Last Week's Links

Literary Links

Introducing the 2024 Reading Log!

I’ve been keeping track of the books I’ve read since May 1, 1991, when we got our first computer. I started with a database program, but, over that many years, software has changed multiple times. Every time a program would bite the dust, I’d export my data, then import it into whatever was the latest product. Finally, I gave up looking for the perfect piece of software and began using a spreadsheet.

I’m not the only one who uses a spreadsheet for book tracking. Tirzah Price, writing for BookRiot, describes how she documents her reading. She provides a link to her spreadsheet on Google that you can download and modify to fit your own needs.

About 15 years ago I looked at a spreadsheet for book tracking. It might have been Price’s, but I don’t remember. The one I looked at was very complete and tracked way more kinds of data than I felt necessary. By that time I had already developed my own bare-bones spreadsheet, and I decided to stick with what I was already using. But if you think you might find such a spreadsheet useful, take a look at hers. She explains all the data it collects and tells you how to modify her template to suit your own needs. 

If you’re looking for something other than Goodreads to track your reading, a spreadsheet might serve your needs. Thanks to Price, you can make it as complex or as simple as you want it to be.

The 10 Best Book Reviews of 2023

Those of us who engage in book blogging practice some variety of book reviewing. I enjoy reading book blogs because every blogger has an individual approach to evaluating books. But I also find it valuable to see how professional book reviewers approach the task. Here’s Adam Morgan’s list of the best book reviews from last year.

Mickey Mouse, Tigger and more: Notable works entering the public domain in 2024

CBS news explains public domain law and lists works that entered the public domain as of January 1, 2024.

Public libraries reveal their most borrowed books of 2023

NPR shares some lists from various public libraries. There isn’t one big, aggregated list; instead, the article shares statistics from individual libraries throughout the U.S. The article also quotes librarians who noted specific trends, such as Deb Lambert from Indianapolis, who notes a drastic rise in ebooks over physical books.

The Perfect Antidote to an Age of Angsty Literature

“The spiky, unsentimental writings of Diana Athill refuse to romanticize emotional discontent.”

Lily Meyer writes that one of American fiction’s most prevalent current themes is exploration of the causes of unhappiness: “Many of our major writers are earnest anatomists of discontent and its social, psychological, and existential causes.” But, she continues, many such novels dwell heavily on sadness.

“If you’re looking to make a little light of sadness, as I have been, the work of Diana Athill might be the perfect place to turn,” Meyer writes. She places Athill among a group of 20th-century English and Irish novelists “who treat sorrow and disaffection not as problems to solve or as states to submerge oneself in, but as conditions to be lived with and sometimes laughed at.”

Dean Koontz on Staying Engaged and Staying Off The Internet

Dean Koontz has written more than 105 novels, of which more than 450 million copies have been sold. In this interview with Mitchell Kaplan Koontz talks about  “his book collection, his love of reading, his new works, his thoughts on artificial intelligence, his writing process, how he researches, his openness about overcoming his difficult childhood, the impact of his early teachers, and the incredible bond with Gerda, his lifelong love and partner.”

Only a small excerpt from the interview is printed here. The page contains a link to an audio file (the first 1 minute of which is ads) of the remainder.

6 Criminally Overlooked Crime Fiction Must-Reads

I’m still recovering from the overload of last month’s “best books of the year” lists. Here Juliet O’Connor points out some underrated novels that “pack a punch with their captivating stories and complex characters.”

The Electric Kool-Aid Conservative

Osita Nwanevu digs deep into the life and career of Tom Wolfe, one of the influential writers of new journalism, who died in 2018.

Related: My review of Wolfe’s second novel, A Man in Full (1998). (Scroll down the page.)

Man taught himself to read, then set out to read 100 books in 2023

Oh man, this story will make you cry—but in a very, very good way.

© 2024 by Mary Daniels Brown

Discover more from Notes in the Margin

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top