Friday, January 13, 2017

Weekend reads, or, a very long weekend

So, I'm feeling like my kick off to 2017 (blog-wise) hasn't been the worst. I've finished one book, and did some blog posts, and I've got one review in the works. Small steps, right?

I took today off from work to give myself an especially long weekend, as we're off this Mon in the US. To my surprise, my in-laws took the toddler for the day, so I'm totally on my own! Obviously, there's only one thing to do: READ.

My weekend read is Zadie Smith's Swing Time. What are you reading this weekend?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Winter 2017 Bloggiesta To Do Post

I love Bloggiesta for reminding me to brush up and take of my blog, and doing it "in community", so to speak, makes this housework a little more fun.

Given my earlier whining about feeling out-of-it with my blog, I'm really excited there's a mini-event this coming weekend in which I can do some backend work here.

My to do list is pretty simple:
  • make a top 10 of 2016 post (even if it is just a list!)
  • review the book I just finished!
I'd like to start 2017 without a backlog of reviews, so it feels important I keep up. We'll see if I'll tackle my 2016 backlog. (Perhaps for another Bloggiesta!)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Weekend reads, or, it's my 7 year blogiversary!

Well, maybe my angst about this blog isn't unfounded; perhaps I'm just having a seven-year itch!

To my surprise, I just realized that this blog is entering its 7th year! This is crazy to me as I still feel like I "just" started blogging. It seems like only a year or so ago I was staying up late trying to finish my 200th read of the year or something crazy like that! (And this year 50 was a struggle!)

Having a book blog has changed my life, which sounds like hyperbole!, I know, but it's true. Through book blogging, I've meet readers and writers who've encouraged, supported, and guided me toward taking my own novel writing seriously -- a priceless gift.

I've learned so much about the publishing industry, and have gotten incredible access to authors and publishers. And for a long while, swam in a glut of a free books.

But mostly, I've met so many incredible people through blogging: readers like me who love books. Full stop. Even better, and more precious to me, is the incredible gift of growth offered by all the book bloggers in my life. My political, emotional, social, and psychological consciousness has grown thanks to book bloggers introducing me to books, writers, and ideas that have challenged, soothed, and inspired me.

So thank you, all, for helping me become a better reader and person. I'm not sure if another 7 years is what I want or need as a reader, but I'm looking forward to this year here and what it might bring!

This weekend we'll be attending our third Moby Dick Marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. It's a really incredible event that brings this behemoth alive: the mayor of New Bedford reads the chapter about New Bedford, for example, and the fiery sermon preached at the start is read at the Seaman's Bethel across the street from the museum. And this year, the opening chapter -- with its famous first line -- will be read by Herman Melville's great-great-(great?) grandson. I doubt I'll make the entire marathon, what with a two-year-old in tow, but hoping my wife -- the Moby Dick fanatic -- will have fun.

If I can find the time, this weekend I'm reading Ottessa Moshfegh's Eileen for my book club at work. I'm also wildly behind on writing my novel for the writing class I'm taking, so I seriously need to make time for that.

What are you reading this weekend?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wordless Wednesday, January 4

My Wordless Wednesday made me laugh: I think today's tarot card of the day might have been influenced a little by the line of the book I'm still reading (David Morrell's Ruler of the Night). Had just finished reading when I pulled my card.

The line in particular that I think subconsciously influenced me was, "Make your need for revenge warm your body." (A particularly delicious dig after a particularly dramatic scene!)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Just me

I'm feeling seriously blue about my blogging. Not only have I not reviewed more than half of my 2016 reads, but it appears I've only reviewed a quarter of my favorite reads for last year. Most of the books I enjoyed the most I've just ... left un-squee'd.

I started doing a brisk summary of all my unreviewed 2016 reads but that list got so long, I was immediately daunted. So then I tried to just do two sentence reviews of my top ten of 2016, and even that felt like too much.

When did I become so damn delicate?

I'm not ready to quit blogging but clearly I need to do something different. I will confess to a sense of overwhelm when I look at all the things I want to do -- read, blog, work on my novel, knit, spend time with my wife and son -- against the free time I have. I could probably be more efficient with my time, but that daunts me as well. So I'm a bit stuck, trying to work through the haze of last year to come up with some plan that keeps me blogging, reading, and being happy.

My current side table, which is my unofficial blog life HQ, is mostly cleared of reads; we hosted a big party for New Year's Eve, and I decided not to stack all my I-should-read-these books back. Of the three books I did return there, I've not started any; I'm still stuck trying to finish my 2016 reads, le sigh.

Anyway, I don't really have anything to say, other than aspiring once again to do more. My work and social circles have jumped on this year-in-a-word-rather-than-a-resolution trend, which frankly works for me because a list of should-dos is a guaranteed way to get me back into a pit. I've finally hit upon "complete" for my word -- because I want to feel complete, and because I want to complete things. 

So, what's your 2017 like so far? Any and all tips, life suggestions, and advice warmly welcomed. Let me know what you're reading, too.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Books Read in 2016

January

Heidi Heilig, The Girl from Everywhere
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea

February

Susan Wittig Albert, Loving Eleanor

March

Eva Flynn, The Renegade Queen

April

Diane Eickhoff, Clarina Nichols
Lyndsay Faye, Jane Steele
Rita Maria Martinez, The Jane and Bertha in Me
Sylvain Neuvel, Sleeping Giants

May

Mary Robinette Kowal, Glamour in Glass
Mary Robinette Kowal, Shades of Milk and Honey
Catherine Lowell, The Madwoman Upstairs
Patricia Park, Re Jane

June

Helen Ellis, American Housewife
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season
Mary Robinette Kowal, Without a Summer
Michelle Moran, Mata Hari's Last Dance
Ryan North, Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure

July

Genevieve Cogman, The Invisible Library
Mary Robinette Kowal, Ghost Talkers
Rena Olsen, The Girl Before
Katherine Ozment, Grace Without God

August

Julie Eshbaugh, Ivory and Bone
Mary Robinette Kowal, Valour and Vanity
Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems
Imogen Robertson, The Paris Winter
Mary Sharratt, The Dark Lady's Mask
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

September

N.K. Jemisin, The Obelisk Gate
Kim McLarin, Jump at the Sun

October

Anne Boileau, Katharina Luther: Nun, Rebel, Wife
Kent Haruf, Our Souls at Night
Julie K. Rose, Dido's Crown
Various, A Song of War

November

Richard McGuire, Here
Cherie Priest, The Family Plot
Cherie Priest, Maplecroft

Friday, December 30, 2016

2017 #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks Reading Challenge

I totally bombed this challenge last year, but I love the idea of it so much, I'm determined to try again this year.

The premise is super simple: #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.

While my personal library is no longer as massive as it once was, it's still pretty sizable, and worse, I've kind of become a splurge purchaser of e-books when they're on sale, so that TBR is huuuuuge...

I'm going to set a goal of reading 5 of my own books. Another goal I hope I end up busting!

Books Read

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is my favorite challenge probably because it's the only one I'm pretty much guaranteed to "beat", although I realize that's a lame reason to be excited for it.

I've decided I'm going to actually challenge myself this year by combining it with a few other challenges -- #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks and/or Read Diverse Books -- so I'm going to have to do a little work. Yay?

I'm aiming for Medieval - 15 books as I'm not entirely sure if I've gotten my reading mojo back. Here's hoping I beat it, though!

Books Read

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Read Diverse 2017

In 2016, I tried to be more intentional in reading authors of color, and I felt pretty impressed with myself -- but the number is still low compared to my overall reading.

This year, I'd like to do even better, so I'm really excited by the Read Diverse 2017 Reading Challenge.

Eligible books:
  1. Books written by people of color or Native/Indigenous Peoples. 
  2. Books by or about people with disabilities (physical, neurodiversity, etc.)
  3. Books with LGBTQIA protagonists or about LGBTQIA issues 
*#ownvoices books are highly encouraged*

I'm hoping that at least half of my reading in 2017 will be for this challenge -- I'm especially excited about finding historical fiction that works for this!

Books Read

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wordless Wednesday, November 16

Turning to everything for comfort right now: books (Cherie Priest's Maplecroft at the moment), knitting, tarot, attempts at meditation, sugar, carbs, and caffeine, and even some writing.

(I'm so bad at this wordless thing, aren't I?)

What are you reading right now?