japanese society and How to Be a Canadian made me laugh. So I'm going to abstain from naming a favourite this month.

Books in: 3 (all review copies - I didn't buy any books in July!)
Books out: 6

Reading Challenges- Progress Report:
My current status on all active challenges. See sidebar for links.
Non-Fiction Five Challenge (May 1 - Sep. 30, 2008) - 2 out of 5 completed
Herding Cats Challenge (May 1 - Nov. 30, 2008) - 1 out of 3
Orbis Terrarum Challenge (Apr. 1 - Dec. 20, 2008) - 2 out of 9
My Year of Reading Dangerously (Jan. - Dec. 2008) - 5 out of 12
What's in a Name Challenge (Jan. - Dec. 2008) - 3 out of 6
Graphic Novels Challenge (July - Dec. 2008) - 1 out of 3
Reading Jane Austen (Jan. - Dec. 2008) - 1 out of 2
1% Well-Read Challenge (May 1, 2008 - Feb. 28, 2009) - 1 out of 10
2nd Canadian Book Challenge (July 1, 2008 - July 1, 2009) - 1 out of 13

Just started:
Japanese Literature Challenge 2 (July 30, 2008 - Jan. 30, 2009) - 0 out of 3
Book Awards II Challenge (Aug. 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009) - 0 out of 10

Reading Japan - I've read 9 books so far this year (1 in July).
Orange Prize Project - I've read 2 books so far this year (none in July).

Reading plans for August:
I'm going to try to finish the Non-Fiction Five challenge, which means I need to read 3 more this month. This could be do-able as long as I don't get too distracted by other books, such as When Twilight Burns that I mentioned above. And as long as the heat doesn't completely kill off my dwindling powers of concentration. I'd also like to try to catch up on My Year of Reading Dangerously, but I'll just have to see where the month takes me.
How has your reading been so far this summer? Any books you're dying to read?


  1. Twitter is a bit slow today, apparently. I thought I'd already read yours today, but it was last week's.

    So I get a two'fer :-D

    I plan on reading Twilight this week, and I've got Breaking Dawn on hold, which seems silly considering I've never read any of them.

  2. The weather here seems to be cooling down a tad, but I am not sure it will last. August and early September are often the hottest times where I live.

    I am going to try and catch up with Colleen Gleason's series this month--or at least make an attempt. I probably won't get to the latest one just yet though.

    I hope to read Matrimony this month, among others.

    I hope you have a wonderful week!

  3. My reading has suffered a lot this summer, too. I just can't seem to settle down long enough to read more than a page or two and that's usually at night. Since I'm usually exhausted at that point, I struggle to read what little bit I do!

    It's hot here, too! 102 for our high yesterday. Blah. I love summer, but not when it gets this hot. Looks like we'll have more of the same today. No bike ride to work for me!

    Hope you get lots of good reading in this month. I only got a few read myself.

  4. I just finished Twilight this weekend (being WAY behind the craze, apparently), and picked up the fourth book yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised at the book, never expecting to like a teen-vampire-romance kind of book. It's well written, though, and I look forward to what Eclipse? New Moon? Whichever comes next.

    Currently, I'm halfway through Kafka On The Shore and I'm MESMERIZED!!! We'll have to talk, because it's so odd, but so wonderful.

  5. koolaidmom- LOL. I figured that's what happened. Nice to have you visit twice. :)

    Wendy- Here too. August is the worst and it's still usually hot until near the end of September. Colleen's books are such fun, quick reads. Enjoy! :P

    Les- For me it's the humidity that really wipes me out. The 10 minute walk from our apartment to the train station, just walking at a usual pace and I'm dripping. I can't wait for it to cool off! But let's hope we both manage to read a bit more in August!

    Bellezza- So you've joined the Twilight craze! :P
    New Moon is the next book, and I think I'm going to have to pick it up soon.
    I'm so glad you're loving Kafka on the Shore. Some scenes from it still pop into my head now and then. I look forward to chatting about it.

  6. I sat out in the backyard this weekend, on my chaise lounge, with Wolf for company, occasionally and read and read Breaking Dawn, but also did other things...consequently still only half way thru. It's not imperative for me to finish it, like it was for me with the last HP.

  7. Having read Breaking Dawn this weekend, I'm on a hellacious vampire jag. I have a few review books calling to me, but other than that I have no idea what to read now. My July was right up there with yours. lol

  8. The rest of the Twilight series would be perfect for RIP - great autumn reading!

  9. My reading has not been as good as I wished, the heat, I get distracted.

    I started the book SOMEONE ELSE by Tonino Benacquista yesterday evening (sunday) and I am impressed, I love this book and am definitely going to read his other ones. Like I mentioned on my blog also he writes in french all his books are available in english at
    You mentioned that you had this title, get it of your TBR and read it, it's fun, intelligent and well written.

  10. Janet- I accidentally saw a spoiler so I know one thing that happens but quicky averted my gaze so I wouldn't see anymore. I'm really going to have to get to these sometime soon.

    Andi- I just checked Amazon and it looks like When Twilight Burns did ship out today. Yay! I'll be able to get my vampire fix in a couple of days. :P

    Stephanie- I have so many other books I should be reading for my challenges but I may have to read these instead for RIP.

    Madeleine- The heat is very distracting. I came home today and had a nap! And it wasn't even an especially busy day.
    As for 'Somone Else', I found it on my shelves so I'll have to add it to my pile of books to read soon-ish. It hasn't won an award has it? Then I could read it for the Book Awards challenge. I've already read a French author for Orbis Terrarum. ;)

  11. I read so many books in July - 11! I don't even know how that happened. But, already August seems to be going at a snail's pace. I blame it all on the heat as well... We've been having 100+ weather for more than a week now.bleh.
    Anyway stay cool -- maybe read a book set in a cold country :)

  12. I don't know if it's because last summer I was pregnant and everything felt 20 degrees hotter, but this summer seems pretty mild to me here on the US East coast. I hope the heats not getting you too down.

  13. Iliana- Wow! 11 books is great! I may have to do that- read a book set in cold place, that is. Hope you're finding a way to stay cool yourself.

    Nyssaneala- That's nice that it at least feels cooler for you, whether it is or not. I see pregnant women here and just can't imagine how they cope with the heat. But then I am a wimp in that regards. :)


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