March Summary and Plans for April

March has been quite a strange month reading-wise. I seem to be finding it easier to give up on books and so the number of ones that I’ve failed to finish has ballooned. I am finding that I am enjoying the books that I do decide to finish a lot more and so am spending an increasing amount of time reading – although this may also be due to the fact that my television is broken at the moment!

Book of the Month

The Report

Books Reviewed in March

The Report by Jessica Francis Kane 

This Blinding Absence of Light – Tahar Ben Jelloun  

In The Woods by Tana French 

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin 

The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers 

When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman  

Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty 

Annabel by Kathleen Winter 

Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius 

Great House by Nicole Krauss DNF

The Swimmer by Roma Tearne DNF

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht DNF

Grace Williams Says it Loud by Emma Henderson DNF

The London Train by Tessa Hadley DNF

Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh DNF

Snowdrops by A D Miller DNF

The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli DNF

The Still Point by Amy Sackville DNF

The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter DNF

Boxer, Beetle by Ned Beauman DNF

Tony and Susan by Austin M. Wright DNF

Plans for April

The Orange Prize has dominated my reading for the past few weeks and will continue to do so during April. I only have six books left to sample, but am now waiting for copies of these to arrive at the library. I’m lucky that my library system has decided to order copies of the entire Orange longlist, but I don’t know how long it will take them to arrive.  I haven’t had much luck with the Oranges this year and so am in no rush to complete them – I’ll just try them as and when they turn up at the library.

I have also found it difficult to stick to reading just one or two books at a time. I am currently reading four different books:

The World According To Garp by John Irving  

The Periodic Table by Primo Levi

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Serious Men by Manu Jospeh

Hopefully I’ll be able to get this situation under control so that I’m back to reading just one or two books at once.

I also hope to read some of these books in April:

The Story of Forgetting by Stefan Block

The Ground is Burning by Samuel Black

How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely

Empire Of The Sun by J.G. Ballard

The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa

Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month and so I hope to put together a page of all the best books about autism. I also plan to read a few more books containing people who have the condition – starting with The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson.

I hope that you have a wonderful April!

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  1. Verity says:

    Gosh, that is a lot of DNFs!! Mostly Orange titles too…you’re doing well, I’ve only read 11 of them, I have 5 more in hand, but not sure if I’ll manage to get copies of the last 4.

    1. Jackie says:

      Verity, I think it is going to take a while to get hold of those last few Oranges – I have waited several months for books to go through the library ordering process in the past. Nevermind. I’ll read the sample chapters online and use that to form the basis for my shortlisting prediction. Good luck completing all your Oranges.

  2. Lot’s of great reads for March Jackie. I love that you have started being more willing to just give a DNF to a book that is not working for you. (I need to do that as well). Congrats on a great month.

    1. Jackie says:

      Diane, Good luck abandoning more books in the future – I can’t recommend it highly enough :-)

  3. Susan E says:

    Interested to hear you are reading multiple books at a time. I enjoy having more than one book going at a time but typically they are all very different — right now I’ve got six books going — non-fiction, poetry, meditative/self-improvement, mystery and 2 novels. Not sure I could keep four plots straight at a time!

    1. Jackie says:

      Susan, I have to ensure that the books are all very different in style if I’m going to be reading them at the same time – there is no way I’m going to confuse Moby Dick with Serious Men, for example. All the books have very different settings/characters. I prefer to have fewer at once though as it does seem to take forever to finish a book when you keep reading little bits from different ones.

  4. kimbofo says:

    Bloody hell…. what do you do with all the DNF books? I assume you don’t keep them…

    1. Jackie says:

      Kim, Most go straight back to the library. The rest are still staring at me – it normally takes me a while to find them a nice new home.

  5. I’m glad having more DNFs is improving your reading! And I agree — less TV makes it much, much easier to find more time to read.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kim, I do have another tiny TV, but I have to watch things live. It is weird how much things have changed, but nothing seems so important that I can be bothered to organise my life around being there to watch it. I just prefer reading to watching TV :-)

  6. Christina says:

    If more DNFs improve your reading, so be it. I need to get better at abandoning books. I read I great novel in 2008 that I still think about — Up High in the Trees by Kiara Brinkman. The reader is never told the main character has autism but having experience with autism, I suspected Sebby did. Looking forward to seeing what’s on your list.

    1. Jackie says:

      Christina, Thank you for highlighting Up High in the Trees – I hadn’t heard of that one, but have just bought a copy – I am so impulsive when it comes to books about autism :-) I look forward to trying it later this month.

  7. sakura says:

    How far do you go before you DNF a title?

    I think I read Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table when I did my history of science MSc (it’s such a long time ago, I don’t know if I abandoned it halfway) but I’ve been meaning to re-read it. Looking forward to your post on it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sakura, It depends on the book – can be anything from 3 to 300 pages, but normally I read between 50 and 100 pages before giving up. If you look at my DNF reviews I always mention the page number on which I abandoned the book.

  8. Shannon says:

    Oh, I heard about the book Messages from an Unknown Chinese Mother, and I really want to read that one. Good luck this month!

    1. Jackie says:

      Shannon, It sounds like its going to be a disturbing book, but something that needs to be known. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  9. Meghan says:

    That is a lot of DNFs! Wow. That’s something I need to get better at – it’s wonderful that you’re actually enjoying the books you do finish so much, though! I hope you continue to enjoy your April selections.

    1. Jackie says:

      Meghan, I hope that you have a wonderful April and get better at abandoning books – it is a skill worth acquiring!

  10. Erin says:

    It’s nice to see someone setting aside books and listing DNFs! Makes me feel less bad about letting books go. The Report certainly deserves to be book of the month!

    1. Jackie says:

      Erin, I would love to see which books others abandon – it might make me feel a bit better for abandoning so many.

  11. Jessica says:

    I’ve wanted to read The Report ever since I read about it about a month ago. Its funny all the ones you did finish you really enjoyed

    1. Jackie says:

      Jessica, I hope that you enjoy The Report as much as I did.

  12. parrish says:

    Loved The Periodic Table and have just picked up The Feast of the Goats in one of my local charity shops for 50p. Also loved Garp tho prefer Owen Meany.

    1. Jackie says:

      Parrish, Congratulations on getting Feast of the Goat so cheap – I paid twice as much as you ;-)

  13. pburt says:

    Just an FYI – Nick Hornby mentions a few books on Autism in the Polysyllabic Spree.


    1. Jackie says:

      pburt, Thanks for letting me know – I’ll take a look :-)

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