October Reading Plans and Books to Catch Up On

My plans for this month’s reading include:

 

Autumn-appropriate titles & R.I.P. selections, pictured below.

October releases, including some poetry and the debut memoir by local nature writer Nicola Chester – some of us are going on a book club field trip to see her speak about it in Hungerford on Saturday.

 

A review book backlog dating back to July. Something like 18 books, I think? A number of them also fall into the set-aside category, below.

 

An alarming number of doorstoppers:

  • Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson (a buddy read underway with Marcie of Buried in Print; technically it’s 442 pages, but the print is so danged small that I’m calling it a doorstopper even though my usual minimum is 500 pages)
  • The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki (in progress for blog review)
  • Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead (a library hold on its way to me to try again now that it’s on the Booker Prize shortlist)
  • The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (in progress for BookBrowse review)

Also, I’m aware that we’re now into the last quarter of the year, and my “set aside temporarily” shelf – which is the literal top shelf of my dining room bookcase, as well as a virtual Goodreads shelf – is groaning with books that I started earlier in the year (or, in some cases, even late last year) and for whatever reason haven’t finished yet.

Setting books aside is a dangerous habit of mine, because new arrivals, such as from the library or from publishers, and more timely-seeming books always edge them out. The only way I have a hope of finishing these before the end of the year is to a) include them in challenges wherever possible (so a few long-languishing books have gone up to join my novella stacks in advance of November) and b) reintroduce a certain number to my current stacks at regular intervals. With just 13 weeks or so remaining, two per week seems like the necessary rate.

 

Do you have realistic reading goals for the final quarter of the year? (Or no goals at all?)

37 responses

  1. Just thought about my goals recently and they are already proving to be rather unrealistic…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know the feeling 😉 Just looking at my set-aside shelf makes me feel overwhelmed…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It is difficult not to be overwhelmed at times

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  2. The Lincoln Highway may well be a doorstopper but you’ll race through it, I’m sure. A brilliant piece of storytelling!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m 60 pages in and enjoying it a lot so far (more so than A Gentleman in Moscow, which felt endless).

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      1. Glad to hear that! I loved Rules of Civility but gave up Moscow.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have a copy of Rules on the shelf so will complete the set at some point soon.

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    2. Absolutely loved it. Raced through its 592 pages.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I didn’t realise The Lincoln Highway was so big (I have an ebook)! I may have to hold off until after Novellas in November before tackling that one…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, as Susan says, it doesn’t feel like a long book, so maybe you can manage to fit it in alongside 🙂

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  4. How long can you safely leave a book on the set aside shelf before picking it up again? I’d be afraid if I did that, that I’d have completely forgotten what I’d read and would have to start again

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    1. That’s a good question. Some I do have to start over from the beginning; some I just skim back through the previous few chapters and then resume. Forgetting plot and characters is more of a problem with fiction, of course.

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  5. You know how I feel about Ozeki but the length of A Book of Form and Emptiness is putting me off! I have 4 books/ARCs on my TBR pile at the moment and it’s one of them.

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    1. I’m sorry to say it’s not been drawing me in. I almost always reach for something else on my stack instead, but sometimes will force myself to read 5-10 pages. It feels like it’s trying too hard … I’ll be interested to see what you think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no, what a shame!

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  6. I always find it safest to have as few plans and goals as possible – I don’t always stick to that, though!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Like me, you seem to keep your options open with challenges by creating tall stacks of potential reads!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I feel confident that I’ll surpass my Goodreads target of 125, but that’s the only goal I’ve set really.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. How are you doing on review copies?

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      1. I’ve rather a lot, and rather too many to write-up as well! But I’m not getting too worked up about them – as long as I hit the dates for any blog tours, the rest will fit in eventually.

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  8. I’m less overwhelmed by my virtual NetGalley pile now as it’s stretched out till February, though there will always be books to request in the meantime. My Shiny pile is down to one to review and two to read and review, now I’ve passed on Goshawk Summer (thank you AGAIN for the warning!). My Anne Tylers are ticking along and I should get some books off the physical TBR this month. It’s getting towards not buying books in case I get them for Christmas/birthday/in boxes of books sent kindly by other bloggers, so things shouldn’t be building up too much now …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a very sensible situation all round!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Your PB copy of Damnation Spring looks bigger than my library TC, but I agree about the print. You’re still doing much better than I am, but I will catch up, you know I will. (I can blame Roots just a little, but finished it last night. Nothing like a 900-page backlisted novel to throw off the best-laid plans. Heheh)

    I’ve heard the Ozeki is pretty think-y at times. Do you find it that way? More idea, less story?

    My reading plans and goals are always realistic. *hunts for straight-faced,-truth-telling emoji*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not far past page 100 of the Ozeki, but for now I’d say there’s something too knowing and precious about the writing (that might be a UK slang usage of precious, actually) and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with how the magic realism is abutting the mental illness theme. But there’s still plenty of pages to go, so my opinion may change!

      You can’t fool me 😉

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      1. I started Damnation Spring last night (barely!) and I can see why you like it!
        I’ll make sure I’m in that kind of mood when I reach for Ozeki; I felt a little like that about parts of Time Being and went back a second time and enjoyed it much more.
        Having spent yesterday calendaring the remainder of this year’s deadlines and reading, I remain committed to the concept of having realistic goals.

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  10. I’m waiting for the Ozeki novel to arrive any day now! She’s such a special writer, and her A Tale for the Time Being is an all-time favorite of mine (but my print ARC has disappeared and I’m really pissed off about that).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m still waiting for this new one to wow me. A Tale for the Time Being is an absolute favorite of mine as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I had a little crisis the other day when I realised there’s only a quarter of the reading year left – made a list of all that I wanted to get through (I won’t get through my list but if I stick to it rather than add….).

    Have always been curious about you ‘temporarily set aside’ – how do you EVER find the motivation to go back to them? I either push through or discard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A few do end up getting ditched eventually. It’s a certain kind of book that tends to get overlooked on that shelf: ones that are a little quiet, maybe a little slow, and came with no deadline attached. It doesn’t necessarily mean I wasn’t enjoying them, just that I didn’t have the headspace at the time.

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  12. I should probably take another look at my reading goals for this year, ha ha! I know I’ve completed a couple but not sure if I’ll hit the others. Lately I’ve been reading more by whim than ever, and I’m happy with that. Although I would like to read a novella and a Margaret Atwood (re-read) in November.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll probably do a reread for Margaret Atwood month, too. Are you reading any scary books for RIP?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is the first October in a while that I’m not participating in RIP. I thought I’d pick up a couple of scary books anyway, but I’m not feeling led to do so after all! Go figure.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ll be interested to know what you think of Damnation Spring. I DNF-ed. And I started up Mary Jane (on audio) for a recent road trip. I remembered you had success with that one. About a third of the way through, it’s so charming! I don’t know Baltimore enough to know much other than Roland Park, but it’s fun that it’s semi-local.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How far did you get with Damnation Spring? I’m at about p. 200 and still enjoying it. I saw comments on Goodreads re: info dumping about trees, but I haven’t found that a problem.

      Glad you’re enjoying Mary Jane. What a sweet and fun book!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I would have loved more trees, actually. That was the most compelling element for me. I got over halfway through and gave up–just not connecting with the characters enough. Maybe it was my fault, trying to read it before bed just a few pages at a time.

        Now, I’m onto Sigrid Undset’s Olav tetralogy–talk about a door stopper followed by two more!

        The voice in Mary Jane is unlike anything I’ve read in a long time–just so charming! (And I think it might make for a good comp for my new one!)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I wonder how it compares with, e.g. Annie Proulx’s Barkskins (I’ve not read her work); I, of course, can’t help but think of The Overstory by Richard Powers. I’m enjoying the way the female story of miscarriages and midwifery is interspersed with the very male world of logging.

        I’ve never tried Sigrid Undset but have heard her praised on many an occasion.

        Mary Jane is closer to YA than what I usually read — makes a nice change!

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