Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sunday Salon: July in review

My reading in July took me first to Montreal in the early 1940s, where I strolled through the neighbourhood, meeting the local residents. Then it was on to modern day New York where I began to doubt my husband of 15 years, which lead to some devastating consequences. After that it was across the Atlantic, first to Sweden and then on to Latvia, in search of a killer. And I ended the month in Paris, where I managed to escape the manuscript of my creator, learned how to drink absinthe, was challenged to a duel, and had many other adventures in the "real" world.

Books completed:
(click on the title to read my review, click on the book covers below for more information on the books themselves)
38. The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant - Michel Tremblay
39. Best Intentions - Emily Listfield
40. The Dogs of Riga - Henning Mankell
41. The Flight of Icarus - Raymond Queneau

New-to-me authors: 3
Books in Translation: 3

It's hard to choose a favourite because even though they were quite different, I rated them almost the same. However, if forced to choose I'd go with The Flight of Icarus just because it made me smile, and was just so clever and fun to read.

Except for Henning Mankell, the others were all new-to-me authors. I wouldn't mind reading more by any of them, but I'm most interesting in continuing with Mankell's series, and reading something else by Raymond Queneau.

Books in: 6
Books out: 0

The Year of Readers: Reading for the Book Wish Foundation.
Money raised this month: $10
Total raised to date: $116

Reading Challenges Progress Report
(see sidebar for current challenges)
New Challenges joined
Everything Austen Challenge: 1 watched, 5 to go (July 1, 2009 - Jan. 1, 2010)
Japanese Literature Challenge 3: 0 read, 1 to go (July 30, 2009 - Jan. 30, 2010)
Canadian Book Challenge 3: 1 read, 12 to go (July 1, 2009 - July 1, 2010)

Non-Fiction Five Challenge: 0 read, 5 to go (May 1 - September 30, 2009)
Dewey's Books Reading Challenge: 3 read, 2 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
Lost in Translation Challenge: 10 read, 0 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
Orbis Terrarum Challenge: 5 read, 5 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: 5 read, 1 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
Herding Cats II: Attach of the Hairballs: 2 read (until 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 11 read, 7 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)

Long-term Reading Projects (Total read in 2009)
Reading Japan Project: 11 (including manga, 0 in July)
Orange Prize Project: 0

Reading plans for August
I'm hoping to read mostly Japanese authors or books about Japan this month, although I would also like to fit in some non-fiction. Non-fiction about Japan being the perfect combination!

I finished my first book for August a couple of days ago, a non-fiction title, Goodbye Madame Butterfly: Sex, Marriage and the Modern Japanese Woman by Sumie Kawakami. It was a really interesting book. I wasn't especially surprised by many of the true stories depicted, as I've heard about some of it before, but they were still compelling to read and I think this would be quite an eye-opening read for people not familiar with Japanese society.

After finishing Goodbye Madame Butterfly I picked up Beyond the Blossoming Fields by Jun'ichi Watanabe. It's fiction but based on the true story of Japan's first female doctor. She hasn't even started thinking about studying to be a doctor yet but I'm already quite caught up in the story. And I still have Shakespeare Wrote for Money on the go. I'm really quite enjoying just dipping into it once in a while. It is the last collection of his columns after all, so I'm trying to make it last.

How about you? What are you reading this weekend?

Week in review:
Beautiful new books
Review: The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell
Review: The Flight of Icarus by Raymond Queneau


  1. I love reading about your reading travels each month, Nat. You managed to fit in some good reading even with the moving.

    I hope you have a great week!

  2. I'm hoping to find some funny far, just a few suggestions at my blog.

  3. Good luck with your reading goals for August! Japanese non-fiction sounds like a great fit.

    I'm hoping to polish off THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt today. If I manage that, I'll start THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY by Michael Chabon.

  4. I look forward to your review of Goodbye Madame Butterfly - it sounds really interesting. As for me, I've just finished Geektastic, a collection of short stories about, well, geekdom :P Most of the stories were right up my alley.

  5. Best Intentions looks good. I just got Waiting to Surface by this author.

  6. I love the way you organized all your challenges in this post. I'm adding The Flight of Icarus to my TBR list. Have a great week.

  7. I've been coming across a lot of Swedish crime fiction lately. I need to write all these down...

    ...have to add Henning Mankell to the list.

  8. Looks like you had a great month!

  9. Wendy - Well, 2 of them were quite short, and the other 2 were quick reads. :P
    It's definitely taken me longer to get everything unpacked and sorted out than I expected, so I am glad to have read what I did.

    gautami tripathy - I hope you found some funny reads.

    Memory - Thanks. I've heard good things about both The Secret History and the Chabon book. Happy reading!

    Nymeth - Goodbye Madame Butterfly really was very interesting. I should get a review up this week. :)

    Diane - I've never read anything else by this author but Best Intentions was a pretty good read.

    Gavin - Thanks. The Flight of Icarus really was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy it if/when you get to it.

    justareadingfool - It seems that Swedish crime fiction is getting more popular these days, with more of it being translated. Good for us! I hope you enjoy Mankell.

    Jess - It was a pretty good month considering we were still busy with unpacking and everything, thanks.


Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you and I read every single one!

P.S. In an effort to eliminate spam, I moderate all comments, so there will most likely be a delay between when you submit the comment and when it appears on the post. Please let me know if you have any trouble leaving comments here, and you can also chat with me on Twitter, if you prefer. Happy Reading!