Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Salon: April in Review

Happy Mother's Day! I'm only a mom to furkids and they didn't think to get me anything. LOL. But I spent a couple of hours reading this afternoon and finished up The Museum Guard by Howard Norman. It was interesting, but I didn't love it either. Actually, I'm not really sure exactly what I think of it yet, I'm going to have to let it sit in my head for a couple of days first. As for what to read next, I'm leaning towards Looking for Alaska by John Green. I think it's time to find out what all the fuss is about.

This past week on my blog was a week of reviews, and nothing but reviews. No memes, no photos (I know I haven't posted many photos lately, sorry!), no random posts, just reviews. Not a common occurrence around here but I was trying to catch up on some of the books I'd read during the read-a-thon, and afterwards. I still have one more book that I read in April to post a review for but I should hopefully have it up this week.

In April my reading took me to ancient Israel, Victorian England, modern day Japan, Canada, and the US. I battled the Canaanites, watched a mouse uprising, met some fabulous ghosts, endured high school, fell in love with a vampire (again), and discovered a secret about my adoptive mother, among other events. So it was a pretty full month!

Books Read in April
(clicking on a title will take you to my review)
20. The Triumph of Deborah - Eva Etzioni-Halevy
21. Dear Everybody - Michael Kimball
22. The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
23. Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 - David Petersen
24. Emma, vol. 8 - Kaoru Mori
25. The Character of Rain - Amélie Nothomb
26. Skim - Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki
27. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
28. Austenland - Shannon Hale
29. Mother Superior - Saleema Nawaz (review pending)

I really quite enjoyed everything I read last month so I can't choose a favourite. Dear Everybody was unique and poignant. The Graveyard Book brought tears to my eyes. The art in Mouse Guard was truly stunning. Twilight was just as addictive the second time around. And the stories in Mother Superior were wonderful. They really were all enjoyable books though, and I'd be happy to read more by any of these authors. A successful month, I'd say!

New-to-me authors: 6
Books in Translation: 2

Books in: 5
Books out: 6

The Year of Readers: Reading for the Book Wish Foundation.
Money raised this month: $15 + $25 from the read-a-thon
Total raised to date: $89

Reading Challenges Progress Report
(see sidebar for current challenges)
New challenge joined
Non-Fiction Five Challenge: 0 read, 5 to go (May 1 - September 30, 2009)

Book Awards II Challenge: 9 read, 1 to go (by June 1, 2009)
Once Upon a Time III Challenge: 2 read, 0 to go (March 21 - June 20, 2009)
2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh?: 7 read, 6 to go (by July 1, 2009)
Dewey's Books Reading Challenge: 2 read, 3 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
Lost in Translation Challenge: 6 read, 0 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
Orbis Terrarum Challenge: 2 read, 8 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
World Citizen Challenge: 0 read, 3 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
What's in a Name? 2 Challenge: 4 read, 2 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
1% Well-Read Challenge: 0 read, 10 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
Manga Challenge: 6 read, 0 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
Graphic Novels Challenge: 2 read, 4 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
ARC Reading Challenge: currently 6 read, 6 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)

Long-term Reading Projects (Total read in 2009)
Reading Japan Project: 10 (including manga, 2 in April)
Orange Prize Project: 0

Reading plans for May
I just have one more Book Award winner to read by the end of the month to complete that challenge, and then I still need to read 6 Canadian books by July 1st. I'm not sure I'll make it but I'd like to give it a try. I'm going to be pretty busy over the next few weeks though (see below) so I may end up just reading light, easy stuff. We'll see how it goes.

Yesterday we spent the day apartment hunting. H's office recently moved to another part of Tokyo and from our current apartment he has to commute about an hour and a half one way to the new location. So we're planning to move from the northern outskirts of Tokyo where we are now to the western suburbs. We think we might have found our new-to-us apartment. It's not perfect, and the location is not as convenient as now, but it's so hard to find apartments to rent that allow pets, and it's probably the best we'll be able to do with what we're able to spend. I dread the packing and moving, and H is grumbling a little bit about all my books, and the cost of it all, but it'll be fun to explore a different area, and one which is much greener than the northern industrial area we live in now. If it works out with the one we decided on yesterday, we'll be moving at the beginning of June. So my posting for the rest of the month will be considerably sparser than usual. I have a couple posts I'd like to get up this week, and I'll try to stop by if and when I have the time, or need a break. I'll still be teaching too some of the time so a busy few weeks ahead. Wish me luck!

Hope you have a good week!

Week in review:
'The Character of Rain' by Amélie Nothomb (review)
'Skim' by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki (review)
'Twilight' obsession (the book and the film)
'Austenland' by Shannon Hale (review)


  1. My furkids didn't get me anything either, although I did splurge a little recently at Powell's and figure that counts. :-)

    I am glad you were able to fit in some good reading time, Nat. I spent a good chunk of yesterday reading and hope to do more of the same today. The dog does need a bath though so that will probably come first.

    Moving is never fun, much less easy, is it? I have that to look forward to in a couple of years ago so. A part of me is trying not to think about it, but it wouldn't hurt to seriously start weeding out what we don't need to take with us when we do move.

    I hope the place you are considering works out--or that you find something even better if it doesn't. Most of all, good luck with the move!

    I hope you have a good week, Nat.

  2. It sounds like you've been too busy reading lately to post pictures or memes to your blog....That's a good thing!

    Good luck on your move!

  3. You did good in April.

    I read a lot of books in April but in may, only three till date. Pathetic, I say!

    Vampires, Mages, Demons and a cat with a poem!
    TSS: Sunday Book Coveting

  4. Your potentially new apartment may not be as convenient, but I'll bet you enjoy the greener location! I hope it all works out for you. We'll see you around the blogosphere as you find time. I know my posts are few and far between now that spring has sprung. Too much to do in the yard and simply not enough time to read or blog. Good luck with the packing & moving. :)

  5. Good luck with the move! Moving really is a pain, but it will be worth it in the end.

    And yes, do read Looking for Alaska soon! I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

  6. You had a great month!

    My furkid whined at me and hung around my feet all day. My real kids were busy, but the youngest ran out to buy me something (a pocket angel), mostly because he was going stir crazy but that's fine.

  7. You had a great reading month, Nat! Hope May is a success for you. :)

  8. My coworker has a few cats and her fiance got her a gift "from the cats." I thought it was funny but also rolled my eyes just a little. :) We kid each other about our cats.

    You had such a great and varied month! I can't believe we're already halfway through May--this year is going too too fast.

    Look forward to what you think of John Green. I need to read him also to see what the buzz is about. I've heard Looking for Alaksa is a really good one.

  9. Oh--and good luck with the search. Hubby and I are about to start doing the same and I'm not looking forward to it!

  10. Looks like you had a great month! I have to catch up with your reviews. Good luck with the move!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  11. Wendy - A splurge at Powell's sounds good. I think I'll have to do a bit of book shopping once we've moved. Moving is always a lot of work, but I'm starting to look forward to being in a new area and starting fresh, as it were. Now if only all our stuff would pack itself! :P

    debnance - Thanks. I suppose it's a good thing, although it will be nice once life calms down again in the summer.

    gautami tripathy - We all have good months and bad months for reading. Hopefully your reading will pick up again soon.

    Les - Oh definitely! One of the things I complain about the most at our current place is the lack of green. So that's a big plus about that area of Tokyo. Despite the work that it's going to take to move, I'm starting to look forward to it.

    Nymeth - Thanks! Yes, it really is a pain, but hopefully it will be better once we get all settled in over there.
    I'll get a review up for Looking for Alaska one of these days but I really enjoyed it.

    Nancy - LOL. Kids, eh? I did have a good month, thanks largely to the read-a-thon. :)

    Kailana - The read-a-thon really helped me out last month and with our moving preparations, I don't expect to read nearly as much in May. I hope to read quite a bit during the summer though.

    Trish - I know what you mean about the time going by so quickly! It feels like it was just January!!
    Looking for Alaska was a good read. I can see why it's popular, especially for people who like intelligent YA fiction.
    And thanks! Moving is never fun. Good luck with your search.

    Sylvie - Hello! :)

    Anna - Thanks! I'm both looking forward to the move and dreading the packing and sorting. Sorry I've been so behind on blog reading. I need to stop by and visit yours soon.


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