Tally Monday! March 30, 2015- Special Staycation Edition!

Checked Out

None! (I don’t think…)

OMG!  That’s not true!

  1. Elin’s Amerika by Marguerite de Angeli

Bought

None!  (Except that Hemingway short story collection but I kind of already own that…  I think….)

Read

  1. Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
  2. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  3. “Becoming Them” by James Wood

TBR: 35

SO, in case you missed it, I’m on staycation this week and I have the idea that I will READ LOTS OF BOOKS except that I also am working on a quilt for myself and cleaning out the storage room in our basement which is where we keep: random doors we no longer need, Halloween decorations, Christmas decorations, camping ear, the things you would usually keep in a garage (snow shovel and paint), sports gear (gold clubs, mostly, but that’s enough), two tubs of “Stuff I can’t throw out from high school”, and my milk glass collection.  My doubts on the reading are rising, specifically because I wanted to finish Good Omens days ago.  And here I was worried that I wouldn’t have the next book in the series I’m reading!  (I ordered two in case I blew through a book a day and neither of them came.)

Basically, right now, I am sitting in my basement, watching YouTube and having a Guinness.  I am not going upstairs to figure out my TBR count and I did the whole of this post from memory.  There you go.

Good Omens was one of those books that I wish I would have read a lot faster.  It is completely possible to lose steam when reading simply because you aren’t doing it fast enough.  It was the kind of book that begged to be read in one sitting if it weren’t so large.  I kept losing the thread because I kept missing whole reading days at a time.  My most enjoyable experience of it was on Saturday.  I made some Malibu and diet root beer and I sat on the couch and drank and read for a good hour.  It was lovely and I was relaxed enough to really fall into the book.

This reading experience prompted a discussion with Hubby about how I read.  He was telling me about some psychedelic drug he had read about that “takes you to a completely different plane” and I explained that when I get really into a book, I get really into it.  Like, on Saturday night I was reading and I went downstairs to hang out with Hubby and it was really hard.  It was like I was in apocalyptic England AND my shitty basement bar at the same time.  One foot in each world.

I like to break stuff up.  I like to wake up, read, work out, read, shower read, etc.  My days will simply slip by.

Tally Monday- March 23, 2015

Checked Out

  1. Girls on Film by Zoey Dean
  2. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

Bought

  1. A Year of Pleasure by Elizabeth Berg
  2. Longbourn by Jo Baker
  3. Z by Therese Anne Fowler
  4. Mrs. Poe by L:ynn Cullen
  5. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  6. The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King
  7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  8. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  9. Roses by Leila Meachum
  10. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audry Niffenegger

Read

  1. A-List by Zoey Dean
  2. “The Old Man at Burning Man” by Wells Tower
  3. The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
  4. “How to Make a Slave” by Jerald Walker
  5. Thee, Hannah by Marguerite de Angeli
  6. “On Being Introduced” by Paul West

TBR 35

I think it probably should be pointed out that I have been a very bad girl this week…  No, no.  I have been a woman who knows what she wants and what she likes and manages to purchase a ridiculous amount of books for very little.  How little?  I figure that with the three books that I bought last week, I spent about $6.  It should be pointed out that all of the books were used and that I am, quite disastrously, allowed a discount at my library’s book sale on occasion.  When it comes to buying books, even books that I get dirt cheap, I have a cycle that I like to compare to what I think heroin addiction must feel like.  I am always looking for my next score and when I get it, it’s exhilarating.  Then I hate myself a little bit to a lot.

You may notice, though, that my check outs are much lower.  I only replaced my series book and my children’s lit book.  Soon, very soon hopefully, my TBR stack should be nearly under control.  That has been my main objective these past weeks.  I’ve worked out my uber complicated list by book size and I can see where it will start making a difference.  I know that I need to get things under control and I am trying, you guys.  I am trying.

I made it through three books this week and three essays.  I liked all of the books but I think that Thee, Hannah was my favorite.  For a whole afternoon I was pretty sure that I needed to be a Quaker.  Don’t laugh at me!  If the books at the start of my reading program had been longer, I would not have accomplished so much.  Of the essays, “On Being Introduced” was my least favorite.  I was the shortest of the three and the only one that I nearly didn’t make it through.  It was pompous.  I liked the touching humor of “How to Make a Slave” and I liked the earnest disappointment and fear in “Old Man at Burning Man.”  I am one essay away from finishing my collection!

I am currently reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.  As I’ve said before, the best way to get to the top of my reading list is to die.  It’s a shame that this is true.  We have three copies of the book kicking around the house and so I figured that it was a good time to attempt it.

Thee, Hannah by Marguerite de Angeli

It’s been a while, but I am continuing on my de Angeli reading project.  When you work pretty much in the same room as someone’s Newberry medal, it seems like it is your duty to read their work.

If you don’t know, de Angeli’s books are like the original American Girls.  Each book follows a girl from a different culture.  There were even dolls to go with the books!  However, de Angeli’s writing was sweet when being sweet was still novel instead of sickly.  I find her much easier to stomach.  Though, I may be a little biased.

Thee, Hannah is the story of a Quaker girl living in Philadelphia.  She is the youngest in her family and she has not quite figured out what it means to be a Friend yet.  She lives next door to a little girl who is not a Quaker but is her best friend and she finds herself jealous of Cecily’s clothes and bonnets.  Hannah wants to look like the other little girls and it is always getting her into trouble.  Finally, after numerous little disasters, Hannah is in deep trouble when she gets the chance to see what it is that her religion actually means and why she must look different.

This was another cute little read.  I enjoyed it a lot, actually.  I found myself getting sucked into the story even if it was simple.  Sometimes simple is good.

Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling

Many years ago in a library far, far away (or actually one that I go to five days a week for work), I was just a lowly page.  Christmas neared and as it did we entered the regular end of the year slump.  Every single book seemed to be on the shelves, jamming them up to the point where not another one would fit.  Nobody was returning any more books, anyway.  My last four hour shift before the Christmas break was ticking away at a frighteningly slow pace.  The library was silent.  I was going to start pulling my hair out.  Then I decided on a little project.  I would make a list of all of the children’s chapter books that I had missed when I was growing up.  There were a lot.  I was a slow reader when I was young.  I worked my way through the shelves, writing down everything that I thought I had missed.

That’s why I read Chocolate Touch.

This was a cute little read, if dated.  Actually, it was funny to me the things that made it dated.  The school seemed too traditional.  The family seemed too traditional.  It was a little too cookie cutter to be modern.  The moral was a little too cute and easy to spot.  It still reminded me of something I would have read in elementary school

John Midas loves candy.  He loves it. He would rather eat chocolate than anything.  Except, he’s eating so much candy that he’s not eating other foods like he should.  A trip to the family doctor has him taking a spoonful of tonic to make up for all of the vitamins he isn’t getting and it is Gross with a capital “G.”  Then, one day, John takes a different way to his friend’s house and he finds a strange coin on the ground.  Further along he comes across a shop full of candy and the chop keeper happily takes the strange coin in exchange for a large box of chocolate.  John greedily digs into the box that night only to discover one piece of chocolate in the whole thing.  It may be the best chocolate he’s ever eaten but he’s still disappointed.  The next morning he notices something strange, though.  Everything he eats turns to chocolate!  Only, soon John learns that you can have too much of a good thing.

A-List by Zoey Dean

The backlog that is my TBR is so immense that, at this point, reading a YA series that I wanted to read as it came out is like a throwback.  There is something comforting about this, really.  I may not have been a rich girl living in Beverly Hills but I graduated the year before this book was published and there are little things that made me feel like I was 17 again.  I hate to compare but so far I think that I will like A-List better than Gossip Girl. It seems a little smarter and less shocking just to be shocking.

Our MC, one Anna of the east coast WASP, has decided to spend a semester in L.A, living with her father and interning at a publishing house.  She’s made the decision to go to L.A. for a couple of reasons.  First, her family is falling apart.  Her sister is back in rehab and her mother, who just can’t seem to deal with it, is off in Europe.  Second, Anna’s best friend, Cyn, is dating the boy she was in love with and too shy to make the first move on.  Anna has decided to face the open world in front of her.  She has decided to try to be more like Cyn, to broaden her horizons.  Her first challenge is sitting next to an obnoxious man on the plan but when she can’t gather the courage to tell him to screw off, she ends up drinking a little more than she should and making out with a cute guy, Ben, in the plane bathroom.

Most of this book takes place on New Years Eve.  We learn about Anna’s father and how he’s let her down.  Then we get to go to a movie star’s wedding with Anna and Ben.  That’s where we meet Sam, Cammie, and Dee, the A-List of Beverly Hills High and all miraculously in love with Ben.  There’s a romantic evening, a wild party, mean girls, and disasters.  You know, all of the makings of a good YA series from the 2000’s.

I was seriously delighted by this.  Anna and Sam are both smart girls and I like them a lot.  I cannot wait to see what is to come.  There’s nothing like a book that makes you giggle and gasp and squeal.

Tally Monday- March 16, 2015

Checked Out

  1. A-List by Zoey Dean
  2. The Sweet Far Thing- Libba Bray (audio)

Bought

  1. Boone’s Lick- Larry McMurtry
  2. Postcards- E. Annie Proulx
  3. The Goss Women- R.V. Cassill

Read

  1. “Joy”- Zadie Smith
  2. Phoebe and Her Unicorn– Dana Simpson
  3. “LIttle X”- Elizabeth Tallent

TBR: 36

Do you remember that I was all excited about my new reading plan last week and how it was really going to help me tick down the TBR list and make it manageable again?  Well, you may not have noticed it but it hasn’t actually worked yet.  My TBR stack has been at 36 since February 23.  I recognize that I am going to have to be patient, that eventually the number will go down.  Then I look at my next stack of four (library-library-book I own-series) and I see that it’s really cyclical.  Like, my next set of four is “childrens book, deAngeli book, book I added because Terry Pratchett died, and series.”  Those are all things that will be replaced almost right away.  I know, I know, I know.  Patience is a virtue.  Whatever.

I enjoyed what I read this week and that should really mean something.  I did throw a book aside and decide not to read it.  I did make some progress.  There’s even a chance that I will finish A-List today.  What can I say?  I really enjoy these bratty rich kid books.  Plus, they are a total throw back.

I discovered last week that I have a hard time reviewing audio books.  I wanted to review them for you guys because I actually really like A Great and Terrible Beauty, the first in the Gemma Doyle trilogy, but when I sat down at the computer I felt completely flummoxed.  How do you spell that character’s name?  How do I describe this when I am pretty sure that I missed a few little bits?  Maybe someday I’ll be able to get it down.  Any suggestions?

I am going to go and rewrite my plan a little bit and then take a bite out of my pile.  Really, you guys.  We have to get this under control, just like when I decide to eat my way through the junk food in the house.

*Update*  Oh, guys…  If I go the way I’m going, I have enough books to last me 46 reads. Shit.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson

One day I was just sitting in the children’s room at work, reading about great graphic novels for girls, and I couldn’t help but snag this one and take it home with me.  You may not know this but there are not nearly enough books about unicorns.  It’s pretty surprising because I’ve had a lot of girls ask for them.  I always wanted books about unicorns when I was growing up too and could never find any.

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this.  I mean, I really, really enjoyed this, you guys.

Phoebe is the kind of girl who reminds me of myself.  She is an outsider without any friends who is kind of silly and weird.  Basically, she’s good fun.  One day, Phoebe skips a rock and it hits a unicorn who is under the spell of her own reflection.  Indebted to Phoebe, she grants the girl one wish.  Phoebe, of course, wishes first for an infinity of wishes and then for an infinity of dollars but when the unicorn says that she can’t fulfill those wishes the girl decides that it would be pretty cool to have a unicorn as a best friend and everyone would probably be super jealous of her.

What follows is the story of how Marigold and Phoebe actually become friends.  They both have a lot to learn and a lot to teach each other.

This was a cute book without being sugary sweet and also it was pretty funny.  I cannot wait for the next one to come out because I am going to be reading each and every one.