Wednesday, July 27, 2011

June Reads in Review

Remember when I returned from England and I said I was hoping to write about my June reads within a few days? Well, that moment of insanity passed quickly. I was so terribly far behind (about 12 or 13 reviews' worth) that it took me a while to get to the point that I could post links to all my reviews.

Now, July is almost over and still I'm a smidgen behind, partly because I haven't been feeling tip-top (hence my absence, for the past few days). But, at least I'm done with June.

Your rear-view mirror view was taken from our rental Peugot as we traveled to Exmoor in England via a lovely, twisty scenic toll road. It was raining, as you can see, but the rain came and went. It was a very pleasant day trip. On to June's reads (with links to my reviews).

June Reads:

I liked everything I read in June, but there were some stand-outs and some that were just so-so reads. My top reads were You Know When the Men Are Gone, My Dear I Wanted to Tell You and The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus with The Art of Racing in the Rain a close fourth . . . and only because I've managed to forget some details from that one -- I loved it when I read it, but for some reason it just didn't stick in my mind as expected. All four of those are books I highly recommend. Oops, forgot one. Regeneration was another that I found gripping, horrifying and fascinating. All five books are highly recommended.

Other books I thought were excellent but which weren't necessarily books I'd gush about are After the Quake (well, maybe a little gushing; I was pretty impressed), Proust's Overcoat, and The Soldier's Wife.

My so-so reads were Lost in Shangri-La, The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady, Dog Tales and Casper the Commuting Cat. So-so meaning I liked them but didn't fall in love with any of those 4 books. In the case of both the pet books, there were entertaining moments and times I thought bad pet behavior was allowed because of cuteness. I get that. There are things I let my cats get away with that I probably shouldn't. But, I thought Casper's owner had an attitude about the indoor/outdoor cat concept that was disturbing and I remember thinking I just don't get the cuteness of bad dog behavior when I was reading Dog Tales. Either way, I liked all those books but they were not among my favorites.

There weren't any books that I strongly disliked, although I made it pretty clear what I disliked in my reviews. So far, nobody has succeeded at shutting me up and apparently y'all like it that I speak my mind.

I've finished several books but not felt up to reviewing, in the past week. I can't say when I'll get over that. Sometimes, when I don't feel like writing, I just walk away for a few days. Usually, I post a picture or two. I am in a mood, so just be happy I've been quiet.

I just finished reading Divergent by Veronica Roth, yesterday. It's a dystopian YA that I bought at the salvage store and started reading in the car. I stopped reading everything else till I finished it. That was one gripping read. I really enjoyed it.

Right now, I'm re-reading Simon Van Booy's Everything Beautiful Began After, this time with Post-its handy. Today, an ARC of When She Woke by Hilary Jordan just arrived in the mail from Algonquin and I am finding it unputdownable. Yes, unputdownable is a real word. I feel kind of awful about the fact that I'm unable to talk myself into waiting to read When She Woke, now that I've noticed the October release date on the spine. Eeks and oh, well. I haven't touched The Beekeeper's Lament in a week, but I'll get back to it.

I unexpectedly ended up back in physical therapy, yesterday. Great, just what I need -- having to drive 60 miles, twice a week, in addition to my intense exercise class and everything else that's going on in my life (so many Big Decisions are being dangled, right now). But, apparently, I need work on my neck. I was starting to get daily migraines, again, and last time I went for regular PT it did help reduce the frequency. It's just all so bloody time-consuming!!! I miss finding the time to write and visit other bloggers. On the plus side, my neck does feel better, today, and I've lost 3% of my body fat during the time I've been working out in my exercise class, The Next Level. I'm still a cow, but I'm a slightly more muscular bovine creature. So, maybe there's hope.

But, I still feel like this . . .

And, I don't look nearly as cute as Fiona when I'm lying around.

©2011 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. Yes, I didn't love Lost in Shangri-La, but it was still really good. Very readable and interesting subject matter.

  2. Eecks you are so not a cow! None of that allowed :) But congrats on feeling better.

    That's some great reading there, and a beautiful kitty picture!

  3. Kelly,

    Exactly. Well, we can't fall in love with every book. I'll have to see if you've reviewed Shangri-La. I haven't visited a single blog in at least a week. Horrors! And, I owe you a note, still. Sigh. Rough week.


    You're sweet to say that, even though you know better. Thanks. :)

    Yep, I think June was a pretty decent month. 8 books were in the recommended and highly recommended categories. Doesn't Fi look sweet? I love it when she flops over and curls up her paws like that. And, both cats know I think it's cute. Isabel has started doing what I call the "cutesy roll," dipping her head, rolling over and waiting for the ooohs and head rubs.

  4. I'm entranced by that photo. I want to live in it FOREVER.

    That much driving sounds like a PITA but then again, there's audiobooks to entertain you and the lessening of migraines to sustain you.

    I didn't even notice that June is over. July practically is! Yikes!

    And thanks for reminding me, I need to get Simon's book. I was going to at Kepler's but since I didn't make it.....

  5. Carrie,

    You will get wet if you live in that photo for too long. Isn't the scenery beautiful, though? They have a whole lot of gorgeous squeezed onto that little bitty island.

    I'm not big on audiobooks, but good point. I do have a few lying about. Yesterday, I sang loudly to the Les Miserables soundtrack that I bought at (sob) Borders.

    Yes, July is nearly over. I don't know how that keeps happening, but I have not yet succeeded in stopping the clock, much less turning it back. Disappointment.

    You're welcome. Rush out to get that book! Or, get yourself a plane ticket to Boston. I'll wait while you decide.

  6. Ha ha! She does look a little stiff, doesn't she? I hate migraines! I'm so sorry. I just bought The Soldiers Wife today, I'm very excited!

  7. I don't get headaches very often but allergies are kicking my butt this year and I have never had them this bad. I feel so drained and tired all the time. I have cut my workouts back to the bare bones and I am praying I don't lose my progress but I just feel crummy. My Mom is in PT right now for her neck and back and the amount of time it takes is her only complaint too but it works and we have awesome PTs where I work. She is also getting steroid injections in her neck and they will do the back next. She has had these problems off and on for over 20 years. We are just happy she is finally getting some help. I love monthly review lists. I have not done one in months and I feel bad about it but I stay much busier now. I can't believe how fast time is flying by too. :)

  8. Anonymous7:37 PM

    I also ADORED The Art of Racing in the Rain, and loved reading your thoughts on the book. So glad to see it managed to make your list of particular highlights! Thanks for a great June wrap-up!

  9. Jenny,

    Fiona is not a fan of the camera, but sometimes she just can't work up the energy to run away. LOL Thanks. Today was a better day, headache-wise. Back to stupid PT, tomorrow. Yeeurgh. I hate driving there twice a week. Oh, yay! I hope you love The Soldier's Wife!


    I have good years and bad years with the allergies. If you're having a lot of headaches, you might have some sinus inflammation that isn't enough to feel or act like an infection but still needs treatment. I've had that, before. It took a CT scan to figure out the problem and 3 rounds of antibiotics to get rid of it, but then I felt terrific for an entire year. If you're tired a lot, it doesn't hurt to go in and ask. But, don't be afraid to rest for a few days. I know you're afraid you won't go back, but I just can't see that happening.

    Oh, ouch, injections suck. I've had my neck problem since college and I apparently compensated by slumping, which just made it worse. PT does help, but when you first go it's really painful!!! I'm glad it's helping your mother.

    Isn't it wild how much less time you can find to blog when you're working out regularly? You wouldn't think it would be such a problem for me, since I don't have an outside job, but there's a lot more to it than just exercising for an hour -- like buying more fresh foods and washing twice as many clothes.

    I love lists, too. Mine are often way late. I love yours. Don't fret, though. It's better just to get to them when you get to them.


    Thanks! I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain, too. I'm really stunned how quickly I've forgotten the details, but I remember enough, I guess. As soon as I finished it, I loaned my copy to a friend because I knew she'd love it, too (and she did). I thought Enzo was an awesome narrator, didn't you?

  10. Hey now! I do know so therefor am truthful and honest :)

  11. I enjoyed your little bookish recap over the books you've been reading for the last little while. I also have problems with my neck after an accident that totaled my car a few years ago. It was horrible and made me afraid to drive for a long time, but according to the doctors, my neck will never be the same again, and I am possibly looking at arthritis in it very early. If I get too tense and don't work it out, I get really bad headaches and my arms and shoulders hurt as well. It's terrible, and I hate having to always be conscious of it. I recently stated doing yoga again after several years, and that seems to be helping more than anything, so it might be something for you to explore too. I hope that you are feeling back in tip-top shape before too long!

  12. Amy,

    LOL You're just a sweetie, that's all there is to it. :)


    Thanks! I'm glad you like my recaps. :)

    I'm sorry you have a neck problem, too. I've had mine since college and I just tolerated the pain, not realizing anything could be done about it till recently. PT has really helped. But, apparently, I need occasional maintenance or I go back to Square 1 (or, at least, close to it).

    Yoga is great for everything! I do need to do more of it. Right now, I'm doing a pretty high-impact class, but it won't last forever. I think there may be a yoga class at our gym. I'll have to see. The really great thing about the class I'm taking is that we do a lot of stretching and stretching is always good. We lose our flexibility as we age and anything that makes you stretch and move stiff tendons is helpful.

  13. Congrats on all of the reading you got done in June! I'm glad there weren't any that you absolutely hated. Fiona is a doll as usual!

  14. Alyce,

    Thanks! I consider a month without any books I hated a good one, so I'm happy. Fiona thanks you, also. ;) She's such a delightful little critter -- really, both my kitties are such sweethearts I sometimes wonder how on earth I got so lucky.

  15. Anonymous8:53 PM

    Bummer about Shangri-La...I have that one in the pile.

    But good news on the body fat! I'm feeling like quite the cow myself...haven't been walking lately. Moo.

  16. Ms. Fizz,

    Well, you never know. You might love it. :)

    Actually, it was hanging around hospitals and then caring for my mother that really made me fat -- grieving might have added to the problem a bit. So, I can see why you might be feeling a little flabby and short on walking time. I'm glad Hamburger is home and I hope you can find some time to take care of yourself.

  17. Oh that's too bad you have to go back to PT but if it helps with those migraines then you must. I'm sure you are looking great with all that exercise you are doing.

    I totally understand feeling very behind on blog reading and everything. I can't seem to stay on top of things this whole year. I blame it on work of course :)

    By the way, I loved Regeneration too. Read that a long time ago but it was so interesting.

  18. Iliana,

    I don't think it's a bad thing to have to go to PT. It made a difference and they told me I'll need to always continue to go back for maintenance, but just not so often once the neck pain is under control, again. And, it did make such a huge difference that it's worth the drive!

    Thanks! I do think that exercise is making a difference. I was a size I can't stand to confess to wearing, but I've dropped 2 dress sizes and now I'm at least lower than my previous top size. Yippee for that. I still have a long way to go.

    I don't think the blog reading is going to improve, right away. This is wedding month -- niece and son are both getting married -- and both weddings require travel. So, I'll be in and out. I'm figuring we may approach normality by mid-September. Oh, well. I'm happy about the weddings!

    I'm glad you liked Regeneration! Only a couple people have told me they read it, besides you. One loved it, one hated it. It must be the kind of book that generates strong feelings, regardless of which direction.


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