Posts

Weekend reads and considering closing the blog...

Image
I'm not sure what provoked it, but was struck very strongly this week that I should consider closing this blog.

I think it's maybe that I'm trying to renew my work on it -- I'm trying out different review formats, attempting some YouTube vids, hoping to integrate my tarot and woowoo research -- but I'm so aware of how little interaction I have through it all. I know -- or 'know' -- many bookish folks online, but my interactions are fleeting and quick. I started my blog to connect with other readers -- a virtual book club, I imagined -- and I'm just not doing that.

Reviewing books to help authors and publishers promote them has become the meat-and-potatoes of my blog, and I'm not that excited about it. Certainly my free-range reading of these last few months have been refreshing and fun, but even writing about those reads feels like I'm talking to myself.

So, if that's the case, why continue here?

This post is kind of me "thinking out l…

Wordless Wednesday: It's the little things

Image
Decided to dress up my work game. $2 from Target -- like I could resist!

Check out more Wordless Wednesday posts!

Creepy kids are creepy, especially when they survive plane crashes

Image
My wife was listening to this on her commute and I got hooked, and we spent the last four nights listening to it at home after dinner while halfheartedly doing dishes and whatnot.

Four airplanes crash on the same day, and unbelievably, in three of the accidents, one child survives. But the world is changed by Black Thursday, as the day becomes known, as the children garner international interest and panic. We learn about what happens through Black Thursday: From Crash to Conspiracy, a book that details the events in the days and weeks that follow, and of course, what happens after this book comes out.

I found the premise suuuuuuuper intriguing and I'm a sucker for found documents/ephemera/books-within-books narrative structure, so all that worked for me; but I did get a bit tired near the end of the drawn out mystery.

My wife said this felt like an overpadded novella; I kind of agree. Maybe in book form, when I could have read faster, it might have raced more, but listening, it d…

Booktube: Library Haul, September 14

Image
A quick vid of some of the free-range reads I snagged from the library recently!


Teaser Tuesday, September 12: Middlemarch!

Image
My Teaser Tuesday for this week comes from Middlemarch!...which I am still reading. What are you reading today? Have a teaser to share?


Weekend reads and my first vlog!

Image
It feels like summer is over in Boston -- it's brisk and beautiful and while I love it, I'm also mourning the end of summer because I don't feel like I did enough summer stuff!

So, after fumbling with many different apps, I've made my first vlog/booktube, below. Don't judge me too harshly; I decided to just do it and not agonize, and I'll figure it out along the way. (But helpful tips always welcome!)

My weekend reads are more of Middlemarch as well as The Other Alcott by Elise Hooper. What are you reading this weekend?


A novel about E.M. Forster not getting some is surprisingly moving

Image
I grabbed this book from the library in my usual, arbitrary way: I liked the spine and the binding, and the cover; then I saw it was a Europa Edition and decided to check it out. Then I never got around to reading it, and had forgotten about it until noticing it on my Overdrive wishlist.

Arctic Summer is biographical novel of English novelist E.M. Forster; it's mostly about Morgan's desperate search for love and companionship and sex, and how he basically didn't get those things. It's gorgeous and emotional and restrained, and I loved every word.

Overwhelmingly, this novel is just bittersweet. Morgan is so sweetly likeable (I know it's trendy these days to want unlikable characters, but there's something to be said for characters you also just want to squish) but his life so empty despite the people, jobs, and travel that fill it. He finds some intense emotional relationships, a few that translate into physical/sexual ones, but all seem lopsided and unequal -- s…

Book Review: The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

Image
First line: Yeah, send her on back.

I love a good haunted house story and this one is just perfect. (Hot tip: save this for October and thank me later!)

Reminiscent of The Haunting of Hill House and Insidious, this novel features a tough, slightly damaged heroine who didn't make me eyeball roll once; serious place as character; and creepiness in spades.

The plot is pretty simple: Dahlia, whose family runs a salvage business, is tasked with tearing apart an old estate in a matter of days, a job which requires her and her small crew -- cousin Bobby, Bobby's son Gabe, and new colleague Gabe -- to sleep in the house while they work at all hours to salvage what is can be resold.

The house has other ideas, obviously.

While some of the ghostliness of the story was predictable, I found the anticipation upped my eager jumpiness. But Priest surprised me with a ghostly encounter I'd never considered before, and it has made me even jumpier when I'm alone. The book's narrative …

Monday....musings? August 28

Image
The things that feel summery-y for me are coming to an end: our summer hours at work, which end after this week; vacation for school kids; college kids moving into the dorms; a kind of shift in the weather from muggy heat to tolerable heat; the farm in full harvest mode.

We went camping this weekend, and it was really perfect; I finished Ship Fever which was unbelievable. I love historical short fiction in a way I don't always love short fiction generally -- and while a few of Barrett's stories were too neat, the titular story was un-believable. I'm currently in the throes of Damon Galgut's Arctic Summer, which was a free range reading find, and now confirms I'm just going to browse the library or catalog subject index until a title or book cover catches my attention. (I'm still struggling to finish Middlemarch for my 9/21 bookclub!)

Inspired by Andi of Estella's Revenge, I'm starting to think a little more -- creatively -- about what I want to do with …

Bout of Books, Day 2 and Wordless Wednesday, August 23

Image
Yesterday I started, and nearly finished Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut, a short novel about E.M. Forster. It's just beautiful! and so poignant! and bittersweet! and sad! and talks about exoticization (this is a word, right?) of people of color and repressed homosexual impulses and writing and travel and moms and ... basically, it's working for me and has lured me away from my other current reads which is ... good?

My Wordless Wednesday offering is today's Bout of Books challenge: book spine rainbow!

My rainbow is less rainbow-y than it should be, I realize, but it was the best I could do between making dinner, getting toddler to bed, and, obviously, reading! (It's very blue-y which I vaguely recall reading somewhere is the most used color for book covers, maybe because it's a popular color? or something...? Any book cover/design nerds care to weigh in?)

Bout of Books Update, Day 1 and Teaser Tuesday, August 22

Image
My teaser for this week's Teaser Tuesday comes from the volume of short stories I'm reading: Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett.

It's a fabulous volume (winner of the National Book Award in 1996) and though I'm naturally disinclined toward short fiction, they're working for me now. I'm a little overtired and suffering from allergies, so these short, subtle stories are perfect for distracting me.
During our brief courtship, I told Richard only the things that I thought would make him love me., from "The Behavior of the Hawkweeds".#boutofbooks Day 1 Update

I managed a little reading yesterday -- more Middlemarch and more Ship Fever -- and I hope tonight to finish the latter. I did my six-word intro on Instagram yesterday.

Bout of Books!

Image
Like a cat and cardboard box, I can't pass up a readathon. Plus, I'm in a reading funk but recently got a stack of library books so ... Bout of Books, here I come!

Here's info about this readathon:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Are you participating? I'm hoping to finish Ship Fever tonight and then think I'll start my new Penelope Lively novel.

Weekend reads and some free-range reading...

Image
After going through a glut of reads compelling enough to keep me reading, I've hit a dry spell.

Despite being on the hook for a number of reviews, the galleys and digital ARCs just haven't grabbed me. So I did some browsing through my library's online catalog and made some impulse requests, and so far, the experiment has worked!

My weekend reads is Andrea Barrett's short story collection, Ship Fever, which has been recommended to me more than once by a variety of readers I trust. I grabbed some books that I'm familiar with -- a Penelope Lively I haven't read, The Girl from Rawblood which crossed my radar sometime in the last twelve months -- as well as some I've never heard of -- Silvina Ocampo.

I'll resume Middlemarch on Monday.

What are you reading this weekend?

Muddling through Middlemarch...

Image
I'm muddling my way through Middlemarch, a read I've long had on my TBR and am finally getting to because my book club selected it for our September read.

I anticipated loving it for ... reasons ... and at times I'm enjoying it, while other times I feel like it's going over my head. It's been a long time since a book has hit me this way, so I'm trying to roll with that -- and for good and for bad, there isn't another book clamoring to be read. Middlemarch it is.

Have you read Middlemarch? Love it? Hate it? Reading anything great right now?

Book Review: The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

Image
First line: It was Monday night.

Persuasion is my all-time favorite Jane Austen, so when I came across this Persuasion-inspired romantic comedy, I had to have it. It ended up being a very zippy read, super fluffy, the kind of thing you can dip in and out of easily.

Our heroine, Ruby Atlas, comes from a small town in Massachusetts where her father amassed a wealth in real estate. Her sister Piper is high-strung and snobbish. Before heading to her first grown up job after college, Ruby meets Ethan Bailey, son of a mechanic, who bartends at a neighborhood dive. It's instant chemistry between them. But not perfect.

In the now, Piper is engaged to be married, and Ruby is her maid of honor. Only hitch? Piper is marrying Ethan Bailey's best friend, and Ethan is no longer a poor kid from the wrong side of time. He's a billionaire tech inventor, lauded and sought after, and Ruby is in agony at having to see him again. The novel alternates between this story line and that of their ti…