Currently // It’s Snowing!!!

Right this minute | It’s snowing!

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Feeling | Something childlike and innocent wakes in me when it snows.  A throwback to simpler days when snow meant life slowed down and narrowed into time spent reading, watching tv, and not worrying about going anywhere or doing anything. It’s a precious time.

Reading | Thanks to the 24 in 48 readathon I have read a lot this weekend. It has been lovely! So far I have read The Fall of the House of West by Paul Pope and The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg. And I’m almost finished with Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt. I’m not sure what’s next. I’m fighting the Gobbledybooks.

Listening | I have been alternating between Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow and Hamilton: the Musical recording all week long. Let’s call it immersion.

Watching | Still working on Longmire, WHICH IS SO GOOD.

Blogging & Promoting | Oh just a little something called….

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Loving | All the excitement that I’m seeing for BBAW. So glad Amy let us bring it back. I’ve missed it so.

Hating | The kids fighting is at the top at the moment. And their lack of listening skills. I’m not sure who listens better: the 12 YO girl or the 8YO boy.

Eating | Have been eating lots of salads, fruits, and such this week. It’s been great!

Anticipating | Finishing my book and watching the snow!

Have a great week everyone!

 

2015 – My Year in Books – Audiobooks

Mixed

This may have been the hardest list for me to compile. I listened to 34 audiobooks last year. Over 324 hours. And they were all excellent. I narrowed my list down to 14 books and I just can’t bring myself to remove any more of them. They were just Too Good.

The Martian by Andy Weir, read by R.C. Bray – This book was just so much fun and, for me, RC Bray made the book. He was perfect for it.

Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson, read by Orlagh Cassidy – Cassidy is one of my favorite readers and she made this book such a great experience.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, read by Helen Macdonald – I’m always leery when authors read their own books, but honestly, I think that may be the best way to read H is for Hawk. The book is amazing and having Macdonald read it made it even better.

Armada by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton – Cline and Wheaton. I can’t miss it. Cline is so much fun and Wheaton’s delivery is spot on.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, read by Amy Ryan and Michael Stuhlbarg

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe, read Wil Wheaton – It’s crazy interesting and it’s read by Wil Wheaton. I mean it’s win win.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex Nathaniel Philbrick Scott Brick

The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs – I can’t even talk about how much this book meant to me. So thankful to get one last book, a Tiffany Aching book no less, from Terry Pratchett. This book moved me. (my review)

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, read by Lenny Henry – I still feel sort of odd, loving a Neil Gaiman book that Neil Gaiman did not read, but Lenny Henry was just the most perfect person to read this book. He brought it to life in ways I’m honestly not sure Neil Gaiman could have done.

The Wright Brothers read by David McCullough, read by David McCullough – Living in North Carolina, I could not avoid learning about the Wright Brothers growing up. I still learned amazing things from this book and McCullough is a marvelous reader.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson, read hilariously by Jenny Lawson – No one can read a Jenny Lawson book, BUT Jenny Lawson. I love her and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The Penguin Lessons: What I Learned from a Remarkable Bird by Tom Michell, read by Bill Nighy – Dude lived with a penguin then got Bill Nighy to read about it. There was no way I was missing this.

A Man Called Oveby Fredrik Bachman, read by George Newbern – I may have mentioned this one a bit. It was my last audiobook of the year and I was just delighted with it. I just love a curmudgeon with a heart of gold.

How about you? What were your favorite audiobooks of 2015?

Top Ten Tuesday – Maybe It Wasn’t Our Time

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There are just so many books. I read a lot last year, most likely a record amount for me, but there were still a few, okay, MORE THAN a few, books that came out last year that I just haven’t read. Yet. *insert wishful thinking*

Here are ten of the books I missed, even though I REALLY WANTED TO READ THEM.

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Dietland by Sarai Walker – I was desperate to read this when everyone ELSE was reading it in 2015. Yet somehow I never bought it. I fixed that at Christmas when it was $1.99 on Amazon.

Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry – I got the audio! I just…haven’t had time? I love the cover.

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy – Another I bought at Christmas on sale, because I just have to read it. I haven’t read a good generational novel in awhile and this sounds perfect.

Second Life by SJ Watson – I loved Before I Go to Sleep so much, so I just know I have to read his second book. I love the occasional twisty thriller and BIGTS fit the bill just fine.

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse: An Extraordinary Edwardian Case of Deception and Intrigue by Piu Marie Eatwell – With a title like that, how could I NOT read it?

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The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan – I love Riordan hard for his Percy Jackson books and a similar trope set in the Nordic mythology universe sounds just awesome. Plus I’m really working hard to get ONE of my kids to read them some RR. Monkey see monkey do, right?

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray – I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Diviners, and so could not wait to get the next in the series. Apparently I could wait to read it though. *sigh*

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – Every one ELSE read it, so why shouldn’t I? Honestly, I was waiting for the hype to die down. Now I’d better read it before the movie comes out.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – A boy who wants to die. A girl who can’t wait to live. I have to see what happens when these two clash. Sometime or other….

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Bachman – I LOVED A Man Called Ove and so can’t wait to read Bachman’s next book. Plus it sounds just as precious as Ove.

How about you? What books did you mean to read last year that just didn’t make the cut? Yet, of course.

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Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.

It’s Monday! + BBAW?

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You guys. I stuffed my face with reading this weekend and it was glorious. I finished two books I’ve been working on, one for awhile, and read 3 comics. So wonderful and exactly what I needed.

After finishing the EXCELLENT Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, I started Only in Naples by Katherine Wilson on a whim. Next thing I knew I’d read a quarter of it! I’m also listening to Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow AND Hamilton the Original Cast recording because Alexander Hamilton was a freaking ROCK STAR.

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If you haven’t heard on Twitter yet, Andi and I (with Ana from Things Mean a Lot and Jenny from Reading the End) are resurrecting Book Blogger Appreciation Week. More over at http://www.estellasociety.com/?p=1562!

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

 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Currently // Binging

Right this minute | Sitting on the couch with wet hair, waiting for…I don’t know what. I’m just sitting her.

Feeling | Meh. Alright I guess.

Reading | I’ve finished 4 comics and 1 graphic novel this weekend. It was a blissful binge. I think I’ll continue it.

Listening | I am near obsessively listening to the Hamilton Original Full Cast Recording.

Watching | I bought Mr. Holmes yesterday, finally, and hope to watch it today. Also started Longmire on Netflix and am pretty sure I’m hooked. Hope to watch some of it today as well.

Blogging | I recapped most of 2015 last week. I just have an audiobook post to go and then I can get on with 2016.

Promoting | There is a HUGE announcement coming tomorrow, over at The Estella Society. I CANNOT EVEN WAIT.

Loving | All the usual stuff!

Hating | I’m a little tired of all this rain we’ve been having!

Eating | Pizza for lunch. Yum. 

Anticipating | Tomorrow! 

Have a great week!

2015 – My Year in Books – Comics and Graphic Novels

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To say 2015 was The Year for Comics for me is an understatement. Comics and graphic novels made up for over half of my reading last year. And gee golly whiz you guys, it was awesome. I could put down every title I read here and I wouldn’t bat an eye. However, these are the top ten comics/graphic novels I would push into your hands in a hot second.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh – I do not know why I resisted this title so hard. Actually, I do. I’m not a huge fan of the art. However, once I read the book, I got it. I sooooo got it. This book is crazy brilliant y’all.

Rat Queens by Kurtis Wiebe – There is no comic that has more rip-roaring kick ass fun. For the females. The characters are fantastic, the art is fantastic, the story is fantastic. IT IS FANTASTIC I TELL YOU.

Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna – Man. Robot. Tons of controversial stuffs. Love. Life on the run. Happily ever after? WHO KNOWS.

El Deafo by Cece Bell – Oh my sweet golly geez this book was SO GOOD. Completely adored it.

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson – The art has gone down hill. The stories are quite as good. But I still love these five girls with a fierceness that keeps me around and will for a long time yet.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson – Noelle Stevenson for President?

Princess Leia by Mark Waid – There is one thing I have always wanted from Star Wars. MORE KICK ASS LEIA!! She finally gets her turn.

Giant Days by John Allison – My love for this comic knows no bounds. I fell swift and hard.

The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker – It’s almost over! This “film noir-ish” story is the bees knees y’all. All Old Hollywood glamour, murder, mystery, and more. Not to be missed.

Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick – Kelly Sue DeConnick for Vice President? Carol Danvers is the heroine I always wanted. I need her action figure.

How about you? Read any awesome comics/graphic novels last year?

2015 – My Year in Books – The Nonfiction

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I’m not sure which was harder, narrowing down fiction, or nonfiction. I read a record number (for me) of nonfiction books in 2015 and I could not be more delighted about it. They were all fantastic. So fantastic. I read 30 total, but here are the top 7.

The Soloist by Steve Lopez – Moving look at homelessness, friendship, love, and music.

Feeding a Yen: Savoring Local Specialties, from Kansas City to Cuzco by Calvin Trillin – I can’t get enough Trillin, except me makes me so damn hungry. And I just love to read him talk about his wife.

It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario – Stunning look at a war photographer’s life. I will never think of war the same way again.

Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow – Could there be a better title for a book?

The Dead Ladies Project by Jessa Crispin – I haven’t actually said what my favorite book for the year was. It very well may have been this one. If I was counting….

It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell – It’s more than a weight loss story. So much more.

My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff – I loved this look at publishing in the pre-digital age, and what it was like to work for Mr. Salinger.

What were your favorite nonfiction reads for 2015?

2015 – My Year in Books – The Fiction

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I can’t tell you how hard it was to narrow this down. I read some truly amazing books this year and I don’t like leaving some of them out! And, since it’s my list anyway, I decided to do my top ten percent. I love that I can do things my way around here! So, without further ado….

These are in no particular order. I had a hard time picking 15, putting them in any sort of order would be debilitating.

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The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss – I have never read a book quite like this. It’s pure character study. It’s PTSD and depression. It’s fear and shyness. It’s love and delight. It’s beautiful.

An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay – This book ripped my guts out. And no, not in a good way. It forced me to look at other cultures…more closely. And in more than one way.

The Martian by Andy Weir, read by R.C. Bray – This book was just a heck of a lot of fun to listen to. R.C. Bray’s reading was completely perfect.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown – This book was just complete fun. So glad Andi talked me into it.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – This book was just a crazy CRAZY fun ride. I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks after I finished it. Reminded me so much of Neil Gaiman.

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The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, read by David Horovitch – My first Ishiguro and I fell hard. The language, the characters, the story…I just loved it. And Horovitch was such a great reader for it.

Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson, read by Orlagh Cassidy – I don’t normally read thrillers or mysteries, but somehow this book called to me, I answered, and woooooo am I glad I did. I was on the edge of my seat for the whole ride and wow, I enjoyed it.

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips – What can I say? I like quirky.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest, by J. Ryan Stradal, read by Amy Ryan, Michael Stuhlbarg – I don’t know how I would have felt about this book if I had read it, but listening to it left me enchanted. Any book that includes food is usually a winner with me, but I really loved this series of stories that made up the…uh…story.

The Shore by Sara Taylor – Another story told through a series of stories, this book centers around one family and one small island off the coast of Virginia. Many generations are explored. And the writing. The writing! Superb.

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The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs – The last book by Sir Terry. The last Tiffany Aching story. The love. The tears. I just…I can’t talk about it.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Bachman, read by George Newbern – If you happen to love “Character with a Heart of Gold” stories, particularly “Curmudgeon with a Heart of Gold,” this is your book. Oh my good golly geez did I love this book. Once I got into it….

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, read by Lenny Henry – This book is a sideways follow-up to Gaiman’s book American Gods and I admit, I resisted reading it for a long time. I wanted to listen to it and I wanted Neil Gaiman to read it. What a fool I was, because Y’ALL. Lenny Henry was totes perfect. PERFECT.

Armada by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton – For me, Armada was just as completely bonkers fun as Ready Player One.

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler – Librarian? Old, mysterious book? What’s not to love?

Read any of these? What did you think? What made your list for 2015?

My Year in Books – 2015 – The Stats

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Happy New Year everyone!!! It’s hard to believe it’s the start of a new year. I hope 2016 is everything you want it to be and more. I’m hoping the same for me and mine. On the reading front, I have a lot of hopes for 2016. 2015 was a great year for the most part, but there are a few things I want to work on as well.

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I read 160 stories this past year. If you don’t remember, I decided a couple years ago to count all the stories I read. This includes books, audiobooks, graphic novels, and comics. While I enjoyed nearly everything I read, I have some room for improvement. First, the numbers:

Stories: 160
Pages: 26,125
Average Pages: 163
Audiobook Time: 12 Days, 14 minutes or 326 hours and 26 minutes

The longest book I read: Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann at 496 pages, or 654 minutes, since I listened to it. It was neither the best, nor worst, memoir, I ever read. I liked hearing about her work as a photographer, and the aftermath of some of her photos.

The shortest book I read: All the comics? Most clock in around 32 pages and I won’t bore you with a list of them!

Average rating:  According to GoodReads, by average rating was 4.4. This is great. It means I’m not wasting my time on books I am not enjoying. Free range baby!

My favorite genre: was Fantasy. Since I count almost every comic I read as Fantasy, this isn’t surprising!

Diversity Stats


Y’all. After reading Shannon’s thoughts on diversity in her year end post and this post discussing the challenge of tracking diversity in reading, followed by a long, deep discussion with Andi, I’m left rethinking diversity and my reading. So for now, I’m not discussing it until I know better how I feel.

 

Blogging


 

There’s not doubt about it; I struggled with blogging this year. I only reviewed 19 (or 13%) of what I read this year. When I did, I felt little interest in what I had to say; which I’m sure is only a small part of the divergence. I love the community events; Dewey’s Readathon (of course), Bout of Books, readalongs, and other such fun stuff. I love sharing small snippets of life. And I adore making lists. And talking about food. I have a few ideas of where I want to go in 2016 and I expect a little more diverting from books (but not completely!).

During the rest of this week, I’ll be sharing my favorite books from 2015. So stay tuned!

Currently // Yawn

Right this minute | I have that “I’ve slept to much” hangover. We went to bed super late. We finished our Potter Binge by watching the last Harry Potter movie. There were cheers and pouty lips. I only woke up about 30 minutes ago. Very late for me. Getting up for work, after a week and a half off, is going to be SO MUCH FUN tomorrow.

Feeling | Hungry. I have GF bread in the oven warming up and I’m going to eat it with 1/3 fat cream cheese and blueberries. Yum!

Reading | I have We Should Always Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie open on the laptop. Wow. Just, wow.

Listening | The Passage! Slowly but surely! And also Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to be in a readalong with the hastag #HamAlong. I mean really. And also Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with my son. Love.

Watching | Classes on Skillshare. I have to soak up these three months before I have to cancel it! Also tutorials on YouTube. I got some cheap watercolors, to see if I can do it. I have challenged myself to make art for 100 days straight. I’m on day 3 and so far, I’ve made it!

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Blogging | I’m going to share my thoughts of 2015 this coming week, so stick around!

Promoting | Something…very very soon. There are…plans.

Loving | That it’s not bloody raining outside!

Hating | That I can’t have one last pajama day….

Eating | I just love blueberries.

Anticipating | A great year!

Have a great week!