Sunday Salon: One Book I Won’t Be Finishing and One I Might

fossum Serves me right, really.  Going on a book buying binge, even a small one, like I did the day before The TBR Double Dog Dare began.  And buying two books by an author I’ve never read based on her reviews alone.

Karin Fossum has been getting a lot of praise around the book blog/book review world of late.  Her Inspector Sejer mystery series has been compared to whatever big Scandinavian crime series you can think of at the moment.  I’ve been on the look-out for a series I can read through for a couple of years now, since I finished all ten of  the Martin Beck books by Sjowall and Wahloo.

But it’s not going to be Karin Fossum’s Inspector Sejer books.

I gave Don’t Look Back a generous 114 pages, that’s five chapters, but I just didn’t care who did it.  A dead girl in the woods, carefully blanketed with a warm coat; a town full of secrets; a taciturn detective–that’s usually enough to keep me reading.  But this time it was just ‘enough already.’

There’s no way for me to know if it’s the original or the translation, but the writing failed to grip me, the characters failed to gain either my sympathy or my interest, and I just felt like I’d seen it all before as far as the body in the woods and the town full of secrets goes.

Maybe I’ve been reading too much crime fiction lately.

I’ve got this new computer which has been fun.  (Insert sarcastic emoticon here.)  A couple of weeks ago I dropped my Chromebook once too often, so I went to my local electronics store to look for a new one.  Post Christmas there were no Chromebooks and darn few laptops to be found.  There was a really cheap laptop, which I bought and then returned three days later.  Turns out you really do get what you pay for.

So I bought this one, which has been much better but is still something of an adjustment.

For example. why do computer designers design the keyboards in such a way that setting the palm of your left hand on a random key can accidentally change the zoom making it three sizes too small sometimes and three sizes too big at other times.  This is not a design choice I would have made.  I would make changing the zoom settings at least as difficult as switching to bold face font is in WordPress.

I’m still training my right pinky to correctly differentiate between the return key and the backspace key.  I type very fast, something that impresses my students, but I make mistakes so I end up going backwards about as often as I return.

On the plus side, there was an ant on the screen early last week, that’s not the plus–wait for it–wait for it.  When I pressed my finger down on the ant to kill it, I discovered that I have a touch screen.  Had I been the salesman, I would have mentioned that, but it was a nice surprise.

I’ve returned the large stack of books I checked out on December 31, but I read enough of The Night Circus to see that I liked it, so I bought it for my Kindle.  I’m not sure that I’m going to finish it though.  I’ve read about 8% of it– Kindles have percents instead of pages since you can change their font size to suit your eyes.  I’m not going to tell you just how big my font size is, not today.

The Night Circus is an entertaining book about two young people raised by magicians who are trained to compete with each other once they are both grown up and good enough.  It’s set in late Victorian London.  Their magic is real, though no one in their audience is aware that they are watching more than very good tricks.

I found it in the adult section of my library, but I would really characterize it as Young Adult fiction had I been in charge of the marketing.

I like it, but it reads like fan fiction a bit too much for me. Not that I have read much fan fiction but I did read the first 200 pages of Twilight which spawned a lot of fan-fiction and about 20 random pages of 50 Shades of Grey which started out as fan-fiction so I think I have the general idea.    I do want to say that I think fan-fiction is wonderful, in theory.  That so many people are writing their own version of their favorite story is wonderful.

I don’t have anything against Twilight or Fifty Shade of Grey either, I just wasn’t interested in reading either one all the way through.  I will give The Night Circus one hundred pages or 15%, which ever comes first, before I decide.

But after that, I’m sticking with my pre-end-of-year-binge TBR stack.  I’m hoping to read two books a week so I can get at least 24 books off of my TBR list by actually reading them before April 1 when The Dare ends.

Did you take the TBR Dare?  How have you done with it so far?

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23 Comments

  1. carolee888 says:

    Only got 4 TBR books off my shelf. Two new ones just came in for review. At least the list of books to come in are down, just three more. One from October!

    1. Four books in one week is excellent. You are “allowed” exceptions for ARC’s. I know that many of us have ARC obligations.

  2. I really loved The Night Circus but I’m predisposed to that sort of thing and can see it’s not for everyone (very few things are IMHO). So far I have read 3 books for TBR Dare but all have been on Kindle as I’m taking part in that challenge in January.

    1. Kindle’s count for The Dare.

      1. That’s what I thought. It’s a virtual TBR pile 😊

  3. I wasn’t crazy about it, but I liked The Night Circus well enough to buy it for my 13 year old niece for Christmas when a few other options fell through. (My local brick and mortar has been severely lacking in selection lately…) When I found it in the regular lit section, I paused. It’s been a couple years since I read it; was it more “adult” than I remembered? Then I rolled my eyes and reminded myself that growing up I’d never shopped anything but the “adult” section. My niece is a smart 13, she’ll deal.

    1. So far I’d say it’s a perfect book for precocious 13-year-old readers. I was once a precocious 13-year-old reader myself.

  4. Frances says:

    I’ve cleared 2 books out of the stacks and 3 off my Kindle. The Tournament of Books Sweet 16 announcement this week presents two challenges but let’s see how long I can stay strong. High hopes! Even if I succumb, I’m still going to keep counting the things off my current TBR stacks. Thanks for checking in with all of us!

    1. I have to admit, the tournament of books sounds really tempting….. Maybe next year I’ll make an exception.

  5. My TBR challenge has got off to a faltering start but with the joy of a whole week off work the situation may improve! I’ll keep you posted 🙂

    1. A week off work. I just went back to work this past week and I could already use another week off. Some years are like that.

  6. Sam Sattler says:

    I’ve knocked four books off my TBR stack and I’m working on three others right now…one I just started, one that I’m almost 30% of the way through, and another that I’m about 2/3 of the way through. So, it’s so far, so good.

    The NFL playoffs and the college National Championship game tomorrow night are starting to steal a lot of reading time from me, though, so my weekend reading hours have been way down.

    1. I’m very impressed with how much so many people have already read. These days, two books in a single week is a very high number for me.

  7. annieb says:

    I just went back to work for seven or eight months at a biennial job I have at the Nevada Legislature on Jan. 2nd, so I have only finished 2 books for the challenge (one today). I’m hoping things pickup in the reading department as I get adjusted to working again. After writing technical stuff all day at work it is hard to encounter more words at night, but I am trying. I usually read 150 to 200 books a year, but the year I work the reading goes way down. May I say I really enjoy this blog and your approach to reading.

    1. Thank you. I try to keep things fun here and to have interesting things to say whenever I can. 150 books a year is amazing by the way.

  8. I am bogged down by the Wind-Up Bird but it is only because I keep rereading passages. I have signed up for the dare but am hoping to do TBR until 1 June b/c I have so many books.. We’ll see if I extend it past the acceptable 1 April deadline. Now forgive me for being a bit thick at times but I keep seeing ARC referred to in blogs. What does that stand for. I know I will slap my forehead when I find out but now I am in the dark.

    1. ARC’s are Advanced Review Copies sent by publishers to readers who promise to review the books on their blogs in exchange for a free copy. I used to get quite a few, even some of the better new books, but I haven’t done them in a couple of years now. Lots of bloggers get enough to to basically make them their blog.

      By the way, I have Wind-Up Bird on my TBR stack since a blogger friend gave me a copy to re-read a while ago. Maybe I’ll do it in February. It’s a book I really loved.

  9. John-Paul says:

    I am ticking along ok with the TBR. I have read five books and I am starting number six. I am only putting reviews up once a week. I’m with Pam. What on earth is an ARC?

    1. See above for ARC. And feel free to ask any questions you like. I went for months before I got up the nerve to ask myself, which is just ridiculous. Book bloggers are a friendly bunch; we’re happy to answer questions. 😉

  10. I’m keeping the Big Font Size Secret too… 😉

    1. It is nice though.

  11. Topcho says:

    Aw, I’m feeling for the (maybe) lost-in-translation charm. I read a lot of book not originally written in my language, and I hate when this happens.

    My TBR dare progress is by far not as stunning as the others’s. I’ve finished two books – one from the physical TBR and one from the audio TBR ( I should’ve staked more audio, lol!). It’s because January is an exam month, and on top I’m struggling to put up some reviews for challenges that end up in February.
    But the good news is that both books my Book Club chose are from my TBRs!

  12. Sounds like you’re doing about as well as I am. That’s great. It’s supposed to be a no-pressure, fun “challenge”.

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