Currently // Jasper Sends His Love….

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I’m sitting at home, on my couch, with my back in knots. I’m pretty miserable, thanks to the rain and the cold. However, I have my perfect pillow, a warm blanket, and a great book – plus three kittehs – keeping me company, so it could be worse.

I have finished my final project for my class, so all I have left is my “exam” which is basically all of us sitting in our room together (with a potluck no less!) and critiquing each others work. Sounds like a blast, right? This also means I am read to read and blog and be NORMAL for a month or so. Yes, yes, that means I am taking another class next semester. The class? It’s called BOOKS AND IMAGES. I shit you not. I CANNOT WAIT.

Anyhoo, in the meantime:

I’m reading An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine. I’m not sure where I first heard of it; most likely Litsy. I got a sample of it sent to my Kindle and took a gander after I finished my last book, Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel. What a complete change of pace! I was hooked from the first page of AUW however. The main character, a 72-year-old Beruiti woman who lives alone with an untold number of books, isn’t something I can just look away from. Introverted Aaliya lives alone in her apartment, surrounded by books and loneliness. In telling her story, in the first person, it’s easy to find her voice grating and standoffish. She doesn’t let the reader in easily. She is old. She is lonely. She is unnecessary to her family, her neighbors, and her city. At least, she feels that way.

I’m not so sure she is.

I’m a little over halfway though, so it remains to be seen. I can’t put it down so it shouldn’t be long until I finish. I mean, with gems like these?

“I long ago abandoned myself to a blind lust for the written word. Literature is my sandbox. In it I play, build my forts and castles, spend glorious time.”

And also:

“I consider it a shame that most contemporary American writing seems informed more by Hemingway, the hero of adolescent boys of all ages and genders, than by the sui generis genius of letters, Faulkner. A phalanx of books about boredom in the Midwest is lauded (where the Midwest lies is a source of constant puzzlement to me, somewhere near Iowa, I presume), as are books about unexplored angst in New Jersey or couples unable to communicate in Connecticut. It was Camus who asserted that American novelists are the only ones who think they need not be intellectuals.” <—BAHAHAHA sorry. But they haven’t met Franzen.

I also started the audio of Mort(e) by Robert Repino. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a post-apocalyptic novel told through from the viewpoint of a former spayed housecat named Mort(e) (nee Sebastian). I’m not sure I could stand reading the book with all those Mort(e)s to wade through but the audio is fantastic. Why did it take me this long to get Bronson Pinchot a chance? I guess I was afraid he would sound like Balki. Big mistake. His reading is a thing of beauty. And this novel of war and friendship and loyalty and love is pressing so many of my buttons. I think I’ll go listen to some more now.

Have a great week everyone!

Monthly Wrap Up – November 2016

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You GUYS. Despite EVERYTHING that happened in November (work, classes, a depressing election and its aftermath, and LIFE IN GENERAL) I managed to read some truly fantastic books. I had, simply put, a magical reading month. I read:

139. The Secret World of Bats by Merlin Tuttle
140. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman
141. Queen & Country Volume 2: Operartion Morningstar by Greg Rucka
142. Giant Days, Issue 20 by John Allison
143. Giant Days, Holiday Special #1 by John Allison
144. Elliott Allagash by Simon Rich
145. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
146. The Blue Girl by Laurie Foos
147. The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue
148. The Mothers by Brit Bennett, read by Adenrele Ojo
149. Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock
150. Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel

I can’t call any of those books a disappointment. The Mothers by Brit Bennett was a standout in audio. Adenrele Ojo’s voice is magic and Brit Bennett’s words in from her mouth were bewitching. Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty was completely fantastic. I won’t forget The Blue Girl any time soon. And I can’t remember learning as much from a book as I did with The Secret World of Bats. All in all, I wish every month was November.

Here’s hoping December somehow manages to be as amazing. How was your November?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

our-products

Oh my GOSH you guys. I am reading the best books. I decided about two weeks ago that instead of buying books AS SOON AS I WANT THEM (this is a dangerous practice), I would send myself the sample one can get from Amazon. This has worked marvelously. I currently have 85 samples in my Kindle app. I have only bought 3.

Wait, does that sound like it worked?

Well, of the three I’ve bought, I also immediately read them.

So it’s sort of win.

The last one I bought, Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty is so so so so sooooo good. I mean, I seriously want to hit the two main characters upside their heads, but I love the writing. The others (cause I can see y’all going WHAT WERE THE OTHERS?) were The Blue Girl by Laurie Foos and Elliot Allagash by Simon Rich. Enjoyed the heck out of them as well.

I also just finished The Mothers by Brit Bennett. It was read by a new favorite reader, Adenrele Ojo. She was FABULOUS. I really want (and also don’t want) to review it, because I honestly don’t think I can do it justice. It was beautiful and painful and haunting and sad. It is in my top ten for the year, for certain sure.

After such a wonderful audio, I knew I needed to go in a completely different direction. Luckily, I preordered Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery and read by Rachel McAdams (of The Notebook fame). SHE IS PERFECT for this book. And completely in the direction I needed to go after The Mothers.

Up next, I really have no idea. My final project for school is due in 3 weeks and it is going to be a doozy. I expect I’ll be going for easy reads, if I can read at all. I DID pick up The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, read by one of my favorites – Josephine Bailey, for a song from Audible the other day. That should be an easy one since I’ve read it many times. Either way, I have had a fantastic month of reading, but more on that later this week!

What are your plans for the reading week? Reading anything good this week?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

 

Currently // Post Thanksgiving Malaise

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So? How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was wonderful. Very filling.

Heh.

I made a pie. Cooked a turkey. Made some kick-ass gravy. And slept off the tryptophan. Spent most of Saturday down with a migraine. And am drained today. (Migraine’s always leave me drained the day after.) Yet, all in all, the holiday was a delight.

Now, I’m meal planning and grocery shopping planning and December planning. How is it December? We put a CHRISTMAS TREE today. Wasn’t it summer yesterday? SLOW DOWN LIFE. Good God.

I have three classes left and exams and then I am free until January. I hope you’re ready for me. I have a lot of blogging pent-up inside and there is no telling WHAT will happen.

Have a great week y’all!

Currently // November 20, 2016

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Y’all. How is it November 20th? IT IS THANKSGIVING WEEK WHERE DID THIS YEAR GO?

I had to stay in yesterday to do a bit of laundry. 5 loads and 1.5 books later, I still have laundry. How does this work? I DO NOT GET IT. Laundry sucks.

The book I read yesterday, THE BLUE GIRL by Laurie Foos, was marvelous. So mysterious and magical and why didn’t I read it last year? Geez me. I can be so daft. Read it people. Reminded me of Alice Hoffman. With moon pies.

The other book I started, and have read half of, is THE MOTION OF PUPPETS by Keith Donohue. I have loved Donohue for years; I even interviewed him once upon a time. (He is a delight and so kind.) Yet, I have only ever read THE STOLEN CHILD. I really have no idea what is wrong with me. I need to read all his books and reread TSC to boot. I think I’ll do that in audio, which I conveniently have. Yay me!

Today I need to: make two gluten free pie crusts for Thanksgiving, sort out the meals for the week, get my daughter from a sleepover, and DO MY BLOODY HOMEWORK. We’re redesigning currency in class, 3 bills, both sides, so I have 6 designs to make. I’m basically done with all 6 but I want to do some fine tuning. Then on to my last project! I have loved this class so much.

Off to finish my coffee and read more of THE MOTION OF PUPPETS. Happy Sunday all!

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

 its-monday

Remember last week? When I hadn’t been reading, for what felt like forever? And I scrapped everything I had going and started over?

It worked!

Last week I shared three books I was considering. I read Elliot Allagash by Simon Rich in three days. THREE! Along the way, I picked up Drinking in America which is just completely fascinating – I was so surprised to learn that the “Mohawks” at the Boston Tea Party were drunk as skunks! I had this picture in my mind that did not match with that, more like men soberly posing in Indian clothes, doing their duty for God and man, and dumping King George’s evil tea in the harbor. Nope. They were drunk. Thanks school teachers. *sigh*

I started The Eagle Tree as soon as I finished Elliott Allagash and am so glad I did. I don’t know any autistic children, but I can’t help but think this gives a great picture of how they think. At least, from what I’ve read about how they think. Makes me want to do more reading on it to understand.

Sun, Moon, Earth came in at the library  and I read a good chunk of it as soon as I sat down with it. That evil Columbus once used a total solar eclipse to trick Jamaican natives into not killing him! AND he blackmailed them into giving his men and himself food the Jamaicans couldn’t spare! Jerk!

And I started The Mothers on a whim and a promise to a Twitter friend that I would give it a go. She was so right; it’s lovely and important and fantastic. The audio is so fantastic. The narrator is a dream. I can’t wait to listen to more of it tomorrow.

I am so glad I have four fantastic books going. In fact, I’m off to do some reading now!

What are your plans for the reading week? Reading anything good this week?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

 

Currently // I have a story to tell….

You may have noticed I’ve been quiet about the election. You may not have. There is a lot going on and my lack of voice would probably not be noticed. However, I’m speaking, briefly, about it and then I’m done. I’m not going to bash either candidate. I’m not here to talk about them at all.

I want to tell you a story.

My mother abandoned me when I was 3 years old. My father died when I was 8. As a result, I was raised by my paternal grandparents. They did everything they could to make sure I had a great childhood and they succeeded. One of my favorite things were the visits from my uncle (Mama’s brother) and his wife. They had a small farm with several horses and we traded visits weekly. Some weekends we would go there and I would play with their horses and humongous black cat. Some days they would come to our house and we would make cherry ice cream and I would listen to them talk about the Good Ole Days. I adored my uncle and couldn’t wait to see him every weekend. If I were writing a book, these would be the idyllic days of childhood with warm rays of sunlight falling on sweet, pink, homemade ice cream.

However.

My Mama was a die-hard Democrat. My Papa was more quiet about it, but he was too.

My uncle’s wife was very, very Republican.

I wasn’t there when it happened, but words were said. My uncle and his wife left. And I didn’t seem them again until my Papa’s funeral. And then my Mama’s funeral. And then my uncle’s.

They literally never spoke again.

My feelings on this election are as conflicted as everyone else’s. I am hurt, scared, confused. I have cried, so many tears, watching this country fall apart at the seams. And it may be wrong to not raise my voice, but I’ve seen how a family can be torn apart by voices. The heat of the moment. Misunderstanding and miscommunication. The failure to keep a cool head.

My family is the most important thing to me and I will do ANYTHING to keep them safe. And together. I voted my conscience. I voted with what I believe. And I will continue to do so, with every means at my disposal. I don’t feel the need to shout it to the world and I won’t. I was raised not to. You may think it cowardly and I’m okay with that. I have other ways to voice my opinion and I make it count.

This is all I have to say. The only thing I hope you can take away from this is perhaps to think.

Think about the world and think about home. Don’t let the heat of the moment carry you away. Say things that can’t be taken back.

I love you all.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

its-monday

As I mentioned yesterday, I am in the midst of a reading slump. This usually happens after a readathon, it usually happens when I’m stressed, and it usually happens when I can’t focus.

I have all three going for me. So yay.

Whenever this happens to me, I typically clean the slate (as it stop all the books I’m trying to read) and start up fresh with something new. The books that were currently in my now reading queue were: Eight Flavors: the Untold Story of American Cuisine by Sarah Lohman, The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson, Hamilton: the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda (I KNOW, and it’s the audio), and Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere but Here by Angela Palm.

All are great. None are grabbing me. *le sign*

So, where do I go from here? You may notice that all of those are nonfiction. Yay Nonfiction November! You are killing me. I’m kidding Eight Flavors because 1) I’m 60% through it and it IS good and 2) it’s a review book. So, other than that, I think I need some fiction. But not just ANY fiction. I need some fast paced, grab-me-by-the-nose-hairs exciting fiction. Let’s look at some recent purchases.

Perhaps A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro?

“The first book in a witty, suspenseful new trilogy about a brilliant new crime-solving duo: the teen descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.”? Hmm…sounds interesting!

Or how about The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes? “Fourteen-year-old March Wong knows everything there is to know about trees. They are his passion and his obsession, even after his recent falls-and despite the state’s threat to take him away from his mother if she can’t keep him from getting hurt. But the young autisitc boy cannon resist the captivation pull of the Pacific Northwest’s lush forests just outside his back door.” Oooooh, I love trees too. And I love that the character takes on the fight of saving an ancient tree from demolition.

Then there is Elliot Allagash by Simon Rich. I have a huge literary crush on Simon Rich; his writing is always a relief. And his first novel sounds super: “Seymour Herson is the least popular student at Glendale, a private school in Manhattan. He’s painfully shy, physically inept, and his new nick-name, “chunk style,” is in danger of entering common usage. But Seymour’s solitary existence comes to a swift end when he meets the new transfer student: Elliot Allagash, evil heir of America’s largest fortune.” It sounds rather Pygmalion, since rich, bored Elliot decides to make poor Seymour the most popular student in school.

I’ve almost talked myself into all three of these novels! Which one would you pick?

What are your plans for the reading week? Reading anything good this week?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

 

Currently // The End is Nigh….

Right this minute | I am sitting on the couch with the cat who is finishing off the milk from my cereal. He kissed my nose, what was I supposed to do?

Feeling | Ready for this week to be over. So over politics at this point.

Reading | I have no idea. I mean, I’m trying to read, but it just isn’t working. I have had as many as 6 books going this week and nothing is working for me. Yay slump. I DID read And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman (LOVE HIM) and it was so sweet and sad and wonderful.

Listening | Slump seems to be including audiobooks. I can’t get into anything! And I have so many books in my Audible queue that look delightful. Geez, I think I’ll go have a pity party for myself. I sound pathetic.

Watching | Gosh, I haven’t watched anything this week. I haven’t had time!

Blogging | 6 or 7 more weeks of classes! Then maybe life with be a little more normal and I can blog more.

Loving | It’s the same thing every week. The weather!!

Hating | Reading slumps. *pity party* *dance*

Eating | Just had some cereal and have moved on to my coffee. Time change dictates and all.

Anticipating | I have to work on my homework this afternoon. Maybe I will try an audiobook while I’m sketching.

Have a great Sunday and a wonderful week!

Monthly Wrap Up – October 2016

time goes by

If there hadn’t been a readathon and lots of comics, I’m not sure I would have read anything this month! My second project for class was the create an alphabet from “found objects.” I chose crayons. And much playing and creating ensued. I’m finished with it now, thank goodness, but we started a new project yesterday! It’s something to do with politics too, like I’m not sick unto DEATH of politics. *sigh* Hopefully it will be better than it sounds.

AnyHOO. Here is what I read this month.

124. Wayward, Issue 16 by Jim Zub
125. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, read by Tim Robbins
126. Giant Days, Issue 19, by John Allison
127. Yesternight, by Cat Winters, read by Xe Sands
128. Lumberjanes, Issue 30 by Shannon Watters
129. Printer’s Devil Court by Susan Hill
130. Faith: Volume 1 – Hollywood and Vine by Joy Houser
131. Lumberjanes, Issue 31 by Shannon Watters
132. Wayward, Issue 17 by Jim Zub
133. The Sword, Issue 1 by the Luna Brothers
134. The Sword, Issue 2 by The Luna Brothers
135. The Sword, Issue 3 by The Luna Brothers
136. The Sword, Issue 4 by The Luna Brothers
137. The Sword, Issue 5 by The Luna Brothers
138. The Sword, Issue 6 by The Luna Brothers

My favorite was Yesternight, hands down. It’s rare that a book truly surprises me any more and the ending completely surprised me. So fun. I also read Fahrenheigh 451 for the first time and it was great. Tim Robbins, while a bit mumbly at times, was great. I’ll be reading it again.Sans mumbles.

I’m working on my Nonfiction November list now. I’m so happy it’s here! I’m ready to binge on some nonfiction!