Tally Monday- November 13, 2017

Checked Out

  1. Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery
  2. Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery


None!  But I do have a couple in my cart…


  1. Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

Reading Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee, Essays, the Second Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King, Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery, O, What a Luxury by Garrison Keillor

It looks like I have a madness for Montgomery and at present I kind of do.  It happens every time that I get close to finishing a series.  I can see the end and I pursue it relentlessly.  Though, this morning I could not bring myself to listen to Rainbow Valley.  I needed a little bit of a break so I listened to a local morning show that was like the exact opposite of an Anne book.  The exact opposite. Ha ha ha.

I finished Anne of Ingleside Saturday morning and I’m kind of surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  I expected it to be the worst Anne book because I had such a hard time tracking it down on audio.  I couldn’t get it through three different library services and had to use Audible.  But it was such a good book!  It was full of gossip and children being children and Anne being human.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the Anne books shouldn’t be read until you are older.  If I had attempted this series sooner, I think that I would have been bored out of my gourd.  But as an adult who loves classics and women writers and quiet stories, these are spot on.  All of the funny courtship bits and the small town stories are great.  Plus, I love hearing the funny things kids do and I can relate to middle aged Anne just as well as young Anne.  I feel like kids would miss a lot of great stuff because it’s just beyond them still.

I’ve checked out the last two books in the series and should have it done by the end of the month.  Then I’ll take another little break for Podcasts.

I’ve been feeling a real need to purchase books lately and last week I hopped onto Amazon and added The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Essays 2017 to my cart.  When I get paid on Wednesday I fully intend to purchase them.  I really like picking up these collections even though I haven’t been the best about short stories and essays lately.  I meant to keep to my reading plan but shit happened.  I guess it’s time to get back on it and catch up a bit.  Like a broken record. lol.

I’m chipping away at a lot right now.  This morning Hubby asked me why I’m lugging around two giant books and I looked at him innocently and said, “I’m reading both of these right now.”  It’s true that it’s a bit much.  The King and Lee books total over 1500 pages and I threw out my shoulder carrying them last week.  Oh well.  These are the pains of a book nerd.  I’ve just barely started the King but I am 270 pages into the Wharton biography, and 49% into the Emerson (which is great bedtime reading because it knocks me out).

Not feeling great today.  Hubby is sick and something is going around work.  I have told myself that I am taking it easy and taking it easy is a great way to read.  We’ll see if I actually do.


Graphic Friday: The Complete Phonogram by Kieron Gillen

Sometimes you meet a character, say, and that character strikes you as being a bit of an ass but you stick with it and before long you find yourself thinking that the character maybe isn’t too bad.  Then, by the end of the book you think he’s great and then he hits you with a reference to Hole’s “Beautiful Son” and you’re like, “Dammit.  I knew I liked you.”

And that kind of sums up a lot of my feelings about Phonogram.

I know that I missed a lot because my musical knowledge is lacking and rusty but I also got enough to be heavily entertained.  What do I know about Britpop?  Not a whole hell of a lot but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment, it just added some Googling in and I am all for learning stuff while I read.

Phonogram is a collection of comics built around phonomancers, who are basically music magicians.  And while this system of magic is never really explained or gone into in any depth, that’s absolutely fine.  We all know that music can be magic and it’s cool to see it actually portrayed that way.  What you end up with are some stories about how much music matters and how things change and, really, about moving on and growing up a bit.

Yes, I grew to love Phonogram as much as I grew to love David Kohl and extra kudos for the mentions of my favorite band.

Tally Monday- November 6, 2017

Checked Out

  1. O, What a Luxury by Garrison Keillor
  2. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol




  1. The Complete Phonogram by Kieron Gillen

Reading Edith WhartonAnne of InglesideSleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King

About the middle of last week, I decided that I was going to focus all of my energy on getting through The Complete Phonogram by Friday.  I have been carrying around that 500 page comic plus an 800 page biography and a Fear Street book for what seems like weeks.  And I was starting to think about how I need to shake up my reading life or at least get it somewhat back on track.

Because, honestly, I fell off that wagon again and I’m not necessarily reading what I want to read.

When the new King book came out, I asked my husband to grab it for me.  I was home sick and he was going to Walmart and I had meant to buy it on my way home from work that day.  When he got home, he handed it to me and informed me that my book cast more than everything else he bought combined and I felt a bit sheepish and even more so when I put it on the bottom of my library book stack.  It’s been a month now and I keep looking at it on the coffee table and feeling bad and also impatient to get to it.

So, today was the day.  I finished Phonogram this morning and it was good and the King is waiting in my car for me.

My main goal this week is not to drive myself nuts.  I am simply buried.  To do lists.  Books.  Podcasts.  TV shows.  Puzzle books.  Coloring.  I want to relax.  I want to remember that I don’t have to do it all, right now, and perfectly.  Instead I want to read my Stephen King and maybe actually get some extra sleep.  Maybe even buy myself some… Jimmy Johns.  This week I want to chill out and take care of myself, forgive myself and love myself.  I don’t think that’s being unreasonable. Do you?

At present, it looks like I won’t read 100 books this year and I probably won’t win NaNoWriMo either.  But, you know, I’m okay with those things.  I birthed a child this year, you guys, and I mother and librarian and wife and friend and kick ass in general on a constant basis.  Fuck it.

My Irrational Dislike for a Book I Never Read

It was a hard time.

I was living in the middle of nowhere with my fiance.  Only, he was travelling for work most weeks and I was alone a lot of the time.  I kept telling myself that I was an adult, that I could handle it, but I also had this suspicion that something was wrong.  He seemed to be harder and harder for me to grasp.

About a year earlier, when he started travelling, he decided that he needed to start reading to kill time in airports.  I was so excited!  Finally, after all of the time that I spent watching movies he loved and watching wrestling with him and listening to bands he liked, FINALLY he was getting into MY hobby!  I thought about books he might like.  I wrote them down.  I gave him a list.

He ignored it.

And, you know, I got it.  I understood.  He knew the books I read.  Young adult.  Classics.  Random things I found on the shelf at work.  V.C. Andrews.  Joe Meno.  I was working through The Dark Tower series by Stephen King at the time.  I wasn’t a huge fan of mysteries or suspense or the kind of books you found in an airport.  I’ve never read James Patterson.  I understood that he thought I would only suggest books to him that I liked and he was sure that he wouldn’t like the same books.  Never mind my years of working in a library.  Never mind the degree I was digging through.  Readers advisory was an alien

I remember when he bought the book.  We were at Target with a friend who worked at the library with me and we stopped in the book aisle.  I handed him a book, “You might like this one.”

“Nah.  What do you think I’d like?” he asked our friend.  Even though she was mostly reading Virginia Woolf at the time.

She shrugged and pulled a random book of the shelf, giving him a “I don’t give a fuck” look and said, “I don’t know.  This?”

He bought the book.  And then I saw it everywhere.  I saw it at work and in stores and for some reason it seemed to always be around our house, on the coffee table or on the kitchen counter.  I STILL see that book all over today.  I’ve never read it.  In fact, my mind drew such a distinct line around it that I’ve never read any of the author’s books and actively skip over reviews when I come across them.

And maybe this would make sense in a different context.  Maybe if it was what he was reading when we broke up or maybe if my friend had actually made a heartfelt suggestion for him.  Maybe if he told me repeatedly how great it was or if it had randomly ended up in my books when I moved out.  But there was none of that.  It was just a cover seared into my brain.  I even had one of his books when I moved out, a book that I read and really enjoyed and still think about today and kind of want to reread.  I read it right after we broke up so that I could get it back to him ASAP and be done with it.

Today I added that book to my TBR list.  For a lot of reasons.  The first is that the book was published a decade ago and I read someone raving about how great it is probably once a week still.  The second is that I am more into murder and mayhem and mystery in my books these days.  The third is that I realize it’s not already on there for a pretty stupid reason and you can’t hate a book because someone else liked it.

Plus, what’s another book on my TBR??

Tally Monday- October 30, 2017

Checked Out



  1. Coffee with God by Sarah Arthur
  2. The Story of Molly MacLane by Molly MacLane


  1. “A Month on Greene Street” by Tom Hanks

Reading The Complete PhonomancerEdith Wharton

Ha ha.  Look at those books bought!  I bought a devotional and a diary of a teenage girl who writes a lot about Satan.  So, there you go.  My mind is a very strange place indeed.

I am not Christian but I kind of have a thing for devotionals.  I like the pattern of a daily reading.  For years now I have had some sort of daily reading, starting with Simple Abundance and moving on to all kinds of things like Daily Dose of Knowledge, The Intellectual Devotional, The Daily Stoic, and even the Bible, which I read in a year a few years ago.  I love having a little tidbit to think about all day which is why these books have become a part of my routine along with my Writer’s Almanac podcast.

For the past couple of years, I have subscribed to a treat for myself.  First I did Ipsy then I switched to Birch Box.  I enjoyed getting these little treats in the mail.  That once a month gift to myself that cost only $10 and was always a surprise even if sometimes it was disappointing.  I realized the other day that I don’t actually enjoy my Birch Box anymore.  I get it and I make excited sounds and tear into it but it’s become mostly an act.  I cancelled my subscription the other day and then went about deciding what to subscribe to instead.  I toyed with the idea of getting a coffee subscription and found one that sent four small samples per month for $10 but in the end I decided that I wanted to keep it book adjacent…

For $15/month, I could go back to Book of the Month Club OR I could get Audible.  It’s been a hard choice.  I love getting something in the mail and I really enjoyed Book of the Month for the three months that I had it.  But I don’t think that I’ve actually READ any of those three books…  I’ve opted to go with Audible.  I’ll be getting the same thing (a book) but in a format that I will get to sooner (audio) and, best of all, if there’s nothing I want this month those credits stick around.  No stacks of unread books making me feel guilty PLUS the ability to get audios of books that I haven’t been able to get through my many library connections.

I’m looking forward to getting started and getting that next Anne of Green Gables book, even though I have really enjoyed playing catch up on my podcasts this past week.

I know I keep saying that I am going to get back on the reading wagon and I’m going to say it again.  I had all of the best intentions this past week and I honestly have no fucking clue what happened.  I didn’t read.  I didn’t color.  I was an all around slacker.  But today I have already texted my husband and told him I’m reading tonight.  Maybe I’ll even prop myself up in bed with a cup of tea.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?

(But I also just downloaded a new game on my phone…)

TBT 2008

In 2008, I read 61 books.

A couple of weeks ago, I told you guys about my reading in 2007 and how much of it had not stuck with me.  There were a few gems but more than a few WTF-is-that-books.  And so, lets take a peak at 2008.

And holy shit, it was a year.

In 2008 I reread the first four Harry Potter books.  I dove deep into studying world religions, reading the best titled book of all time: The Joy of Sects.  I reread a bunch of Francesca Lia Block books and also read Thirteen Reasons WhyLooking for Alaska, and King Dork, all very formative books for me.  2008 was the first year that I started in on my Fear Street reading.  I also read three Joe Meno books, one of which I remember reading when I was particularly ill.

It was an awesome year!  So, my top five books of 2008 in no particular order.  Here it goes!

  1. Rumble on the Bayou by Jana DeLeon.  A surprise hit!  I read this delightful little romantic romp and have never found anything else that quite itches that scratch even though I tried as recently as last month!
  2. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I remember reading this massive book curled up in a massive chair in my parents’ living room.  It took a long time but it was a very rewarding read.  A couple of years ago my husband listened to it on audio and once in a while one of us will randomly mention how good it was.
  3. The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno.  While Hairstyles of the Damned will always be my favorite Meno book, this was the second Meno I read and it was weird and I may have had a really high fever at the time.  But I still think about it A LOT and suggest it to people who look at me like I am crazy.
  4. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  Even though I haven’t read it since and I haven’t finished watching the Netflix adaptation, this book made me ugly cry and left me raw.
  5. Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton.  There are a lot of other books that I liked a lot more that I read that year but I chose this because it lead to a solid three or four year spree.  It wasn’t long before I realized that I could listen to these on audio and I was over the moon!  The Hamish series made me a fan of audiobooks and I haven’t looked back since.

Okay, y’all.  I’m off to see the work wizard.  Hopefully I can calm down and finish something!

Tally Monday- October 23, 2017

Checked Out





  1. The Prom Queen by R.L. Stine

ReadingEdith Wharton by Hermione Lee, The Complete Phonogram by Kieron Gillen

Sometimes we have to speak hard truths to ourselves and over the past couple of weeks I have been going through this process.  There is a lot on my plate and a lot on my mind.  I am not presently at my best, though I’m also not at my worst and that counts for something too.  I am realizing that there are changes that need to be made and that it is going to be hard and I am going to have to put work in.  But I also know, and this is just as important, and in the end I will have a more sustainable life.

You may have noticed a bit of a blank this week.  And that is simply because I have not been reading.  I haven’t wanted to do much of anything, even the things that I know help me and make me feel better.  So on this Monday morning I am asking myself: Is it best to take a break or to pile it on?

You know how sometimes (Let’s be honest, most times.) when you have to work out you don’t want to even though you know that you’ll feel better if you do?  That’s exactly where I am with reading.  I even get to feeling like I NEED to read.  Sometimes I might even pull out my book and read a couple of pages, like doing a half hearted squat.  Afterwards I think, “Well, you tried.  You did SOMETHING.  That matters!”  But we all know that’s bullshit.  Sometimes you have to go until it feels good again.

I am a complete downer today.  Sorry about that.  Please believe me when I say that next week I will be writing with a completely different mindset.  In the meantime, you guys go and have a great week and read lots of good books and then come back here and tell me about it, if you’re so inclined.  I’d love to hear about your reading lives!