I hardly know what to do with myself now that the Tournament of Books is over. The big winner was A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, with Freedom losing in the final match-up. I liked both books, so either way I probably would have felt happy. I can definitely say that it was more fun to follow the Tournament having read all the books. My goal next year is to read *all* 16!
I'm now in the middle of reading a bunch of different things. I'm semi-stalled on Nature's Metropolis, not because it is boring, but because I figure I have until the end of the month, so why rush? My goal is to tackle one TBR book per month and not get ahead, so I'm happy to let that sit for a little while doing other things.
Around here, almost all of the Borders stores are going out of business. The one in my neighborhood went out of business last month, but while in the thick of the Tournament of Books, I successfully resisted the pull of the Borders fire sale. But then, last weekend, I had to take Darius to a birthday party, and right in the same parking lot was a Borders. Needless to say, this was impossible to resist.
Have you ever been to a book store that's going out of business? Talk about depressing! My guess is plenty of people go in, wander around, and go out empty handed. Not me. I headed for what was left of the fiction section and let loose. They had been moving and consolidating books onto the shelves, and everything was out of order and un-alphabetized. If you were looking for something specific, you'd be totally frustrated. (This is how I feel in places like TJMax and Marshall's.) But not only do I read a lot of books, but I also read a lot of book reviews. This means that I was pretty happy just scanning the shelves and pulling off books that I've heard are good. I limited myself to buying only 10 books for myself (and Bloodroot for you!). All told, I picked up 11 books, 7 of them hardback, for about 100 bucks. Woo hoo!
As for what I'm actually reading, I just finished a mystery from my school library called In the Woods by Tana French. It was a great read. I love a good mystery! It's so satisfying to read a book where the plot gets wrapped up at the end. Even though there is a lingering questions about the past for the main character, it was still a very satisfying read.
I've also been reading another non-fiction book. Ever since the earthquake in Japan, I've been fascinated (in a horrified way) by the nuclear crisis. This led me to wanting to know more about Chernobyl, so I ordered the book Ablaze: The Story of the Heroes and Victims of Chernobyl. So far, I'm very impressed at how readable this book is. I've come to really appreciate a writer who can take a complex and complicated real-life narrative and write it out so that it reads like a great story. I think the Chernobyl book is satisfying because it's a story that's "finished" while the events in Japan are still happening, and therefore the arc of the whole thing is still unclear. Somehow admitting that feels like a failure, but there's the truth: I like a story where the ending has already been determined.
One last final question: do you keep track of books you read? I'm semi-envious of people who keep records of what they read. I've tried in the past using sites like GoodReads, but it's never worked for me. I'm trying again, this time using a Google spreadsheet---keep it simple, stupid! I decided to try and recreate what I could starting with January 1. If my calculations are correct, I've just finished my 19th book this year.
PS: Here's a screenshot of the Borders Haul. I think I might start with Olive Kitteredge.