Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sunday Salon: October in review

Note: No, I haven't forgotten that today is the day our Japanese Literature Read-along group will begin its first discussion, on Volume One of I Am a Cat by Natsume Soseki. I'll work on the post when we get back from our photo outing this afternoon. So stay tuned.

I've missed posting something for the Sunday Salon for a few weeks. First it was the read-a-thon, and then just life getting in the way. All I can say is that the one good thing about not being able to blog much lately, and therefore not able to visit other blogs, means that I haven't been adding many titles to my wishlist either.  Since my wish list is already very very long, I suppose this is a small positive.

My reading is still going pretty slowly (I keep falling asleep pretty much whenever I finally sit or lay down with a book) but thanks to the read-a-thon I was able to read 6 books in October. That actually sounds better than it is though since most of them were quite short but they made for some enjoyable reading nonetheless.

I started off the month in a small town in New Mexico where I had to make some important changes to my life.  Next it was to Edinburgh, Scotland where I discovered a shocking secret about my friend, Dr Jekyll.  Then I spent some time attending the Cross Academy, where the students in the special night class are actually vampires.  After that it was to District 12 and Panem, in the not so far future in America, where I battled for my life in the Hunger Games.  My life was again in danger as I travelled in the dead of winter in the Mouse Territories in the year 1152.  And finally I ended the month in a small town in Switzerland where some shocking things occurred and mass hysteria ensued.  

Books completed
(click on the titles below to read my reviews; the book covers are linked to Amazon)
50. The Road from La Cueva - Sheila Ortego
51. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror - Robert Louis Stevenson
52. Vampire Knight, v. 1-3 - Matsuri Hino
53. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
54. Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 - David Petersen
55. The Vampire of Ropraz - Jacques Chessex (review pending)

Best of the month? It's hard to choose. The writing in The Road from La Cueva was lovely. The art in Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 was fantastic. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was fascinating, even knowing the outcome in advance. The Vampire Knight series and The Hunger Games were fun to read. And The Vampire of Ropraz was an intriguing look at human reaction and panic in the face of disturbing, unexplained events. I guess if I absolutely had to choose though I'd go with Mouse Guard, and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, but really they were all good!

New-to-me authors:  Five out of the six were new to me.  The only one I'd read before was David Petersen with the first Mouse Guard book. Winter is the second in the series.  I really enjoyed all of these books and hope to read more by all of these authors. 
Books in Translation:  2  (The Vampire Knight manga series is translated from the Japanese, and The Vampire of Ropraz was translated from the French.)

Books in: 5 (3 purchased, 1 giveaway win, 1 for review: Mouse Guard: Winter 1152, which I've already read, The Summer of Ubume by Natsuhiko Kyogoku, Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, Away by Amy Bloom, Hell by Yasutaka Tsutsui)
Books out:  3 (I was very late sending out the books from my Book Blogger Appreciation Week giveaways.  Sorry.)

The Year of Readers: Reading for the Book Wish Foundation.
Money raised this month: $11
Total raised (year to date): $152

Reading Challenges Progress Report
(see sidebar for current challenges)

R.I.P. IV Challenge: 4 books

I ended up doing all my R.I.P. reading in October.  I'd set out to complete Peril the First, to read 4 books, which I accomplished but I'd hoped to read quite a few more.  Sigh. I'm halfway through Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and enjoying it all over again.  This is one of the Austen titles that I haven't reread since I first did in my teens, quite a few years ago now, so, having forgotten much of it, it's almost like reading it for the first time.  And I plan to read at least a couple more R.I.P. type books anyway in the next month or so.  Thanks again for hosting, Carl!

1% Well-Read Challenge

YA Dystopian Reading Challenge (by Dec. 31, 2009):  1/3
DystopYA Reading Challenge (by Dec. 31, 2009):  1/3

Dewey's Books Reading Challenge (by Dec. 31, 2009): 3/5
Lost in Translation Challenge (by Dec. 31, 2009): Completed - 16/6
Orbis Terrarum Challenge (by Dec. 31, 2009): 9/10
What's in a Name? 2 Challenge (by Dec. 31, 2009): 5/6
Herding Cats II: Attach of the Hairballs (until Dec. 31, 2009): Completed - 3
Manga Challenge (by Dec. 31, 2009): Completed - 7/6
Graphic Novels Challenge (by Dec. 31, 2009): 4/6
ARC Reading Challenge (by Dec. 31, 2009): Completed - Current ARC/Review status (for 2009): 14 read, 7 to go
Everything Austen Challenge (July 1, 2009 - Jan. 1, 2010): 2/6
Japanese Literature Challenge 3 (July 30, 2009 - Jan. 30, 2010): Completed - 3/1
Canadian Book Challenge 3 (July 1, 2009 - July 1, 2010): 1/13

Long-term Reading Projects (Total read in 2009)
Reading Japan Project: 16 (including manga, 1 in October)
Orange Prize Project: 0

October was also the first month of the Hello Japan! mini-challenge. Thanks to everyone who has participated so far. I hope you'll enjoy experiencing a little bit of Japan for many months to come.

Reading plans for November
The month is already half over but my first priority this month has been reading the first Volume of I Am a Cat by Natsume Soseki for the Japanese Literature Read-along, and then I need to start soon The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata for the Japanese Literature Book Group at the end of the month.  I also should focus on some review books that I'm a bit behind on, and then maybe a challenge book or two if I can squeeze them in as the end of the year, when many of them finish, is fast approaching.

Other random bookish news:
I've been wanting to buy some Persephone books for quite a while now, but have held off, as I just know that once I start I'll want them all, which will be very bad for my wallet. But I could no longer resist when I found about the Persephone Secret Santa, so I signed up and I can't wait to finally get my first Persephone book! I also need to choose one for the person I am Secret Santa for. I'm going to browse the Persephone website over the next couple of days but I'd love to have a place to start. So please tell me your favourite Persephone titles.

I've also joined the Book Blogger Holiday Swap which should be a lot of fun. Despite the fact that we're still getting some pretty warm days, mixed in with the cooler ones, I think I'm starting to get into the holiday spirit!

And I'm also excited because I just might be able to go to Book Expo America in New York in May next year! So yay for all the bookish goodness. 
Have a good Sunday everyone, and happy reading!

The small print:  Links in this post to Amazon (including book covers) or The Book Depository contain my Associates or Affiliates ID respectively.  Purchases made via these links earn me a small commission.  For more information visit my About Page.


  1. I hope you're able to go to BEA next year. I'm thinking about going also. Six books is great.I hope to do that many this month. Have a good day.

  2. The holiday swaps excite me! I have already purchased the Persephone for my Santee, which was very excited :). My favourite Persephone currently is Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary by Ruby Ferguson with Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski a very close second. I am presently coveting one of their newest titles, To Bed With Grand Music.

    See you later for the I Am a Cat chat!

  3. You read such awesome books!
    But my god you participate in a lot of challenges. I'm not quite so brave. . .

  4. Lots of great stuff in this post! You read some good books in October!

  5. Oh I would love to go to the BEA - it looks like a blast.

    And, I'm so sorry I won't be able to participate in the book discussion of the Old Capital. I had to return the book and my library won't let me check it out again - apparently I used up my limit - grr. Hopefully next time I'll be able to join you guys in the read a long or book discussion!

  6. Vasilly - I hope I get to go too. I've never been to New York before so I might stay a couple extra days for some sightseeing.

    Claire - Thank you for the Persephone recommendations. I'll check them out and make my decision very soon. They all sound so good!

    brizmus - I went a big challenge crazy this year. I'm planning to tone it down a bit next year and focus on a couple of reading projects instead. But there are a few that I look forward to every year so I still plan to join those, and I'm sure there will be others I can't resist.

    Kelly - I always wish I could read more. I wish I were you! :) But I'm pretty pleased with the books I read last month.

    Iliana - Oh, that's too bad that you won't be able to join us for The Old Capital. I'm going to open nominations for future reads for both the book group and the read-along soon, so make sure to have your say. :)


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