TBT 2007

Recently I was inspired to copy all of my books read over into a notebook.  I have been keeping track of what I’ve read since 2007, even though I didn’t start counting audiobooks until more recently.  I found it really interesting looking back at what I read and looking up descriptions and my reviews for books that I didn’t remember.  I was thinking that I would check in once in a while for a Throw Back Thursday and tell you some of the bests from my list.

And so, 2007!

2007 is the first year that I tracked so it must be the first year I tried to read 100 books.  I read 48.  When I was copying titles over, this was the year that I found most confusing.  There was A LOT I didn’t remember!  I was just finishing up my undergraduate degree and the one that stuck out the most was Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls.  I have said over and over again that I never read that book and I am fucking WRONG.

Some of the highlights of that year:  I read The Feminine Mystique for the third time and it was also the year that I read Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  I reread the Harry Potter series.  It was my first time dipping into Nick Hornby’s Polysyllabic Spree.  I also was reading some comics that year, like Courtney Love’s Princess Ai and Kohta Hirano’s Hellsing which I remember nothing about but I totally recognize the cover.  I also vividly remember a couple of the young adult books I read that year, like Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman and Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr.

Top 5 Books (in no particular order)

  • Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
  • Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Feminine Mystique by Betty Freidan
  • High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Boy.  I’m lame. lol

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Dirt Under My Nails by Marilee Foster

The thing about my TBR list (journal) is that I have kept it so long that I really have no idea where a lot of the titles come from.  I started it seventeen years ago, lost it to a computer death and tried to recreate it, populated it with lists I found online, and added books that I wanted to check out from work when I knew I wouldn’t get around to reading them.  Where did I find this title?  Was it on the new book shelf or did I read about it somewhere?  Either way, this has been languishing on my list probably since publication in 2003.

Foster writes about her life as a farmer on Long Island.  The book is organized by season and each season contains vignettes about her rural life.  She talks about planting, irrigating, and harvesting.  She talks about the birds that come and go through the year.  She discusses the history of her family farming the island.  She writes about the wildlife that encroaches on the fields as well as the developing land around her.  More and more of the farmland is giving way to summer homes and summers are full of tourists.  Foster recognizes that these tourists may contribute to her income through her farm stand but they also can cause a lot of trouble.

This was a quiet and enjoyable read for me.  I found myself thinking that maybe I should take up bird watching, at least from my front window, and I remembered the smell of a hay barn in the hot summer and all the silly things we got into as children in the middle of nowhere.  I read this book with Google Maps pulled up and looked at some of the landmarks that I couldn’t resist, like the nature preserve and cemetery.  A great book to dip into.

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson

There is something that I cannot resist about a slim novel and this one comes in at 149 pages plus has a great cover.  I’ll be honest and say upfront that this isn’t a book for everyone but I really liked it.  It was weird, which I love, and it was scifi without feeling like scifi.

This is our world after the vuvv, an alien race shaped somewhat like coffee tables, have landed.  The vuvv are all about efficiency and when they first landed they promised Earth a world with no more work and no more disease.  However, all of their tech was sold to the highest bidders and now the economy is in ruins.  Adam used to have a normal life but now his father is gone, there’s another family living in his basement, and his mother has been unemployed for months.  Adam is a painter in a world where most art is digital and each short chapter feels like a painting.  Adam is trying to find ways to support his family, by recording his relationship with Chloe for the vuvv and entering in an art contest, while dealing with a disease makes digestion miserable.

I thought this was a really interesting book.  It looked at the line between the haves and have-nots in a way that didn’t feel heavy handed.  Adam’s family used to be middle class and I like how it painted the picture that anyone could lose everything.  Adam’s mother never gives up hope and Adam is always trying to come up with a better way.  Great scifi for someone who doesn’t necessarily like scifi.

Podcast Tuesday- October 3, 2017

Podcasts: 1236

Do you know what is amazing, readers?  Technology is amazing.

When I got my first iPhone, a 4, I bought an Otter Box for it.  When the Otter Box got all stretched out and filthy, I bought another one.  $180 on phone cases!  In the end, that phone had a hard drive malfunction and erased its own memory, a  problem that no Otter Box could prevent.  It didn’t even last two years and at the time I was doing the “new in two” thing through Verizon.  I ended up on the old Go plan because my two years weren’t up.  I got a 5C in green (because Hubby already had my signature blue) and financed it.

The Go program was great.  You paid on the phone until it was 80% paid off and then you could trade it in for a new phone.  My 80% was up and I decided to upgrade.  I went in for a 6, did my paperwork, signed, was explaining the program to my mother when the salesman said, “Oh.  No.  We don’t offer that program anymore.  It’s just a lease now.”  Bastard.  But I took my 6 and I loved it.  I filled it with pictures and podcasts and games and it became, well, an addiction for me but some addictions I’m okay with.

Then Sunday I sat my phone down on the counter while I wrote down my numbers on my calendar.  (Every day I write down how many podcasts I have and how many gigs they are using because I have ISSUES, okay?)  And somehow the perfect kismet of the universe bit me in the ass.  My phone fell from the counter to the wood floors, a fall that it had made several times before but one that it would, sadly, not survive this time.  Upon closer inspection, I saw that my cheap case had broken in one spot and the impact was enough to shove the jagged edge into the screen and shatter it.

Long story short, I have a new phone.

Now, in preparation for that, I made a list of the podcasts I follow just in case.  I couldn’t remember if they transferred between phones or not and I did NOT want to be left in the dark.  But the world is amazing and all I had to do was back up my phone, and then download the backup, and here I stand, with a new phone and all of the downloaded episodes still downloaded.  Seamless.

Tally Monday- October 2, 2017

Checked Out

None!

Bought

None!

Read

  1. A-Force: Rage Against the Dying Light by Kelly Thompson
  2. “Bayou” by Bryan Washington
  3. Summer Promise by Robin Jones Gunn
  4. Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
  5. “Please Give My One Reason Not to Hate You” by Shawn Vestal
  6. Archie, vol 4 by Mark Waid

Reading: Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson, Dirt Under My Nails by Marilee Foster, Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

An amazing thing happened this week.

After last week’s gigantic check out, I stacked all of my library books on my coffee table by due date and looked despairingly at the stack.  So much to read.  Then I asked my husband to check Walmart for the new Stephen and Owen King book, truly not expecting them to have it, and he brought it home for me, adding another addition to this tower.  And motivation!  It added motivation!  I want to read that new Stephen King so damn bad that I kicked my reading up a notch.  It’s temporary, this library stack, and as soon as I finish the King, I’ll be back in my rotation.

Now, you may recall that I have done away with my TBR stack.  Hubby would like to point out that it is still there but that’s mostly because I haven’t put the books away yet so they remain on the corner of my desk.  I’m working on it here and there.  Now I DO have a TBR stack, but I promise that it is temporary and I am making good time on it.

I read what seems like A LOT this week but looking back it doesn’t feel like it.  I’ve been trying to be better about reading.  I’ve been trying to make time to read at night and make time to read during the day and I’ve even been working on my latest Anne of Green Gables book via Kindle while giving LD bottles.  So, here’s some thoughts on my reading!

You already saw my review for A-Force and I’m still pretty much pissed that there isn’t another trade and also fuck Marvel.

The latest Archie was a roller coaster ride!  Expect a review on Friday for Graphics Friday but know that I’m already over here like, “I NEED another.  Come on!”

I caught up on my One Story this week, though I think that there might be one hiding somewhere or in the mail.  “Bayou” was a great little story about a boy whose friend finds a chupacabra but also about so much more.  I had an interesting experience with “Please Give Me One Reason Not to Hate You.”  Written in first person, for some reason I assumed that the narrator was a woman and I was really disappointed to find out he was a guy.  So, I decided to keep thinking of him as a her and for some reason that made it much more compelling for me.  It was also a great story.  This month’s is by Tom Hanks, who has a new story collection out, and I cannot wait for it.

My review of Summer Promise is up but this was one of those books that I liked a lot more than I should have, even while I was laughing at how ridiculous and unlikely it all was.  Also, why do Christians find the need to kill off characters who smoke pot?

Finally, I listened to Anne’s House of Dreams in a matter of four days.  It was on my phone and I was home sick one day and my mom was out of town so we didn’t chat on the phone much.  It was one of those books that I didn’t think that I was listening to really until I caught myself ugly crying when a character died.  As soon as I finished, I began to hunt for the next book in audio only to find that it isn’t available to me through my current library, my home library, overdrive for either, OR Hoopla!  I downloaded the e-book for a dollar and am taking a break from audiobooks until I can read it.

Quite the reading week!  I’m excited to see if this week pans out as well!  I stated Landscape with Invisible Hand last night and it is a short (150 page) YA book with short chapters so I imagine I’ll tear through it, as long as I give myself time, and then we are off on our annual Fear Street adventure!

Whatever you read, read a good one! ❤

Summer Promise by Robin Jones Gunn

When it got to be time for me to choose my next young adult, I kind of freaked out.  There were so many books that I had been wanting to read for such a long time that I couldn’t make a decision.  I ended up grabbing the first Christy Miller because I had been suggesting this series to kids who wanted inspirational fiction for a while but I had no grasp on anything about it.  The books seemed to check out a lot so I figured that they couldn’t be that bad and my curiosity got the best of me.

I was reading a chapter of a YA book before bed every night and this actually ended up being a great book for that.   It’s very fluffy but tries to touch on edgy subjects.  I am definitely not the intended audience here.  I’m a 33 year old woman and I am not a Christian.  Though, I actually ended up really enjoying this book.  As much as I was reading it tongue-in-cheek, it was fun and amusing and completely and utterly unrealistic.

Christy is spending the summer with her aunt and uncle in California.  Back home, her parents are having some financial problems and her aunt seems to think that Christy needs help blossoming.  Here we have our typical makeover scenario.  Her aunt buys her all kinds of new clothes and makeup and takes her to get her hair cut and highlighted.  Christy feels like a “real” California girl afterward and goes back to the beach where she promptly makes a fool of herself.  Christy is one of those characters who reminds me a lot of my tween self.  She doesn’t have a lot of confidence.  She’s always over reacting or making mistakes that feel like the end of the world to her.  She whines.  She realizes that she’s been ungrateful or mean and then feels bad.  Very human.  Not perfect.

Christy makes a couple of friends at the beach that day, Alissa and Todd.  Alissa abandons her when everyone is laughing at her but Todd is nice enough to help her out.  Christy LIKES Todd.  He’s so cute, giggle giggle.  Todd is a Christian though, with a capital “born again”.  When Christy goes to a party with Alissa and Todd and some of Todd’s friends, she is innocent to go looking for Coke to drink and instead everyone thinks she wants coke to snort which was actually the funniest thing I had read in a while.  After the party, one of Todd’s old friends gets into an accident and dies, sending Christy down a road of questioning.  The only person she feels able to talk to about all of her new questions is Todd.  She really wants him to like her, so she even pretends to like nuts on her ice cream because he does.

This whole book is supposed to be about Christy finding herself.  Her aunt is pushing her to become a social butterfly.  Her uncle keeps telling her to be true to herself.  Her parents tell her not to do anything she’ll regret.  It’s actually a pretty great message and a well handled theme until the end when Christy pretty much says, “I don’t need to be true to myself!  I’ve got Jesus now!”

There’s a pretty good chance that I’ll continue with this series some day.  It was pretty enjoyable, like a tame soap opera.

Graphic Friday- A-Force: Rage Against the Dying Light by Kelly Thompson

So, I read the first A-Force trade and liked it a lot more than I expected.  When I finished reading, I noticed that it was by G. Willow Wilson and I really liked her Ms. Marvel so I felt less surprised and also very excited to start the second trade.  Then I checked it out and I realized another reason that I get so pissed off about comics.  New writers.  New artists.  I know Kelly Thompson from her work on Jem, the first trade of which I really liked.  So, in short, I gave it a try.

I liked it.  I did.  Again.

Which has left me in a kind of conundrum.  Am I going to have to admit that maybe I DO like superhero comics, if they are the right ones?  Am I going to have to trust Marvel’s choice in writers and artists?  (I don’t think I can do that because we all know they have a tendency to do stupid shit constantly.  Though I do like that both writers for this series were women.)  And, you know, is there ever going to be more A-Force because I kind of need it?

We join the team this time in the midst of a battle that is going poorly.  It goes poorly enough that She Hulk ends up in the hospital, in a coma.  Meanwhile, Captain Marvel has heard a prophecy that Nico will kill a woman named Alice.  Cap wants to arrest Nico in order to prevent this murder until they can figure out what is going on.  Nico is not a fan of being arrested by her teammate and runs away (ha) to a safe house she has in Colorado.  However, when she gets there she finds that the townspeople are being turned into giant insects.

Another fun run!  I want more, damn you, Marvel.