Tally Monday- February 19, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Marbles by Ellen Forney
  2. The Graphic Canon, vol 1 edited by Russ Kick
  3. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
  4. Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven


None, but not for lack of trying.


  1. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter

Reading: My own novel, The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles, United We Spy by Ally Carter, A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolf, Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke, Chicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman, and The Bst Loved Poems of the American People

I have been a bit manic for a while now.  Nearly a week, which is a long time for me.  I was wondering this morning if it really was mania or if things had just clicked.  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about things lately and I’ve figured some things out.  I feel really good, like I am on the right path and making progress and all of that.  But I know that I’m manic too because of two things:  First, I cannot get myself to settle down and focus on one thing for the life of me.  Second, books I’ve requested have started rolling in.

It should have been a sign when I decided last week that I was going to read all of Jane Austen and then after I talked myself down from that I we hell bent on rereading all of Joe Meno.  At least I’ve managed to control myself a little.

Last week I focused on reading my own novel.  I’ve been working on it for years but have never really managed to edit it.  Whenever it was time to edit, I would do that thing I do where I come up with a ton of other things that have to be done Right Now because I tell myself that I don’t know what I’m doing.  And that’s absolutely correct.  I DON’T know what I’m doing but I’m never going to know if I don’t try.  So, armed with Chuck Wendig’s advice on editing from his blog, I have undertaken the great re-read.

And, you know, it’s better than I thought.  Some of it is actually, like, really good.

I feel good about that.  I am a little disappointed that I haven’t finished the reread yet.  I started a week ago and I made really good time at first but then I got busy with some other things for work and I pretty much ran full out for the second half of last week while accomplishing very little.  “I’ll finish reading it this weekend,” I told myself.  Saturday I went out with Hubby and told myself that I was taking a day off because I needed it.  Sunday I was frustratingly out of sorts, unable to finish one simple task and too distracted to focus on anything.  Finally, last night I sat down with it and read 10%.

I had a talk with myself, see.  Right now the novel is the most important thing.  I can finish reading it if I just make it my top priority.  So, the laundry will have to wait and the house will have to wait.  Right now I need to read my novel and love my family and take care of myself.  If I focus on those three things, I’ll be alright.

For now, the plan is to finish the re-read and then let it sit for a week so I can process.  Then it’s back to editing which will have to take a front seat.  I may not read as much this year but I am doing something and that something is very important to me.

You guys have to keep your reading up for me, okay?  I’ll join you again soon.  Always be reading, my friends!



Tally Monday- February 12, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Practical Intuition by Laura Day




  1. Missed Conncetions by Sophie Blackall
  2. “Toby” by Mark Manson
  3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Reading: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter, The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles, Practical Intuition by Laura Day, The Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleChicken Soup for the SoulLetters to a Young Poet by Rilke, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

Last night we watched hours of The Wire, which has been our recent obsession because we’re, like, a decade behind everyone else.  Just before Hubby turned it on, I looked at him and said, “I really just want to read right now.”  And I did.  Before dinner I had been attempting to get Little Dude to nap.  Usually we nap together on the weekends but I just wanted to read so I sat in bed with him laying against me and I read.  It worked for maybe 10 minutes while he had a bottle and then it was impossible.  Still, I had 12 pages left in a book and I was going to finish the thing, dammit.

We had an early dinner.  LD eventually took a short afternoon nap.  Hubby put on The Wire.  I let my daze out on it.  I had popcorn.  I put LD down for the night.  By that time, Hubby was dozing on the couch and I was thinking that I should turn the TV off.  Instead, I waited it out a little and watched as he maybe took in half of what was going on.  Finally, I got up and started my kettle, brushed my teeth, and got the coffee ready for this morning.  Hubby excused himself to bed.  I sat on the couch and finished those 12 pages, a mere 4 hours after I intended to.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy that time yesterday.  But, honestly, yesterday was a very strange day and none of it was terribly satisfying.  Not even the book I finished.

After finishing the book, I looked at my reading life for a second and felt the panic of having too much going on.  I’ve been arguing all year that reading so many different things at once has made me feel really good about my reading life.  But then I started picking at a book here (Chicken Soup) and picking at a book there (Letters to a Young Poet) and then I checked out a book that seemed really important to my current personal project (Practical Intuition) and suddenly, SUDDENYL!  it just feel like too much…

The problem with me is my need to consumer.  Books and shows and podcasts and all of the delicious things possible.  I want them all, regardless of time available.  I follow too many podcasts.  I want to watch too many shows (X-Files and Mad Men and Supernatural and The Wire and Desperate Housewives and more).  My head is always going in too many directions at once and there is always, always something else to do.

So, what do I do?  Do I rush through a couple of things and trim back?  And what about my sudden longing to just, you know, maybe take a break from King and read all of the Austen instead?  How do I make these decisions and how do I live with my choices and how do I make the time?

I’m sure that by next week I’ll be feeling different about the whole thing.  But right now I just feel overwhelmed.

Always be reading, my friends…  And today I start rereading my novel and taking notes…

Tally Monday- February 5, 2018

Checked Out

  1. United We Spy by Ally Carter
  2. Dr. Franklin’s Island by Ann Halam
  3. Missed Connections by Sophie Blackall


  1. Passage Meditation by Eknath Easwaran


  1. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston
  2. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King

Reading “Toby” by Lily Boyd then The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, Missed ConnectionsThe Legends of King Arthur and His KnightsOut of Sight, Out of TimeThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ckSimple AbundanceThe Empowered Mama

I did it.

I finished the Stephen King.

A review to follow but I can tell you right now that I liked it.

And now I am free to pursue my giant TBR that definitely does not exist.  Not at all.  Not in written or physical form…

Anyway, happy Monday!  I am feeling a little rough today because I do stupid things sometimes BUT this too shall pass.  Let’s take a moment to check in on my life before we check in on books.  I’ve lost 7 lbs this year and already it is enough to FEEL better.  I have a bit more energy and even a bit more drive.  I’ve even been pacing while I read sometimes!

On Saturday I saw a psychic, something I used to do a couple of times a year and haven’t done in a couple of years.  She didn’t tell me anything too surprising but she did hammer at one point: I am closing myself off.  I’ve been working at it for years and I made the choice to do it but now I see it was a mistake.  I have been SMOTHERING myself instead of protecting myself and now I start the process of trying to figure out how to open back up.  Thus the meditation book.  I just needed a starting point, you know?  And I have no idea how to get back in touch with this part of myself but I know it is important.  Vague.  Sorry. lol.

I am continuing on with my Graphic Fridays and I’m actually feeling pretty proud of myself for sticking to it.  I am taking a break from my audiobooks this week just because I need one.  Usually I take a break in between audios but Out of Sight, Out of Time only checked out for two weeks so I dove right in.  Well, I renewed it and now I have it two more weeks and I can take a breather.  I need one.  I miss my pods!  So, I’m toying with the idea of doing audios every other week.  I’m not sure.

Plans for today?  Work and housework but also I plan on getting some reading done.  I have to get through my battle books now!  (I’m not excited.  I actually am terrible at assigned reading these days.)

Hey!  You!  You’re awesome!  Let’s slay this week!  Always be reading, my friend!

Tally Monday- January 29, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
  2. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
  3. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston


  1. I Saw You That Night by R.L. Stine
  2. When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whelan


  1. Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
  2. Blankets by Craig Thompson

Reading: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King, The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles, Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, The Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman, and Chicken Soup for the Soul

I find it funny that the task of typing up all of the stuff I am reading is more daunting to me than actually reading the stuff.  We’ve talked about this before.  It seems like I am reading sooooo much at once but it’s all very compartmentalized.

Sleeping Beauties is my current “book that I’m actually reading.”  I mean, I guess it’s just my main print book?  My goal last week was to finish it by today and when I got up on Friday I had 200 pages to read by today.  I didn’t make it.  I love Stephen King and one of the things that I LOVE about his books are those little short sub-chapters.  I like that I can break up the reading.  It felt like I read and read and read yesterday but I only cleared something like 40 pages and it was really the first chance I got to read all weekend.  I WILL finish this book this week.  I will work on it diligently.  There will be a break for my next graphic novel but I completely spaced on that today so whatever.

The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights is my ebook that I read at night.  Now, I have the SK on my Kindle too and I thought I might make a bigger dent in it if I read it at night too but then I realized that I actually can’t sleep when I read it.  My brain goes, “Oh no!  You’ll be in a cocoon if you fall asleep!”  But this is a GREAT book for night.  A lot of people calling it “dry” and some people saying that “there is value in reading the source material” and I don’t know about all of that noise.  I like it.  Look, it’s just that the language is a little different and the story is very oral feeling.  It’s not hard, though, and it doesn’t feel dry to me either.  Maybe I’M dry!  Don’t say I am, please. lol.  I’d rather not know.

The Gallagher Girls series continues on audio and they are still a blast but I’m starting to feel the need for a break.  Usually I take a week in between audiobooks to listen to some podcasts and kind of rest my brain but the one I’m on now only checks out for two weeks and has to be done by next Tuesday.  The final book in the series is on hold for me and I’m excited to finish this one up!  It’s been amusing.  I’ve enjoyed it.  But I can’t wait to start my next series!

My nonfiction, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, is a bit eh.  Just eh.  I mean, I can see the appeal but basically it’s like all of the self-help books that I’ve read but with a more abrasive tone.  And whatever!  Abrasive is fine!  I find myself a little irked with the author though, telling his personal stories about how he thought he was so special and nobody is.  I also dislike it when he talks about how he’s not going to feed you the same line of bullshit that other self-help books do but really he IS but with swears and also didn’t he just say he wasn’t special?

And everything else is just stuff I dip into every day.  I might read Chicken Soup, I might not.  I’ve done January in Empowered Mama.  I’ve kept up with Simple Abundance which, btw, I love.  Last week I had a Deep Thought and then this week I came across a version of it in SA!  I wonder if I got it there in the first place?

Anyway, I’m enjoying my chaotic and sporadic reading life.  I’m also enjoying The Wire, which Hubby and I started watching a couple of weeks ago, and my podcasts (of which I started following 8 more last week.)  I’ve been playing with my baby and hanging with my hubby and, all in all, life is pretty sweet right now.

Always be reading, my friends!

Tally Monday- January 22, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Blankets by Craig Thompson


  1. Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
  2. Day Shift by Charlaine Harris
  3. Night Shift by Charlaine Harris
  4. Chicken Soup for the Soul
  5. The Stories of Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
  6. My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews
  7. The Qualinesti by Paul B. Thompson
  8. The Time of the Twins by Margaret Weis
  9. Stonghold by Melanie Rawn
  10. Six of Swords by Carole Nelson Douglas
  11. Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
  12. Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings
  13. Magician’s Gambit by David Eddings
  14. Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings


  1. Tina’s Mouth by Keshni Kashyap
  2. “Are You Mine and No One Else’s” by Danny Lorberbaum
  3. The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes
  4. Writers Gone Wild by Bill Peschel

Reading:  Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King, Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Mason, The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles, Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman, and Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul

Now that is a reading week, you guys!

And the honest truth of it is that I didn’t do much.  I just kept on with my own thing and happened to finish a lot in one week.

I’m actually kind of disappointed because I forgot the next graphic novel I was going to read.

Because today I get to talk to a bunch of middle school kids during their lunches about the upcoming Battle of the Books.  You know, the one that I haven’t read the books for yet?  Well, usually I take about 5 minutes to talk during each lunch.  I’ll be at the school for about two hours and I will talk 15 minutes of that time.  In between talks, I read.  I might have been able to finish the next, massive graphic.  Instead maybe I’ll make a good sized dent in the King.

Let me explain about the books I bought.  My name is Rachael and I have a problem.  But I refuse to feel guilty about it!  I used the rest of my Amazon gift card to get the Harris books in a bundle and the rest of the books I paid a total of $1.10 for!  I went to the Salvation Army with my mom on Saturday and I scored, I kid you not, three cardigans and eleven books for less than $10.  I am a bargain fiend!  I couldn’t resist, you know.  Somebody cleaned out their fantasy shelves and I benefited.

I’m feeling good this week.  Hubby and I talked a little bit and he said something to me that I am trying to keep in mind.  I won’t tell you what it was but I will say that I plan on taking some time to read and color this week because life is short and I deserve to enjoy it.  And the best way for ME to enjoy it is with a book.

Always be reading, my friends!

Tally Monday- January 15, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter


  1. The Hunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Coates


*sad trombones*

ReadingSleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King, Only the Good Spy YoungWriters Gone Wild by Bill Peschel, The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles, Weary Blues by Langston Hughes, Tina’s Mouth by Keshni Kashyap, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, and The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

As happens every year around this time, I have spent the last month fretting about reading.  I have SO MUCH TO READ because I have battle of the books coming up and I have to go and sell five books to a bunch of middle grade students during their lunch break.  This is a pretty terrifying thing to do and I always put a lot of pressure on myself to read all of the books before I present.  But I was reminded last week by my right hand at work that I’m a librarian and therefore a pro at using Goodreads to sell books that I haven’t read.  She told me not to worry about it and that was really helpful.  Because now I feel a little freer than before and when I pick up a book to read I am not thinking so much about deadlines and such, just the book.  It’s not a competition.  I don’t have to read the books before everyone else.  And I’m not going to because both of my staff are faster readers than me, have more time on the clock to read than me, and don’t have a rambunctious 9.5 month old at home.

And so I wrote two goals in my planner for this week.  The first is to do things that bring joy.  The second is to take back my reading life.

You may notice that I am reading five million books at the present.  Let me break that down for you.

Sleeping Beauties is my actual book at the moment.  I have been working on reading this for almost two months but I am actually making some headway now.  It always takes me a little while to get into Stephen King but once it clicks, it clicks and it has clicked.  I am enjoying it and hope to read a lot more this week.

Only the Good Spy Young is my audiobook.  I listen to audio at least 45 minutes Monday through Friday.  After I finish an audiobook, I like to listen to some of my podcasts for a week as a kind of cleanser.  This one is the fourth in a six part series and I just started it this morning.  I’m already sucked back in.  A delightful romp.

Writers Gone Wild is my nonfiction book at the moment.  I try to read 10 pages of nonfiction a day.  Hubby surprised me with this one a few months ago and I decided to read it now so that he would know I love him and appreciate it.  But it’s also a hoot and right up my alley.  Last week I was asked to help give a talk about Hemingway at work and I spoke purely from this book, which basically means that I told an off color story about a walking stick.  A.  Hoot.

The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights is my ebook.  I like to have an ebook to read at night in bed because then I can read when I can’t sleep without turning a light on.  I’ve been sporadic about this one because I have the King book on my Kindle too but I sleep better when I don’t read a book about women being wrapped in cocoons in their sleep, it turns out, so I’m back on it.  It was a free download, as I’m working through from my oldest ebooks to my newest and I downloaded a TON of free books when I got my first Kindle.  A lot of people say they find it dry but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it.

Wearly Blues is my book of poetry.  I try to read at least one poem a day but these are so short that I am tearing through them.  And they are WONDERFUL.  I don’t think I’ve ever read Langston Hughes before but he’s freaking amazing.

Tina’s Mouth is my current graphic novel.  Remember Graphic Friday?  Well, I’m bringing it back!  As part of my plan to take back my reading life, I started this this morning and plan on reading most, if not all, of it today.  Review to post on Friday.

Simple Abundance and The Empowered Mama will take me the year to read.  If you are not familiar with Simple Abundance (which, oddly, a surprising number of women are), it is a “day book of comfort and joy.”  I don’t know how to explain it except that it is like the epitome of women’s self help.  This will probably be the fourth or fifth time that I have read it and every time it brings new depth and meaning to my life.  January is an introduction to the six principles of SA and already I feel myself altering.  Empowered Mama is similar but it is a workbook organized by month.  January is about focusing on me and committing to spending 10 minutes/day recharging.  I’ve cleaned off my reading chair in my office and I have sat in it much more over the past week.  I’m also taking a look at my values and figuring out how to build my life around them.

So, there you have it.  Is it complicated?  Yes!  Do I give a fuck?  NO!  It’s MY reading life, after all, and I like the variety and depth it gives me.  I like how reading is a part of my daily rounds.  It is like my religion, you know.  I’ve been saying that for years.  The best part is that by next Monday there is a good possibility that I will be done with FOUR of these books.  It just works out like that sometimes.

Always be reading, you guys, and I hope that reading is exactly how you want it to be!

Tally Monday- January 8, 2018

Checked Out

  1. The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes


  1. You Do You by Sarah Knight
  2. The Unfortunates by B.S. Johnson
  3. The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman
  4. Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix


  1. Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter

Reading Writers Gone WildSleeping Beauties, The Weary Blues, Simple Abundance

I have today off.  I had a float day leftover from the holidays and we got some snow last night so I thought this would be a good time to use it.  My plan for the day was simple.  I busted butt yesterday to clean the whole house and do all of the laundry so that I could spend my day reading.

But, you know, infant.

This morning I read a little bit, about five pages, but mostly I’ve just… I don’t even know.  I wasn’t in tip top shape this morning and then we took a nap and then I made some soup and then we took a nap and now someone seems to be a little cranky.

Sometimes my life and my house are just not conducive to reading.  There’s a baby whose teeth are hurting him.  There are cats fighting.  Hubby is working from home and on a conference call.  The TV is on.  The baby is playing with his musical guitar toy.  When I sat down to write this entry about 20 minutes ago, LD had a small meltdown, then I got him entertained and sat back down, then he discovered the power button on the xBox.

I was waiting on my Amazon box to come before I wrote and I was sooooo excited when it showed.  I started the kettle and got out the scissors and… LD started yelling at me.  It’s alright, you guys.  I am never going to have him at this age again.  I’m not complaining and I’m not making excuses.  I’m just explaining.  And I’m admitting that I really really want to read.

But the honest truth is that I probably won’t get much of a chance to until LD goes to bed in 2.5 hours.  And that’s alright.  We’ll read Relativity for Babies again and then later I’ll make some popcorn and sit in my quiet office and read.