Stalking God by Anjali Kumar

It’s been a strange year for me.  The Little Dude is now 14 months old and the discussion of what religious views to raise him with have pretty much dissipated completely.  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking about it, though, and thinking about it has led me on a bit of my own search.  It seemed to me like Kumar’s book might be a bit of a shortcut (by at least cutting some things out) and also might help me to feel less alone in this search.

Kumar decides to take a deep dive into spirituality because she wants to have answers when her daughter starts asking the big questions.  She visits spiritual healers, toys with the idea of hallucinogenic drugs, goes to ceremonial mud rituals and sweat lodges, and even joins a laughing yoga group.  The final two chapters are spent at Burning Man and a silent meditation retreat (that isn’t very silent).  Through all of this, Kumar is honest.  She shares her big leaps and big fails in an entertaining voice and she grapples with the big questions with what reads as a light heart.

Along the way, we learn that big questions cannot be answered in big swoops but only stumbled toward with little steps.  That’s something that everyone on this kind of journey needs to be reminded occasionally.

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A Quick Update

Hey All!

I fully intended to get out my usual Tally Monday this week but I went on vacation and decided not to take my laptop at the last minute.  I could have done it from my phone but I hate that so I decided to have a combined TM next week.

Vacation also got me thinking a lot about what I want out of life, through no particular fault of its own.  So often I feel like I am running in circles.  So often I feel overwhelmed.  I miss having coffee on the back deck and I miss just sitting and being quiet.  I know that there are a lot of things outside of my control right now, especially with a baby in tow, but I know that I have to make some changes in my life.

I need to get rid of stuff and make my house more livable.

I need to stop ordering books through the library.

I need to cut back on my Podcast subscriptions.  (I’m up to 62)

I need to start budgeting.

I need to stop spending so much time on busy work and get back to the things that are important to me and ACTUALLY ENJOY THEM:  My family, my friends, my cats, books and board games and records.

I need to sprinkle my days and weeks with simple pleasures.

And I need to start right now.  Today.

I can’t wait to TM with you all next week!

The Outsider by Stephen King

In my life, a new Stephen King book is all like:

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The excitement started for me a few years ago when a number of things came together to make new releases super exciting.  First, I decided to read all of the new King as it came out (or else I’ll never catch up).  Second, I had a real job making real money that I could spend because I had just bought a house and wasn’t saving for it anymore.  It was glorious.  I went to Kroger on my lunch and drooled over the book for the rest of the day.

Well, I got my hands on it a touch early this time and I cried from delight and unbridled joy.  And, y’all, I was not disappointed.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I loved the audio, which kept me absolutely hooked.  Then I finished reading the hardcover, because I wasn’t going to be in my car, and that was great too.  Though, I do think that I enjoyed the audio better.

When a local baseball coach who is a pillar of the community is accused of kidnapping, raping, and murdering a boy, it seems the town of Flint City is turned upside down.  The detective in charge of the arrest, Ralph, makes it publicly, at a playoff game.  Ralph has his reasons for this.  Didn’t Terry coach his son a few years earlier?  Hadn’t Ralph considered Terry a friend?  Now this pedophile is surrounded by young boys who trust him.  The evidence is rock solid, anyway: prints and witnesses and DNA.  It’s a shut and close case.

Or is it?

When Terry’s alibi appears to be air tight, Ralph gets the first feelings of doubt.  Then another tragedy strikes and he is forced to dig deeper into the case.  Unfortunately, Ralph is on administrative leave.  When he manages to gather a group of concerned and interested people, including one Holly Gibney of Finders Keepers, Ralph find himself on the trail of someone who could be the real murderer and who may be something not quite human.

I liked this book a lot.  It started off with a solid foot in reality but the reader has doubts before anyone else.  A number of times I caught myself yelling at the characters and tut-tutting to myself.  It was also a very quick read that kept me hooked.

Tally Monday- May 21, 2018

Checked Out

  1. The Graphic Canon, vol 3

Bought

None!  I’m on a roll!

Read

  1. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
  2. The Outsider by Stephen King

Reading The Graphic CanonStalking God by Anjali Kumar, You Do You by Sarah McKnight,  The Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleChicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, and Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

One thing that I have learned this year is that I get a lot of reading done when I buckle down and make myself do it.  Usually this kind of reading has some sort of deadline involved.  For instance, I tore through the last Battle Books because I HAD to have them done by the Battle.  And this last week I tore through the new Stephen King because I had to have it done by release day which is tomorrow.  I ended up two fisting it, print in one hand and audio in the other.  Lucky for me, it was a good read and it was pretty easy to plow through.  Honestly, I think I liked the audio better, though.

Now that that brief interlude is done, I can get back to reading my stupid tall stack of books that I keep adding to.  AND I can work on some more podcast listening.

I’ve basically become super stubbord about my TBR.  I have it stacked and I keep looking at it and thinking, “I am going to do this.”  Sometimes that means that I have to return stuff and then request it again.  Sometimes that means I basically want to sit under a table and cry.

Life would be perfect if I could read more and spend less.  And maybe sleep a little more too.

Reviews coming later today!

Tally Monday- May 14, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Attack of the Fiend by Joseph Delaney
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Bought

None!

Read

  1. Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney
  2. The Graphic Canon, vol 2
  3. Road to Riverdale, vol 1

Reading Stalking God, Arabian Nights, The Outsider by Stephen King, The Feminine Mystique, The Best Loved Poems of the American People, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Simple Abundance, Empowered Mama

I was listening to an old By the Book episode this weekend and they were doing the Bored and Brilliant book.  They downloaded the Moment app which tracks how much they use their phone in a day and then worked on cutting down by doing things like deleting their most time consuming app and not using their phones while in motion…  And to me it sounded like hell.  Not use my phone when I’m in motion?  But one of my favorite parts of the day is when I call my mom during my commute.  Delete my most time sucking app?  That could be one of three:  Podcasts, which I use a lot to distract myself.  Habitica, which I use to track my To Do list.  Gardenscapes, which I freaking love playing.

But I also know that even if I took these things out of the equation, I waste a lot of time on my phone doing other things.  I am guilty of scrolling through Facebook for way longer than I should and sometimes not even realizing that I am doing it.  Seriously.  Sometimes when I’m reading, I’ll pick up my phone to Google something and just open the Facebook app without thinking about it and scrolling for 30 minutes before I even realize that I picked up the phone to do something completely different and I never did it.

I’m not going to download Moment and I’m not going to delete Gardenscapes but I did make an effort yesterday to be a little bit more mindful of iPhone use.  And you know what?  I played the shit out of Gardenscapes yesterday but I played it when I wanted to play it and until I ran out of lives.  Then I picked up my book.  Actually, I was able to pick up my book a lot yesterday just by thinking about not using my phone.

Also, LD is sick again and keen on sleeping on me.  That helps a lot.

I had one of those weeks that felt like it completely passed me by.  Every day I meant to spend tons of time reading and every night I realized how little time I had actually SPENT reading.  My time seemed to fill up as if by magic.  At work I would tell myself that I could read at the end of the day if I finished my work but I NEVER finished my work.  More and more things appeared on my to do list and tons of people came by to chat with me.  I love to chat.  Without it I kind of feel like I am marooned in my department.  At home it was the same.  My to do list stayed steady all week because for everything that I checked off, another thing appeared.

And so this weekend, when it was time to clean the house, I freaking didn’t.  “Fuck this,” I said.  “I don’t want to.  Nobody cares but me.  I am going to relax instead.”

Still I somehow have very little to show for it.  The house needs to be clean and I never seemed to get around to reading.  But after yesterday I have high hopes for this coming week.  I just have a few things to do first…

I have a problem.

Here’s where I am at present:

This morning, when I was leaving the house, I left with a stack of books.  Now, part of this was that I had a book to return (that I actually can’t remember why I even wanted to read it in the first place) and I also didn’t get to do my morning readings but knew that I would have time in the car.  So, I carried my morning stuff (Q&A Journal, Simple Abundance, and my old journal), the book I was returning, and my work bag (currently holding The Graphic Canon, vol 2, Empowered Mama, The Feminine Mystique, Road to Riverdale, AND Stalking God).  And then I went back for Chicken Soup for the Soul.

You guys.  I need to just commit.  I need to just sit down and read a damn book until it’s done.

At work, I was feeling squirrely and unsettled and I was thinking it might have to do with these books.  Plus, I am like so damn close to finishing my audiobook right now!  Then, our adult librarian called me over and offered to let me listen to an audio that hasn’t been processed yet of a book that I AM FREAKING PSYCHED FOR.

And now I am dying and bursting at the seams and soon books are going to explode out of me like candy from a pinata.

Stop, drop, and read.  That’s what I need.

Tally Monday- May 7, 2018

Checked Out

  1. The Graphic Canon, vol 2
  2. The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol
  3. Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver
  4. A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
  5. America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money by Steve and Annete Economides

Bought

None!  (I don’t think…)

Read

  1. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  2. “Mt. Adams at Mar Vista” by Gwen E. Kirby
  3. You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld
  4. Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena

Reading The Road to Riverdale, vol 1The Feminine MystiqueArabian NightsThe Graphic Canon, vol. 2, The Best Loved Poems of the American People, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Simple Abundance, Empowered Mama

Hey, do you guys remember the beginning of the year when I was all satisfied with my varied and crazy reading life?  I am not feeling that way right now.  No, right now the books are piling up and I have faith that I will get to them all eventually and that it will all work out but what I really want is to sit down and finish some shit.

Oh, and I want to stop ordering stuff.

I’m not going to say that it was a bad reading week because it wasn’t.  It’s just that I have a tendency to think that my supply of reading time is endless.

But it’s not.

Some of the things that contributed to my very strange week last week: (1) I was having an off week with Hubby.  In fact, I still have no idea if he was in a shitty mood or I was in a shitty mood and I was just projecting it onto him.  Anyway, that feels a bit better now and I think it’s a combination of improved moods and me feeling very grateful for all of the awesome things my husband does for me.  (Like change my wiper blades and buy me potatoes and cook awesome food.) (2) LD was sick.  This actually scored me a lot of reading time on Friday afternoon because he was exhausted and would only sleep ON me, so I spent some time in bed trapped under a baby, capable only of reading or playing on my phone.  (3) A sudden obsession with Star Wars that has me trying to watch all of the movies again.  (4)  A windy day that knocked our power out for 26 hours and sent me scrambling to figure out how to live without electricity with a sick baby.  (5)  A visit from my father-in-law the day after the restoration of power which sent us scrambling to get the fridge cleaned, the house picked up, and the laundry done so we could function this week.

So, yes, it was an off week.

But, also, I spent an afternoon in bed reading.  I spent an evening in bed reading.  I did extra reading on Saturday morning because there was no electricity and I was feeling very fuck it about chores.

Now the killer:  I have promised to give up reading my Kindle in bed.  I’m going to try it for a week and see how it goes.  I’m sure I’ve talked about my insomnia here before and it’s been pretty bad again this past month.  Hubby scolded me enough that I have decided to give it a try.  But I was REALLY enjoying the book I was reading.  So.  I need a new plan and I do LOVE making reading plans.

Well, guys, I have like 20 books checked out now and piles and files of books that I own.  Time to buckle down.