Heating & Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly

This was great!  I don’t know how else to write an intro for this review.  It was such a short book that I don’t want to weigh it down with more words than it needs.

Fennelly, a poet, presents a memoir in micro-memoirs, 52 of them to be exact.  Some of them span a few pages while some of them are less than a paragraph.  Still, these micro-memoirs managed to make me laugh out loud and also nod my head in understanding.  I read a couple of them out to my husband.  They even made me pause to think back over my own experiences.

This was wonderful.  It’s a great example of how a whole life can feel summed up in just a few words, proof that size doesn’t matter.

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The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

This was mentioned somewhere a couple of weeks ago and I had a nice minute thinking about the made for TV movie from 1986 and found myself wandering over the youth department and grabbing it from the shelf.  I read it in one afternoon when it was quiet and I needed a little pick-me-up and it did the trick.

First, if you are an old woman like myself and want a little nostalgia, this will do the trick.  The movie follows along perfectly with Murphy’s book.

This is the story of Mildred who is really a kind of terrible witch.  She’s always making the wrong potion or casting the wrong spell, sometimes to disastrous consequences.  But Mildred has a lot of heart and in the end she does something pretty amazing.

I don’t think that I’ll be reading the rest of the series but this was a nice dip into the past.

The Naked Witch by Fiona Horne

As mentioned previously, I’ve been getting back to my Pagan roots.  For about a year now, I have been listening to the Fat Feminist Witch podcast and Paige interviewed Horne earlier this year.  I was intrigued.  At some point I picked up Horne’s Witch and I remember really liking it and being amazed when I came across a lot of Fiona Horne hate online.

Have you ever read a story of someone’s life (I’m including bio, autobio, and memoir here) and wonder how it can all fit in so many years?  When I was reading this, I had the vivid memory of reading Witch when I was in high school and I kept thinking, “It hasn’t been that long!  How can someone have gone through all of this in such a short amount of time?”  Well, guys, I’m older than I think and it’s been 17 years since Witch was published.

Horne has had a wild life.  Her childhood was rough.  She got into drugs and music.  She broke into the music scene.  She dated freaking Tom Jones.  After her band fell apart she had to piece together a new life and this one was just as hard, marked by betrayals big and small.  She battled alcoholism.  She became a pilot.

I enjoyed this book.  It was an easy read it made me nostalgic for those 90’s and 00’s.  What I liked best about it, I think, is that Horne doesn’t quite seem like a whole person yet but, like most of us, she is constantly gaining more of an idea of who she is and what she needs to be happy.

Tally Monday- August 13, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas by Louise Rennison
  2. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  3. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland
  4. Wicca by Scott Cunningham

Bought

None!

Read

  1. The Naked Witch by Fiona Horne
  2. On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison
  3. Giant Days, vol 5 by John Allison
  4. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
  5. “That’s How You Dance the Mambo” by Michael Hawley

Reading Heating & Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly, Down in the Valley by Robyn Carr, More Hours in My Day by Emilie Barnes, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Chicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance, The Empowered MamaBest Loved Poems of the American People

At first glance it looks like I’ve been TERRIBLE about my book fast.  However, all of the books that I checked out this week are audiobooks and I am working on slamming through them.  You know how I’ve been on this whole “getting my shit back together” thing this year?  Well, most recently I decided that it wouldn’t hurt for me to get back to religion a little bit either.  I have been indulging myself in some books on good ol’ Wicca and I don’t feel bad about that.  For years my spirituality informed my life.  I had a deep sense of belonging and connection, faith that all things work out in the end.  These things are missing from my life now and I want them back.  I’ve been telling myself that I am going back into the boom closet because I forgot something in there, ha ha ha.

I got a lot of reading done last week and that felt pretty good.  An audio, a graphic, some nonfiction, and a junior book.  Nice, rounded collection.  I was about 80 pages into The Poisoned City but had to return it because someone was waiting.  I’ve requested it again.  It’s a hard read for me.  I only get a page or two in and then I have to rage out for a bit.

Currently I have my TBR arranged by length in hopes that I can tick it down quickly.  There is a good chance that I will finish Heating & Cooling today and my next book is The Old Man and the Sea.

I’ve been working on organizing my office at home for about a month now.  I went through my shelves and I’m working on going through my boxes of books.  I’ve managed to get rid of a whole box of books so far.  While I work, I find myself longing to read all of these books that I’ve had for years but also to not carry around so much stuff.  I can’t wait to get back to a regular reading life, one that feels a little more under control.

Tally Monday- September 6, 2018

Checked Out

  1. I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
  2. The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran
  3. On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison

Bought

  1. Bluebird’s Egg
  2. Lady Oracle
  3. Wilderness Tips
  4. The Robber Bride
  5. Cat’s Eye
  6. Blind Assassin
  7. Alias Grace ALL by Margaret Atwood

Read

  1. Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver
  2. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal-Smogging by Louise Rennison
  3. Riverdale Digest, vol 5

Reading The Poisoned City by Anna Clark, Deep in the Valley by Robyn Carr, On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex GodNaked Witch by Fiona Horne, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman, Chicken Soup for the Soul

For the past couple of weekends, Ian has gone for the afternoon with one of his Grandmas on Sunday.  Last week he stayed with my mom for a couple hours.  Yesterday he stayed with Hubby’s mom.  The grandmas have asked to watch him and it’s given me a little bit of quiet time.  Last week Hubby played his game for a while and I spent a blessed couple of minutes under my tree, reading.  Yesterday Hubby napped and I cleaned the whole house and read.  It feels good to start my week with almost everything done.  I just need to fold the last load of laundry and unload the dishwasher.

When I start the week like this, I always have grand plans.  I say that I will read and play games whenever I’m asked.  But it always seems to slip away from me.  The next thing I know, I’ve been reading the same comic for days and haven’t touched a book.  This week I am going to try to do better.  I’m starting by scheduling in reading time at work again.  For a while I read for 30 minutes at the start of my shift.  It seems counter-productive but I actually was more productive because of it AND I read books a little faster.  Part of what I loved about this practice is that I put my phone of “Do Not Disturb” and I set a timer for however long I plan to read and I make a point to READ and not pick up my phone.  It’s a practice that I’ve fallen out of, this kind of focused reading, and I’m happy to get back to it.  I’m planning on doing 10 minutes at the beginning and end of my shift.

Last night I finally got a chance to pick up The Poisoned City about Flint’s water crisis.  I live about 40-45 minutes from Flint.  I got my bachelor’s degree at University of Michigan- Flint.  Growing up, Flint was where we went shopping.  A lot of my childhood memories are wrapped up in Flint and the Flint River.  I learned to swim at the Holloway Reservoir and it’s also the first place I ever kayaked.  More than that, I watched Flint declining and watched it starting to resurface before the crisis.  It’s of personal interest to me and my little social injustice feelers are ready for a workout.

Lots of books on my bought list this week but they weren’t actually books I bought.  A friend and his girlfriend are moving into their own house and have been getting rid of things that they don’t want to move.  Hubby was gifted a box of Walking Dead comics and I got the Margaret Atwood.  Again, I can’t say no to new books.

But, I am not 6 days into my book fast.  No checking out new books and no buying books.  I’ve made it this far, though I did almost crack last week.  I have the need to get my reading life and my book stock under control.  I want to read some of the books I own, too, really clean it out.  Part of this, I think, is because of Soulful Simplicity, which I have found to be very encouraging.  I want to have less and I want to owe less and I want less stress and pressure and I’d be lying if OI said my books don’t freak me out sometimes.

Well, you guys, what kind of week is ahead of you?  Anything good to consume?  I’d like to get some Castle Rock in myself.

Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver

I don’t know where I first saw this book or how it ended up in my hands.  It just seemed to appear and, as with most books that just show up in my life, it was exactly what I needed.

Carver was working and busy and stressed.  She was trying to provide the best life for her daughter and to her that meant spending money she didn’t have and stuff that they didn’t need.  It’s the kind of thing you hear about every day, the kind of life that we all seem to be living.  Only, one day Carver was diagnosed with MS and everything changed.  She knew that she would have to alter how she lived and fill it with more time and love and a lot less stress.  She started making small changes and taking baby steps to create a new life for herself and her family.

What resulted was the discovery that less stuff gave her more life.  Over the years, Carver and her husband paid off debts, got ride of oodles of stuff, and even downsized to a smaller home.  They learned that they didn’t have to live their life in order to look successful to other people.  They cut stress.  They created space.

I really enjoyed this book and really connected to it.  Carver talks about simplifying gently.  When I finished the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I felt mostly like I could never follow Kondo’s rigid plan and rigid rules.  Carver encourages you to do what you can and to always bring it back to your heart, a very woo-woo part of her life that actually made a lot of sense to me.  When I finished this book, I felt encouraged to make small changes that would add up and I also felt a lot better about my life and where I’m at.  I love how much Carver encourages you to be you and make your life your own.  It was exactly what I needed.

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Shortly after I started working in libraries, the young adult publishing started to blow up.  I was 16 and the library that I worked at had two small shelves of hardcovers and one small shelf of paperbacks.  When Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging came out, it caused a bit of an uproar.  It seemed like everyone was reading it and finding it hilarious.  So, I checked it out and I started it and… I couldn’t stand it.  Little goth me found Georgia so annoying and stupid.  What were all of these people laughing about?

Adult me is happy to say that this was a FAB listening experience!

I don’t know why I decided to give it another try but I am so glad that I did.  This is a perfect slice of nostalgia for me.  It’s like my high school years meets Bridget Jones.  I was laughing ridiculously in my car.  I even drove the long way around a couple of times to listen a little more.  It was short, fast, and funny.  It was kind of perfect for me.

Georgia is a 14 year old in England.  She’s stumbling through her adolescence, surrounded by friends who help to add to the comedy and drama.  They are just figuring out boys and kissing and who they are.  Georgia talks about her life, from her 3 year old sister to her huge cat, from her friends and the general chaos they cause to the boy down the street who is snogging all of the time, from the obnoxious neighbors to her hopeless father.  Georgia IS shallow and vain and hopeless in a way that can’t help but be funny.  It’s easy to see the disaster coming, like when she decides to pluck her eyebrows.  But there’s more to it than that.  There’s this mix of naive with knowing that feels very specific to that age and that time period.

I loved it.