Posts Tagged ‘Books’

30 Days of #Readathon: Best.

October 1, 2017

It’s Sunday night, and you know what’s a good way to put off going to work tomorrow? Talking about the Readathon! As you might have heard, Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon is celebrating 10 years of readathoning excellence, and to get us all worked up to read all night, Dewey’s fantastic hosts have decided to launch a “30 Days of Readathon” countdown. Each day has a theme; you get to decide how to tackle each theme. You can post blogs, snap pictures, record videos, host podcasts – you do you! The how is up to you. The what is books, obviously. Why? Because BOOKS!

There are 20 days left before our #Readathon kicks off, which means today’s theme is “Best.” Best what? I decided to re-post a picture from October 2014, one of the best Readathon hauls I ever prepped. I borrowed nearly thirty books from the library, just to be sure I had what I needed when the mood struck. (And, yes, I read or perused most of them!)

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It also counts as one of the craziest prepper moments, too! Ha!

What are some of the best moments from your Readathon-er past? Have you ever done anything totally off-the-charts insane?

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30 Days of #Readathon: Places.

September 28, 2017

It’s a rainy Thursday, a small cold front is blowing through, and it feels like Piglet and Pooh and their Blustery Day are about the float past me…even though, to be honest, it’s not even all that windy outside. It’s more of a mood. And that mood is screaming at me to call in and stay home so I can cuddle up with a stack of books!

It doesn’t help that today marks 23 Days Left(!) in our 30-day countdown to Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon extravaganza(!!), and Day 23 is all about places. So when I woke up this morning at 4:30 a.m. and my body was All Done with The Sleeping, I pulled up the countdown, checked today’s theme – for those wee small hours of the morning when my heart wants to sleep but my body does not, they seem to be the only minutes I can steal for plotting blog posts and thinking of such things – and I started thinking of all the fun times the girls and I have had blocking pictures and participating in readathons. Then the rain started beating down even harder, and I swear to god I got my lazybones out of bed only because I had two small humans who had school. Uh…not sure if that’s parenting for the win or a solid loss, you guys.

These are some of the places my mind wandered to while I was lying in my bed, so cozily Not Sleeping this morning…

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Bookstores. I always pick up a book and read the first few pages in the store, just to see if I’ll be hooked by the voice. Sometimes the plot can be a bit of a slow boil, sometimes characters won’t show up for awhile, but the voice is my favorite part of the Holy Trifecta, and that I can usually tell right away. Not every book with a catchy voice will keep my attention, but a book that doesn’t have it in those first few pages never will. I might learn to appreciate the book – but, dudes, that’s what libraries are for! (One of many, MANY things they’re for – don’t hate.) The girls and I will also wander out to our local Barnes and Noble during the afternoons of long readathons for a change of pace and to keep ourselves engaged. And maybe for some caffeine and a bakery treat if mama’s feeling pretty flush!

BookNook

The Book Nook. The girls created their own little book nook behind the chaise lounge in the living room. Gracie-girl hasn’t been back there in awhile (don’t even get me started on the hundreds of little ways TeenGracie is leaving KidGracie behind!), but Bee will still bring her graphic novels, or fashion books, or her laptop back there (with as many snacks as she can get away with, usually). It’s not fancy – just a bunch of oversize pillows, an outlet that’s unsightly for pictures but perfect for charging e-readers, and sometimes a blanket or two. Just a girl, her books, and a few comfort items. But it’s enough to make my heart happy whenever I catch sight of her back there in her reading cocoon!

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The stacks. A few trips ago, my sisters and I took the girls to Holy Cross, my alma mater. There are so many gorgeous libraries on campus, but my heart belongs to Dinand. There are secret stairs, lots of couches and comfy chairs, creaky spots in the floors, that book smell sent straight from heaven, and so. many. stacks. It is unpossible to not feel perfectly happy when reading in such a place! I only get to visit now – and not even every trip home – but it’s a place I used to spend many Sunday mornings and weekday afternoons, even if I didn’t have to study. Why waste library time studying when you could spend it reading?!

Reading-in-bed

In bed. My comfy, comfy bed. Mmm…. Because I’ve been waking so early, I’ve been drifting off most nights after I’ve only squeezed in a few pages worth of reading time, but this is still the place I love to read most! All my life I’ve been a bed reader – hiding in our rooms away from the noisy house, flopped across the bed diagonally, not even under the covers. And reading at bedtime was always, always, always the best way to get sleepy and signal that another day was done. Right now I’m daydreaming about a Jetsons-like device that could magically calculate how many pages I’ve read in bed over the course of my lifetime. I’m pretty hearts-in-eyes-swoony over the number I imagine would show up!

Those are just a few of the places I love to read. I couldn’t find the one of me reading on the couch, or out on the patio (reading in the sunshine=sweetness; falling asleep and getting sunburned=AGAIN, KATIE?!), or a bathtub filled with scalding hot water and a nice topper of bubbles or a bath bomb. Oh, or that one great picture I have of me in my car on my lunch break, with the windows down, the sunshine streaming in, my feet up on the dash and a book in my hands. That’s a great picture.

But honestly the thing that makes them great is the book in my hands. That’s all I really need to carve out a “place”!

 

30 Days of #Readathon: Drinks.

September 27, 2017

It’s been a whirlwind kind of week, and I feel like I forgot to tumble out of the floo about six stops ago, but here I am and here we go!

As you might have heard, Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon is celebrating 10 years of readathoning excellence, and to get us all worked up to read all night (ha! like we need motivation!), Dewey’s fantastic hosts have decided to launch a “30 Days of Readathon” countdown. Each day has a theme; you get to decide how to tackle each theme. You can post blogs, snap pictures, record videos, host podcasts – hey, who wants to teach me how to Instagram? The point is, the how is up to you. The what is books, obviously. Why? Because you’re wickedly, wonderful insane, just like the way we like!

Today’s topic is drinks. Had I pre-planned a little, I could have gotten a little sloshy last night. In the name of blogging, of course. Alas.

Instead, when I popped my eyes open, wide-awake at 5 a.m. this morning, I used the time to – well, first check the theme and then to plan my attack. I decided to go with my bookish mugs. Look – all patiently waiting to be filled with The Coffees so I can maybe stay awake later.

BookMugs

A few of my favorites are missing – my orange Penguin Pride and Prejudice; my Mischief Managed; my I like BIG BOOKS and I cannot lie mug… But these are still all of my favorites, too. Who can resist Bartleby? I know I would prefer not to. (Sorry. See earlier comment about waking up at 5 a.m. I can’t help myself.) And the Harvard Bookstore mug that warns I am hot and literate? Literal fire.

So! Now it’s your turn! Go forth and show me your frothy bookish drinks. Oof, I did not mean that to sound nearly as dirty as it did…

Rolling in RIP XII reads!

September 14, 2017

My RIP XII update is here! …because you know you’ve been waiting for it!

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While I set aside a few books I wanted to read, I’ve gone off list a little. I’ve knocked out a few books I intended to read, though, so the guilt hasn’t quite consumed me. What did I read? I’m so glad you asked!

Final Girls, by Riley Sager (Dutton, 2017, 342 pages, library eloan). Everyone has been talking about this book. Seriously – it’s pretty much all I’ve heard. And because it’s a mystery with a tricky ending, and because it’s written by a woman, of course they trot out “It’s the next Gone Girl!” endlessly. Guys – it’s not the next Gone Girl. So stop that right now. It was a mildly entertaining read, although the main character wasn’t very likeable (and not in a wonderfully complex way like – ha! – Gone Girl accomplished), and while I did enjoy picking up the story and reading to find out what the outcome was, it bugged that the writing was so cliche and obvious in so many areas that as an editor, I might have revisited. Some plot points made me roll my eyes. But here’s the thing – I kept picking it back up. The ending maybe made me wish I had just given it a pass, but I did read from cover to cover. So how do you rate a book like that? I’ll give it 3 of 5 stars. Because if I saw someone was reading it, I wouldn’t stop them. I might, however, advise everyone to borrow instead of buying.

Not a Sound, by Heather Gudenkauf (Park Row Books, 2017, 296 pages, library loan). I’m not a huge fan of Gudenkauf; her plotlines are easy to trick apart early on, her female characters easily fit into uncomplicated boxes with predictable actions and mindsets (as do her male characters for the most part, but they do have more emotional range, perhaps because they have nothing to prove?), and, I don’t know, her books sometimes have this overly dramatic feel, kinda like a Jodi Piccoult. But usually they’re not that bad, and I know I can at least sit down and be diverted for a couple hours. Except, not this one. This one I couldn’t finish. The main character lost her hearing in an accident, and I thought having a disabled main character might be a chance to shine! And then Gudenkauf used her character’s disability as a plot device. One very clunkily handled. I couldn’t deal with so much eye-rolling over that and over all the usual awkwardness of how the characters act and don’t act. The predictability of it all – and seeing it go in bad, bad places – ruined it for me. And the murder that the character finds in the beginning? Totally unbelievable how our m.c. acted! So, nope. Couldn’t do it. Not even “letting” her be an alcoholic who wasn’t allowed to see her step-daughter (a gendered role reversal I was interested in) on top of everything else could draw me in to see how it played out. What a disappointment. 1 of 5 stars.

Vassa in the Night, by Sarah Porter (Tor Teen, 2016, 296 pages, hardcover). Gracie got this book through her book box subscription service – the one that I’ve been reading all the books from! And Vassa was okay. It had an interesting retelling of the Cinderella story, set in an alternative, fantasy-styled Brooklyn. Porter is a strong writer and the parts that I loved most were her rich descriptions and the way she was able to color a scene so vibrantly; I could see everything Porter described. The story was…well, I don’t think it was it so much as it was me; I’ve read so many of these types of books lately, I think I’m a little burned out. So really – my fault. I’d recommend if it’s your jam! 2 1/2 of 5.

A Head Full of Ghosts, by Paul Tremblay (William Morrow, 2015, 286 pages, ebook). This was a Deal of the Day a while back and I snagged it because I had started reading it so many times from the library and just couldn’t find time. RIP was a great excuse! I was excited to dive in because Stephen King had blurbed it, too, and how can you beat that?! It lives up to some extent – it reads like The Exorcism meets The Virgin Suicides directed by John Hughes. Scary, but not, but you can see the rotted everything there at the surface, bubbling over. And you try to contain it, but can’t. That’s the part that scares me the most – you have no control. Not over the ghosts in your head. Not if they’re that strong. But I wasn’t as carried away with the book as a whole as I was by the scary mind-full-ness of the thing. I wondered if King had blurbed it partly because William Morrow was who first launched his Dark Tower stories and I know he appreciates the firm. Whatever the case, I couldn’t give it more 3 of 5 stars.

So that’s all the books I’ve managed. I’m halfway through the second Dark Tower book (speak of the devil), and Thirteenth Tale, and I started It before I went to the movie. (Which was AMAZING, you guys! Like, pushing myself backwards through my chair, scream-laughing the entire time.)

And all that scary is why I’ve been reading so many romances and YA-drama books right before bedtime – so I can shake some of the scary from my brain!

But you shouldn’t. You should read more so you can give me good recs so we can keep the RIP party rollin’! Hit me up with your faves!

RIP, Katie.

September 6, 2017

No, I haven’t keeled over from the anxiety. At least…not yet. I’m trying to keep that from happening by investing in some bookish distractions. My book buddy, the lovely Andi, filled me in on RIP XII: Readers Imbibing Peril! Drown your real-life worries in scary stories; chase thrillers that follow you into your dreams; lose your mind in suspense so good it may or may not have you sneaking a page or two between clients. (Ahem.)

Sign-ups and more details can be found here:

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I won’t be able to devote myself entirely to scary stories – Bee, who will be forced to hold my hand when I can’t sleep, is bodyblocking the very idea. I’ll have to read something a little more soothing as I’m snuggled in bed. But the RIP-roaring Read-along lasts all through September and October, so I’m sure I’ll still be able to read quite a few.

After deciding to jump into the RIP XII pool, even though the party had already started, I started digging through my bookshelves, deciding what would go into my stacks. I wasn’t purposefully looking for scary reads when I went to the library, but you’d never know it from looking at my stack!

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My library stack has short stories; YA fantasy (uh, that one came in a subscription box); the new Jeff Vandermeer (if you haven’t read the Southern X trilogy, GET ON IT!!) that I was squeeing over when I saw I could have it; a few thrillers that could be boiler-plate, could be decent; and a Heather Gudenkauf, who isn’t my favorite, but keeps me reading until I figure out the whodunnit at the very end.

Then I started pulling out some books that I know would fit the theme very nicely, because I’ve already read them. Already read them…and wouldn’t mind reading them again. And YOU should probably read them, too.

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King’s Dark Tower is always on my To-Read list, but especially since my sister gave me the. coolest. DT map for my birthday. I challenge any Dark Tower fan to see it and not want to visit the ka-tet again. Thirteenth Tale is a favorite comfort read. It is back in theaters. The Last Policeman has been rattling around in my mind for awhile, so I knew I would have to re-read it soon. I just re-read Chaneysville earlier this year. Harry Quebert was a great read and I don’t remember the who and why of it, so it’ll be practically fresh! Ha.

And then there are the books I want to read, but don’t have. At least not at the moment. Tananarive Due is so high up my To Read list, it’s not even funny. I need to get my hands back on The Good House. Tiffany Jackson’s Allegedly is a bit of a different fit for the theme, but I think it counts and that’s all that matters. And I’ve heard good things about Ausma Zehenet Khan’s The Unquiet Dead.

So many books! So little time! And even littler time to worry about hurricanes, which is just what I wanted.

Book Reviews: The MeetCutest, A Book NOT about Wolves, and Black Hair Love.

June 15, 2017

Morning, all! Just a few books to talk about this week, because I had some re-reads not worth re-hashing am thiiiiis close to finishing my daytime book and my nighttime book. (You know I have my reading groove back when I’m making excuses for a low number!)

So what do we got? Let’s look!

DimpleWhen Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon (2017, Simon Pulse, 380 pages, ebook). This book is the book to read this summer and believe me when I say Sandhya Menon is the new John Green – YA Whisperer Extraordinaire! I hope she’s half as prolific because I can’t wait to get my hands on her next story…and I just finished her first! The story is about two American teens whose (uh, somewhat) traditionalist Indian parents have arranged for them to be married – if all goes well when they meet. Dimple kicked herself for not realizing why her parents suddenly caved and allowed her to go to computer programming camp, and Rishi just about wants to kill himself for blurting out his intentions to spend the rest of his life with Dimple the second he meets her. Turns out Dimple wasn’t aware of the deal-io. And on it goes. It’s the meet-cutest, even if it does feel annoyingly teenagery at times, and a little heavy-handed on the foreshadowing. It all balances out, though, because Dimple and Rishi click from (almost) the first moment, and its in the funny, laugh-out-loud moments that Menon’s writing really shines. That, and she really knows how to write secondary characters – not a skill you really hear talked about, partly because not a lot of people really know how to excel at it. All in all, it’s wonderful debut novel and I will definitely be following Menon’s career with interest. 3 1/2 of 5 stars. (That cover, though! 5 of 5 stars for cover art!)

HistoryOfWolvesHistory of Wolves, by Emily Fridlund (2017, Grove Atlantic, 288 pages, used hardcover). Trigger warning for sketchy-as-hell student/teacher relationships, and child abuse. In small town Minnesota (the book flap describes it further as being part of the lakes region of Minnesota, but is there part of Minnesota that isn’t the lakes region? Seriously?), Linda/Maddie lives with questionable parents in a hut that is part of a counter-culture left over from her maybe-parents commune days. History was so hard to read because relationships were never clearly defined – between characters, places, causes, nothing! It wasn’t even clear whether this was by design. So I wasn’t sure if Linda’s blurry AF relationship with her parents and miserable home life was responsible for why she kissed her teacher, or was jealous when a fellow student started rumors that she had gone all the way with their history teacher – an awkward man who later fled because they found out he was fired from his last job in California for pedophilia. As that story line was falling apart, Linda is hired by the weirdo neighbors across the lake to babysit for their toddler, Paul. You know from the beginning that something horrible is going to happen to Paulie – and I thought from the teacher story line that it was going to be sexual abuse – but it wasn’t, and the No Good, Terrible, Horrible Thing was a bit of a let down when I finally found out what happened. I mean, it was awful, sure; it just wasn’t the shock it was built up to be. Yeah, this novel was a hot mess, through and through, in need of a much stronger editor. Solid ideas, they just all fell to the earth and fizzled. 2 of 5 stars.

YouCantTouchMyHairYou Can’t Touch my Hair, by Phoebe Robinson (2016, Plume Books, 285 pages, library paperback). This was nominated as a Goodreads Choice for Humor last year, and YOU GUYS! I am both bummed it didn’t win, and horrified it had to go up as humor! Yes, Robinson is a comedian, and yes, she glossed all her essays with humor, but I think that’s all mostly because there isn’t anything close to “I’m Laughing Because It’s All Funny Because It’s So True It Hurts” – in either an awards category or life profession. There were essays about hair and beauty as the title suggests, but also how Robinson is too black to be white, and too white to be black. She’s the post-Soul aesthetic defined, and I LOVE it. I love her! I can’t believe I hadn’t run across so much as her name before. Bottom line: you should all read her book, see her in person if you can, and help me track down any- every- thing else she has done. 4 of 5 stars.

InvisibleLifeOfIvanIsaenkoThe Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko, by Scott Stambach (2016, St. Martin’s Press, 326 pages). Lauded as the next coming of The Fault in Our Stars, I was so excited to sit down and read Ivan! I knew it was going to be sad, but Holy Moses. Ivan is beset by every mean trick the universe could bestow. He was born without both legs, without his right arm, and with only a thumb and the first two fingers on his left hand. He has a connective tissue disorder, making it hard to talk, and leaving his features flat, making him not only hard to look at, but like he’s even more handicapped than he is. Oh, and when another person at Mazyr’s Hospital for Gravely Ill Children (in the Ukraine that cares for 30 children crippled by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster) dares to fall in love with Ivan, SHE DIES TOO. We know this from the first page – a choice that rankled with me every step of the way. I wanted to hold out hope, no matter how foolish. I needed to believe. Without that bit, even with Nurse Natalya who is the only friggin ray of sunshine in a thousand mile radius, everything was so. unflinchingly. bleak. I’ve read a lot of bleak stories, you guys. I can handle a lot. If I have hope. This…it was interesting. I wanted to change the outcome. So even though it was bleak, there was an undeniable intrigue and sneakery and brilliance that crackled throughout and drew me to the story. I couldn’t put it down because of it, and, honestly, it’s what kept me turning page after page. Without it, I’d have ditched. So…I guess brilliance trumps hope. Who knew? 3 of 5 stars.

There you go! What are YOU reading this week? What do I need to add to my shelves this summer?

#Riotgram, Day 7: Most Loved.

June 7, 2017

Today’s #Riotgram challenge, hosted by the ever-fabulous Book Riot, focuses on most loved books. But what exactly does that mean?! Should I focus on the books I love best (and show it in the wear and tear)? Talk about my Stephen King obsession? The series I re-read every year? My favorite books shelf?

My favorite books shelf – let’s start there.

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My favorites shelf is missing quite a few of my favorite books. My favorite series – Stephen King’s Dark Tower; Cynthia Voigt’s Tillerman family saga; Harry Potter; The Eyre Affair series by Jeffrey Fforde; Anne. There simply isn’t room and it would hurt my heart (and the books)(shoosh) for the series to be broken up over multiple shelves. Also, this way I can fit most of my absolute favorites on one shelf.

The Christmas book is there because it’s one of those Hallmark books that let you record your voice, and my mom’s voice is in there. And that’s all I’m going to say about that, or else I’ll need a tissue or forty.

Oh! I lied – a collector’s edition of Anne is on the shelf! I’d forgotten about that! I’ll try to grab a better picture of that and post it later. It’s gorgeous!

Then there are a favorite from high school – The Great Gatsby. My girlfriends and I (who ruled AP English) fell madly in love with it, and that love was cemented in college when we discussed symbolism and motifs and, dear god, all the irony. The same with what I think of as my college favorites – Their Eyes Were Watching God; The Portrait of a Lady; The Chaneysville Incident; and The White Boy Shuffle. 

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood might be part of a trilogy, but I pretend it isn’t because of…things…that complicate favorite characters beyond the pale.

Pride and Prejudice I didn’t read until the year after Gracie was born and I was mind-boggled over how it was such a fan favorite until I got to the botched proposal…and then I couldn’t put it down.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert might be a bit hokey, but it got me through my divorce. And that’s a good enough reason for me!

The Anne Fadiman collections of personal essays were divine! I couldn’t read them for want of writing, and I couldn’t write because I wanted to keep hoovering up more of her writing! It’s my favorite dilemma, really. There are readers, though, who really aren’t all about writing, and I wonder – honestly – how well Fadiman holds up for those sorts of people.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is a great family drama, one where you can’t tell where the function of family ends and the dysfunction takes over. Perhaps because the dysfunction of my family is so readily apparent, it fascinates me that for some families, the dynamic hasn’t always been that way, with one or two or three functional souls in the middle of the chaos.

White Oleander is the opposite – dysfunctional family drama at its best. You can also find perhaps the Cruella deVillest character this side of Disney. (Yes, yes – Dodie Smith, I know.)

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is – just go read it. This novel embodies the group of characters I’m most upset I can’t meet in real life. Which maybe doesn’t make sense because they’re located on a tiny island in the middle of the English Channel. Doesn’t matter; still holds true.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern wasn’t a hit the first half of the book. I trudged through to make my sister happy. The moment the love story became more than apparent, I fell for it. Which now seems silly – the reason I really love it is because it’s hands down the most imaginative book I’ve ever read. If Guernsey contains the characters I most want to meet, Night Circus is the book I most want to be real.

The White Mary by Kira Salak and State of Wonder by Ann Patchett are two stories on the same theme. Wild adventures in the remotest of remote places; feminist lenses; love vs. career vs. self…so many shared themes, but with different characters and different ways of carrying it off.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is perhaps the most adventurific character study I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, especially given that it breaks down stereotypes left and right. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan is the least likely John Green novel you’ll ever read. It, too, plays into stereotypes so hard in its identity-heavy examinations that it often shoots right past them. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork is similar, but throws in some ableism into the mix. They’re three on a theme.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is like a throwback to the 80s all the way around. It’s set during the decade, it tweaks the heart like a break-up power ballad, and it’ll make you relive all the best and worst bits of growing up.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra is kind of like Elegance of the Hedgehog, but if it took place in the middle of the Serbian War. Or, wait, is that quite right? I can never quite categorize this one. Except it’s lovely.

Harriet the Spy is everything about who I wanted to be when I was a little kid. And still.

The Martian is everything about my voice as a grown-up. Except you’d never get me into outer-space.

Tiny, Beautiful Things is the best advice book I could ever recommend to anyone going through a tough time, about to go through a tough time, or who wants to be a writer when they “grow up.”

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is variant on a Ya-Ya theme. If you like one…

And the Daughters of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I’m so glad I ignored all of the praise for it when it first came out, because if I couldn’t read it all in one go, I don’t know what I would have done. I’m selective about my fantasy, and this still passed the test.

Sometimes I can’t believe I can fit all of those stories on just one shelf! What about your shelf – what favorite books do you have on yours?

#Riotgram, Day 5: Something Magic.

June 5, 2017

I was going to use my silly string picture for “Something Magic”, but then I needed to use it for “How You Read” instead. So I went looking in my older pictures for a particular shot of toddler Gracie pulling every. single. book. off the bookcase…and peering over her shoulder to see if she’d get caught. (She totally missed the camera, for the win!)

Instead, I found this:

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One of my favorite aunties [Hi, Auntie Cheryl!] reading to Baby Bee, back home in Massachusetts at my mom’s house. You want to talk about magic? I think there’s plenty stuffed into this moment. Family who loves me? Check. Reading to your babies even at this age, so they grow up to be readers? Check. Being back home in New England? Check. I happen to know that there’s snow outside. Check! And that pic was taken Thanksgiving night, so there is lots of pie about to happen. Check! [Except for Rhi. Don’t think about that particular night of pie, Rhi!]

There is so much magic happening in and around that picture of Auntie Cheryl reading to Bee, I just can’t stand it. Reading is awesome. And magic ain’t too bad, either.

#Riotgram Challenge, Day 4: Notebooks & Journals.

June 4, 2017

Sometimes, dear reader, I can be very naive. I’ve kept a reading journal since I was in high school, but I never once realized such journals were a thing! And quite a big thing, indeed.

I started my reading journal at first because I couldn’t keep straight which Agatha Christie novels I had read, and since my goal was to read them all, keeping track was somewhat important. So I started writing down every book I read in the back of my diary. It was simple: title, author, month/year I’d read it.

I wish I’d kept up with the habit, but for some reason, at some point – I stopped. I picked up the habit again after the divorce. That one I didn’t even need my therapist’s help to understand: I needed a little more order and control in my life, and this was one easy way to obtain it. So I splurged on a black leather notebook. My real Little Black Book!

The format is still simple. I write down the title, author, and month/year read. I star in the left margin if the book was one of my absolute favorites. I make a small dot in the right-hand margin if the book was published in the same year I’d read it (reading fewer backlist books was a reading goal of mine a year or two ago). And next to the date I might make a few notations – YA (young adult), NF (non-fiction), R (re-read), POC (author or characters of color). I track soooo many more categories in my digital spreadsheet, but those are the ones I found myself looking for most frequently so I could make recommendations.

It’s just a small thing, my Little Black Book, but she’s my precious.

#Riotgram challenge, Day 3: Where You Read.

June 3, 2017

Morning, morning, morning. Except…well, it’s night. It’s been a busy weekend! We’ve had sleepovers and midnight doughnut parties and chicken soup snacks at midnight and tonight is another round of parties, and somewhere in there I fixed the sewing machine and taught Bee-girl how to sew. Oh! And then she and I ran out to the fabric store real quick (as you do) and made a bunch of purchases that were wants, not needs. Whoops.

What I should have been focusing on was today’s challenge: Where do you read?

I have a bunch of answers.

I wanted to find the picture of the new book nooks the girls built, after all of the pre-planned ones failed to come into being. What happened was that after we tilted out the chaise lounge so that Kim (er, or, um, anyone else sitting there) could see the television, there was an interesting space between the kitchen bar and the back of the chaise. That space has been used for forts, hide and seek, playing house – all sorts of things. But mostly, it’s been the book nook.

Of course I can’t find any of the pictures.

But because we are a house stuffed chock-a-block full of readers, I have other pictures at my disposal. Like this one:

Riotgram3

Sometimes I read on my patio. It’s one of my happy places, especially when it’s sunny. Especially when I have a new Stephen King. Especially when I need some quiet, happy time.

That, um, gets blown up when your favorite girls ambush you with some silly string.

I’d tell you I was mad at them and taught them about the value of expensive hardcovers and hair that had just been washed and styled. Except I was dying of laughter and could barely control myself for chasing them around the house with the string I picked up off the ground to fling at them.

We’re a house full of readers. We read all over the place. We just don’t expect any of those places to be sacred and off-guard to anyone. Or any thing.