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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: Summer Reading Plans (and scrapping the current quarter project)

The Sunday

I wasn't planning to do one of these, but since everyone else is posting their summer reading lists, I couldn't resist. Blame it on peer pressure.

Couple of months back, I planned to spend the second quarter reading science fiction and dystopian titles. And while I did read a few books from that category (Divergent, Battle Royale, Fahrenheit 451, The Knife of Never Letting Go, currently reading Unwind), I didn't quite get to as many as I had hoped to read. But mostly, none of the books I read so far have wowed me - they all fell far short of expectations. I will probably continue with more science fiction books (I still have Insurgent to read and maybe continue with the Chaos Walking series), but they may not exactly be on top of my pile. For now, I'm looking for something else to focus on.

I know that whenever I make a reading list, I never get to most of the books on that list. Reading lists, to me, are for ogling pleasure. I have no doubt, that history will repeat yet again, but lists are so much fun to make that I don't mind enjoying the whole process and patting myself for coming up with a final result. So rather than make a traditional list, I'm going for more of a project list. Moreover, summer hours are starting in a month, and I'm looking forward to using some of those weekends for reading whole chunks.


One of the first things I want to do is clean up my NetGalley list. I suffer from the out-of-sight-out-of-mind syndrome, so half the time I forget there are a bunch of egalleys waiting to be read. Last I checked, many have expired, but luckily, I usually download the galley files soon as I get the approval notification from NetGalley. Right now I have 12 ebooks waiting to be read or declined, and while I know that some of those don't appeal to me anymore, I know there are many there that I do want to read. I've decided not to request more titles from them until I clear off the pending ones (Ha, right!). In case, you are interested, these are some of the titles I'm looking forward to reading

  1. A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama
  2. Between Gears by Natalie Nourigat
  3. The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel
  4. Smuggled by Christina Shea
  5. White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
I do realize that some of them are past the galley stage and on to the bookstore shelves stage. :)

Personal Library

There are quite a few books on my shelves that I keep glancing at every other minute, wondering when to get to them. I only read one book this year that was already on my shelf - all other books were acquired or borrowed. I don't want to ever reach a stage where I've read 90% of the books I own - I like knowing that I will always have plenty of options to choose from on a blizzard-like evening or in an apocalyptic/zombie/non-'Fahrenheit 451' world. But for now, these are the books I hope to get to this summer:

  1. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (I'm really wondering what the whole deal over this writer is...)
  2. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (And this writer...)
  3. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (And this book...)


I haven't read a chunkster that wasn't fast-paced or a thriller in a long time. Mostly because I usually read in sporadic bursts, which are not suited to reading books like War and Peace or Ulysses. Not that either are on my bucket list. Just saying. Last year, I tried to read Shantaram during a readalong I hosted. That became an epic failure for many reasons. (I love readalongs! I just don't seem to be reading along.) I'm still reeling from that knowledge but that doesn't stop me from choosing the Big Read for this summer.

  1. One of my top choices is Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, which although huge, may still fall in the fast-paced category. Maybe.
  2. It's more likely though that I will read A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. That ought to be challenging - last I checked the book, I saw plenty of verse in there that pretty much scared me.
  3. My third option is Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace that I am adding here just for jest.
  4. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - the saga-esque book that's been on my wishlist for ever!
  5. And the much popular A Game of Thrones by George Martin.

I was also thinking of reading a book or two from my PIE list. My personal goal is to read five books from the PIE list every year. I've already read four so far (The Yellow Wallpaper, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Fahrenheit 451, The Knife of Never Letting Go) and I'm going through the fifth one right now (Unwind), so looks like for the first time in three years I'll actually complete one of my personal goals. I've also been itching to reread some of my old favorites (To Kill a Mockingbird, A Christmas Carol, Harry Potter), but the Fall season seems to be the season for rereads. So for now, this is my summer reading list.


JoV said…
I have been dying to read A Suitable Boy for 2 years and I was hoping this year would be the year. When do you want to read it? Perhaps we can read it together. I have a 3-volume edition.
Athira / Aths said…
I feel so guilty when that happens, but since ebook is not my preferred medium of reading, I sometimes forget there are books waiting to be read.
Athira / Aths said…
I agree with you. Going all or mostly electronic is probably what will help me remember that there are ebooks waiting to be read.
Helen Murdoch said…
That's quite a summer list. I can't quite make my list until school gets out (only 2 more weeks!). My personal TBR shelf at home hasn't been touched in 2012 so I really want to take some of those on this summer
Tanya Patrice said…
I think I would go nuts with the book requests if I had access to NetGalley (I don't have an eReader). Good luck with all the summer reads - I'm hoping to tackle at least 2 chunksters too - Storm of Swords & 11/22/63. And to take a break from the fantasy books!
Jill Broderick said…
As JoV knows, I have tried to read A Suitable Boy, but it just seemed so dated to me. And yet I know there are those who still consider it a classic. But I've decided I will just be reading it "vicariously" through reviews! LOL
pattismith said…
I've just had 4 galleys that I really wanted to read expire on me :( Out of sight, out of mind happens to me too so I've decided to try and keep only galleys on my Kindle...we'll see how it works out. I'm going to try and put a serious dent in my massive TBR shelves over the summer. Keeping my fingers crossed!
Juju at Tales of said…
I'm a huge list maker but I'm so terribly bad about reading lists. Probably because I really can't project my upcoming mood. I'm a go with the flow book girl I guess. I will say I'd like to try The Descendants. The cover gives me a summer Hawaiian vibe.
Leeswammes said…
Pity the dystopian reading didn't work out for you!

I think it's funny that you have so many Netgalley books waiting! I treat Netgalley the same as other review books so they are on my spreadsheet and cannot be forgotten (yes, I'm one of those with a spreadsheet!).

I've realised I don't get approved some of the time (probably because I'm not in the USA) so I've been requesting more books than I expect will be approved. However, IF they are approved, then... oops!
Vasilly said…
Now I want to make a summer reading list! :-) I have the same syndrome when it comes to NetGalley. I need to visit that site more often. Looking at your PIE list, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a fast-paced chunkster along with American Gods.Good luck with all of your reading!
Amy McKie said…
Great list, of all of those I've read only the last two - The Pillars of the Earth and Game of Thrones. Both were enjoyable reads though.
softdrink said…
I totally agree with you on Franzen. Freedom and I did not get along. At all.
But Atwood....oh how I love Atwood.
Diane said…
i liked The Lola Quartet and look forward to A Hundred Flowers as well -- yup, too many books and too little time. Hope u had a nice weekend.
Lisa Sheppard said…
Looks like you'll have a nice choice of reads for the summer. I always have trouble with the big books over the summer months so I think I'll focus on knocking out as many books as I can from my challenge lists. But I did just pick up Pillar Of The Earth at the library sale for $1.50 and it is really calling to me from the shelf!
Buried In Print said…
Bookish peer pressure is the best kind, right?! Congrats on making your Pie goal so early in the year. I got stuck at around page 500 in A Suitable Boy because someone unwittingly told me who the unsuitable boy is. I haven't forgotten yet! (Of course, I won't say anything!) And I haven't made any summer reading plans yet either!
Tina Reed said…
1Q84 is not fast paced, nor is A Suitable Boy (which I did not get through). Just thought you should know.

These lists ARE eye candy for sure, but I still like making them and I enjoy reading them even more.
Nishita said…
I've read World Without End by Ken Follett and though it's big, it's very readable. I would imagine Pillars of the Earth to be similarly easy too. I also find fantasy books pretty easy to read no matter how chunky the book is.

However, Infinite Jest and A Suitable Boy are two books that really scare me away
JoV said…
Jill, Yes, I heard so much of your experience of your A Suitable Boy. I'm wondering perhaps Aths and I should give it a go, if all else failure, we will call it quit. I think that's alright don't you think Aths? Whenever you are ready let me know. A relaxing timescale will be good. Hope you are better now Aths.