You Do You by Sarah Knight

This is Knight’s third No F*cks Given Guide.  Honestly, I think that this is my favorite.

In The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, she introduced us to the idea of mental decluttering.  This is a term she uses for the theory of appropriately handing out your f*cks.  For example, this means not going to a baby shower (but sending a gift because we are not assholes) in favor of doing something that you want to do.  (This one stuck with me.  I don’t remember who was at any of my showers and I absolutely hate going to showers so it makes sense to me.  I also ask people not to write me thank you notes because hell is writing thank you notes.)

In Get Your Sh*t Together, she helps to “cut through the bullshit cycle of self-sabotage.”  I expected to like to book a lot because my most googled query is “how to get my shit together.”  It was full of simple, useful ideas that were probably great for someone who doesn’t google this subject quite so frequently.

Now, You Do You was about mental redecorating.  I am kind of in a place in my life where I need this sort of thing and this book was like a little cheerleader for a couple of weeks, riding along in my bag and shouting, “Yeah!  You’re awesome!  Let that freak flag fly!”  everybody needs to hear that there is nothing wrong with them once in a while, even if I actually suspect that there is something wrong with all of us.  We need the confidence booster to remind us that not fitting into the mold doesn’t mean we’re broken.  Knight covers the social contract and why breaking it makes people uncomfortable but also why it should be done.  She covers things that we’re told not to do, things we’re told that we’ll regret, even body issues.  It’s kind of nice.

Above all she reminds us, “If you’re not doing you, you’re screwing you.”  And that’s the kind of tidbit I like to write in my journal so that I don’t forget.

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Tally Monday- June 18, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Archie, vol 5

Bought

Nothing!

Read

  1. Over Easy by Mimi Pond
  2. Attack of the Fiend by Joseph Delaney

Reading You Do You by Sarah Knight, A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman, You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, Chicken Soup for the SoulThe Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

I have not been a very good reader lately but I warned you that this was going to happen.  Television.  Video games.  Board games.  Coloring.  These things have expanded to fill my time.  And that’s just fine.  Also, my Graphic Friday expanded to fill my time last week.  It took me four days to read Over Easy.  It was good but it was long and had a lot of words.

This morning I made an executive decision.  I had been reading You Do You as my nonfiction, 10 pages/day, but I’ve been picking at A Natural History of the Senses for a week and was only 35 pages in.  It’s lovely.  It’s the kind of book that you want to take your time with and it’s the kind of book that takes time.  So, in the interest of keeping on, keeping on, I’ve switched the two.  I will most likely finish You Do You today and move on to my next book and I won’t feel so bad about taking my time with Senses.

About A Natural History of the Senses:  It’s kind of like a meditation on the senses.  We start with smell and I have to admit that I have been paying a lot more attention to this particular sense since starting the book.  There’s some science and some discussion of evolution but there’s also just the joy of smelling.  I’ve lit incense.  I’ve smelled my husband.  I’ve started using my pillow spray again.

It feels like I have a ton of books checked out right now and like I have a huge pile of reading to do but, you know, my stack is much smaller than it was and that feels good.  I am looking forward to getting back in control of it all and I am also looking forward to reading more of my own books.  I haven’t had such a craving to buy books lately.  Honestly, I’m drowning in them.

Well, I hope you read something good this week.  I have a video game to get to.

Graphic Friday: Over Easy by Mimi Pond

I learned something from my graphic novel this week.  I learned about the Plymouth Mod Tops.  Our main character, whose waitress name is Madge, buys one as her first car.  1969 Plymouth Satellite Mod Top.  This sent me down a rabbit hole and I’m still pretty excited about it.  They’re a rarity, which is too bad because I pretty much NEED one now.

I was doubtful when I started this book.  It was bigger than I was expecting and had a lot more words that I was expecting and was printed in a greenish ink that made it hard to read in bed.  But I powered through and I was glad that I did.  Madge, who starts out as Margaret, is an art student but she is denied financial aid for her final year of college and asks for a job at a diner that she stumbled upon on a whim.  Lazlo, the manager, asks for a joke and she tells him one just like that she becomes a dish washer.

It’s the late 1970’s.  The hippies are dying out and punk rock is being born.  The restaurant is ripe with the usual dramas: hook ups and break ups.  There are drugs and drinking, drag queens and lesbians.  It’s basically the movie Waiting moved back a few decades.  It was good.  I found myself chuckling and laughing and wanting to wear vintage dresses listen to my punk albums.  Plus, I still really need a Mod Top.

Tally Monday- June 11, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Over Easy by Mimi Pond

Bought

None!

Read

Ugh.

Reading: A natural History of the Senses by Diane Acherman, You Do You by Sarah Knight, Attack of the Fiend by Joseph Delaney, Arabian NightsBest Loved Poems of the American PeopleChicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

What happened?  That must be what you are wondering right now.  I was doing really, really well.  I was ticking away at the TBR and it was starting to feel somewhat manageable.  Sure, I was checking stuff out still but whatevs.

What happened is that I was lulled into a book that wasn’t going to work.

Alright, for a while now I have been in the mood for a contemporary romance in a quirky small town.  I would prefer a southern town but any quirky small town would do.  So, I found a list that met these needs and I ordered a book from it.  The series is only four books long and the town isn’t southern but I was definitely looking forward to it.  I started it and the first chapter was great!  I loved the main character, who was a pretty basic hot mess but I can relate, and I liked the love interest even though he drove a motorcycle.  (Due to some personal shit, I am not a fan.)  I read the first chapter in bed on Monday night and didn’t want to put it down…

I opened up the second chapter on Tuesday when I had some down time and… I read a page, then stared into space, then read a page, then stared into space.  This pattern continued all week.  By the time I sat down to read yesterday, I had averaged out to about 7 pages/day.  Why?  I wasn’t sure.  I sat down to read and made it about five pages along before I realized that I had fallen into the trap:  I WANTED to like it but I didn’t ACTUALLY like it.

It was a combination of things.  The point of view flipped pretty randomly in one chapter and it threw me.  There was one paragraph that was full of typos.  The MC’s nipples “pebbled” which I found very disturbing for some reason.  More than that, while the initial meet-cute was great, there was this very off-putting second encounter.  There was no rhyme or reason to it and it went on and on in a way that was totally unrealistic.  And, yeah, I get that it’s fiction and it’s romance, which is a little more open to serendipity, but come the fuck on.  It was just a little much.

So, I put it aside.  I put it aside and picked up my next book: a study of the senses.  This book almost got returned before I even cracked it because my interest had waned.  It was suggested reading in Simple Abundance in, like, February.  I’d moved on.  But it’s actually really enjoyable so far.  I’ll stick to it and see what happens.

Real talk:  I probably WON’T be reading a lot this week.  It’s Summer Reading, which is the busiest time of year at work, and also the second season of Riverdale is on Netflix AND I’m like two seasons behind on The Ranch AND I haven’t finished my Star Wars re-watch.  Life is so hard.  It’s difficult to balance it all!  I’ll get it, though.  Slow and steady wins the race!

Meet Me in the Strange by Leander Watts

I ordered this book for the library after reading a review that mentioned how the world had a David Bowie glam feel to it.  I checked it out a couple of weeks after it arrived and it sat in my TBR long enough for me to forget anything that I read about it.  I’m glad, though.  I don’t know what I would have expected if I remembered the summary I read.  I think this one was better to go into blind.

Watts crafts a world that is much different from our own without feeling completely otherworldly.  The city where most of the action takes place is some kind of holy city and there is talk of the New World without there ever being any real explanation of what the New World is.  The whole book has a surreal, otherworldly 1970’s feel to it.  Django Conn, the rock star that everyone loves, definitely feels like Bowie and the fashions that he’s ushered in fit the glam rock scene too and there is a lot of talk about the moon landing and what it might mean.

Davi has always lived in the Angelus Hotel.  His family has owned it for generations and there he has access to almost anything he could want.  He spends his time listening to music in his room and coming and going as he please, him and his sister having chased off any tutors long ago.  When Davi goes to the Django Conn concert, he spots a girl who is completely lost in the music and he can’t help but feel like they are the only two people who really get it.  When the girl, Anna Z, shows up with Davi’s sister’s boyfriend, Davi follows her, desperate to find out who she is.  Anna Z is unlike anyone Davi has ever met before.  She talk-talk-talks about strange things until they seem to be the absolute truth.  But Anna Z is trying to escape and she needs Davi to be more than he ever has in order to free her.

This was an iffy book for me.  It was short and had short chapters, which I loved, and it reminded me a lot of Francesca Lia Block, which is honestly what kept me reading.  There was a lot here and I would like to see it with more ratings and reviews because I definitely think it’s worth the read.  However, I was a little put off by the portrayal of Anna Z.  She’s almost the definition of a “manic pixie dream girl” but I still liked her as a character.  I liked this book enough that I would like to seek out some more of Watts in the future but it is definitely an acquired taste.  Read it if you love music enough to think it’s everything and don’t mind a few strange ideas being twisted page after page.

Tally Monday- DOUBLE DIGEST!

Checked Out

  1. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
  2. Unwasted by Sacha Scoblic
  3. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
  4. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter
  5. Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
  6. America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money (again)
  7. Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Bought

  1. Haunted on Bourbon Street by Deanna Chase
  2. Witches of Bourbon Street by Deanna Chase
  3. Demons of Bourbon Street  by Deanna Chase
  4. Silverhill by Phyllis A. Whitney
  5. Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz
  6. Love, Alabama by Susan Sands

Read

  1. Riverdale Digest, vol 2
  2. Stalking God by Anjali Kumar
  3. Riverdale Digest, vol 3
  4. Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
  5. Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
  6. Meet Me in the Strange by Leander Watts
  7. “Departures” by Sarah Batkie

Reading: Dr. Franklin’s Island by Ann Halam, You Do You by Sarah Knight, Arabian NightsAttack of the Fiend by Joseph Delaney, Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleChicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah ban Breathnach, and The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

So, last week I was in Wisconsin and I decided at the last minute not to take my laptop.  I didn’t want ANOTHER bag and I told myself that it would be a good idea to take a little break from writing.  It was, after all, a vacation and I have been completely rewriting the ending of my novel and working out complicated plot kinks and the work was going slowly.  The good news is that the writing is going much better now and you get a HUGE Tally Monday!

I’ve been busy.

I checked out a shit ton of books in the past two weeks because Podcasts mostly.  After readinga  blog post about a family that paid off $27k in debt in one year, I decided that I needed to get back on the Total Money Makeover track so I checked out that audio on my phone and listened to it IN A DAY.  In all fairness, I’ve already read it twice.  Last week I had two days of determination.  I considered having a garage sale and trying to pick up some side hustles to make a little extra cash.  That only lasted two days.  I got paid on Wednesday, paid my bills, listened to the audio on Thursday, got groceries, and by Friday night was like, “Fuck it.  I’m not doing that.  I want to ENJOY my life.”

And that kind of sums it up for me, right now.

You may have noticed that I have been checking out tons of self-help and self-help adjacent books lately.  I’ve been feeling LOST and a bit at loose ends.  Some have helped.  There was nothing like the high that I got from The Secret.  But I still feel LOST and like I need to fix EVERYTHING.  I don’t like how I have been living and I don’t like how I have been treating myself but I’ve realized this stems from trying to change.  Basically, I want to lose weight, pay off debt, have less stress, be happier, and be the best mother and wife that I can be…  So I tell myself that I need to stop drinking and smoking and that I need to eat less and work out more and that I should give more to my family and more to myself and at the end of the day THAT’S ALL TOO MUCH.

What ends up happening is that I suck the joy out of EVERYTHING.  So for the past couple of months I enjoy a couple of drinks and then immediately feel guilty.  I have a delicious meal and then beat myself up for eating too much.  I live by a strict budget until I can’t stand it anymore and a buy something irresponsible.  I tell myself to relax and then get angry at myself for letting the housework pile up.  I get angry with myself for my insomnia and then I can’t sleep because I am so upset.  I try to cater to my family, smile and compliment and love and anticipate their needs, and then I snap at them or mess something silly up and I just deteriorate.  I take time for myself and feel like the absolute worst.

I don’t want to live like this anymore.

What does this have to do with a Tally Monday?  Not a lot.  This week I am telling myself that slow and steady wins the race.  I am forgiving myself for minor mishaps.  I am trying to be NICE to myself.  I am trying to listen to my own needs a little better.  I hope that translates to some reading but I won’t call myself a loser if it doesn’t.

Reading is supposed to be joy.

Graphic Friday: Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

That thing where you sneak in some reading at work but it’s a big mistake because the book you’re reading punches you in the gut and then you have to try not to cry in front of your coworkers.

Yeah, that was this book.

This is Clementine’s story but we know from the beginning that she is dead.  It is told through her journal, which has been left to her girlfriend.  Clementine was with her boyfriend the first time she saw Emma.  They passed each other in the street and Clementine couldn’t look away.  She is haunted with vivid, intimate dreams of this girl with blue hair.  Confused, she eventually breaks up with her boyfriend and begins trying to figure out “what is wrong with her.”  Luckily, she has a gay friend, Valentin, to help her on the way.  It’s Valentin who takes her to the gay car where she next sees Emma and then their relationship begins to unfold.

It’s not perfect, of course.  It’s all difficult.  Clementine is still just a teenager and she has to deal with high school and prejudiced friends and family.  She has a lot of maturing to do, but so does Emma.

This was perhaps one of the most heart-wrenchingly romantic comics that I have ever read.  It was beautiful and it seriously made me cry.  Five stars.