Tally Monday- August 13, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas by Louise Rennison
  2. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  3. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland
  4. Wicca by Scott Cunningham




  1. The Naked Witch by Fiona Horne
  2. On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison
  3. Giant Days, vol 5 by John Allison
  4. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
  5. “That’s How You Dance the Mambo” by Michael Hawley

Reading Heating & Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly, Down in the Valley by Robyn Carr, More Hours in My Day by Emilie Barnes, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Chicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance, The Empowered MamaBest Loved Poems of the American People

At first glance it looks like I’ve been TERRIBLE about my book fast.  However, all of the books that I checked out this week are audiobooks and I am working on slamming through them.  You know how I’ve been on this whole “getting my shit back together” thing this year?  Well, most recently I decided that it wouldn’t hurt for me to get back to religion a little bit either.  I have been indulging myself in some books on good ol’ Wicca and I don’t feel bad about that.  For years my spirituality informed my life.  I had a deep sense of belonging and connection, faith that all things work out in the end.  These things are missing from my life now and I want them back.  I’ve been telling myself that I am going back into the boom closet because I forgot something in there, ha ha ha.

I got a lot of reading done last week and that felt pretty good.  An audio, a graphic, some nonfiction, and a junior book.  Nice, rounded collection.  I was about 80 pages into The Poisoned City but had to return it because someone was waiting.  I’ve requested it again.  It’s a hard read for me.  I only get a page or two in and then I have to rage out for a bit.

Currently I have my TBR arranged by length in hopes that I can tick it down quickly.  There is a good chance that I will finish Heating & Cooling today and my next book is The Old Man and the Sea.

I’ve been working on organizing my office at home for about a month now.  I went through my shelves and I’m working on going through my boxes of books.  I’ve managed to get rid of a whole box of books so far.  While I work, I find myself longing to read all of these books that I’ve had for years but also to not carry around so much stuff.  I can’t wait to get back to a regular reading life, one that feels a little more under control.


Tally Monday- September 6, 2018

Checked Out

  1. I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
  2. The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran
  3. On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison


  1. Bluebird’s Egg
  2. Lady Oracle
  3. Wilderness Tips
  4. The Robber Bride
  5. Cat’s Eye
  6. Blind Assassin
  7. Alias Grace ALL by Margaret Atwood


  1. Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver
  2. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal-Smogging by Louise Rennison
  3. Riverdale Digest, vol 5

Reading The Poisoned City by Anna Clark, Deep in the Valley by Robyn Carr, On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex GodNaked Witch by Fiona Horne, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman, Chicken Soup for the Soul

For the past couple of weekends, Ian has gone for the afternoon with one of his Grandmas on Sunday.  Last week he stayed with my mom for a couple hours.  Yesterday he stayed with Hubby’s mom.  The grandmas have asked to watch him and it’s given me a little bit of quiet time.  Last week Hubby played his game for a while and I spent a blessed couple of minutes under my tree, reading.  Yesterday Hubby napped and I cleaned the whole house and read.  It feels good to start my week with almost everything done.  I just need to fold the last load of laundry and unload the dishwasher.

When I start the week like this, I always have grand plans.  I say that I will read and play games whenever I’m asked.  But it always seems to slip away from me.  The next thing I know, I’ve been reading the same comic for days and haven’t touched a book.  This week I am going to try to do better.  I’m starting by scheduling in reading time at work again.  For a while I read for 30 minutes at the start of my shift.  It seems counter-productive but I actually was more productive because of it AND I read books a little faster.  Part of what I loved about this practice is that I put my phone of “Do Not Disturb” and I set a timer for however long I plan to read and I make a point to READ and not pick up my phone.  It’s a practice that I’ve fallen out of, this kind of focused reading, and I’m happy to get back to it.  I’m planning on doing 10 minutes at the beginning and end of my shift.

Last night I finally got a chance to pick up The Poisoned City about Flint’s water crisis.  I live about 40-45 minutes from Flint.  I got my bachelor’s degree at University of Michigan- Flint.  Growing up, Flint was where we went shopping.  A lot of my childhood memories are wrapped up in Flint and the Flint River.  I learned to swim at the Holloway Reservoir and it’s also the first place I ever kayaked.  More than that, I watched Flint declining and watched it starting to resurface before the crisis.  It’s of personal interest to me and my little social injustice feelers are ready for a workout.

Lots of books on my bought list this week but they weren’t actually books I bought.  A friend and his girlfriend are moving into their own house and have been getting rid of things that they don’t want to move.  Hubby was gifted a box of Walking Dead comics and I got the Margaret Atwood.  Again, I can’t say no to new books.

But, I am not 6 days into my book fast.  No checking out new books and no buying books.  I’ve made it this far, though I did almost crack last week.  I have the need to get my reading life and my book stock under control.  I want to read some of the books I own, too, really clean it out.  Part of this, I think, is because of Soulful Simplicity, which I have found to be very encouraging.  I want to have less and I want to owe less and I want less stress and pressure and I’d be lying if OI said my books don’t freak me out sometimes.

Well, you guys, what kind of week is ahead of you?  Anything good to consume?  I’d like to get some Castle Rock in myself.

Tally Monday- July 30, 2018

Checked Out

  1. How to Write a Mystery by Larry Beinhart
  2. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
  3. Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf
  4. Purity by Jonathan Franzen
  5. Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White


  1. Fox’s Earth by Anne River Siddons
  2. Living on 24 Hours by Arnold Bennett


  1. Riverdale Digest, vol 4

*sad trombone*

Reading Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver, The Naked Witch by Fiona Horne, Deep in the Valley by Robyn Carr, Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison, Chicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

Sometimes when I type up this weekly list I surprise myself.  This week, for instance, is the exact opposite of what I was expecting.  I felt like I made a lot of progress on my reading and like I was not terrible about my check outs and that I hadn’t bought a single book.  I am wrong on all three things.  But, of course, I can rationalize.

I checked out the Rennison to be my new audiobook series.  I tried to read Angus when I was in high school.  Back then I was a goth girl who was super into Francesca Lia Block and Marilyn Manson so it’s really no surprise at all that I found the tone ANNOYING.  Now, though, this is like Bridget Jones for teens and also a total blast from the past.  I’m loving it on audio.  It has me laughing like a loon in my car.  It has me swinging a little out of my way to get a couple of extra minutes in.  It’s encouraged me, even, to drive a couple of back roads, which I have been missing.  This is not rationalizing, you guys.  I need to keep my audiobooks circulating and I gave up on my last series.

Mom had a great idea for a book last week but it’s a mystery and I’m not great at that so I needed a book, right?  And part of all of this remembering who I was to figure out who I am had me wanting to reread my first book on Wicca in an effort to redevelop a practice.  The Franzen has been calling my name lately.  I listened to both The Corrections and Freedom on audio and I loved them but the woman who reads Purity had the kind of voice that grated on me.  I couldn’t get into it.  So I broke down and grabbed the book last week because “I’m not checking anything out in August except what is already on order for me.”  Today I passed Decluttering and grabbed it for the same reason.  August needs to hurry.

My “bought” books were better, at least.  I scored both of them from free.  One came from the donation pile.  I’ve been really good about not borrowing any of these books but I couldn’t resist this one.  It looked so mass market and creepy and like I would find it at K-Mart 15 years ago.  The Bennett book was a free Kindle book.  I found it after a mention in Simple Abundance.

I am currently reading Soulful Simplicity and I honestly thought it would be done by now.  I started it on Wednesday when I was home with a stomach bug.  It reads easily and a lot of what it says is really hitting home.  This was supposed to be my year of less:  less weight, less stuff, less debt, less worry.  It has not been.  The added expense of daycare, previously unforeseen, has driven me into the ground.  While at the beginning of the year I was consistently slamming an extra $200 on my debts, I am now struggling not to dip into my emergency fund on the regular.  This has create a lot MORE worry and the constant nagging voice, urging me to “do something” when I have no idea what.  I just keep piecing it together.  It would also help if we could go a couple of months without a clinic visit.  $60 copay for urgent care!

But this book has me feeling like there is hope.  It’s reminding me to keep doing what I am doing, that I’ve made progress before a stall isn’t the same as a fail.  I can just keep getting rid of at least one thing a day and I can keep paying whatever extra I can on things and eventually everything shakes out.

Well, I plan on finishing this book today and then I’m on to Poisoned City about the Flint water crisis.  After that it’s a few short books that should speed me right along.  Progress.  August is a month of fasting: no new checkouts except what is already on order, no new purchases, and a lot of making time to read.  The dog days are upon us but summer is almost gone.  Don’t let it slip away without sipping some sun tea under your favorite tree with a good book.

And that’s an order.

Tally Monday- July 23, 2018

Checked Out

  1. The Poisoned City by Anna Clark
  2. Eat This, Not That
  3. Eat This, Not That Supermarket Survival
  4. A Beautiful Mess by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman
  5. The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol
  6. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elron
  7. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  8. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
  9. The Nature Fix by Florence Williams


  1. Deep in the Valley by Robyn Carr
  2. Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr
  3. Down by the River by Robyn Carr


  1. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  2. Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

My dream is to some day live the kind of life that allows me to chose what I want to read next without some crazy pile of books waiting for me.  There can still be lists and a plan, but not a pile.  That may surprise you.  I mean, look at the shit I did last week.  I went nuts.  I mean, out of the 9 books I checked out, 3 were just to flip through, 2 were books I was re-checking out because I couldn’t renew them anymore, and 4 were new to my stack.

“Listen,” I told myself.  “You’ve got to pipe-the-fuck-down already.”

But, as much as I want to be able to stroll to my bookshelves and randomly choose what to read next, I also know that books have a way of being perfectly timed anyway.

What would I read if I was just choosing what I am in the mood for?  Probably a classic, maybe Hemingway or Austen, though summers always seem like the right time for Faulkner.  A reread, like The Bell Jar or Little Women or even some Francesca Lia Block, which I have been feeling the need for lately.  More Stephen King because Stephen King.  And maybe round it all off with some Alice Munro short stories.

So, what my reading life is actually like is completely different from what I actually want right now.  This is not surprising.  My whole life is like that, really.

I’m not disappointed.  Except, maybe I am.  I am feeling restless.  I am in need of a hot day in the shade with a book.  I am clamoring to defeat myself.  And conquering isn’t very soothing now is it??

I finished two books last week and I enjoyed both of them.  Next I’ve got an Archie digest and then a book on simplifying.  It’s not like there could be a better book for now, I guess.  And when I look at my stack of books, I think about how doable it all is if I just trust myself and keep going.   Sometimes those are difficult things to do.

I owe you a couple of reviews and they are coming.  I put them on my to do list for today so I should get to them by Friday…

Tally Monday- July 16, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Heating & Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly




  1. Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James
  2. The Customer is Always Wrong by Mimi Pond

Reading: Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente, Naked Witch by Fiona Horne, The Dead Zone by Stephen King, 1001 NightsBest Loved Poems of the American People, Chicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, and Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

I had an idea a while ago about how to make my TBR stack go away.  It’s a plan that I’ve used A LOT in the past.  I start with the biggest book and get it out of the way and then the books get progressively shorter and the reading goes faster.  That’s the idea, anyway.  It doesn’t always work like that.  In fact, let’s be honest, it never works like that.  I read the biggest book and then I have something that I HAVE to read because it’s new and then I get distracted by a fat graphic novel and then I magically have a gigantic stack again.

So, this morning I was thinking about doing the opposite.  Read the shortest books first and get them the hell off the stack.  This sounds like a fine idea to me.  My stack is a lot taller than I think but I also have a really short kid’s book and The Old Man and the Sea, both books that can be read in a day with just a little but of effort.  Yes, this is the way to do it, I have decided, except that I have some things that HAVE to be read first because they will be due and they have holds on them: Space OperaSoulful Simplicity, and Poisoned City, which hasn’t even come in yet but will be here shortly.

Last week I requested a new book and I was number 10 in the queue.  This was Thursday night and I figured that it would come in early July.  “Great!  I’ll be ready for it!” I told myself.  Well, the gods of the library had different plans and it was waiting for me when I got in today.  How is this even possible??  NO CLUE!

Now a break down of reading thoughts:  The Customer is Always Wrong was fucking fantastic!  I am enjoying the shit out of Dead Zone and should finish it up tomorrow if I don’t crack and read the physical book when I get home tonight.  I think that it will take me a while to get through Space Opera but I like it so far.  Today I read Women’s World magazine and I am pleased to report that it scratch my nostalgia itch.  I never thought that I wanted to be a stereotypical 90’s housewife, but these days I feel like I am being cheated out of my morning shows and soap operas…

Outside of books and reading, I am coming off of a really hard week.  Depression hit me full force at some point last week, though I can’t really pin-point when.  I spent an embarrassing amount of the weekend feeling incapable of doing anything but sitting and crying, the kind of depression that physically hurts.  I am feeling pretty good today, though, so I am hoping that was a quick bout.  I have big ideas for this week that include a lot of self-care and calm.

Also, last night we tore through something like 7 episodes of the new Mist and I am digging it.  Damn, you, Stephen King!

Tally Monday- July 9, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente
  2. Wrath of the Bloodeye by Joseph Delaney
  3. Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver


  1. One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler



I could characterize my reading life by this one big debate that has been rolling around in my head for a while now.  Is it better to move slowly and steadily along, chipping away at a couple of books at a time, and wait for it all to come together or should I DEDICATE myself to getting through something?

If you recall, at the beginning of the year I was living a complicated but satisfying reading life.  I was reading 10 pages of nonfiction/day.  I was reading on my Kindle at night, making my way through the 150 books I’ve managed to backlog there.  I was listening to a series on audio in the car and working diligently through my podcasts at home.  Then I had The Book I Was Actually Reading that I carried with me to and from work and stretched out with on the couch at night.  Plus I had my daily readers, my morning reading and my evening reading.

Anybody I talked to about this seemed amazed that I could keep so much going at once and, even more, that I could keep it straight.  It was easy for me.  Somehow, being able to switch formats and locations made the many yarns remain untangled in my brain.  And I was getting somewhere.  Yes, it might take me a month to read a nonfiction book but the 10 pages was just enough for me to digest and not get bored to tears.  How else would I have managed a 800 page biography of Edith Wharton?  I loved the nonfiction that I was reading and could see the benefit of reading 10 pages of that and 50 of something else instead of 20 of nonfiction and then not being able to manage any more.

I was enjoying my messy, complicated reading life.  And I was getting shit done!

So, I don’t know when I fell off this wagon.  (That’s not the right metaphor but whatever.)  It had to do with ordering a bunch of books and suddenly have a crazy toddler who should be done with his terrible twos by the time he’s actually two.  It had to do with being sick on and off for months.  It had to do with insomnia, both because it made me too tired to read during the day and also because I gave up my pre-bed Kindle use in an effort to cure myself.  (BTW, this did not help me.  In fact, not reading my Kindle when I woke up in the middle of the night was so frustrating that I stayed awake even longer.  Honestly, lavender chamomile pillow spray helped and I read my Kindle in bed again.)  Then it was listing out my books and promising myself a prize if I could get them read by the end of summer.  Suddenly there was a crazed frenzy to get things done.  Plus, I’m just NOT reading like I used to.  I downloaded audios of my next two books in an effort to make some kind of dent in them and it helped but I’m all flustered.

So, I am facing a question.  Do I get myself back on track?  Do I dedicate myself to the old plan because it worked when I allowed it to?  Or do I just say fuck all and dive into the chaos and try to make things stick.  OR, do I slow down and focus on one thing at a time.

From my desk, I can see the series I have been listening to on audio that I’ve put off for some Stephen King.  In my bag is my book and the audio of it downloaded on my phone, only just over 100 pages left.  There’s my nonfiction.  There’s the graphic novel I have to get through.

And everything in my life feels like this right now, you guys, like I just can’t wrap my head around the things that need to be done and I just can’t let go enough to enjoy myself.

So, there’s your state of the union for the reader.  Take it as you will.

Tally Monday- July 2, 2018

Checked Out

  1. How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer
  2. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
  3. Will It Waffle? by Daniel Shumski





Reading Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James, The Dead Zone by Stephen King, A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleChicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

I have not been the best about reading.

What I mean by that is that I have been working on Once Upon a Tower, which is delightful, for nearly two weeks and have not managed 150 pages yet.  What I mean by that is that I keep checking out books and adding to my giant stack but not actually reading anything.  What I mean by that is that it’s just not happening for me right now.

What happens is this:  I wake up, get ready for work, drop the child off and/or go to work, work all day without managing to get anywhere, stop at the store and/or go home, play with LD, feed LD, get LD ready for bed, eat, put LD down, spend 20-30 minutes picking up the house, and then I fucking just die.  I melt into the couch and my brain stops.  It’s the equivalent of stress eating but for my brain.  I KNOW that if I eat that salad (read a book), I will be satisfied and feel great but those nuggets and fries (cellphone games and TV) sure do sound delicious.

I once read that willpower is like a muscle, you have to work it out to strengthen it.  I read this at the beginning of my last successful diet, about five years ago.  I took it to heart and every day I told myself that I was getting stronger and better at making the better decision.  I’d waltz into the break room and see a sweet and think, “I’m getting stronger just by ignoring it!” When lunch rolled around, I would think, “Man, I’d love an Angus burger and fries! But I have that delicious microwaveable meal waiting for me.”  (Yeah, I know those aren’t “healthy” but I think they are probably better than eating an 800 calorie burger.)  It was hard at first but after a couple of days I noticed it was easier and then it kept getting easier.

The last time I did really well with reading was the same.  It took a lot of strength and willpower to read at night instead of watch TV but it got easier.  At first I was panicked by the idea of making time to read throughout the day (HOW WILL I GET IT ALL DONE!) but somehow when I read for the first half hour I was at work I managed to get MORE done throughout the day.

I believe that this is true more often than not.  If I work on focusing, it’s easier to focus.  If I try to keep the house cleaner than usual, it’s easier to clean.  If I play more games, they’re easier to play.

Yesterday I told Hubby, “It’s like I want to read but I never get to it.”  He gave me a look like I was crazy.  And I imagine it looks that way to him!  I do A LOT in a day but a lot of what I do is invisible until I stop doing it.

I am at a crossroads right now and I know that I am.  I have this feeling like I need to remake my whole life and I think that I will.  I will read and focus and love and lose some damn weight already.  I’ve got some stuff to manifest!

Anyway, what I’m saying is that next week this is going to look different.  I swear, because I am driving myself a little nuts, ha ha.