Showing posts from January, 2017

Weekend reads, or the first week of dystopian living...

I just have to say: the state of US politics right now has me in a pit of despair. I'm trying to so hard to turn down the outrage, anger, and hopelessness swirling through me (and my job requires me to pay attention to politics, so can't really ignore -- nor do I want to!) but I don't want to be complicit in what's happening by being unresponsive.

I'm grateful for Unabridged Toddler, who is my sunshine and joy each day. As a result, he's got me wrapped around his finger, and as you can see, on tap for this weekend is reading every book in that pile, more than once!

I'm also hoping to start Laurie Lico Albanese's Stolen Beauty, a historical novel about Klimt and Adele Bloch-Bauer and World War II. It's been a book I'd been soooo excited to read so can't wait to dive in.

What are you reading this weekend?

Book Review: Good Night, Baby Animals, You’ve Had a Busy Day by Karen B. Winnick and illustrated by Laura Watkins

Title:Good Night, Baby Animals, You’ve Had a Busy Day
Author: Karen B. Winnick
Illustrator: Laura Watkins

First line: When baby elephants are born, they don't know how to use their trunk. from 'Baby Elephant's Little Trunk'

Review: Unabridged Toddler and I were both completely charmed by this book, which is a collection of six stories about busy baby animals easing their way to sleep.

Featuring animals that all kids seem to be familiar with (even if they've never seen them in real life!), these sweet stories are beautifully illustrated with soft, warm depictions of animal parents and children.

I loved that the stories are gentle and positive without being cloying; there's a rhythm to the text but it doesn't have an irritating rhyme that will echo in your head hours later.

Each story has a different plot -- tigers exploring, an elephant learning to use its trunk, a newborn giraffe trying to eat, an imaginative rhino, a wandering panda, and a playful gorilla -- …

Top 10 Reads of 2016

2016 was been a year.

But the last two months of 2016 have really overshadowed the earlier chunk of the year, so I feel a kind of melancholy at the moment. But this has been a more exciting reading year for me than the last few years as I've done more "free range reading".

My greatest blogging disappointment has been my lack of reviews. I can't believe that I ended up leaving my favorites un-reviewed, when they're the books that I want to squee about.

I never did a top ten for 2015 (I'm in awe of the bloggers with kids who keep up with the work!), so I can't compare my reading to that, but this year I read about 37 books (and, it appears, I've "read" nothing in December, yikes!). (Not included in this list are the massive number of children's books I've read to Unabridged Toddler; I'll do a top ten of them later on, as some of them are marvelous.)

These ten still stick with me, and have been among my most recommended this …

Weekend reads, or, starting the #24in48 Readathon...

I'm a terrible failure at readathons, but I still love 'em, and today, I seriously need something to distract me.

So I'm attempting the 24in48 Readathon, in which one tries to read for 24 hours within a 48 hour period.

Unsure which read I'm going to focus on: short stories (Lovecraft, Gay) or novels (Smith, McVeigh). I'm wicked sleepy, so I'm thinking it'll be short fiction, with a longer dip tomorrow when/if I get some sleep. (Have been really anxious this last week and sleep hasn't come easily!)

If you're readathon-ing this weekend, good luck -- what are you reading?

Teaser Tuesday, January 18

My Teaser Tuesday this week is from Ottessa Moshfegh's Eileen, a short but dark novel set in 1960s Boston.

It's narrated by the titular Eileen, a weird young woman who works for a boy's penitentiary, who wants to both escape her life and remain mired in its petty misery.

(I'm both delighted and depressed while reading it!)

Today's teaser from about halfway, on having a social outing with a new co-worker, the gorgeous and confident Rebecca.
I stared disbelievingly into Rebecca's serene, wistful face, her eyes closed, her hands on my shoulders like an angel and a devil debating the logic of longing. (p150)
Share your teasers with me!

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?

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!)

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 pre…

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!)

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, readi…

Books Read in 2016


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


Susan Wittig Albert, Loving Eleanor


Eva Flynn, The Renegade Queen


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


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


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


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


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…