Reading This Week

It’s been tough finding very much reading time lately, and I’m getting pretty frustrated by that fact. Life’s kept me hopping, between duties domestic, matters work-related and various and sundry other necessities of life, and when that happens it’s usually my reading time that suffers most. Granted, it’s not like I’m slacking, because I’m not at all. I don’t really think time spent helping out at school, throwing in a load of laundry or making food for the family is really time wasted. But it is annoying I can’t seem to fit in much reading.

The good news is on Mondays I’m guaranteed at least two hours’ uninterrupted reading time, because that’s the day my daughter has her musical theatre class. While she’s singing her heart out I’m able to sit and read in the relative quiet of the waiting/lounge area of the church where they hold the classes. I say relative quiet because there are about 100 musically-inclined kids running around the place the entire two hours. Even if they do mostly all have nice voices, it can still get just a little annoying. After a dozen songs from the musical Aladdin (the musical they currently have in production) I’m ready to swear off Disney for the duration, but even with all that it’s more quiet there than at home, which says a lot about home.

I spent my two hours’ Monday reading time with Neil Gaiman this week. I checked his book Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions out of the library, and it turned out to be the perfect thing to compete with singing kids. The book features short, engrossing stories very easy to fall in and out of in the short stretches of quiet time I had. The other books I brought with me (never bring just one is my motto) couldn’t compete at all. I put them aside one by one, but the Gaiman was just the thing I needed.

Smokeandmirrors Previous to this the only Gaiman I’d read was his children’s book Coraline, which I thought darkly brilliant, and after just two hours spent with his short stories I’ve decided I need to read a lot more by him. The stories in this particular collection are extremely imaginative, and written in a deceptively simple style. I’m thrilled when an author takes me places I completely didn’t expect, and Gaiman’s masterful at that. After every story I think, “he can’t top that,” and what do you know, he does.

Aside from this I’m mostly in between books, but I’m planning to use today to get more  of a grip on what I’m going to read next, and alongside of, Smoke and Mirrors. That box of review books from Holtzbrinck is looming, along with the other review books I’ve been accumulating during this annoyingly busy life phase, so I’ll have to figure a way to work in those along with the interlibrary loans, the books I’ve recently bought, and also those 2,000ish books already lining the shelves in my house (the majority of which, I’ll admit, I haven’t read yet…).

I need a scorecard to keep track of it all, not that I’m sure there’s actually a scorecard that big. A spreadsheet may be more the answer, actually. If I were that disciplined that’s just what I’d be inclined to do. But, well, the best laid plans, etc.

But for now I’m off to see what sense I can make of it all. I hope to come back with a better list of what’s up now, and what’s coming soon, in my own wide world of reading. But first, I’ll have to Google plans for making a time machine, or a time-stopping machine. Now that’s something I could really use…

Wish me luck.

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10 thoughts on “Reading This Week

  1. I haven’t read that Gaiman book, but one of my favorite novels is his ‘Neverwhere’ – such a great book! And ‘Good Omens’ cowritten with Terry Pratchett, is hilarious.

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  2. Serendipity again! I was in Watertones last week and they had a special promotion and there was Smoke and Mirrors sitting there for £2.99 ($1.50) so I could not leave it now could I especially as bloggers keep saying how good he is. So glad to read your take on it Lisa and this will now become my train read for next week

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  3. What you say about the Gaiman is a relief, Lisa, as I’ve just bought it for a friend. Gaiman is not to my taste, but I know she likes him.

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  4. Les, I have ‘Neverwhere’ and I need to push it up a little higher on the list. It sounds marvelous but I just haven’t worked it to the top yet. I just love the way this man’s mind works.

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  5. Elaine, how funny! I just chose this one on a whim, as I knew I wanted to read something else by Gaiman but didn’t know what. I finished it yesterday, while on “sick watch” with my poor youngest child, who’s home again today (along with his older brother) with a sore tummy. I look forward to hearing how you like this book.

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  6. Ex Libris, here’s to finding more spare time. Weeks like this make me feel very frustrated and I feel like I just can’t make any progress on my main interests, though I’m doing other things.

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  7. Ann, I wound up not liking all the stories in this collection equally, but the ones I did like I really, really liked. The twist on ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ was my very favorite. Hope your friend enjoys her book!

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