It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (3/7/16)

March 7, 2016 It's Monday! What are you reading? 31

Hosted by The Book Date.

Ya’ll, it was a sad weekend in the Southern fiction world. I’m sure many of you heard that Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, and The Lords of Discipline (among others), passed away on Friday of pancreatic cancer. He is one of my all-time favorite authors and was probably the first author to really get me to pay attention to a book’s actual writing. He’s also the first “Grit Lit” author I read…long before I was aware that “Grit Lit” was an actual thing.

I first read his books in high school and, over the past few years, re-read the three I mentioned above, which truly stood the test of time. And now, I can’t seem to write a Top Ten list without including him (not sorry)! I was lamenting Conroy’s passing with an old friend (and fellow Conroy fan) this weekend and she shared her father’s reaction: “but what joy and pleasure his books gave us.” I couldn’t have said it better.

On to last week’s reading…

The slump is STILL hanging around. After two more DNFs at the beginning of the week, I resorted to my backlist TBR list. I really enjoyed the book I read from it, but I’m not sure it was a true slump-buster…unless it’s followed by a string of solid reads, which is possible.

I finished reading…

Secret Wisdom of the Earth, Christopher Scotton


The Secret Wisdom of the Earth
 by Christopher Scotton (January 6, 2015)
Not without a few issues, but overall a solid, Southern coming of age story/page turner. Mini review to come.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Association of Small Bombs, Karan Mahajan


The Association of Small Bombs
 by Karan Mahajan (March 22, 2016)
I’m only 12% into this novel about the impact of “small bombs” (and one in particular) on the lives of a disparate cast of characters in Delhi, but my Kindle’s highlighting function is getting a workout so far. I’m hoping this bodes well for a break from my slump!

I put aside for now…

Year of the Runaways, Legends Club


The Legends Club
 by John Feinstein (March 1, 2016)
I stopped at 16% because much of the material covered was repeated from Feinstein’s earlier books, most of which I’ve read. But, there’s a chance I give it another shot during Nonfiction November since I didn’t really make it very far.

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota (March 1, 2016)
Ugh…this one was tough. I know it’s gotten rave reviews and was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, but it was difficult to make myself pick it up. I had trouble getting my head into the story and the writing felt clunky. I put it aside at 12% to wait for some feedback from bloggers I trust…if that feedback is positive, I’ll give it another try, but I’m currently not regretting the decision to leave it behind.

Upcoming reading plans…

As Close to Us As Breathing, Never Open Desert Diner


The Never Open Desert Diner
 by James Anderson (March 22, 2016)
Rory at Fourth Street Reviews
included this debut about past crimes resurfacing in the Utah desert on her 2016 Debuts List (which pointed me towards Only Love Can Break Your Heart, which I loved).

As Close to Us As Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner (March 15, 2016)
Ever since I loved Tender from the new Lee Boudreaux Books imprint, I’ve been looking forward to this multi-generational family saga (I’m a sucker for these!!) set in a 1940’s Jewish vacation community.




I think my slump may be moving on out!

31 Responses to “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (3/7/16)”

  1. Beth F

    Just based on your few words, I see I loved Secret Wisdom way more than you did. It was one of my favorite books last year.

    • admin

      I really enjoyed it overall, but did have a few issues with it (the ending was one). You’re not the only one who has told me it was one of their favorites last year!

  2. JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing

    I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember, but never used the word ‘fan’ in the same sentence as author until Pat Conroy. He was the first author I ever heard speak… still a memorable experience after all these years. He will be sorely missed 🙁

    • admin

      Awh – how lucky you are to have heard him speak!! I bet he was fantastic!

  3. Darlene @Lostinliterature108

    I thought of you when I heard about Pat Conroy, remembering how much you liked him. I still have Prince of Tides on my TBR. Was about to read it a few months ago and chose Sophie’s Choice instead. Still working on that one and Owen Meany.

    I will I could push a button and automatically injest some of my reading or download it into my mental inventory. I know that no one will ever read all that they want in this life. That is especially comforting to us that read everyday but we read so slowwwww that we drag in our progress. Oh well.

    • admin

      I hope you get to some Conroy! The Lords of Discipline is probably my favorite, but I really loved Tides too!

  4. Kay

    I thought of you when I heard that Pat Conroy had passed away. He gave the world some great books and happily, the world can continue to discover his writings even though he’s not among us any more. Maybe you should do a little Conroy re-reading to get out of your slump. Just saying….

    • admin

      I thought of that and then one of my ARCs grabbed me. But I definitely need to read his My Reading Life soon..only one of his I haven’t read!

  5. Pat @ Posting For Now

    I’m not familiar with Pat Conroy’s writings. I’m sorry for the loss to you and everyone else who loved him. I hope your reading slump is broken. It sounds like it is.

  6. Carmen

    Despite being in a mini slump you have a great many things going on. Hope the ones from your TBR provide the much needed jolt. 🙂
    Sorry about Pat Conroy, by the way. I thought of you when I heard the news this weekend.

    • admin

      I know – so sad they passed so close to each other! And while I was reading a book that I’d seen compared to a mix of Harper Lee and Pat Conroy no less.

  7. Naomi

    I’ve never heard of these upcoming reads, or the one that you are currently reading. I’ve got my fingers crossed for you that one of them (or all of them) gets you out of your slump! If they don’t, maybe you should think about picking up a Pat Conroy novel. 🙂

    • admin

      I totally thought doing just that if the Small Bombs (which is an ARC, so I tried it first) didn’t work for me, but it did. I do still want to read a Conroy this year.

  8. Judy

    I have not read Pat Conroy. Don’t know why because many writers I admire revered him.
    Happy to report that my reading is going well and pleasing me. I am finishing The Merchant of Venice, the Shakespeare play, today (well, that is a bit of a chore but I am preparing to read Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson-very much looking forward to that!)
    Also, as foretold on my blog post: http://www.keepthewisdom.blogspot.com/2016/03/march-reading-group-update.html, I am well into Crime and Punishment. In an eerie way I am finding precursors to some of the themes and tropes in Viet Nguyen’s The Sympathizer, which I read last week and was amazed!

    • admin

      I hope you give Conroy a shot! And I have The Sympathizer on my TBR! I’ll admit I’m way more likely to read that than Crime & Punishment!

  9. Donna @ OnDBookshelf

    I loved Secret Wisdom right up until the time they took off on their grand adventure, then UGH. It’s a good thing I had already read 2/3 of the book when it happened, or I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have finished it.

    • admin

      I didn’t mind the camping trip, but there were some other things that bothered me about this one. Even though I enjoyed it overall.

  10. Kathy @ Kathy Reads Fiction

    I really enjoyed The Secret Wisdom of the Earth but completely agree that it had a few issues. It wasn’t the next great read for me, but I can see it making its way into the high school curriculum in the future.

    I was so sad to hear about Pat Conroy’s passing. I thought of you when I heard the news. A dear friend and co-worker has ten of his first editions, five being signed; He visited here a few years ago. She was devastated by his death. Her boyfriend found a signed first edition of The Great Santini in a Beaufort shop yesterday while in SC and bought it because the owner already had a signed copy. He said the owner broke into tears when he sold it to him, but my friend got so much joy from it. I immediately thought, “I really need to read my copy of The Great Santini; I’ve had it for such a long time.” I think soon, I’ll open it.

    • admin

      Very cool about your friend! And you definitely need to read Santini!

      I can see Secret Wisdom on a high school curriculum, but it felt like an updated version of TKAM to me. I kept having deja vu that I’d read that book before.

  11. Athira

    I haven’t read a Pat Conroy book but I know he has a huge following. One of these days, I will have to pick his book.

    Curious to know if you will go back to Year of the Runaways. I have a mixed success with Booker Prize winners, which is a bummer.

    • admin

      At this point, probably not. Unless a bunch of bloggers I trust rave about it, which I haven’t seen happen yet. I’m now reading another book set in India that’s hitting the spot much better!

  12. Catherine

    I don’t know that I’ve heard the term Grit Lit, but it is perfect. Prince of Tides felt like the first ‘grown-up’ book I ever read. Grown-up in its complexity and how beautiful words could be made to sound. Very sad about this.

    I’m tearing through Bittersweet- which I think is all right because my goodness the plot just keeps coming- and now feeling nervous about the upcoming new releases I haven’t even touched. Thanks to you I will give Runaways a pass for now.

    • admin

      I definitely did not think up Grit Lit! I have no idea who originally did, but Rory at Fourth Street Review wrote a great post defining it. So, maybe she thought it up?!

      And I agree – Conroy was my first grown-up book as well…but I can’t remember which one! I think it was maybe The Great Santini?

      Glad Bittersweet is hitting the spot! It’s an awesome rich people behaving badly page turner! Won’t win any awards, but it totally scratches that itch!

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