Tally Monday- March 27, 2017

Checked Out

None!

Bought

  1. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
  2. Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Munro
  3. The Blue Jay’s Dance by Louise Erdrich

Read

  1. The Joy of Words
  2. The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
  3. The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell

TBR 13 or whatever

Hello future people!  In my current timeline, it is Sunday night and I have spent all weekend taking care fo all of the last minute shit that needed to be done.  I managed o finish a book, which was nice, but I did that mostly last night in between periods of sleep on the couch.  The physical discomfort is real right now.  I’ve worked around the house for eleven hours today and I’m pretty well done.

In your timeline, I probably have a baby now.  Congrats to future Rachael.  See?  You’re not dead, are you?

Well, it’s here.  My library books have all been returned and I have a stock pile of things to read even though I probably won’t read them.  I have my Kindle loaded for the hospital.  All there is to do now is to step into the future.

Basically, my reading brain has been occupied with the argument of what to read on my Kindle.  I’ve mentioned before that I read my Kindle at night so that I don’t have to turn on the headboard light.  I’ve been reading War and Peace a chapter at a time and really enjoying it.  The problem started when I loaded up The Stand last night.  It feels weird to read two books on my Kindle at once and I kind of thought I should choose one and finish it but if I just finish the Tolstoy what will I read at night?  Also, I’m kind of afraid that the Tolstoy will lose some of it’s joy if I read it straight through instead of parsing it out bit by bit.

I’d like to read tonight but I don’t know if I will.  I’m tired and I need to leave at 7:30 tomorrow morning.  I said I’d play a game and I’d like to color.  Plus,  I should eat something else before I hit my cut off point.

Wish me luck.  I’ll be back next week with a Tally Monday to tell you how much I didn’t read mostly because I’m reading two huge books.

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The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard

This book was originally chosen for my now defunct sci-fi/fantasy book club.  It took me a while to get to it because I just kind of got buried by other books and then my reading slumped a bit with the pregnancy and so on and so forth.  This was the last library book I had left to read before my maternity leave and I figured it would be fast because it is so very short.  I also thought that it might prove to be atmospheric enough to pull me in and distract me because I liked the idea of reading about hot, humid lagoons and jungles.

It didn’t work.

My reading of this book went in three phases, splitting the book roughly into thirds.  First, I was in for it.  I was interested in the setting and the people and the ideas.  I told Hubby that he would probably love the book.  I let the language carry me.  Second, I was a little bored.  I don’t know why, really.  It was like a struggle to read.  The language weighed me down.  I would get through a page or two and then put it away or fall asleep.  Finally, I hit the “I just do not care” point.  I didn’t.  I almost gave up on it a number of times, even when I was only 20 pages from the end.  I had to fight to finish and it took a very long time.

The Drowned World takes place in a time when solar flares have caused the world to warm up, melting the ice caps and causing the water levels to rise.  With the rising water, silt deposits have completely changed the map of the world and now most of the globe is covered in dense jungles and lagoons.  The only truly inhabitable places are the far north and the far south.  A group of military men and scientists are in submerged London but things are beginning to go bad.  People are haunted by dreams that seem to drive them slowly insane.  When word comes for everyone to move out and back to their base, Dr. Kerans decides to stay behind with Beatrice, the only woman in the area.  They have forged comfortable lives there in penthouses with air conditioning and food stores.  Kerans’ associate, Dr. Bodkin, stays behind as well, chasing down vague memories of his childhood in the city.  Before long, a kind of pirate arrives to loot the city and as he attempts to draw the three from their self imposed isolation, it becomes apparent that he is not to be trusted.

I will agree with many that the setting and the ideas are good and that the language can at times be poetic.  That is not enough to carry a book, though, not even a short one.  I found the characters to be flat and the plot felt a little too cliche and convenient.

Tally Monday- March 20, 2017

Checked Out

None!

Bought

None!  (I’m still waiting on them to ship.  Shhhh.)

Read

  1. When We Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams
  2. Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas

TBR 13

First, some house keeping.  Next week I am going to try to get my post together on Sunday night and either go right ahead and post it or set it to post on Monday for me.  Monday I am having this baby.  Well, at least, if he doesn’t decide to come before that.  I am basically spending this week going, “Stay in there!  Not until Monday!”  Now that the c-section is set, I am quite keen on not accidentally going into labor.  My posting should go back to normalish after the birthing is complete, though I make no promises about my eloquence for the rest of my life.

I am currently reading The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard which was one of the books that we were reading for my now defunct online SciFi/Fantasy book club and is also my last library book out.  I hope to finish it by tonight but the language does not necessarily make for a very smooth read and I can’t promise that these last 100 pages will go down smoothly.  It’s not the kind of thing that I can read with the television.  Last night I tried to read while Hubby watched YouTube and eventually gave up and went to bed to work on War and Peace.  He came to bed and turned on a podcast.

Maybe it’s just that I can’t read with a distraction in general right now.  I try and I make some progress but it is an uphill battle.  It helps that The Drowned World is broken into manageable little chunks because there is always a nice stopping place within a couple of pages.  Which brings me to my next little bit of reading info for you all…

I have been thinking a lot about how I want my new reading life to look.  I know that my reading time is about to decrease.  I am not delusional.  However, I really do wish that people would stop fucking telling me that I’ll never read again.  I will.  I will even if I do it out of spite.  The thing is that I would like a little more freedom and serendipity in my reading life which is why I have worked out a new system.  Because, you guys, I like my systems.  One of the primary decisions I have made about my future reading life is that I need to read more Stephen King if I am going to read all of the Stephen King.  And so, when I finished The Drowned World, I will be reading the uncut version of The Stand.  I am really, really looking forward to it.  I have it on audio, in paperback, and in ebook.  I am ready to go.

I am currently playing with this sequence:

  1. Author (currently King, though I have a list of other authors I’d like to work through)
  2. Big List (my gigantic reading list, either next or random)
  3. Little List (one of the small lists I am working on, currently books mentioned in Perks of Being a Wallflower, I think)
  4. Nonfiction (most likely from Giant List)
  5. Book I Own (randomly selected from my book jar)
  6. YA (because work)
  7. Graphic (from the Giant List)

As soon as I finish The Stand, I’ll start working from my TBR pile to get it down and also to fulfill these categories.  Totally serendipitous, you guys.

It’s just, how do you do it when there are so many good books in the world and more being published all of the time?  At least I can read this stuff to Ian too until he starts to understand it.  Then maybe not Stephen King read alouds…

Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas

I picked up this book purely because it was mis-shelved and on the day that I found it I think that I was feeling a bit like I needed a sign of some sort.  Books make fabulous signs.  I read the first couple of pages at my desk and then took it home with me.  You may recognize the name Rob Thomas, the creator of Veronica Mars, but I didn’t.  This was nothing more than a short book with a strange name in the wrong spot on the shelf.

It was great.

It’s the early 90’s and I got a healthy dose of nostalgia from that.  Steve is living in San Diego with his mother, her new husband, and his sister.  When we meet Steve, he is in danger of not graduating due to being short an English credit.  His guidance counselor, Mr. DeMouy, offers to make him a deal.  He can make up his English credit by writing 100 pages about anything he wants.  DeMouy has seen Steve’s transcripts and knows that he was pulling straight A’s when he lived in Texas, that he was smart enough to be a National Merit finalist.  Steve doesn’t have to tell him what happened, he just needs to write.  Steve agrees and ends up telling the story of his Sophmore and Junior years in Texas.

Back in Texas, Steve lived with his father, worked at the Cineplex after school, and had friends.  His best friend, Doug, has a $500 bet with his father that he will appear in the year book and so they form a club, The Grace Order of Dadaists or GOD, with no intention of it going anywhere.  Instead the group widens their social circle and together they work on a number of dada inspired school projects.  It’s through this club that Steve meets Dub, short for double-u, short for Wanda, who he falls for almost immediately.

Steve’s story bounces between the past and the present.  He writes his paper about what happened in Texas and struggles to make something of San Diego.  He’s sarcastic and the antics of GOD are entertaining.  This was definitely worth the read.

Tally Monday- March 13, 2017

Checked Out

None!

Bought

  1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  2. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
  3. Niceville by Carten Stroud
  4. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  5. Swing Time by Zadie Smith
  6. Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx

Read

  1. In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan

TBR 14

War and Peace  11%

Patience is a virtue.  I must constantly remind myself of that.  For instance, I am just working on a lot of big projects right now.  Outside of my brain, I am working on unpacking all of the baby stuff and getting the nursery in order.  I am happy to report that the level of tunneling in my house has decreased from code red to code orange and I am still working on it, just slowly.  I know that I have to get going because as of right now this baby is coming in two weeks unless he flips into the right position.  Two.  Weeks.  Which is scary, right?  I’ve never had a surgery.  I’ve never had to stay in the hospital.  I don’t really know anything about babies.  I imagine that this is taking up a lot of my head space.

In the brain side of things, I am working on two Impossible Projects.  The first is War and Peace.  It is not impossible.  I know that.  I know that I will finish it because I am actually really enjoying it.  I just have a hard time reminding myself that this is a journey.  And I feel like maybe I wrote about this last week, and I truly apologize for repeating myself.  One of the arguments I see for NOT setting a reading goal for the year is that it makes it too easy to get caught up in trying to hit that number and skipping some great books because they are door-stoppers.  I don’t want to fall into that trap but I catch myself frowning at how slowly the percentage read goes up on my Kindle.  I am making good progress, though, really.  Last night I read a chapter when I went to bed and two more when I woke up at 2:30.  I’m a little confused by the switch to Book Two but I am making due and getting along just fine.

My second Impossible Project is my great podcast catch up.  I have been working on it for about a week now.  Last month, when I originally realized that there was a podcast pileup problem on my phone, I had 1170 podcasts saved on my phone and they were taking up 35GB of space.  I am proud to announce that as of today I have 1231 podcasts taking up 38GB of space.  I’m trying!  I really am!  The problem is that I am currently catching up on a book podcast that I am 45 episodes behind on and that each episode is an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes long.  That’s almost a complete round trip to work for one podcast.  I listen at home while I get ready in the morning and either to or from work and then while I do some chores around the house but… you guys…. they just pile up so fast!  I am determined to do it, though, to get my numbers to a manageable level.  I just need to power through.

(Denial, denial, denial.)

I DID finish watching Eureka last week.  That’s something, right?  Next up:  X-Files!

Hubby and I talked about the time bubble we seem to be in lately.  We both feel like we are accomplishing nothing even though we’re doing stuff and it’s kind of true.  Everything feels like it has taken forever lately.  It’s like this:  If you asked me what I have been doing with my time, I might tell you that I have been really tired but I’ve been working on the nursery, trying to finish my last two library books, and coloring when I just can’t brain.  But as of yesterday we just got to the point of putting stuff away in the nursery and I’ve been reading the same 208 page young adult book for a week and am only on page 50 AND I was coloring the same picture for a week.

I don’t know where the time goes and my brain is wrapped up in all of these things that need to be done.  The next couple of weeks won’t provide much time for reading.  First, the nursery has to get done and the last bit of work work needs to get done.  I just keep reminding myself that even though I am going to be tired and recovering from surgery and taking care of a newborn that I am almost to the point of being off of work for two months and I can read and I can put together a puzzle and I can watch TV and I can color.  I am optimistic.

Also, the great thing about being a librarian is that I am surrounded by people who are very concerned about my plight and want to make sure that I have enough to read.  Four of my books purchased this week were gifted to me from donations and I have been given access to all of the prize books I would like to borrow.  It’s very sweet.  I already have five million books at home. lol.

So, basically, read a little bit for me this week, will ya?  I think I need a surrogate.  For the reading, not the baby.

Listy #52- The Last List

Here is a list of lists I made in the past year.

List List!

  1. Movies
  2. Songs
  3. Quotes
  4. Interwebs
  5. Books
  6. Firsts
  7. 10 Things About My Birthday
  8. Food
  9. I want…
  10. A to Z
  11. Childhood and Current Dream Jobs
  12. Things That Feel Like Home
  13. Essentials
  14. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
  15. Places I Want to Go
  16. Things that Make Me Happy
  17. Comforts
  18. Words
  19. Clothes
  20. Currently
  21. To Do List
  22. The Joy List
  23. Songs Stuck in My Head
  24. Podcasts
  25. Double Trouble
  26. Shit Needs to Get Done
  27. Games
  28. TBR
  29. Home Essentials
  30. Television
  31. Awesome Things
  32. Things that Always Make Me Happy
  33. Halloween is Grinch Night
  34. CD’s in My Car
  35. Every Cat I’ve Ever Owned
  36. Thankful
  37. Winter Things
  38. Jobs I’ve Had
  39. Abundance
  40. Books Bought This Year
  41. Best Books Read 2016
  42. Why I’m Tired
  43. Things I Want for Maternity Leave
  44. Things I’ve Been Thinking About Reading
  45. A-Z Great Words
  46. Books I’ve Almost Bought Today
  47. Podcasts
  48. Ways to Feel Better
  49. To Dos
  50. List List!

So, you guys… I apparently skipped a couple of numbers back there.  And I DO NOT CARE.  I’m over it!  I’m calling this a success!  No more weekly lists!

I’m kind of out of lists to make! lol.

In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan

I finished this book yesterday and have been trying to decide what to say about it.  In fact, I was thinking that I wouldn’t say anything about it at all.  Then I thought that I really wanted to say something about it, but what?

Last summer I read The Girls by Emma Cline and for some reason it threw me into a frenzy for all things counterculture.  I made a list of fiction, nonfiction, and guide books as well as music to explore.  It was kind of silly, right?  I mean, I’ve been listening to the music for all of my life but what if I missed something?  Anyway, this book was on the list and it was really short so I decided to go for it.

I don’t really know what I read.  I don’t even know how to categorize it.  Is it scifi?  Fantasy?  Somebody’s acid trip?  It’s described as expressing the mood of the counterculture but a book can’t just be a fictional account of a mood, can it?

What I can tell you is this:  Even though I had no idea what was going on, I liked it.  Even though I am pretty sure that there are things that I DID NOT LIKE about it (I really hate how heartbroken women are portrayed sometimes), I liked it.  I enjoyed reading it.  I could see the world.  I could see the characters, even if the main character does not have a name.  Well, he does have a name but it’s whatever is on your mind right now.

Basically, this is a book that could be read in one sitting and that I think is definitely worth it but that I can’t really tell you anything about.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.