- Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast
- Ariel: The Restored Edition by Sylvia Plath
- Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock
- Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
- Circe by Madeline Miller
Reading: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Purity by Jonathan Franzen, Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler, Ariel by Sylvia Plath, Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr, A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy
I’m not going to say that Jonathan Franzen isn’t a tool, but I can’t help but think that his writing is amazing. I listened to The Corrections and Freedom on audio a few yars ago and when Purity came out I couldn’t wait to do the same. I didn’t like the narrator, though, and tabled it. Now I’ve adjusted to the narrator and I’m glad because I really do love his work. In fact, I often refer to the book that I am currently querying like a son of a bitch for as “my Franzen book.” I started writing it when I was listening to Freedom and my brain went, “You can actually write this stuff and it’s good and people read it??” I love his deep character dives and the way he weaves back and forth in time and also he’s probably a really sick pervert. There were things in Freedom that I will NEVER be able to unread.
Anyway, you’ll notice that I didn’t finish anything this week but that doesn’t meant hat I didn’t read. In fact, I read a lot. I took a vacation day on Friday and parked my ass on the couch with Little Women. I read so much that day and it felt so good. And I’ve read half a chapter since. However, my best friend who I am reading it with texted me this morning that she is determined to finish it this week and I have also taken up this charge. I have a lot of thoughts, you guys. I’m glad that I’ve read so many articles and opinion pieces about it since I last read it. I’ve been chewing on them as I go.
The two books that I purchased this week were actually my Book of the Month books. I am so excited to be back in the club that I dug out the two books I didn’t read last time and added them to my stack. I have so many reading goals right now. Book of the Month. Little Women. Fear Street. I don’t even care. I am happy with the abundance of my bookshelves.
I’d rather have too much to read than not enough. Who are these people who need book suggestions?
- Hidden Gifts by Christine Pope
- Bewitched in Bedlam by Yasmine Galenon
- Sacrifice Me, Season One by Sarra Cannen
- Magic in the Blood by Kat Parrish
- Elemental Arcane by Praidra Weldon
- Sweet Desire by Stacy Clafin
- Crescent Calling by Nicole R. Taylor
- Bloodsick by Melissa F. Olson
- Witch Ways by Kristy Tate
- Caged Wolf by SM Reine
- Shades of Magic by Julia Crane
- Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee
- The Meek One by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (book), Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr (ebook), Purity by Jonathan Franzen (audio), Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Alder (nonfic), Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast (graphic), The Best Loved Poems of the American People, A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy
Something interesting had happened since I returned all of those books. It’s like not having them stare me in the face has freed me to actually read the way that I want to read. So while I had already started going back to the way I was reading a year ago, this week I have actually completely stepped back into it, graphic novels and all.
I know that clearing physical clutter can clear mental clutter so I don’t know why I am surprised by this. The thing is that I am reading more and I am not sure if it is because of getting those stacks out of the way or because I’ve been trying to read more.
Now I am just trying to figure out how I want to pick my books. Like, do I just grab a YA book that I want off of the shelf or do I work from my TBR list? Ditto with graphics. Ditto with books I own. Ditto with nonfiction.
There are just so many good books in the world!
Last week I decided that I was willing to let my One Story collection build up so that I can finish reading my Little Black Classics finally. I am over halfway done but I keep delaying because I’ve been reading so slowly that my One Stories get back up. But I WANT to finish them. That’s how I came to read The Meek One and it was a reading experience that took the cake for me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It made me feel the feels and I actually had a hard time putting it down.
I am feeling back in my groove and that feels really good. I hope to get more done this week… Like maybe Little Women finally!
- A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman
- The Carrying by Ava Limon
Reading Joyful by Ingrid Fatel Lee (book), Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr (ebook), Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler (nonfiction), Purity by Jonathan Franzen (audio), The Best Loved Poems of the American People (poetry), and Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy (daily)
I feel like it was actually a pretty eventful week in reading for me. I didn’t do a lot of it, yet again, but I did make some significant changes. And I’m still making more.
First, there was the Mass Exodus of Books. I am almost done returning them all and I’m looking forward to having a nice, neat stack eventually. I do feel better. Like, I might still intend to read all of those books and I am still locked into a bit of a crazy system but they aren’t staring me in the face all of the time.
Second, I started getting myself back on my system. And what is my complicated system? In case you missed it, I read 10 pages of nonfiction per day, a daily reader in the mornings, an ebook while I’m in bed, and a physical book the rest of the time. I try to read at least one poem per day. I listen to an audiobook every other day and podcasts every other day. I’ve been listening to books in my stack in an effort to tackle it faster but once I finish this Franzen I’m going back to listening to series on audio.
Third, I really did make time to read this week. I managed 200 pages, which is a vast improvement! I read on the couch a couple of evenings last week but I have a hard time with it because I am so tired when Little Dude goes to bed and Hubby is usually watching TV and it’s easy to get distracted. Friday night Hubby fell asleep on the couch and I propped myself up in bed with cats and blankies and beers and read for a while. Then yesterday I took a break from working and told myself that I only had to play with LD and read. I think I managed 20 pages. At least I tried.
So, see? That’s something. I never thought that it would be so hard to make reading a part of my life again. I didn’t realize how much I had let it slip away from me. This is an uphill battle but, dag nabbit, I’m going to win it.
- Hack Your Anxiety by Alicia H. Clark
- The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
- A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindalen
- How the Hula Girl Sings by Joe Meno
- The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno
- The Great Perhaps by Joe Meno
- Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Chior by Joe Meno
- Office Girl by Joe Meno
- Golden State by Ben H. Winters (Book of the Month Club)
- Demons in the Spring by Joe Meno
- Unicorn Theater by Dana Simpson
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Reading: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (book), Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki (audio), Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr (ebook), Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler (nonfic), The Carrying by Ava Limon (poetry), and A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy (daily)
I have been making more time to read in the past week and maybe because of this I have been feeling a bit more at home with my reading life. After a mid-week meltdown about all of the books I have stacked up on my desk, a hot debate with myself about whether I should just return them all because they’re on my Goodreads after all, and a conversation with two of my library kids about their funny book habits, I am back where I was. I am back to the read two, get one policy and I am back to the varied and complex reading and I am happy about it.
When I was in junior high, seventh or eighth grade, I sat next to a girl in my science class who was a renowned reader. Every day we sat at our table and stacked out things on the right hand corner of our spaces. My stack had a notebook, folder, textbook, and whatever book I was reading at the time. Her stack was the exact same. One December day I noticed that she was reading Little Women. I told her that I had always wanted to read that one because I loved the movie (Winona Rider version, thank you). She told me that she read it every Christmas since she was 9 and I was floored. I was a slow reader (still am) and it took me a long time to catch up with my classmates’ reading levels. I was in the phonics program for two years in elementary school. I loved reading and I wanted to be a writer (or a witch or Paula Abdul) but it took a lot for me to read. In hindsight I can see that the problem was I didn’t WANT to read the easy books. I wanted to dive right in to the big *serious* books from the time I was six. So I didn’t try because who the hell even likes the Boxcar Children? Why couldn’t I just read Tennyson? (This is not an exaggeration but an argument that I legit had with my sixth grade teacher.)
This is the third time that I have read Little Women now. I read the book in high school and listened to it in college and now I am tackling it again with one of my Besties. We started in December because December is the best month for Little Women. I have now been reading it for over a month. I’ve been reading at snail speed because I spent two weeks celebrating the holidays instead of reading and since then I haven’t been much better. But this past weekend I read THREE WHOLE CHAPTERS! And this little movement is exhilarating. It is such a good book and I love that I will be able to talk about it when I am done with someone who I love to talk to. This is my mountain to climb right now. I’m going to make it.
I never expected to read a book on potty training. This falls into the “parenting” category for me and TBH I have been pretty good about doing things intuitively. But potty training is scary for me. I feel very Freudian about it, like I might be dooming my child to be anal for the rest of his life because I fucked it up. Also, diapers are so damn easy to deal with. If anything this book is reminding me that it’s not about me and I have to help this little dude to be a good human, including peeing in the potty. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t bothered by the fact that he’s already old enough to potty train. It feels like he’s not my baby anymore already! Then today I went to the middle school for a library visit and I realized how much time we spend teaching kids to be people and it kind of weirded me out. Wasn’t I just sitting in science class, talking about Little Women? Where did the time go? It all goes way too fast. Hand me a tissue, will you?
- Joyful by Ingrid Fatel Lee
- The Total Woman by Marabel Morgan
- Bucky F*cking Dent by David Duchoveny
- Unicorn Theater by Dana Simpson
- Unicorn of Many Hats by Dana Simpson
Whoa buddy. A lot but they have not arrived yet.
- The Magic Storm by Dana Simpson
- Unicorn of Many Hats by Dana Simpson
Reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr, Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler, Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King, The Carrying by Ada Limon, and A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy
Lately I have been feeling pretty bad. I’ve been anxious and tired, nagged by headaches and plagued by what I suspect is depression. While I feel like the holidays actually went really well, they wiped me out and I feel completely out of control, unmoored, almost like I am drowning. These things happen to me and these things pass and there is some comfort in that. I know that I have to spend some time DOING in order to feel better. What I mean by that is that the house has to be put in order and books need to be read and laughter has to be laughed and I need to color. I need to indulge myself as much as I need to work. I’ve always felt that hard work is vital to a healthy, happy life. But here I am, home after a two hour panic attack this morning. Here I am, wondering how I can make the changes that I know I need to make. In the meantime, I have been blessed with this afternoon to just sit in a nest of blankets and books and just be.
I checked out a slew of books this week and I have a couple more on order. I do really well at not checking stuff out, like, three weeks out of the month but sometimes I just cannot help it. I got the itch this week and I gave in after making promises to myself that I would “weed my TBR” and “really focus on reading this weekend.” Reading is one of the things that makes me happiest but it is also one of the things that is easiest to let slide. I am going to work hard to get myself back on track though.
I bought a slew of books this week too! I slayed the slews, you might say. Ha ha ha. I got tons of Amazon gift cards for Christmas and one of the things that I’ve been wanting to do for years is buy all of the Joe Meno books. I love Joe Meno and I own three of his books already. I’ve read them all. I bought the seven I didn’t have on Amazon this week. I also REJOINED THE BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB! I’ve been wanting to do this for months and I finally decided to just give in. I’d like to make a point to read these books as soon as I get them and I am way super excited to get started.
Read read read.
Except the only books I finished this week were two graphic novels about unicorns. I have one more to go to be caught up on the Phoebe and Her Unicorn series and I plan on reading that, like, right now.
I have two hours before I have to pick up my kid and I mean to spend that time filling my cup and resting up. Wish me luck!
- Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Lucille Selecky
- Unicorn of Many Hats by Dana Simpson
- Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach
- The Dungeon Master’s Guide
Reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (book), The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (audio), Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr (ebook), The Carrying by Ada Limon (poetry), Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler (nonfic), A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy (daily)
Believe it or not, I actually read a little bit over this last long weekend. It wasn’t a lot but I got to pick my book up here and there and it reminded me, yet again, of how much I really do love to read. Now the the fury of the holidays is behind me, I hope to spend less time being crazy and self-medicating and more time being quiet and reading. Of course, the house is a mess and I need to finish taking the tree down and I still have one more weekend that’s out of the ordinary ahead of me. But things are going to get back to normal and I want to see to it that reading is a part of that.
To be honest, I sat down on the couch last night and colored while Hubby watched The Orville and I realized that I had not colored it almost two weeks! I hadn’t made myself a cup of bedtime tea in at least that long. I couldn’t even really remember the last time that I sat on the couch willingly, not just waiting for Hubby to decide what we were doing for the night. I have been terribly decadent this holiday season. I’ve eaten and drank way too much. I have stayed up later than I wanted to more often that I wanted to. I haven’t exercised. I haven’t even been very good about meditation. \
One day last week, Hubby accused me of acting as if my whole life were “unmoored.” I have no idea how he managed to come up with that expression but it was the most adequate description I had heard. The holidays are always hard for me and part of that is my anxiety. I thrive on routine and normalcy and all of the festivities throw me into a spiral. When Hubby said that last week, I felt like my brain was going to explode right out of my body. The house was a mess and work was weird and Little Dude was off schedule and I was off schedule and I felt like I was living in a tornado of chaos. Those things don’t effect Hubby though, as long as they don’t make it so he can’t cook because there’s so much shit on the counters. He barely notices it while it gets my haunches up and my anxiety frothing.
I don’t have any solid resolutions this year other than the usual “read 100 books” one. I do have a lot of ideas and a very vague theory. I want to work towards living more authentically. I want to do some of the things that I always want to do. I want to be BETTER in many senses of the word. I want to have groceries for meals and I want to get outside and I want to grow a garden and I want to finish the fucking bathroom that has been half done for almost three years. I want to unclench about the things that don’ matter so that I can be extra about the things that do. I don’t want to work myself into a frothy cappuccino of bad feelings.
2018 is done. I read 95 books last year, nothing to spit at. But 2019? I’m reading intentionally and I’m going to hit 100. Watch me.
- The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
- The Carrying by Ada Limon
- The Celtic Devotions by Caitlin Matthews
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones (gift)
- Riverdale: The Day Before by Micol Ostow (gift)
- Archie, vol 6 by Mark Waid
- Ancient Ways by Pauline Campanelli
- The Reef by Edith Wharton
Reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (book), Animal-Speak by Ted Andrews (nonfic), Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr (ebook), The Bell Jar (audiobook), The Carrying by Ada Limon (poetry), Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach
It was quite the holiday weekend. And, to be honest, I forgot to do Tally Monday. I put it on my to do list on Monday morning and even took out my laptop but I never got to it. Sunday night I went to bed at 12 and I slept until 2. Little Dude was awake at least five times between 2 and 4:30. I fell back asleep at around 5 and LD was up at 5:45. My morning was a haze and by the time we finished our nap I had managed to piece together just under 5 hours of sleep. We did Christmas with my family that night and I fought really hard to be up and at ’em but LD was exhausted and I was exhausted and it was a bit much. We got home at about 8, put LD down, and then I cracked a beer and started cleaning.
I understand that lots of people love Christmas and I went into this one feeling much better about it than I usually do. But we did four Christmases in four days and by the end of it we were all tired and you have to tunnel through my house. LD got LOTS of goodies and I have no idea where to put them all. Now that my time off is up and I’m back at work, it kind of feels like I did nothing but pick up the house for five days. Still, it was fun getting stuff for LD and it was nice seeing everyone and the food was great.
I only got two book gifts this year and that’s perfect. Hubby surprised me Monday night when we were putting out the gifts for LD. He handed me a package wrapped in the “Santa” wrapping paper. “What’s this?” he asked. “It says to Mom from Santa.” It as the Riverdale book! And then he handed me another one that was to Mom and Dad from Santa and it was an Imperial Raider for our Star Wars X-wing game! I was so excited but so tired that he didn’t actually believe I was excited. lol. And that’s pretty much how the holidays go.
I read more of Little Women yesterday than I have in the whole previous week. I took a book to open presents from Santa because I knew that LD would just be overwhelmed. He spent all morning opening presents and playing and I sat on the couch with Christmas Blend coffee and my Kindle. I even read more when we got home.
I am looking forward to a couple of normal days. I’m five books from this year’s goal of 100, so we’ll see what I can pull off…