Sunday Salon: Sorting out a reading slowdown

Congratulations to Lynne of Lynne’s Book Reviews, who won the signed copy of Jennifer Weiner’s latest, Fly Away Home! I’ll get it in the mail to you as soon as possible. You’ll have to provide your own cupcakes, though!

The Sunday

I knew it wouldn’t last. It couldn’t last. Life and its schedules would settle back into something resembling normal, and an unusually productive season of reading would limp to the finish line. Now I’m trying to decide what to do about that.

If you consider the end of the school year to be the beginning of summer – and if you have school-aged kids, you probably do – my summer began on June 14. Since then, I’ve read 13 books and am in the middle of my 14th, and I hope to finish that one by this Wednesday, which is the first day of school. This is an unusually high rate of reading productivity for me.

I’ve posted a dozen book reviews since the beginning of July, which includes one book I read before summer started and my 50th-anniversary review of To Kill a Mockingbird, but does not count two others written but not yet posted:

My LibraryThing catalog, which is more current than the blog, shows 32 books tagged “2010 Review” right now. I read 47 books in all of 2009 and there are still four months left in 2010, so I think I may be on a pace to exceed last year’s total. I have just a few ARCs to get caught up on, and no book-tour obligations currently on the calendar, so I hope to clear some old review copies off the shelf before the end of the year, as well as get through nine more books to meet my Read Your Own Books Challenge commitment.

Travel and recuperation from my shoulder injury both provided a lot of reading time this summer, and I’m still squeezing some in at my physical-therapy appointments, but unless I rework my schedule in some other areas, my reading pace is about to slow down notably – and that doesn’t make me happy. More reading time was an unexpected benefit of convalescence, and a real plus of this summer. It was an opportunity to remember and revel in the joy of lengthy, uninterrupted time with a book, and I hate to let it go. But since there are only so many hours in the day and some are committed to my job, family, and home, I know that resuming my full-time responsibilities means some other things have to change. I know I could retain some of that book time by blogging less, but I’m not crazy about that alternative either. I’ve really liked not struggling with the reading/blogging time tradeoff for a couple of months – especially since those months have also provided some excellent blogging material!

As the summer winds down, though, I’m considering letting my blogging activity drop a bit too. I started this thing as a reading journal, after all, and yet there have definitely been stretches where it’s caused me to read decidedly less than I like. I’m glad I’ve gotten back to the books, and gratified that many of the books I’ve read this summer have been good ones; I’d like to stay on that path if I can, which may mean a less active posting schedule. Or not. I never seem to stick to that sort of resolution for very long…so let’s just see how it goes.

Speaking of blogging activity, I’ve come up with the title and tagline for my next blog (and registered a URL, just in case):

Signs of Intelligent Life
…don’t bother looking for them here!

Then again, if blogging is truly on its deathbed – although I’m on record stating my belief the rumors are exaggerated – that next blog will remain a figment of my imagination anyway.

l.-r. back: me, Jill (Softdrink), Amy, Leah (Amused)
l.-r. front: Helen, Danielle (the1stdaughter), Ti (and friends)

This photo was taken at a book-blogger lunch in Santa Barbara yesterday, hosted by Helen of Helen’s Book Blog! We enjoyed chatting over a fine meal and a book swap (unclaimed books to be donated), and followed it up with a visit to Chaucer’s Bookstore. It was my first time there, but it won’t be my last. It’s an interesting place, maximizing its relatively small space with tall shelves and narrow aisles. The layout reminds me of a library, actually, which seems appropriate since the non-fiction sections are organized by their Dewey system numbers.

Between the swap and the store, I came home with some new additions to The TBR From Hell (I think it may have graduated from Purgatory by now):

Bought at Chaucer’s:

Brought home from the swap, new to me:

Brought home from the swap because they were on my Wishlist (secondhand ARCs):

Brought home because Jill personally delivered a secondhand ARC I won in her giveaway:

Coming to TBR later this week: Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins – but I’ll talk more about that in tomorrow’s post! Is it coming to your bookshelf too? What are your reading plans for the week, aside from that?

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