top 5 wednesday: 2018 Reading Resolutions

Top Five Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the goodreads group to learn more.

January 3rd: 2018 Reading Resolutions: Self explanatory. Let us know 5 of your reading goals for the year.

  1. Read at least 75 books.  Like last year, I purposefully set my Goodreads challenge goal on the low end of the spectrum of what I think I’m capable of.  But I know myself and my tendency to obsess over arbitrary goals and numbers, so if I set my GR challenge to 100, I know I’d purposefully sacrifice longer books out of fear of not reaching that goal, which is silly.  75 gives me some more leniency.  If I reach 100 again, great, but if I only read 75, that is perfectly respectable.
  2. Read at least one book in Italian.  One does not sound like a lot, but I told myself I’d do it this year and I didn’t, so I’m starting with a low goal to hold myself accountable.  I’m thinking I’ll start with Fosca by Ugo Tarchetti, which I’ve read bits of, but which I have not read in its entirety.  I also have Il nome della rosa by Umberto Eco on my shelf taunting me, but I’m intimidated by its length.  Forse dovrei praticare con un libro più breve…
  3. Use the library more often.  Self-explanatory.  I almost never use my library and there’s no excuse for it.
  4. Request fewer Netgalley ARCs/spend more time reading books I already own.  This goal is hard to quantify, because I don’t intend to quit ARCs altogether… but basically, I have a tendency to browse Netgalley, think ‘oh, that looks cool,’ and click request, and I want to stop doing that, because I’ve found some of my absolute worst books that way.  I only want to request books that were already on my radar, either from general community hype or word of mouth from my friends.  Also my shelves are overflowing, so I really need to put aside some time to read books I already own.  I want to spend at least one straight month reading only books off my shelves at some point.
  5. Read at least one classic and at least one play each month.  Or maybe I’ll occasionally have them overlap by reading a classic play.  Basically, I love classics and I love plays, but I tend to not read them as often as I’d like.  Classics because I do have to deliberately set aside time for them as they tend to not be quick reads, and plays because they’re SUCH quick reads that I take it for granted that I can read them whenever I like, and I end up putting them off.

What are your 2018 reading goals?  Let me know!


book review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn


William Morrow, January 2, 2018

It’s easy to see why The Woman in the Window is the Hot New Thing, especially since several elements that worked for The Girl on the Train come into play here. Namely: an alcoholic, unreliable narrator who has information that no one believes, and a fascination-bordering-on-obsession with the couple next door. But I think seasoned thriller fans are going to be disappointed at just how predictably The Woman in the Window unfolds.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I positively devoured this book. I read the bulk of this more-than-400-page book in one day. It’s compulsively readable, the chapters are short, and it keeps you on your toes. But for me it was one of those things where I got to the end and was like, ‘that was it?’

This was a sort of mixed bag of predictability for me. There were two main twists – one that admittedly shocked me, and one that I saw coming virtually from page one. But for the most part, The Woman in the Window relies heavily on tried and true thriller formulas. It’s plenty twisty and addicting, but, entertainment value aside, it doesn’t really have much to contribute to the genre.

The other thing that I found virtually insufferable about this book is how the author felt the need to insert his opinions about film noir and old thrillers onto just about every page. We get it, A.J. Finn, you’ve seen a lot of movies. This did absolutely nothing to further the narration, and resulted in a pretty ham-fisted attempt to force a Hitchcockian vibe onto the novel, which would have been altogether stronger without this heavy-handed comparison to Rear Window being shoved in the readers’ faces.

Bottom line: reading this was a fun way to spend an afternoon, but it’s been a week since I finished it and I’m already forgetting characters’ names, so that’s not a particularly good sign for this novel’s lasting impact. I won’t go as far as to dissuade others from reading this, especially if you’re curious about the book that may very well end The Girl on the Train‘s reign as the most oft-referenced psychological thriller, but I think it’s a good idea to go into this with lowered expectations. It’s entertaining but underwhelming.

Thank you to William Morrow and A.J. Finn for the advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review.