Reading Log: October 2013


Books acquired: too many to list!

Books read: “Catching Fire,” Sizanne Collins; “Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY and the Bittersweet Story of 1970,” David Browne.

This is a first: a month in which I read only two books. Going back to the start of these Reading Logs in January 2008, at minimum I’ve read three, on a few occasions, especially toward the end of a year. But two! That’s getting dangerously close to one. In my defense, they did total 750 pages, and I read about 200 more from another, longer book I hope to finish in December, about rock critic Paul Nelson.

October was a busy month. It took me the first eight days to read the second “Hunger Games” novel because, what with one thing or another, I couldn’t put together more than a lunch hour daily to read. Then I left on an extended vacation and didn’t have time to read more than 30 pages per day of “Fire and Rain,” and usually only 10. Back home, and after two weeks of daily but incremental progress, I took a Metrolink trip and — at last — had time for 90 pages. I read the last 25 the next day. Whew.

“Catching Fire” was highly enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to the movie this month! It’s funny how easy it is to get caught up in these fantasy worlds. I bought this book in September at B&N Montclair.

“Fire and Rain” — note how I read two books with “fire” in the title? — was a friend’s gift a year or two ago. Published in 2011, it focuses on the transitional year of 1970, when three major pop groups broke up and James Taylor went from semi-obscurity to great fame. I liked it. Lots of fascinating detail and anecdotes. Garfunkel at least once hitchhiked to a concert. Taylor, despite his Mr. Mellow reputation, was a heroin addict. Joni Mitchell had flings with Crosby, Nash and Taylor (not at the same time). Still and Nash were both pursuing Rita Coolidge. Paul McCartney sued his former bandmates on New Year’s Eve 1970 just to ruin their year! Oh, those lovable moptops.

About all I did to my books backlog this month was increase it by buying a bunch more. That’s how it goes. I’ll do better in November. How’d you do in October?

Next month: the Master of Suspense winds up all over my floor.


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  • DebB

    Wow, I can’t believe it’s this time already – October really flew by! This is the time of year when my reading really slows down, with holiday preparations and gifts to make, and other things going on.

    I continued my re-reading of the Mrs. Polifax series, but I think I only finished 3 of them. And I may not even get to that many in November. At least when I’m reading something already a little familiar, I don’t lose track of the story when I have to go a few days without reading!

    • davidallen909

      Good to know October got away from someone else too.

  • Ramona

    I only read while I eat lunch. An hour a day maybe so I can’t compete with y’all.

    I finished “Cinnamon Roll Murder” by Joanne Fluke last week. I really enjoy her novels, Hanna Swensen Mysteries, because they take place in a small Minnesota village like the one where I spent the early childhood years. I can relate to some the the “everybody knows your business” and “you’re not alone when troubles hit” situations she writes about. There are baking instructions included in the books for the treats Hanna, her mother, and her sisters create in her bakery.

    Only drawback? I put on 5 pounds just reading about the sweet treats which are included in every novel. No, I don’t bake them and eat them. Just reading about them is enough to put weight on anybody.

    Limit yourself if you decide to try any of Ms. Flukes delicious murder mysteries.

    • davidallen909

      Reading mysteries can really build up an appetite. Say, DebB, haven’t you read some of those bakeshop books?

      • DebB

        I think I’ve read them all to date, and have enjoyed them as much as Ramona. Unlike her, I have tried a couple of the cookie recipes, but I have to say they were not the favorite of everyone around here. They have so much butter in them that they are almost a little greasy. Remembering that fact helps when I read the books – I don’t crave her sweets as much!

        To Ramona – you might try the Samantha Sweet Mysteries by Connie Shelton. Another baker, but the emphasis is a little more on the mystery than the sweets, and no recipes. And if you like Shelton’s writing as much as i do, try her other series, the Charlie Parker Mysteries.

        • Ramona

          Thanks for tips, DebB. I have read some of the Charlie Parker Mysteries and enjoyed them. Wasn’t aware of her other series.

          I must remember to add Ms. Shelton’s name to my Barnes & Noble want list.

  • Doug Evans

    I read six! That beats two, but I will always remember the August several years ago when I read zero… so two is still good!

    “A Man Without Breath” by Philip Kerr. Another in the series I like where the detective solves crimes in Nazi Germany. The series basically asks the question: in a country of murderers, what does justice mean?

    “Doctor Who: Harvest of Time” by Alistair Reynolds. Picked this up at Authors Bookstore in Ontario Airport! Ontario Airport sells Doctor Who books!

    “Doctor Who: Touched by an Angel” by Jonathan Morris. Jonesing for more Doctor Who, I purchased this on my iPad after finishing the above book. Could maybe have saved my money.

    “The Sandcastle Girls” by Chris Bohjalian. A book club pick about the Armenian Genocide. Always hard to convey the horror of something like that in a work of fiction, but this was a solid attempt.

    “The Stars Like Dust” by Isaac Asimov. Purchased this at Half Off Books in Whittier (the former Little Old Bookshop). Asimov is maybe not the greatest prose stylist in the world, but re-reading these books takes me right back to junior high Doug, so they’re fun.

    “Solo” by William Boyd. The latest James Bond book. The third published since the James Bond estate starting having “literate” writers write Bond books. Of the three so far, this is probably my favorite, so way to go, William Boyd!

    Four of the above books were purchased and read on my iPad. Take that, print! Though I feel a little bad about that, and continually purchasing books on the iPad is doing nothing toward helping me whittle down my giant stack of unread books lying around the house.

    Happy reading, everyone!

    • davidallen909

      Good thing you aren’t doing this blog, Doug: You’d have a photo of your iPad to represent four books! Good job reading four and also in visiting Half Off Books, a cute store.

  • John Clifford

    I was with you with 2 in October, but far fewer page count. I started basically where I left off in September, this time reading a full Kathy Reichs’ Bone novel, “Bones of the Lost.” This one was interesting in that it moved Tempe Brennan between her home in Charlotte NC to Afghanistan.

    My second book was also a female based mystery/detective book, Janet Evanovich’s third Stephanie Plum novel “Three to Get Deadly.” This one has new bounty hunter Plum chasing down a beloved neighborhood store owner who has gotten himself mixed up in nefarious activities.

    • davidallen909

      Hey, two-book bro (fist bump).