It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

October 6, 2014 Books 10

Monday

Woo y’all, what a week. I didn’t mean to drop off the face of the blog world, but it certainly happened. I didn’t have time to write, I didn’t have time to read, I barely had time to scratch my head. Events of the week:

  • Daughter’s birthday party/sleepover on Saturday, so had much planning to do. She turns ELEVEN today. ELEVEN. Seriously. ELEVEN.
  • Printed 10,000 posters at work and had to cut them to size. My hands are shredded from jogging papers. The dryness!
  • Picked up another college’s printing. Had a mess to straighten out on my work computer. That was fun.
  • Husband was sick Tuesday through Thursday. Husband is never sick. Had to banish him to his room for the night and me and the kids slept in the living room. That was FUN. Luckily, no one else is sick yet though!

I’m tired.

As for reading, I did a LOT of listening to audiobooks while cutting posters. I finished up The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvvater (gotta get ready for Blue Lily, Lily Blue!) and then started The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, which honestly, and this is my review because I can sum it up in two works; it stinks. Good grief, I hated that book. Now, I’m listening to Audible’s multi-cast edition of Dracula, which includes Tim Curry and Alan Cumming, and dear apples in the tree, it is fantastic.

As for reading physical books, I finished up a great book by Alessandro Baricco called Mr. Gywn. It was absolutely fantastic. I’m now reading Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, and other lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. It feels weird to call a book about a girl who works in a crematorium delightful, but it is. I’m just loving it. On the iPad, I’m still reading a few Daily Rituals every day. I can’t read a bunch at a time. It’s still mostly interesting, but I have a few problems with the overall text. More on that later.

Up next, I hope to start Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix and perhaps The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton in audio next. I plan to fit the audio of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in their too, only because Tom Mison reads it. He plays Ichabod on the TV show and whew. Is he hot or what?

What are your plans for the reading week? Read anything good next week?

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It’s Monday, What are you Reading is hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.

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Meal Plan Sunday

October 5, 2014 Food 19

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I decided, in an effort to branch out and blog less about books (sacrilege!)  and more about the other things I’m passionate about, I would start talking about food! One of my other favorite things! Which are now crazy because I had to completely change the way I eat in the past year or so! Yay!

Yes, that last yay was sarcasm.

Recap. See, last August, I figured out that gluten was causing me to have migraines. I had been experiencing them for over a year and they were gradually becoming more frequent, and, more painful. I was delighted to find the cause, but not so delighted to find out I couldn’t eat bread, pasta, and doughnuts any more. Plus cookies. COOKIES. And cake. Hmmm….cake….

Anyhoo, once I went off gluten, the headaches disappeared. Also the stomach pain that I had been told was IBS, the body aches (for the most part), and the insomnia (which has actually since came back). It is actually worth the price, but dang, sometimes I really want a cheeseburger on a BUN.

Long story short (I know right? This is short, I promise), I’ve decided to start putting my meal plans here for to 1) have somewhere to look back for meal ideas and 2) to share the alternative menus I come up with. Incidentally, did you know shredded zucchini makes a great substitute for spaghetti with sauce? Seriously, I converted my own daughter to it. So, here goes nothing.

Sunday – fend for yourself. The kids aren’t home, they go to church, and the hubby and I tend to get hungry at different times. Plus, dang him, he usually wants noodles. This will not be here in future meal plans. I usually just eat some fruit and cheese. And who am I kidding? Chocolate.

Monday4 Minute Fish: Crispy Lemon Tilapia. This is a new to me recipe that I am going to have to do some subbing with. Found this one at TastyKitchen.com. To go with it, I plan to make jasmine rice (my new favorite thing EVER) and sauteed zucchini.

TuesdayLeigh’s Everything but the Kitchen Sink Pork Tenderloin. No, I don’t know Leigh. And this is another new to me recipe. It sounds fantastic. I just have to sub the soy sauce with gf soy sauce. Luckily, it’s already in the fridge. Will serve with some ginger lime slaw (dude, this stuff is the bomb! and I don’t care out 00’s it is to say that) and olive oil roasted potatoes I think.

WednesdayMississippi Roast which is a standard around here. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. For the fam, the meat goes on buns with melted cheese. For me, it goes over rice with some sort of veg on the side.

 Thursday! – We eat at my aunt’s house! Will rarely be in future editions because I rarely cook on Thursdays.

Friday! – The kids are at Mema’s! Heather eats whatever she wants! It’s usually ice cream!

Saturday – We usually eat out. If we don’t, I will probably whip up some potato soup. I’ve been wanting some.

So, there you have it. Week one of my little experiment. What are your meal plans for the week? You KNOW I’m dying to find out.

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Readathon News!

September 24, 2014 Books 1

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Old graphic!

The Cheerleading sign-ups are live! If you can cheer for readers for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 60 minutes, or all 24 hours, we need you! We want you! We Will BEG For You!!! Cheering is perfect if you want to take part in the Readathon, but won’t have the time. Just jump on for 5 minutes, and cheer for your group of readers. It’s so easy!

Come, join us. We don’t bite. Hard. Unless you want us too. Weirdo.

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Top Ten Tuesday – My Fall Reading List

September 23, 2014 Meme 10

Well, this is awkward. Making a reading list doesn’t keep with my new Free Range Reading motto, does it? Ah, what the hell. I love making lists and goodness knows, I don’t HAVE to stick to it, right?

The Hunger and the Howling of Killian Lone: The Secret Ingredient of Unforgettable Food Is Suffering by Will Storr – “Killian Lone comes from a long line of gifted cooks, stretching back to the seventeenth century, and yearns to become a famous chef himself.” Then he “discovers a dark family secret;the legacy of an ancestor who was burnt as a witch for creating food so delicious it was said to turn all who tasted it mad?” Yes please! It’s at the library, I just have to go get it!

An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley – This will get read. I’m trying to hold out for the readathon, but who knows if I’ll last another month.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – I am not certain I’m a “David Mitchell” kind of reader, but good golly, I want to give this one a shot. “Psychic phenomena?” “Mystics?” “Bucolic English countryside? Sign me up!

Horrorstor: A Novel by Grady Hendrix – Now that I know to go into this expecting something like a B-grade horror movie, I think I’ll love it.

Stephen King – I’m feeling the itch to read one…maybe Under the Dome? Duma Hey? 11/22/63?

The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil – Russian folklore? Dystopian setting? Does it get any better?

California by Edan LepuckiI want to see what all the love is about.

The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides by Ben Tripp – With a title like that, how could I NOT want to read it?

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater – AHHHHHHHH!!!! Yeah, that’s really all you’re going to get out of me. Just fan girl screaming. AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! *sobs*

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – Because gosh darn it, it sounds good!

So, there is what I hope to read this fall. Or at least some of it, because really, who knows what I’m going to read? Certainly not me.

What are your fall reading plans?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

September 22, 2014 Books, Meme 26

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? My Saturday was:

VirginiaCreeper

Pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, Sunday was spent with a migraine, so that wasn’t so awesome. And I didn’t get much reading done. I went to the library Thursday and picked up a couple of books. One was Mr. Gwyn by Alessandro Baricco. I read a book by him AGES ago (Silk, back in 2003!) and loved it. And in that typical refrain; I’m not sure why I haven’t read anything else by him. Mr. Gwyn is quite good, so I’ll be glad when I can get back to reading it!

In audiobook news, I’m listening to The Dream Thieves, book 2 in the Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater. I’m getting ready for Lily Blue, Blue Lily NEXT MONTH. OMG I can’t wait. I’m thinking of just listening to it, because Will Patton just makes it EVEN THAT MUCH BETTER.

Have a great week!

Also, watch this:

Watch it, live it, love it. Go! Sign up! Anticipate!!!

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Hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.

 

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Currently … September 21, 2014

September 21, 2014 Miscellaneous 5

Currently

Time // 7:36 PM

Place // Home

Eating // I fried some chicken eggs earlier and had a couple pieces of cheese with it. I am regretting this. I’ve had a migraine all day and the stomach is decidedly queasy. It did not like the eggs. Or the cheese. Or possibly both.

Yes, I ate something I shouldn’t have. No need to lecture, my stomach is doing enough of that, believe me!

Drinking // Water. It’s all I can stand.

Reading // Not much. Light is killing my eyes today. I’ve been drawing some, in low light. It felt good to get a pencil in my hand again. Thank you Beth!

Watching // I watched a documentary on Alaska last night. Or, rather, I tried too. I actually fell asleep.

Listening // Was listening to Spotify earlier. A “Girl’s Night Out” playlist. I SO need new music.

Pondering // Blogging. Reading. Readathoning. Migraines. What my stomach is telling me. What my stomach ALWAYS tells me after I have something with gluten in it. I am so hardheaded.

Hating // Gluten. My head.

Loving // Drawing. The cool night air. My crazy daughter who just prank called me to ask me (in a posh English accent) if I wanted to go to a tea party.

Anticipating // Tomorrow. Back to work! I love my new job so much!

Have a great week!

 

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Weekend Inspiration – Week 1

September 20, 2014 Books 6

I’ve been feeling the creativity bug biting at me all week. There is just something about cooler weather and fall. I want to start creating again! Here are a few of the images that have captured my mind this week. I need to go pick up a pen, some pencils, paper, etc, etc.

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Nikita Gill at Behance

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Beach Baby Blues on Etsy

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Drops Props on Etsy

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Drops Props on Etsy

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Ankita Arvind at Behance

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Patrick Simons at Behance

Obviously, I can waste a lot of time at Behance and Etsy and I’m in a spooky mood! Have you seen anything this week that has inspired you?

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Thoughts on Robot Dreams by Sara Varon

September 19, 2014 Book Reviews, Books 8 ★★★★½

Thoughts on Robot Dreams by Sara VaronRobot Dreams
by Sara Varon
Published by First Second
on August 7, 2007
Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
Buy the Book
four-half-stars
Richly endearing and full of surprises, Robot Dreams follows an ill-fated friendship between a dog and robot. After a Labor Day jaunt to the beach leaves Robot rusty and immobilized in the sand, Dog, unsure what to do, abandons him. As the seasons pass, Dog tries to replace his friend, making and losing a series of new ones, from a melting snowman to epicurean anteaters. Meanwhile, Robot passes his time daydreaming, escaping to better places...Through interwoven journeys, the two characters long to recover from their day at the beach. 

Although its adorable characters and playful charm will win over young readers, Robot Dreams speaks universally to the fragile nature of friendship, loss, and redemption.

There is something magical about an effective story told with no words. Pixar, Shaun Tan, and now Sara Varon, have moved me beyond measure with their work that uses art instead of words. Looking at that cover…I don’t know about you, but my immediate thoughts are that this is a kids book. And yes, it is. My daughter enjoyed it. However, it is one of those books that is deceptive. It looks simple. It IS simple. But the story…it packs a punch.

The reason this story works for me is, even though it is fantastical (at least for me it is. Do you own a robot? A walking, human-like dog? If so, were do you get such things???), it is relatable. The dog. He is lonely. He wants a friend. So he buys a robot. He puts him together. He has a friend! So they go to the beach. And something bad happens. The pair are separated. Feelings are hurt. Actions are regretted. Through no fault of the dog, more like a lack of knowledge, the robot is hurt. Irreparably.

Kids can relate. I can relate. You can, probably, relate.

And it sounds sad. But no. No! It is beautiful!

Through this mistake, the dog and the robot learn. The dog learns from his mistakes. He comes to know himself better and changes based on the hurt he caused himself and his robot. In turn, the robot also learns. As he lays there, daydreaming is days away, he learns about himself and changes based on the hurt he received. They become better “people.” A lesson for everyone, not just children.

Again, I stand amazed at the power in this tiny book with no words. And Sara Varon has a diehard new fan. First Second is such a terrific publisher!

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To Routine, or Not to Routine

September 16, 2014 Books 14

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As part of my quest to “figure this shit out,” I’ve been reading the book Amanda from Fig and Thistle referred to in her post about this blogging malaise/pandemic that has hit our small community as of late. Called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, author Mason Currey has taken it upon himself to cull the work practices of some of the world’s most famous authors, painters, composers, philosophers, psychologists…basically anyone who is somewhat creative for a living.

Y’all, this book is surprisingly interesting and insightful! So many interesting people are included too. Currey has culled letters, books, and other ephemera to find the work ethics of artists both long gone (Austen, Mozart, Toulouse-Lautrec, Freud, Hugo, Kafka and more) and current (Murakami, Toni Morrison, Patricia Highsmith Gershwin, Philip Roth, and more). And there is one thing that stands out to me, and dude, I’ve only read 28% of this book.

There is no wrong way. There is no right way. There is only YOUR way.

Currey writes in the introduction:

How do you do meaningful creative work while also earning a living? Is it better to devote yourself wholly to a project or to set aside a small portion of each day? And when there doesn’t seem to be enough time for all you hope to accomplish, must you give things up (sleep, income, a clean house), or can you learn to condense activities, to do more in less time, to “work smarter, not harder,” as my dad is always telling me? More broadly, are comfort and creativity incompatible, or is the opposite true: is finding a basic level of daily comfort a prerequisite for sustained creative work?

Isn’t Aren’t those the questions of the ages?

Currey makes it clear where he stands:

A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.

Could this be my problem? But, then, witness my reaction to Auden:

“Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition,” Auden wrote in 1958. If that’s true, then Auden himself was one of the most ambitious men of his generation. The poet was obsessively punctual and lived by an exacting timetable throughout his life. “He checks his watch over and over again,” a guest of Auden’s once noted. “Eating, drinking, writing, shopping, crossword puzzles, even the mailman’s arrival-all are timed to the minute and with accompanying routines.”

Doesn’t that sound like the worst way to live? Yet, when compared to Frances Bacon,

To the outside observer, Bacon appeared to thrive on disorder. His studios were environments of extreme chaos, with paint smeared on walls and a knee-high jumble of books, brushes, papers, broken furniture, and other detritus piled on the floor. (More agreeable interiors stifled his creativity, he said.) And when he wasn’t painting, Bacon lived a life of hedonistic excess, eating multiple rich meals a day, drinking tremendous quantities of alcohol, taking whatever stimulants were handy, and generally staying out later and partying harder than any of his contemporaries.

Well, that doesn’t really sound like anyway to live either!

Although maybe more fun.

I’m thinking I like Anne Beattie’s way of thinking:

She doesn’t write every night, however. “I really don’t adhere to schedules at all, and don’t have the slightest desire to do that,” she said. “The times that I’ve tried that, when I have been in a slump and I try to get out of it by saying, ‘Come on, Ann, sit down at that typewriter,’ I’ve gotten in a worse slump. It’s better if I just let it ride.”

and later:

“I certainly am a moody and, I would say, not very happy person.”

This made me chuckle.

I’m looking forward to reading what more artists and such have to say. I’ll report back if anything interesting pops up. I just had to share these thoughts early, because I find them so interesting right now. I think I know where I fall on the spectrum, but more research is always good.

*I am an Amazon affiliate and yada yada yada, you know the drill.

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Top Ten Tuesday – I Really Need to Read More by These Ladies

September 16, 2014 Meme 11

Today’s top ten Tuesday topic is Top Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More. I decided to just do these ladies, because, well, coincidence. Anywho.

1. A. S. Byatt, Possession. (not a review, but close) Egads y’all. Byatt is up there with Atwood for me, who, I was surprised to realize, I HAVE read more than one book by. Atwood I mean, not Byatt. I’ve only read the one, even though I’m pretty sure I own all of her books. Or at least most of them. I LOOOOOOOOVE Possession. I’ve read it multiple times. (Skip the poetry.) So, I’m not sure why I haven’t read another book by her. Intimidation?

2. Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons. (haven’t reviewed. bah.) I had a feeling Marie Brennan would be a fun read. Geez, I have like 4 of her books, have that a couple of them for YEARS. But then this one came out, and I hemmed and hawed, until I finally listened to it. And lo and behold, I WAS RIGHT. She is a fun read. So why haven’t I read the FOUR I ALREADY OWN? Gah.

3. Diana Wynne Jones, Howl’s Moving Castle. (my review) Oh, Miss Jones. What kept us apart for so long? And WHY have I only read Howl’s Moving Castle? We must remedy this situation.

4. Angela Carter, Wise Children. (review from a LONG time ago) This. THIS. THIS is seriously embarrassing. Angela Carter is practically my most favorite author I’ve hardly read. And I own so many of her books? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. I’ve read Wise Children twice, and, granted, it is brilliant, it can’t be the only Carter I ever read.

5. Jhumpa Lahiri, The Interpreter of Maladies. (my review, another TRULY old one.) In my review, I said, “When I grow up, I want to write like this woman.” I still want to write like this woman. I would also like to find time to actually READ her. Now is a good time to do it too, with A More Diverse Universe going on!

6. Elizabeth Hand, Illyria. (my review) I just adored this book. Hand’s writing is something to behold. Or beheld. AGAIN.

7. Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca. (never reviewed? OMG!) Rebecca is one of those books I wish I could read again for the first time. I loved it SO MUCH. And I need to LOVE MORE by her!

8. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. (never reviewed? What is wrong with me??) Surely you know the fun and wit of Jane Austen. I’ve heard all her books are like this. However, I think I have a deep seeded fear than none will compare to P&P.

9. Natasha Solomons, Mr. Rosenbaum Dreams in English. (review) I can clearly remember how completely delighted I was with Mr. Rosenbaum. I was determined to read everything Solomons wrote after I read it. I even have the newer books. I feel like I’m repeating myself.

10. Jane Yolen, Briar Rose. (my review) I loved, LOVED I TELL YOU, Briar Rose. I loved it. Yolen’s writing suits the fairytale motif like magic. And she has written SO MUCH. It kind of reminds me of how I feel about Diana Wynne Jones…where do I begin????

Which authors have you only read one book from? Are you regretting it?

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