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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

The Sunday Salon: Thoughts on the first quarter (and plans for the next)

The Sunday

Considering how busy January was, and how much of February I spent on finding a balance between work, reading and blogging, I didn't really have a good first quarter - I just managed to read a month's worth in three months. The silver lining is that I did have a much better March but I'm hoping that there will be more books in the next few months. Here are the highlights:

Best Books of the Quarter

Other Reads
The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto
American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar
The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn
Dance Lessons by Aine Greaney
Cross Currents by John Shors
I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Divergent by Veronica Roth
My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

On Reading Goals
Rather than plan challenges or reading projects for a whole year, this year, I decided to do something different - I decided to plan for a quarter. This helped because my interests change so quickly that I hate to be tied to something I decided several months ago. This past quarter, my plan was to read one short story a week. I started this in the fourth week of January, and since then have managed to stick to the goal more or less. These are the short stories I read:

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Loved)
Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri
A Moment of Wrong Thinking by Lawrence Block
The Shawl by Louise Erdrich (Loved)
Bohemia by V.S. Naipaul
In the South by Salman Rushdie
A Village after Dark by Kazuo Ishiguro (Loved)
In the Bed Department by Anne Enright
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Loved)

My Reading in Numbers
Male authors (short stories included): 9
Female authors (short stories included): 12
New-to-me authors (short stories included): 18 / 21 (really?)
Number of pages: 3648
eBooks: 5 / 12
Review copies: 8 / 12
Personal Collection: 2 /12
Library: 2 / 12

Plans for the next quarter
- I plan to keep reading more short stories in the next quarter (I'm really enjoying standalone stories), but I won't be reviewing them as frequently, unless the story moved me so much that I want to discuss it. Or I may just do a single post with mini-reviews.

- I've been craving some science fiction / speculative fiction / dystopia lately. I have several books from these categories wishlisted and rather than shelve them for eternity, I'd love to spend the next few months exploring them.

- I hope to read at least one book from my PIE list, which I've neglected so far this year.

View Traveling with my books (2012) in a larger map


Aarti said…
After reading Jo Walton's Among Others last week, I'm in the mood for some science fiction, too!  I'm not very good at reading sci fi, but that book made me want to read ALL of it.  I am currently in a non-fiction zone, though, so maybe I'll have to wait a little bit for it.  I only have a couple of more weeks to access the university library, so I'm trying to make it count with books from my wish list that I otherwise wouldn't be able to read!
Jenny said…
I like the idea of doing quarterly goals. Definitely makes sense. I also love that you call it a PIE list! I have an ongoing list of books like that too! 
Juju at Tales of said…
Yay dystopian is coming! 
Tanya Patrice said…
I'm feeling in the same moos - time for some sci-fi & fantasy books too.
Judith said…
You're doing well with your plans! I loved The Potato Pie book too and I am very much enjoying The Hairdresser at the moment. Hope April will be good too!
Athira / Aths said…
I'm not good at reading scifi too! But sometimes, a book comes along that just makes me want to tackle the genre. The overly scifi-ish ones just go over my head. If you do start a scifi kick, I will be excited to compare reads with you!
Athira / Aths said…
I also find that with quarterly goals, I can use a quarter to finish off any challenge I committed to. Or go on a reading spree focused on a specific author or series or genre. I like the PIE too! :) 
Athira / Aths said…
I wonder if the recent Hunger Games talk had anything to do with many being in the scifi mood currently. At least I think that was my inspiration. 
Athira / Aths said…
So glad to hear that you are enjoying Hairdresser! I'll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it!
bermudaonion (Kathy) said…
You've had a lot going on in your life plus you're a newlywed, so it's no wonder your reading has decreased.  I wouldn't worry about it - it'll all work out.
rhapsodyinbooks said…
I can't even plan for a quarter - my reading desires change too fast!  I'm very impressed at your goal setting!
Jackie said…
I have American Dervish and Dance Lessons on my TBR list.

I read a couple of Anne Enright's books earlier this year and I can't say that I enjoyed her characters, a little too shallow for my liking.
Vasilly said…
I think planning for the quarter is a great idea. Right now I'm planning two months in advance and I feel better for doing it. You had a hectic four months so it's understandable that you haven't read much this year. Have a great week.
Helen Murdoch said…
I still love the cover of the Hairdresser of Harare and am going to add it to my TBR right now!
Stephanie said…
I had an extremely slow first quarter, so I feel your pain.  I am hoping my reading is picking back up again!
Alyce Reese said…
I still think you're doing well. Sometimes it can be very difficult to find a good balance.
Kim Ukura said…
I love the idea of just doing a challenge/project for a quarter. That's so smart. I'm the same way, my reading tastes change a lot and there are always different things I want to try. Focusing for a quarter might make me feel like I'm making more progress with all the reading plans, rather than setting projects for an entire year. Seriously, you just shaken my whole reading project brain :)
Lena Sledge's Blog said…
Tayari Jones' book, Silver Sparrow was a masterpiece. I truly enjoyed it. Had heard of the other 2, but I would be quite interested in reading them.
Delia said…
Hi Aths,
I loved "The Yellow Wallpaper" so much that I bought a book of short stories by the same author. It's called "The Yellow paper and selected writings" and apart from that famous story, there are excerpts from her biography  which I found intriguing. I've reviewed it a while back - if you come across it, give it a try.
I'm so excited to add so many of these books to my wish list. I just read Banana Yoshimoto's n.p. It's the second book I've read by her, the first was Kitchen. Seeing her name on your list here, inspired me that I'd probably like them all.