Snapshot February 2017


Another episode in my series where I take a snapshot of my reading life on the first day of each month. It’s a way of keeping track of the year though there is little chance I will forget February 1, 2017. It’s the day I came home from hospital to begin a 12 week program of recovery from liver surgery. The next few months are going to be rather challenging. Either I will throttle my husband because he’s such a bad nurse or he will throttle me because I am a totally impossible patient. Joking aside though, despite the excellent care from the medical and nursing teams at the hospital, it is wonderful to be home  and in my own bed.


dominionOne of the essential tasks for my hospital stay was to select the books I would take with me. Note the plural there. I fully expected to be spending hours unable to do anything other than have my nose in a book so of course needed several options. Since hospital wards are not known for their storage space I constrained myself to two initially – the 600-plus page alternative history thriller Dominion by C. J Sansom and A Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer. But I put aside a pile of another 8 books for my husband to bring with him on his daily visits. What was I the-time-travelers-guidethinking of??? Hospitals are no more suited to reading than jet aircraft. Just when you’ve recovered enough to even feel like picking up a book there’s always someone with needle/thermometer/ blood pressure monitor in hand clamouring for attention. After seven nights I hadn’t even got half way through Dominion. Ian Mortimer’s re-creation of the smells and sounds of fourteenth century England was despatched home without being opened.

State of my personal library

One of my goals for 2017 is to enjoy the books I already own and to reign back on acquiring yet more. I started 2017 with 318 unread books ( I thought it was 299 but then discovered my list of ebooks was incorrect) and a plan to hold off from adding to that number for the first six months of the year. I was doing extremely well up until the end of January, finishing six books from my shelves and managing to resist the temptation of a local library sale and daily promotions from booksellers. But then my sister turned up in hospital having bought me three books so now as of Feb I, the personal library stands at 315 – a net improvement of just 3. Of the books I read in January, the stand out was Narcopolis by Jeet Thayli, a Booker prize shortlisted title that was an intense experience.

Wishing for…

My self imposed restriction on book buying hasn’t stopped me from adding new titles to my Goodreads wishlist. Additions in January included a biography: Charlotte Bronte: a Fiery Heart by Claire Harman; Human Acts by Han Kang (though I have yet to read her earlier novel The Vegetarian) and a Japanese crime thriller The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino and a book I keep seeing reviewed in a very positive way:  A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.



About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on February 4, 2017, in 2017 goals, Man Booker Prize, TBR list and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. Really good news – glad you’re home and able to rest (and read). In South Africa hospitals are ultra noisy, and I’m talking about private hospitals, not the public healthcare govt ones! the staff always shout at each other – during a routine conversation, not a row! I’ve returned from hospital exhausted, so can empathize with you. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Warm greetings.

  2. So glad the surgery went well! I hope the road to recovery is smooth and uneventful though I totally understand the spousal friction. Very easy to drive each other mad. I am almost done reading Human Acts. It is really good, though brutal. I wouldn’t recommend reading it in dreary weather or if while feeling down.

  3. It’s so good to see you’re back. I hope you fully recover! I’ve read the Devotion of Suspect X. If I remember correctly, this was a weird format that took some getting use to, but ultimately I did like it. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this!

  4. Glad to have you back with us – here’s hoping for a speedy recovery!

  5. so good to hear you are back home, in a more conducive environment to reading! Well done!
    The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino: yes! and others by the same author.
    I see many of us trying to focus hard on our TBR!!

  6. So glad you’ve made it home and I completely get why there was little reading done in hospital – I hope you, and your husband, adapt to the necessary (for the time being) new roles and that you are recovering well. A downward moving on the TBR is still a win!

  7. piningforthewest

    I hope everything goes well for your recovery, I know you’ll at least be getting a decent sleep at home, compared with being in hospital!

  8. I always thought a long hospital stay would be ideal for reading…but then my mother has told me from her various hospitalizations that even though she took along plenty of books and embroidery she was generally too tired or distracted to do anything but watch telly.

    Hope your recovery goes well and neither of you end up throttled!

    • I took my cross stitch too. even less chance of doing that than reading because I was afraid I’d lose the needle in the bed somewhere and that would not have pleased the staff….

  9. Glad to hear you are home and safe! And, yay for your sister bringing you new books. 🙂

  10. So glad to hear you’re home now. And not at all surprised that you didn’t read anywhere near as much as you thought all those long hours ahead of you would mean.

    Good luck with the recovery – I bet there’ll be challenges, and probably some 2 steps forwards and 1 step back at times, but I’ll be here hoping the forwards momentum is by far the strongest one and before long you are back to yourself again.

  11. Glad to hear that you’re back home and away from the endless interruptions of being a hospital patient. Best wishes for a speedy convalescence filled with lots of reading time.

  12. Rest up, Karen. Now you’re at home, free from the prodding and temperature taking etc, the conditions should (hopefully) be more conducive to reading. I do highly recommend The Devotion of Suspect X, by the way; I’m a big fan of Keigo Higashino.

  13. I am pleased to hear you are home now and I pray you have a good, speedy recovery 🙂

  14. Hopefully now that you’re home you can tackle your TBR pile!

  15. I’m sorry to hear of your surgery, but wishing you (and husband!) a quick recovery. Hope you get lots of good reading in at home!

  16. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  17. Wishing you a great recovery! Oh my – a bad nurse and an impossible patient😂. Yes, hospitals are no place for getting a good night’s sleep or being able to focus on a book.

  18. Glad to hear you’re back home, but sorry to hear that you weren’t able to get much reading done.
    I have the Devotion of Suspect X here too.

  19. I hope you enjoy recovering at home. I know what you mean about hospitals! When you finally come out of whatever anesthetic you’re on, they are definitely poking and prodding, even at night when you should be sleeping.

    Enjoy being at home!

  20. Hope your recovery goes well and that you can now make up for lost reading time.

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