Tally Monday- April 23, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Salad Love by David Ben
  2. You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld

Bought

None!

Read

  1. The Ghost on Windy Hill by Clyde Robert Bulla
  2. “We Go Together”  by Eric McMillan

Reading The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes, The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, The Complete Essays of Montaigne, vol 1 by Montaigne, The Graphic CanonChicken Soup for the SoulThe Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, and Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

Yes, it felt good to read all of those Battle books and get them out of the way.  Yes, it felt good to finish something.  Yes, it felt good to return books.  BUT, do you know what felt good this week?  Well, it felt good to read comics, even though The Graphic Canon, vol 1 is 500 pages long and taking me forever.  It felt good to play a game.  It felt good to watch X-Files and color.  It felt good to spend time with Hubby.  It felt good to nap with LD.  It felt good to take LD for a couple of walks around the subdivision.  It even felt good to get a little drinky and do logic puzzles.

Basically, I spent my weekend unclenching and I do not regret it.

Now it is Monday and I love Monday because it is the day that I get to start fresh.  And this week I think that I actually want to do stuff that I enjoy, like I did this weekend.  I probably won’t tear through three books but I might do a lot of logic puzzles because I am really enjoying those right now.

My list is inundated with self-help type books currently.  Did you notice?  I LOVE self-help.  I am not even embarrassed!  BUT…  Suddenly I feel like The Secret is everywhere, even though I hadn’t thought about it in years.  I’ve stumbled across people who are teachers of The Secret through strange avenues and I’ve even discovered that one of my guided meditations is The Secret adjacent.  That shit always weirds me out.  Obviously the universe is telling me something, right?  My other self-helpy things are, well, not very helpful right now….  Simple Abundance is begging me to delight in my senses and I DID need that reminder.  Slow down, smell the pickles.  But the whole month of April in Empowered Mama was about building a morning routine and, y’all, I’ve got that in the bag.  I guess I benefited from that too, though, because I started focusing on THREE things instead of 20.

I’m feeling pretty good right now and I am feeling more like myself.  I’m going to ride this wave and not feel bad about it.  Okay?  In the meantime, I hope we all get a chance to read this week, propped up in bed or in the sunshine.  Maybe even in a box with a fox.

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The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

When I chose the books for battle of the Books this year, I used a complicated system that was meant to ween down our collection.  I chose the book that we had the fewest copies of, a book that had never been used before, and a book that I wanted to read.  This was the book that I wanted to read.  Being a teen librarian means that I have pretty much spent 2.5 years being hounded about the fact that I haven’t read any Riordan yet.

The first 100 pages of this one were iffy.  It felt long and contrived and the characters said the kinds of things that you never hear kids that age say.  Still, I was mostly enjoying it once I got past those things.  I rolled my eyes whenever Piper’s chapters brought up the secret she was keeping, because it felt like Riordan was just trying to drag out the reveal for suspense and it got a little annoying.  I rolled my eyes every time that a character brought up that Percy was missing, which felt like it happened on every page for a while.  Still, I really liked Leo and Piper was growing on my quickly too.

The story here is that Jason wakes up on a bus with amnesia.  His best friend, Leo, and his girlfriend, Piper, are there but Jason doesn’t know them.  Soon, a storm blows up and some crazy wind spirits try to take Jason and his friends but they manage to fight and end up sent to Camp Half-Blood.  There they learn that they are demigods and then they are claimed by their parents.  Except there’s a little catch here.  Jason keeps referring to the gods by their Roman names… You know… Jason?  Rome?  Hint, hint.

Basically, everything was pretty damn obvious in this book but it was a good read.  It was a fun romp.  I will most likely not read any more of the series but I suppose I can see the charm of Riordan.  He writes well enough to be engaging.

A Barrage of Reviews

So, last week I was forced to push my way through some books.  The problem is that while I was reading I was a little too brain dead to review.  It was more important to me to keep on pushing through those books and get them done in time for the Battle of the Books, which is tonight!  I did it, dear reader, and now it’s time for me to catch up on this other little bit of paperwork.  For the next few days, I will be posting book reviews to catch up.  I make no promise on quality but I do intend to set one to post each day until I am caught up, excluding Monday when I’ll do my usual weekly post.

How is my reading this week?  Eh.  Tuesday night Hubby went to bed early and I stayed up with a big cup of chamomile tea and finished the book I was reading and a short story.  I didn’t start my next book until this morning and only managed a couple of pages.  Honestly, Battle of the Books feels like a big hill I’m cresting and now I’m going to shoot right down the opposite side and blast you with a bunch of self help/spiritual book reviews.  (Seriously.  My next three books are The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes, Basic Witches by Jayla Sexana, and Stalking God by Anjali Kumar.)

Get ready for some reviews!

Tally Monday- April 16, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Meet Me in the Strange by Leander Watts
  2. Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James

Bought

  1. How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck by Avery Breyer

Read

  1. Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
  2. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  3. Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
  4. A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

Reading The Ghost of Windy Hill by Clyde Robert Bulla, The Essays of Montaigne, vol 1The Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney, The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, The Graphic Canon, vol 1, The Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleSimple Abundance, and Empowered Mama

Last week, my plight was real.  I had very little time to do what felt to me like a lot of assigned reading.  I had to read 65 pages/day to finish my Battle books on time.  I started pushing through them, taking them a chapter at a time.  There were two types of people in my life last week: Those who told me I could “just read that book in an afternoon” and those who told me flat out that I wasn’t going to make it.

Well, I am proud to say that I DID make it.  I did not read a book in a day, because that is pretty much physically impossible for me, but I did manage to read 100+ pages most days.  Yesterday morning I finished the last 50 pages of my last book as I laid in bed with my napping child and found myself unable to nap.  (My napping ability seems to be broken currently.  Actually, my ability to fall asleep is pretty messed up.  It started Saturday.  Usually I can’t STAY asleep.)  It was A Mango Shaped Space and I pretty much sobbed for those 50 pages and then all of the cats got extra snuggles, which they didn’t seem to mind.

Last week was kind of a blessing in disguise.  I didn’t WANT to read those books.  I wanted to read all of the books I’ve been checking out and piling up.  But I ended up liking all of the Battle books this year.  I genuinely liked them, even the Riordan which was super contrived and that I made fun of ceaselessly.  The best thing about it, though, was remembering how much I really do love to read and how much happier I am when I make reading a part of my day.

I am relieved that I don’t have to pull of 65 pages/day anymore but I also hope that I don’t go back to just not reading.  My life is busy and full but I have to keep doing the things that make me who I am and the things that make me happy and reading is definitely at the center of that venn diagram.

What’s next?  Well, now I get to finally dig into that big, juicy pile of books that I’ve accumulated.  Friday I made a new reading plan, organizing books by shortest to longest in hopes that I can just tear through a couple.  I know I keep saying this but it’s back to The Plan after this.  In fact, the first book in a new cycle of The Plan is at the bottom of my stack.

I’m looking forward to it.  I have some great books waiting for me!

Some Brief Reviews

This week I’ve finished three books: an ebook, an audio, and a nonfiction title.  I have things to say about all of the books but not enough for a solid review of any.  This could be because I have also been reading 100+ pages per day to get through my battle books but that’s fine.  It’s all fine.  I don’t dream in Greed myth at all.

First, I finish The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles.  I read this book mostly at night and it was a slow read but also rewarding.  I found that it was a great bedtime book.  This early material on King Arthur and, as such, the language is a bit dry.  However, it was a great intro to the legends.  I debated whether or not I would go on to read other renditions in the future and I think that I probably will.  I’d like to see some narrative storytelling but I’m glad that I slogged through this one.  I chose this version because it was free but it might not work for everyone.  Great for lulling me to sleep, though!

Next I finished listening to The Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney.  This is the first book in the Last Apprentice series.  I listened to the first five years ago and recall it being one of my first positive listening experiences.  I’m not wrong.  HOWEVER, when I listened to the first five, they were shelved in the junior section at my old library of employment.  At my current library they are young adult.  THESE BOOKS ARE DEFINITELY NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.  Seriously.  I remember thinking they were scary and exciting, that I was on the edge of my seat while I listened.  I remember sitting in my driveway, gripping my steering wheel while I listened just a little longer.  But, man, are these ghastly!  Blood cakes, you guys.  Coffin worms.  And those aren’t the most disturbing things.  It was intense.  I am going to have to watch who I give these to in the future.

Finally, I wrapped up my reading of Dot Journaling by Rachel Wilkerson Miller.  I had been toying with the idea of bullet journaling for a while and this book has gotten me started.  It was a quick read with lots of great ideas and I loved.  I loved it enough to start up my own bullet journal in my next empty journal and then I went and bought felt pens and actual dot grid journals, even though I have pens and journals coming out of my ears.  The layouts are really pretty and well explained and I really enjoyed this.

Ok!  That’s the run down!  I have to go read more about Greek myths now.  NO, YOU DREAM IN MYTHS!

Tally Monday- April 9, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
  2. Simply Irresistable by Jill Shalvis
  3. A Natural History of the Senses by Duane Ackerman
  4. Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney

Bought

  1. Rebel Buddha by Dzogchen Ponlop
  2. The Death of Archie: A Life Celebrated

Read

  1. “Faint of Heart” by Amanda Rea
  2. The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights  by James Knowles
  3. Dot Journaling by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

Reading: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, Basic Witches by Jaya Saxon, Stalking God by Anjuli Kumar, The Complete Essays of Montaigne, vol. 1 by Michel de Montaigne, Chicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman, Best Loved Poems of the American People

Basically, it hit me in the gut last week that it is almost time for Battle of the Books and I have been pussy-footing around so much that I have basically screwed myself.  Thursday I sat down and figured out how many pages I had left to read by the 18th, because the battle is the 19th, and then I figured out how much I had to read each day and then I promptly died a bit.

65 pages.

There is a part of me that was like, “Psht.  65 pages?  Ain’t nothing but a thang, chicken wang.”  But now there is the sane part of me that reminds me of the million ways that I am bound to fuck this up.  I cannot read for long stretches of time.  I have NEVER been able to.  So I have to work reading into spurts throughout the day.  And, let’s just be honest, I am going to have to do a lot of this reading at work.  In all fairness it is actually work.  While I am pretty good at tuning out things like the television while I’m reading, that’s only if I’m really into my book and I am not really into these books.  Plus, I have this mothering gig to attend to, laundry to do, a house to keep semi-liveable, and Hubby is working on redoing the basement which requires at least some help from me.

Okay, work then.  Thursday night I resolved to read.  I worked hard to finish my work and then… I was kind of brain dead.  I DID read, though, and I managed a solid 30ish pages by the end of the night.  An improvement, sadly.  I knew that Friday was going to be a wash because I had a big program in the evening that was going to take up most of my day.  Still, I told myself, I can get ready for the program, take care of my one “top priority” thing at work (a daily task that I have been trying to catch up on since maternity leave and requires that I still to my program to do it), and then read.  I can do that!  Except that Friday was mired by interruption after interruption and I didn’t get ANYTHING done.  I started my weekend two days behind.

Well, I am proud to say that I am only one day behind now and I have a pretty decent plan to make a dent in this reading.  My plan is to read one chapter an hour while I am at work and then I can try to knock out one or two more at night.  This is definitely one of this things that will only work if it works, though, not if I get called off to take care of other things and not if people won’t leave me alone.

Boy, that does sound harsh, doesn’t it?  I am really feeling the crunch, though, and it is important that I get this done so that I can return to my regularly scheduled programming.  Even that needs to be straightened out, but that’s another problem for another day.  And, really, how #firstworldproblem.  Gosh, I have to read.  How terrible.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed about it, though.

Alright, off to the coal mines!  I have a lot to do today.  Ugh.

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DeCamillo

This was the new book that I selected to add to our Battle of the Books collection this year.  I chose it specifically because it was a book that I had been meaning to read.  Seriously, though, who could say no to a flying, poetry writing, superhero squirrel?  Not I!

Flora is a cold, hard cynic.  While her mother writes romance novels at her typewriter in the kitchen, Flora prefers to read the adventures of Incandesto, a janitor superhero.  In the back of the Incandesto comics is a comic about all of the terrible things that can happen to people and how to be prepared for them.  That’s how Flora knows what to do when she sees a rogue vacuum cleaner suck up a squirrel in her neighbor’s yard.  Flora rushes to the rescue and when the squirrel is revived, he has super strength, the ability to fly, and a love for everything in the world that causes him to write poetry.  What Ulysses (named for the vacuum cleaner that almost killed him) loves most in the world is Flora.

However, Flora’s mother isn’t too keen on the squirrel.

This is one of those great books that builds a cast of delightfully strange and beautiful characters, from Flora’s romance writing mother to her downtrodden father, from a neighbor named Tootie with a really strange great-nephew to a widowed neighbor who likes to talk about her youth.  It even has donuts and seal blubber.

I liked this.  I also want my own squirrel.