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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 half-year edition | Notes from my Reading

How is this year already half over? I still remember setting all those goals, making plans, and feeling excited about a possible better-than-2020 year. And here we are in July, a good time to look at what's gone to plan and what needs to be abandoned. 

Goals checkin

Excited by the start of a brand new year, I did commit to a lot of goals initially. Although I may not finish all of them, I will still continue some of those because I love their prompts. All challenge details are here.

  • The numbers - I wanted to read more and better than last year in numbers. So far, I am on track to reading more, both in book count and in page count. Unless I can't read at least 20 books in the next half of year, I should be good. I have also done well in pages per day and days per book. 
  • Chunkster Reading Challenge - I wanted to read two books with 450+ pages and I did read two so far. I do feel I cheated here a bit because both books were fast-paced. Oh well, details.
  • Mount TBR Challenge - Only 2 out of 12 so far. I don't think I'll make it here but I'll continue to leave it as a goal because I do need to (I better, I should) read from my own damn shelves! 
  • Reading Women Challenge - I've done 11 out of 24 prompts so a little less than halfway point. I could argue that this is still within reach - the challenge is that all the remaining prompts are the harder ones, so we'll see where this ends.
  • Read Harder Challenge - In this case, 10 of 24 prompts, so even behind the reading women challenge. I have a few more prompts I'd like to try so I'll continue with this but not very hopeful I'll finish.
  • Uncorked Reading Challenge - Alas, I left this train a while back. I found it hard to keep up with the prompts on a monthly basis after the first two months. So this is a fail. 

The best reads from the first half 

There are 12 reads that I've rated 5 from the first half of this year. It's hard to whittle that list down further so I include them all. There are various reasons why I liked these, but most importantly, I love how varied this list is. That wasn't planned but I have to mention this - a few years ago, I remember feeling that it was very hard to find books with characters or settings outside the dominant categories. I haven't felt that this year at all. It's getting easier to find different books and although most of the below reads may not consistently be on the homepage of most catalogs, a little patience and some browsing opens a whole new door of choices. 

Have you read or loved any of these books?

Plans for the remaining half

Other than continuing with some of the challenges above, I'm probably going to continue reading only what's catching my interest. In other words, I'll be doing less ARCs and more reading from the backlist. Because of constantly looking at prompts or at the galley list, I've been doing less reading from my TBR. There are three authors here whose books constantly show up - Margaret Atwood, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, and Emily St. John Mandel. So once I've done as much of the prompt reading as I want to, I'll probably switch my focus here. I'm not sure if I plan to do any reading events - maybe something for Halloween and then the Nonfiction November. I'll also see if I can do a readathon but otherwise, not many plans.

What book have you loved most so far this year?