Quarterly Review

It seems as if I blinked after New Year’s Day and opened my eyes to find the first quarter of the year over. Whaaat? So I thought I’d look back and see what I’ve achieved so far, reading-wise.

I’ve read 27 books, which means I’m averaging 9 a month, or 2.25 a week. At this rate, I’m on track to reach my goal of 100 this year, but I’d still like to pick up the pace a bit in case I have crazy weeks during which I don’t get any reading done at all.

Here’s what I’ve completed, in the order I read them (links are to my reviews):

  1. Taken by Robert Crais
  2. The Retribution by Val McDermid
  3. The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
  4. Defending Jacob by William Landay
  5. Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
  6. Lunatics by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel
  7. Devil’s Oven by Laura Benedict
  8. Clawback by Mike Cooper
  9. Ali in Wonderland by Ali Wentworth
  10. Night Rounds by Helene Tursten
  11. Play Nice by Gemma Halliday
  12. Blue Monday by Nicci French
  13. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (review coming soon)
  14. The Girl Next Door by Brad Parks
  15. The Next One to Fall by Hilary Davidson
  16. Concierge Confessions by Valerie Wilcox
  17. Bleed for Me by Michael Robotham
  18. Shatter by Michael Robotham
  19. Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
  20. Kings of Midnight by Wallace Stroby
  21. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig (review coming later this month on Shelf Awareness)
  22. The Man in the Empty Boat by Mark Salzman (review/discussion coming soon here)
  23. The Guttenberg Bible by  Steve Guttenberg (review coming later this month on SA)
  24. The Destroyed by Brett Battles
  25. The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen
  26. Driven by James Sallis
  27. Getaway by Lisa Brackmann (review coming soon)

This isn’t just a time for me to look back, though. April is my birth month, so I’m also looking ahead to see if I want to make any changes as I start a new year. And that includes what I do here at the blog.

I’ve been wanting to start a Q&A column for a long time. I hesitate to call it an advice column because I want it to also be entertaining. As a kid, I used to read Ann Landers or the questions inside the front cover of Parade magazine and laugh at some of the ridiculous Qs. You know, something like, “There’s a steak dinner riding on this. My wife thinks Gary Cooper had a secret love child with his housekeeper, but I say he was a homosexual. Who has to pay for dinner?” I’d be tempted to answer: “Both, because his housekeeper was a beautiful Latino man. You now have to buy me dinner.”

But I’d also like to be helpful if I can. I’ve somehow managed to work in several fields—journalism, the movie business (on and behind the camera), book editing—and would be happy to share any useful info I’ve accumulated over the years.

So, would you be interested in an “Ask PCN” column? I’d need your help in submitting questions. They can be about anything I’ve covered here—movies, books, crime fiction, TV, authors, writing, acting, snacks, how to be a game-show contestant. They can be serious or goofy, and I’d answer in kind. I might not be able to reply to everyone, but I’d have fun trying. Use the contact form, or hit me on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t have to use your real name.

What else would you like to see here? Existing features you’d like to see more/less of?



  • Reply
    April 3, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Naturally, I’m not surprised with your top pick ;-). Well done.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    April 4, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Most times I’m standing in a queue at the supermarket, I think of you and wish I’d brought a book. As far as your Ask PCN column goes, you have my vote. I can’t think of anything I want to ask at the moment, but if I did, you would be my go to person. And here’s to a happy birth month celebration at the appropriate time, dear PCN.

  • Reply
    April 5, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Wow, can it be that I’ve only read 7 books in the first quarter of 2012? In my defense, two of them are nearly 1,000 pages long. But, 5 of them were written by authors with “R.R.” as middle initials.

    TV and Xbox are really cutting into my reading time.

    Here they are in order of completion. I can’t say in the order that I read them because I started and finished “The Hunger Games” in the middle of reading “A Clash of Kings”.

    1. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
    2. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
    3, The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
    4, Taken by Robert Crais
    5. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
    6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    7. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      April 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      Looking at your list, I’m tempted to write: R. R. Crais.

      I hate how TV cuts into my reading time. Of course I could stop watching but, hey, 30 ROCK’s on! And NEW GIRL!

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