Reading Log #5: November 2013


Wow!  I managed to finish a whopping eleven (11) books in November, the last of which I completed just an hour before midnight on the 30th.  I did spend about 200 minutes longer reading during the month while absorbing almost 20 pages less.  I think that means I’m ruminating more on what I just read before turning (sorry, is that flipping or flicking?) the page.  I’m rapidly approaching 75,000 pages read since I began tracking such numbers back in January 2010.


1.  The Lincoln Letter by William Martin (2013)
2.  One Thousand Dollars A Word by Lawrence Block (2013)
3.  Lincoln’s Citadel: The Civil War In Washington, D.C. by Kenneth J. Winkle (2013)
4.  George V’s Obsession: A King And His Stamps by Jack Shamash (2013)
5Kind Regards: The Lost Art Of Letter Writing by Liz Williams (2012)
6. Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly (2011)
7The Fall Of The House Of Dixie: The Civil War And The Social Revolution That Transformed The South by Bruce Levine (2013)
8.  The Dark Side Of Disney by Leonard Kinsey (2011)
9A Storm of Swords: Book Three of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin (2000)
10.  Stamp Collecting As A Pastime by Edward J. Nankivell (1902)
11.  The Replacement Child by Christine Barber (2008)

The principal statistics are: eleven books finished, a total of 1624 book-pages read in approximately 3464 minutes (sometimes I forget to pause the reading timer app when I go to the toilet or answer the phone).  I’ll include a few additional stats in my end-of-year wrapup next month.

I became rather obsessed with the American Civil War in late October and early November with the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address approaching.  I want to lean more about this period of history soon and have amassed quite a collection of Civil War and Lincoln-related books to read.

My favorite book was the last one I finished, a great mystery which debuted a now three-book series set in northern New Mexico.  While The Replacement Child is an enthralling police procedural, I found it’s depictions of the local Hispanic history and culture, not to mention vivid portrayals of the landscape which brought back many memories of the years I lived there,  even more fascinating than the story itself.  Add in well-drawn characters that the reader truly cares about and you have a great book.  I found myself highlighting numerous passages that evoke the New Mexico I know and love.  A sample:

The dark was just starting to settle in as she walked toward the Plaza. Piñon smoke clung to the air, warm and sweet. The haze in the air made the streetlights glow and wink softly. The setting sun was starting to hit the Sangre de Cristos, making the peaks look pink and purple. She made her way down tiny alleys and through archways leading to courtyards with now-dry fountains. The stair-step, two-story buildings were seamed together, with one giving way to the other, so that each block was made up of one huge, mismatched structure. A curved missionary arched roof flowed into the flat-topped pueblo roof of the next building, which joined the art-deco tile of the next.

I’m already halfway through the second novel in Christine Barber’s series, The Bone Fire, and will seek out book number three which was published earlier this year.  That reminds me — I still need to buy Spider Woman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman, continuing the Leaphorn-Chee series started by her late father and my favorite New Mexico writer, Tony.

December tends to include a bit of themed reading as I try to seek out books that help me get into the Christmas spirit.  That’s a difficult thing to do in southern Thailand where it’s always extremely warm.  I usually re-read A Christmas Carol but this year I’d like to try one of Dickens’ other seasonal tales.  Please leave your suggestions in the comments.  And have a wonderful holiday season.

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