Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Reading Time - August

This is a link-up with Jana and Steph - be sure to check out their links and see what everyone else is reading!

Apparently, I go in phases on wanting to blog vs. wanting to disappear. It's the introvert in me, I suppose. But since it's been a couple months since my last post (re: reading, of course), I figured I'd jump in this month with what I've read since June. Kinda helped having a readathon in there and also a library who REALLY wants me to read all the books. Browsing their website and adding things to my Hold List seems to tell the librarian who lives in my computer that I want each of those books at the same time.

So ... since June ...

Goodbye, Paris - 4 stars. Kind of sappy, kind of what I needed on that particular day. Received the ARC from Simon & Schuster - not sure how or why but when I get a free book in the mail, I don't normally question it. If anyone would want to read it next, let me know and I'll pop it in the mail to you (or meet you for coffee, if you're local).


The Sense of an Ending - 4 stars too. Pretty good and short. It was listed on Modern Mrs. Darcy's post about short books to read and THAT post came just in time for the 24in48 Readathon. Speaking of the readathon, I didn't complete the full 24 hours and I wasn't really expecting to. I did make it to 13 or maybe 14 hours, which was more than last year. (Library e-book)


From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - I'd never read this one before but I think we have a copy at the house. I remember seeing this cover in one of the kids' bookcases but it might have been selected for The Great Purge of 2017. Found out about it from the Andrew Luck Book Club selection for rookies in June? July? Also 4 stars and good for adults and kids. The August selection for veterans is Lincoln's Last Trial - looking forward to reading that one and note to self - need to pick it up before the hold expires. (Library real book)


Every Heart a Doorway - meh ... 3 stars. It was also listed as a short read by Modern Mrs. Darcy. It's listed as the first book of a series, but the entire time I was reading it, I felt like it was probably book 4 or 5 of an 8 or 9 book series ... basically, I was lost. It kept me interested but it seemed like it started with a lot of loose ends and ended with a gazillion more and none of the starting ones were quite cleared up. (Library e-book)


The Outsiders - 4 stars. Hadn't read it before and still haven't seen the movie. Definitely enjoyed it and now I'm on the hunt for the movie. Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold. (Library e-book)


The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society - 4.5 stars. Pretty quick read but I didn't catch on until I was well into the book that it was based on letters and telegrams so then I was distracted by thinking how quickly the mail was delivered back in post-war England. From someone with a college degree in Germanic Studies (pretty much useless), the Occupation part really got to me. Definitely recommend and I wanted to finish in time to catch the movie on Netflix (really good but I wish they hadn't cut out/changed so much) (Library e-book)


The House on Mango Street - another super-quick read (like a couple hours or so) so I think this also came from the short books list from Modern Mrs. Darcy. Also from the local library. Apparently I just like going in and adding random books to my hold list because I got an email that this was automatically loaded to my Kindle and I don't recall requesting it. I opened it up and couldn't put it down ... not a good thing when it's already 11:30 pm on a weeknight. 4 stars though - really good!(Library ebook - already mentioned but consistency rules all)

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - I liked this one because the author isn't an elite runner. He writes for a living and he runs for exercise and to clear his mind. I don't write (though I wish I did) but those are the reasons I run as well. I'll never win any races and that's never been my intention. I run to get out of my head, to be outside, to run with a large group of strangers who are running for their own reasons but we all support each other - even for the short few seconds that we're running next to each other ... oh, and I also run for the free banana at the end. And chocolate milk. And a bagel or cookie. (Library real book)

DNF but not through any fault of the author:
Scrappy Little Nobody

I keep trying audiobooks and this one was the recent failure. Some people might be able to multi-task and listen to an audiobook while doing housework or driving or whatever ... I can't. When I'm in a book, I am IN a book. I was trying to multi-task and listen to this while on a trip (can't really be distracted while driving) and also while running (I may have tripped a couple times because I wasn't paying attention) and finally realized I need to stop and return it to the library and just wait for my name to come up for the real book.

So, as usual, let me know if you've read any of these or if you can suggest something else. Also, do you have the same issues as I do with audiobooks? The only audiobooks I've been successful with "reading" were the Harry Potter ones -- considering I had already read the books numerous times and I love listening to Jim Dale's reading voice, I could get distracted and return and know exactly what I had missed.

(also ... and boom-shakalaka ... figured out how to add Disqus so hopefully my replies to your comments will actually get back to you now! We shall see ... )

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Reading Time - June

Linking up again for Show Us Your Books with Steph and Jana. It appears I skipped the past few months because I figured I needed to add more books than the few I've read. However, I've since decided to sacrifice my sleep for more reading and I feel that was a good trade.

To the books ...


Educated by Tara Westover
This one was a difficult read, but interesting. Incredible how much influence a parent has on a child's self-esteem and beliefs. Glad she was able to break away and find her true self.


Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
This was a quick read - lots of affirmations and it was recommended to me after last year. Also was the first time I'd read anything from her.


The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
Really good read - also first time I'd read anything from this author as well. If her others are like this, I'll try to read more.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
Fast read and yep, she (author) was obsessed. I could totally see how/why as I became obsessed while reading it, especially considering they've arrested a suspect.


I've Been Thinking by Maria Shriver
This was a DNF only because it was an ebook from the library and I realized it was more of a daily devotional book rather than one to read in one sitting. The chapters I read were really good and affirming and I have this in my Amazon list for a future purchase.

Currently reading (re-reading, actually):
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus

Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
I had this one in my queue anyway after it was put on the One State/One Story read by the Indiana Humanities Council. Then I recently watched The Frankenstein Chronicles on Netflix so here we are.

Still have a TON of books in my TBR ... and will likely add to that number after checking out everyone else's lists today. No complaints here!

Friday, June 1, 2018

June - life update

Kids are out of school for summer - surprisingly (to me, at least), they both readily agreed when I said I wanted them to read over break. Yay! Our library is providing a Cultural Pass to all students who sign up for the reading program and I'll be picking up the passes this weekend since they won't be with me - not yay. But we'll be able to go to local museums, theaters, state parks on both sides of the river, etc., so yay again!

Doing another half marathon this month while also officially starting training for full marathon #3 to happen in the fall. Went up to Indianapolis for the Mini Marathon at the beginning of May and enjoyed a dinner out with my oldest/dearest friend. My usual pre-race dinner has traditionally been pizza but this one was bratwurst and beer. I'm sure the sodium helped keep my fingers from swelling, as they do when I run longer than a 10k ... and the beer = carbs. Justification. That was also the first race where I was seeing people dropping like flies because of heat exhaustion. Shoulda had a beer?

This was at SunKing brewery in Indpls and that's a Wee Mac (Scottish ale).

We got a puppy in April and it's been all kinds of chaos. The pugs are over it.
Meet Belle. She's part lab, part collie, part shepherd, part kangaroo. 
This was during a calm moment during puppy training class.

Reading came to a halt after puppy arrived -- but I had hit a lull anyway so a break was needed. Happy to say the break has ended and I'm back on the wagon.
Currently reading.

Trying out some new foods. Brandless has been a hit at home - even the kids like it. I like it because the items are all $3 (except for the soups - $1.50) and all items are organic and/or non-GMO and/or vegetarian/vegan and/or kosher ... basically, it's good stuff and great prices, depending on what you order. Better prices than Kroger and the delivery is fairly quick. Full disclosure - if you click on this link and place an order, I think you'll get free shipping? or $6 off your order? or maybe it's $6 off and if you order more than $39, it's free shipping anyway? I don't know - I think I get a free item ($3) and the kids have placed their order for what they want next time ... so if you click and order, thank you from me and the kids!

Strict no/low spend month in progress. It is what it is.

Short week and a lot of things going on ... hard to believe it's June, but then again, it feels like time is finally slowing down and I can catch a breath or two. Also trying to get caught up on blog-reading and possibly writing in this one more than once a blue moon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Reading Time - March

It's time for another link-up with Steph and Jana. Click on over to see what others are reading.

I saw a post on a book club page that suggested seeing what books you've read that were published the same year you were born. I was curious ...

1971 was a good year (click to see why). Those who know me will understand how excited I was to see The Lorax was published the year I was born. Why? Because I am the Lorax! Proudly and unapologetically so.

OK ... since last month's reading post, I've been busy with home projects and spending time with my kids, but also have to make time to read. I fell off the reading wagon one too many times and don't want it to happen again anytime soon.

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi - I don't give many 5 stars. This was definitely 5 stars. A tale that starts with the lives of two sisters from Ghana, whose lives take very different paths - one as a slave, the other the wife of a slaver. Each chapter is then from the viewpoint of the next generation through the current era. Excellent read.

The Wife Between Us: A Novel
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanan - Truly don't know why I read this. Full of triggers and I was totally cheering for Vanessa to crush Nellie. Midway through, I don't know what I was reading and it took a chapter or two to realize the flip the authors did. 3.5 stars

I Am, I Am, I Am
I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O'Farrell - I think I misread the description and didn't realize it was about one person's close calls with death (17 of them, though not all were close calls ... more like what could have happened). After the first 3 or 4 chapters when I realized it was all things happening to the same person, I was wondering how accident-prone she really is and how can she still be alive? Also, I don't know Maggie O'Farrell, as in I haven't read any of her books so her memoir wasn't thrilling to read. But it was an interesting book. 3 stars.

The Great Alone
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah - Oh, Alaska ... I will return. This book was freaking awesome, in that it reminded me so much of why I love it there. I know I wouldn't survive trying to homestead or live off the land, but so much of what she wrote about reminded me of places I visited, people I met, food I ate, etc. I guess back in the early 70s when the story started in AK, locals called the ferry the Tusty (I squealed when I read that) ... when I was taking that same ferry to Kodiak in the mid-90s, it was the Rusty Tusty. I guess time and weather is harsh up there, even on beloved ferry boats. I would say 4.5 stars on this one. I haven't read her other books but I have The Nightingale in my stack (see pic below).

Currently reading: I've Been Thinking, by Maria Shriver and Educated, by Tara Westover (both e-books from local library).

Meanwhile, my stack of books to read keeps growing.

Read any good books? Have you checked what popular books were published the year you were born?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Reading Time - February

So I did some statistic checking since my last Reading Time post. I had mentioned that I was bummed about 'failing' my 2017 goal of reading 40 books and 'only' read 25 books. Jana commented that 25 is still 2 books a month and that's more than what a lot of people read.

According to this post on Iris, the average person reads about 4 books a year. A. Single. Year! I can't comprehend. But click through for more details - it's pretty interesting.
  • In 2015, 72% of Americans read a book. (A single book. One.) This includes only reading a book 'in part' so they might not have even finished that book. (That one single book. One.)
  • Educated women tend to read the most (side note: I occasionally go back and read books I should have finished in high school or college. Do you know anyone who reads Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis' or 'The Trial' for fun?)
  • Americans don't read as much as most other countries. (We're lazy.)
And according to this Bookbub post, I have about 2000 books to go before I die. That's a sobering thought and might be why I'm no longer hesitant to DNF a book if it doesn't cut it for me in the first 3 chapters. Every book now is going to be judged on if it's worthy or not to be included in my 2000 books. This kind of reminds me of Lost and when Desmond was carrying around Our Mutual Friend by Dickens to be the last book he ever read. When my aunt passed away 15 years ago, I found out she died while reading a book written by Dickens - her favorite author. The morbid romantic in me did ask if it was Our Mutual Friend (she would have appreciated Desmond's choice and reason) ... but it wasn't and I can't remember which one now.

So anyway ... on to the books:

A is for Alibi - As mentioned last month, I had thought about reading this series before but it wasn't until we were chilling around the house and the news came that local author/celebrity Sue Grafton had passed away that I did some quick searching and downloaded the book. Technology is useful. Very '80s, but good. Not sure I want to put a priority on reading the other 25 ...  (ebook from local library)

Then ...
Promise Me, Dad - Also very good. I teared up in parts of it. Put politics aside, this is a good book about a father and the loss of a son. I was also very interested in reading some of the bits about what was going on behind the scenes during some of the political manuevering. I recommend it. ('real' book borrowed from local library)

Then ...
Sisters First - This must be the month for memoirs. Again, put yo' politics aside. I love presidential history and the families are included in that, (#45 excluded). This was a good book with anecdotes from both Jenna and Barbara and how their lives were before, during, and after their dad was president. ('real' book borrowed from local library)

And this one:
The Book of Giant Stories - One of the check-ins for the 24in48 reading challenge was to find the oldest children's book you have or the one you've held onto since childhood ... and it's this one. I remember crawling up into my dad's lap for him to read this to me over and over. He worked long days and when he'd fall asleep reading to me, I'd continue reading the stories aloud to him - maybe that was his plan. The illustrations are the best - Weekly Reader Books for the win. (book in personal collection and going nowhere - though I need to fix the spine)

 Everything I Never Told You - After reading Little Fires Everywhere, I put this one in my queue at the library. I think I liked this one better than LFE, but both were hard to put down. 'Familial Dysfunction' is the name of the game with this author. ('real' book borrowed from the library ... and also the ebook borrowed from the library for when I was waiting at an appointment and had forgotten my book. I do feel bad for double dipping when someone else was likely waiting for either copy ... really, I do. Both were returned promptly after finishing.)

They Both Die at the End - Pretty good story. What would you do if you got the call that you'd be dead within 24 hours? (another e-book from local library)

And then:
The Hazel Wood - I was mainly drawn to this because it's the name of my kids' school. But the plot was interesting too. YA fairy tale - so there's teen angst involved -- and guess what .... another e-book from local library.

Currently reading: Sing, Unburied, Sing

So much for my goal of reading through the stacks of my own books ... most of what has been read so far in 2018 has been from the library (real and e-books).

Be sure to check out Jana and Steph's link-up and see what other books everyone's discussing. You can pretty much guarantee that I'll be on Goodreads throughout the next couple days adding still more books that I want to read but may never get to.

Thoughts on the stats or have you read any of the books listed? What are you reading?

Friday, February 2, 2018

Do-over day

In the spirit of Phil Connors and in honor of today, I sometimes like to think I want a do-over.

(Who else is thinking this?)

I think everyone goes through phases of the what-ifs -
What if I had been more outgoing in school?
What if I had been a better friend?
What if I had gone to a different college?
What if I had stuck to my original major?
What if I had said no?
What if I had said yes?
What if I said 4 years were enough?
What if ... what if ... what if ...

I do know it wasn't this.

And then I know that if anything from my past had been even slightly different, I wouldn't be where I am today (acceptance to my new reality). But then again ... if anything from my past had been even slightly different, I wouldn't be where I am today (wishful thinking of a better reality). But then again, when I look at my kids -- there's no way I would have changed a thing.

So now my new what ifs are full of present and future changes --
what if I can be a better mom?
what if I can be a better daughter and sister?
what if I can be a better friend?

So on that note ... happy Friday! Paint crew coming tomorrow ... wish me luck.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

January update

Linking up with Kristen and Gretch for a monthly update on what's up and what's down.

Reading - Tried to participate in the 24in48 readathon last weekend. I read more than I normally do on weekends but definitely didn't make it to 24 hours. I'll have a nice list of books to share on the Show Us Your Books post on the 13th.

Work stuff - Just finished the busiest month of the year for me there and glad for a bit of a breather. However, once I get everyone else's W2s out, that means I need to start thinking about personal taxes. A little nervous about my taxes this year. Trying not to stress about it though.

House - Getting stuff done around the house - painting, plumbing, electrical work, gutter repair, wall repair, carpet getting pulled up, wallpaper getting ripped down, etc. I thought I should do some before/after photos, but I'd rather forget the 'before'.

Running - Two parts to this one ...

Discovered a trail race out in the boonies of Shelby County, KY. It was totally not what I was expecting ... but I finished and with minimal pain. Thankfully, I wore an old pair of running shoes because I overestimated my creek-jumping abilities and landed in the mud. When I tried to climb the creek bank, my shoe stayed behind. I was crouched down trying to yank that shoe out of the mud with both arms and full-body strength. It FINALLY came up ... but had filled a bit with mud. Unfortunately, that was in the first mile and I had to run 3 more miles with my foot in cold mud/horse poo. Ran most of it with Katie (of fromicecreamtomarathon) and if it weren't for her, I'd have never finished. Some of those hills were brutal and the mud didn't help. We finished 4 miles in just under an hour though so I'm happy about that.

Then - I'm combining two training programs to get through the winter. One is the Marathoning for Mortals run/walk half marathon that has worked wonders for me in the past. My only beef with it is I'm only to run twice during the week and a 'long' run on Saturdays. Sorry, but I need more active days than that ... so I'm also doing the Norton's Health training program for the Kentucky Derby Festival marathon/mini-marathon. This one is a bit of overkill with one rest day, one cross-training day, and 5 running days each week. I won't win any races and it's mainly to keep me moving and my mind off things. And also get caught up on Netflix/Amazon Prime Video without feeling like a slug, because ...

Eating - too much. But also planning the garden and getting the seeds ready to start. The kids have put in their requests for what to grow and they promised to help when they're here.

Watching - not the State of the Union address. It's not because of who gave the speech - I never watch it, regardless of the party in charge. The constant popping up and applauding gets old in the first 30 seconds so I wait to read the transcript of the speech on the next day. That was also a disappointment. I'm almost done with "Comedians in Cars getting Coffee" -- the episodes are super-short, super-funny, and super-dangerous to watch while on a treadmill. I tried with just one episode and had to keep grabbing the handrails while belly-laughing at 6 mph. Not safe. Not safe at all.

Glad January is over ... as slow as it went, time is still moving too quickly for me. My sophomore received letters from three different colleges last week. Plus, a letter from the school highly recommending him for AP classes, based on his PSAT scores. Here's the thing - this kid doesn't even remember taking the test. It was just a regular standardized test to him so he didn't study, didn't stress, didn't do anything his mom did when I took the PSAT. And he doesn't like school. Go figure. My daughter wants to sign up for all the AP classes she's able to, loves school, loves organizing and planning what she wants to do ... total opposites and yet both are so like me. I love this time with them. :)

so that's January ... and on to February ...

Reading Time - August

This is a link-up with Jana and Steph - be sure to check out their links and see what everyone else is reading! Apparently, I go in phases...