Checking In, And Checking Out

checking-in

checking-in

I don’t know how to talk about or process my feelings about the election. It’s like I still can’t quite get a grip on this. I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel guilty. I feel desperate. I feel numb. I feel like shit. I feel motivated. I feel…

I’m not going to lie, I don’t know what this space is for me right now. I want to be blogging, I want to be reading… but it just isn’t happening, and yet I don’t know how to stay away completely. There is only so much time in a day, and it’s always filled right to the top with being a mom, being a wife, working full time at the hospital, teaching part time, and then all the rest of the day to day business of living. I love all of these aspects of my life, and wouldn’t give up or change any of it… I’m just over here, trying to live in the now, cherish the small, beautiful, fleeting moments, and not get too hung up on what I *should* be doing, or what I used to be able to do so easily and quickly, and no longer can.

Adding to that, we have decided to up and sell our house, move into a short term rental, and look for a different house with plans for a full renovation in a different part of town. Luckily our house sold quickly, and so now we’re preparing to move in just under two weeks. Oh, not to mention, I unexpectedly had to have emergency surgery last week, and have a ten pound lifting restriction for six weeks… with a nearly 17 pound baby, and moving day looming. Yup. (Not going to lie, when my concerning symptoms first presented themselves on Wednesday evening, I thought I was having an extreme physical reaction of anxiety and despair in regard to the election results. Took me a minute to realize, no, just kidding, I need to go see a surgeon).

All of this to say, hello, hi there, I miss you, and I miss this. I can’t say when I’ll be back consistently, but I’m around, I’m trying to read, and I’m checking into your blogs when I can. Until then…

 

What I Read | August 2016

What I Read August 2016

What I Read August 2016

This post should actually be called “What I Didn’t Read,” but alas, here we are. Now that I’m back to work, my reading life is in dire straights. I need to learn to manage my expectations, and realize what is actually possible to accomplish in a day, and that yes, indeed, I actually do need to take a break and get some rest once and awhile. Over achiever for life, right here.

I also delved into my extensive podcast backlog this month, which means less time for audiobooking. It was a nice break, to be honest, and I will likely continue to listen to more podcasts than I had previously. There are just so many good ones these days, and oldies but goodies I need to catch up on!

My grand total for the month, as follows: 2 books, and both of which had been started before August even began. I’ll take it, and call it good (enough).

Read

The Glorious Heresies, by Lisa McInerney

This one took me so long to read, I don’t even know how to begin to develop my thoughts on it. I know I liked it, but some of the finer details haven’t really stuck around. I’m sure it’s not the book’s fault.

The BFG, by Roald Dahl

Baby E and I have made it through our first chapter book! We started this one when he was only a week or two old, and finally finished it. It takes a long time when you’re only reading a page (or paragraph) or two at night, depending on a good or a not-as-good mood at the time.

DNFed

War Porn, by Ray Scranton

Sadly, just no. It was not working even a little bit. I’ve heard the same from a few others, so in this case it might not be *completely* my fault.

 

What was your favorite read of the month? What book are you most looking forward to picking up in September?

 

It’s Monday, August 29th. What Are You Reading?

Monday 8-29-16

Monday 8-29-16

Hi, I’m Katie, and it’s been 21 days since my last Monday post. I’ve been MIA lately, but really, should anyone be surprised? Back to work full time, mommyhood, and otherwise living life… doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for reading, much less blogging. Despite that, I gave Bout of Books the ol’ college try, and managed to squeeze in some time here and there.

I had a minute this morning, so I thought I’d drop by and say hey, especially since I’m *finally* reading some new things. I’m enjoying In The Country We Love: My Family Divided quite a bit, narrated by Diane Guerrero herself. Audiobooking is definitely the way to go on this one, since the story is certainly compelling, but the writing isn’t that stellar. I’m three stories into Kleeman’s short story collection Intimationsdue out next month. Her writing is as spectacular as I remembered, but I’m not sure I’m digging the short story format. Too early too tell, but so far I’m giving it a solid “good” and I’m into it enough to keep chugging away. I might have to start a novel to read in tandem, but we’ll see how the week shapes out.

Since lately Baby E has been going down to bed a bit earlier, and sleep training seems to finally be making a difference, The Hubs and I have found ourselves with some leisure time in the evenings. I’ve finished off Stranger Things, and am pretty dang pumped for what’s coming next. We watched OJ: Made In America which was so crazy interesting, and finally (!!!) watched Spotlight, which I’ve been dying to see since it was in the theater. What a relief, it’s as good as everyone said!

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

 

Bout Of Books 17.0 | That’s A Wrap

BoB17 logo

BoB17 logo

It’s no secret my reading has been suffering big time this month, which, honestly, is fine. I have a four month old baby, and have returned to work full time in the last few weeks, so… yeah, I’ve been busy. I have enjoyed participating in the Bout Of Books readathon in the past, so, why not keep the tradition alive. I do work two overnight shifts this week, which means reading time is always hit or miss depending on how much sleep I get while on-call, and how much my body hates me the next day.

The Bookish Line-Up

If anything, I’m hopeful BoB will give me the push to read at least a little bit each day, even if for only fifteen minutes. So, let’s see: 15 minutes x 7 days = 105 minutes, and let’s round up to an even 120 minutes… so I’m setting my goal to read 2 hours this week. I’ve been reading the same dang book since the end of July, and I just want to finish it off already! (Maybe I’ll get the chance to wrap it up prior to tomorrow, in which case I can start in on a fresh book, which is always my preference for readathons. I’ll keep you posted, I know you’re worried). Here’s what I’ll be choosing from, since I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be in the mood for:

BoB17 Row 1

Yes, still reading The Glorious Heresies… moving on. I’m finally going to pick up my next audiobook this week, after joyfully podcasting it for awhile, and have decided to go with In The Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero. I’ve also been meaning to get started on The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness for *forever* now, so here’s to hoping.

BoB17 Row 2

These last three are a selection new releases coming up for me. Oprah pulled a fast one, so now I’m “behind” on picking up The Underground Railroad, of which I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things. The Gloaming sounds just too interesting to ignore, and of course my girl Alexandra Kleeman’s latest short story collection Intimations is an absolute must.

Updates

As always, I’ll be posting updates here (hopefully) and probably babbling a bit over on Twitter. I’m not going to make elaborate charts this time around (no time!) but am still hoping to post daily(ish) progress reports.

Days 1 & 2 | 0 minutes reading | 0 pages read

Oops. I worked a night shift on Monday and was super tired both Monday and Tuesday, ergo no reading. I knew reading was going to be tough this week, so I’m not really surprised. Will try again tomorrow.

Day 3 | 127 minutes audiobooking | ~63 pages heard

I had a long drive today for a hair appointment (yes, I drive 3+ hours total to get my hair done, I’m loyal, okay?) and started listening to Diane Guerrero’s In The Country We Love. The grandparents got to spend some quality time with Baby E, and I relaxed, got my hair done, wine in hand. I should have spent the processing time reading, but what can you do… messed around on my phone instead, and walked out with a killer cut and a lovely ombre.

Days 4 & 5 | 166 minutes audiobooking + 30 minutes reading | ~83 pages heard + 28 pages read

My second night shift for the week is now complete, and it was a decently busy one. I had some errands to run, ergo was able to get in a decent about of audiobooking. I also (finally!) was able to carve out a little time for some actual turn-the-pages reading. I finished off The Glorious Heresies (again, finally!), and read the first story in Intimations. I’ve missed Kleeman’s writing, and can’t wait to see how her style gels with a short story collection versus novel.

Days 5 & 6 | 25 minutes reading | 22 pages read

Baby E caught a virus over the weekend so we were dealing with snot and fussies, but he’s fine and getting over it now. Those dang daycare germs… and I know it’s either now or later, so I guess just get on with it. This obviously left very little time for reading, as per usual these days. I read two more stories in Intimations and am not sure what to make of it so far. It’s certainly full of weird, as one would expect from Kleeman.

That about wraps this installment of Bout of Books. Overall, I listened to 293 minutes or 146 pages of In The Country We Love, finally finished off the last 10 pages of The Glorious Heresies, and got started on Intimations for a total of 55 minutes and 50 pages read. I’m going to call it good.

 

Until next time, Bout of Bookers.

 

It’s Monday, August 8th. What Are You Reading?

Monday 8-8-16

Monday 8-8-16

First off, you guys are the best. Thanks for the support, well wishes, and commiseration regarding last week Monday’s  post. My first official day back to work is tomorrow. I feel like I don’t remember how to do my job… here’s to hoping it all comes back and I haven’t been locked out of all the programs I need!

My reading has been mighty slow lately, which really, is fine. I’m still working my way through The Glorious Heresies, am really enjoying it, and am interested to see where it will go. I have read a few pages here and there of several other things, but nothing I’m committing to quite yet. We’ll see what sticks after I wrap up my current read.

I also haven’t started an audiobook yet in leiu of podcasting, specifically Gilmore Guys. I’m only a few episodes in, and understand it changes (in a good way, apparently?) quite a bit by later seasons. It really has me jonesing to watch Gilmore Girls from the beginning, but really… I’ve done that a million times over again so I’m trying to hold off until shortly before the new episodes are released this fall (SO. PUMPED.). Instead I’ve been watching Stranger Things, which makes me all kinds of nostalgic for random 80s things, like VHS storage drawers and telephones with cords to wrap yourself up in while talking.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

 

In Re: | Serialized Fiction

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the the whole “Netflix and chill” thing. The new (and more enjoyable!) way to ingest television is to wait around for the season to be complete, and then promptly binge watch said season in a matter of a few days. I know I’ve done this time and again, and tend to prefer it over waiting and watching week to week, as so many details get lost in the depths of my memory.

Recently, NPR released an article questioning “Can Serialized Fiction Convert Binge Watchers Into Binge Readers?“, which discusses a new (well, really more a resurgence of a very old) idea of releasing a complete work in smaller portions over a certain length of time, meant to be enjoyed one tidbit at a time. As mentioned in the article, Farrar, Straus and Giroux publishing house recently trialed this idea with VanderMeer’s Southern Reach “trilogy” with all three parts released over the span of less than a year, and eventually published into one volume.

My question, or questions rather… How is this capitalizing on the whole “binge” phenomenon? Wouldn’t just sitting down and reading an entire novel be more of a “binge” than waiting around as each new section is released? Am I missing something here? Can the act of watching television really be compared to the act of reading? Are these activities similar enough to be ingested in the same manner?

To me, I would rather just read the whole book in whatever length of time works for me. Don’t you think an author splitting up one cohesive work into many will force multiple climaxes in order to encourage the reader to remember they were reading it in the first place, and to continue to come back for more time and time again?

Gone are the days of sitting down and reading the newspaper every day, or every week even. Gone are the days of staying home on Thursday nights so you don’t miss an “all new Dawson’s Creek” episode. Gone are the days of tuning into radio shows for an evening of listening pleasure. We have become such a “now” culture, and everything is so readily available with the click of a few keys. Do you think there’s even a market for serialized fiction?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, and if serialized fiction is something you would buy into. Let’s discuss in the comments below!

 

What I Read | July 2016

What I Read 07-July 2016

What I Read 07-July 2016

My reading slowed a bit this month, but I still made it through quite a few things. In total, I read 6 books and listened to 2 audiobooks. I also surpassed my Goodreads goal for the year, so go me. I sort of sucked at getting to many (only one!) July releases, but this is mostly due to the fact I had them in physical form only, which I’ve struggled to pick up lately. E-books have (at times, reluctantly) been my jam lately, mostly via the Kindle iPhone app, so I’ve decided to embrace it during this stage in my life. Frankly, I’m happy to be getting any reading done at all, and it just goes to show you can make time for the things you care about, albeit differently than before… i.e. sipping a fully–nay, excessively–caffeinated Americano in a coffee shop with nothing but the luxury of nil to do and time to spare versus snuggled up in a comfy rocking chair with your little one making cute baby noises. Both dream worthy in their own way, I say. Now, on to the books:

Read

Winter, by Marissa Meyer

This was a fine conclusion to the series, but I’m glad to be done with it. My favorite of the four main female characters is Scarlet, and her role continued to be diminished as the series went on, thus my loss of interest overall. Read it, or not, and you’ll be fine either way.

Problems, by Jade Sharma

Really liked this one, and a bit of a unique read. (review)

Lions, by Bonnie Nadzam

There just wasn’t enough meat there to keep me wanting to come back for more after setting it down, but it wasn’t uninteresting enough to forgo altogether. So ultimately I stuck with it, and it was merely fine.

Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman, by Lindy West

LOVED. EVERY. WORD. Lindy West is pretty dang amazing. Do yourself a favor, and read this immediately. Even if you don’t agree with everything she says, she at least makes you think and reevaluate your own opinions.

Sweetbitterby Stephanie Danler

Honestly, I wanted more. It was a bit overwrought and pretentious, but I did enjoy the bits that spoke SO TRUE to life in the service industry. A solid read, but I’m not dying over it or anything.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Childby Jack Thorne (Right? Not J.K. Rowling?)

My enjoyment of this was purely based in nostalgia, which is fine by me. I had some issues, but loved by loads other parts. I’m not sure this was necessary as part of the Harry Potter franchise, but whatevs… it was fine, and to me, doesn’t add nor detract from the original seven books.

Heard

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling

Yes, yes, always reading and rereading Harry Potter, until the end of time.

Fifteen Dogsby André Alexis

I have so much love for this book. I’ll leave it at that for now, because I’ll likely do some kind of review, mini or otherwise, in the near-ish future.

 

What was the best (or worst) book you read this month? What are you most looking forward to picking up in August?

 

It’s Monday, August 1st. What Are You Reading?

Monday 8-1-16

Monday 8-1-16

This is officially my final week of maternity leave. I truly can’t believe it. We’re doing a practice daycare run later this week while mom and dad have a much overdue day-date adventure. I feel pretty good about it, and since I don’t work a traditional Monday-through-Friday-nine-to-five schedule, I’ll still have plenty of weekdays with Baby E to hang. I know I’m not cut out to be a full time stay at home mom, and feel I will be a better mom by going back to work. I think what people need to remember is no matter what you choose–going back to work or staying at home–sacrifices are made. Depending on the company you keep, when you say you’re going back to work you might as well say you killed a man and currently have his body decomposing in the trunk of your car, since you know, I’m “abandoning” my child, “throwing him” in daycare, and “selfishly” going back to work. Sheesh. He’ll be fine, and so will I. Okay, end feelings explosion rant fest.

Well, I obviously flew through Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yesterday because of reasons, and also, I have no restraint. I enjoyed it, got a little thrill out of it, and will likely never read it again. Worth reading, but certainly can’t hold a candle to the original seven books.

I’m about fifty pages into War Porn, and am undecided if I’m going to stick with it or not. Have any of you read this one? If so, help me out and let me know if it’s worth continuing. I’m also reading The Glorious Heresies, which is slow to start, but I’m intrigued enough to keep going. I’ve heard great things, and since it’s been described as “gritty,” that’s about all I need to give it more than a fair shake.

I wrapped up Fifteen Dogs over the weekend (LOVED), and haven’t decided on my next audiobook. I think I’ll listen to a few podcasts, and take my time deciding what to pick up next, although it will probably be this.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

 

Library Checkout | July 2016

LibraryCheckoutBig

LibraryCheckoutBig

I’ve really started to take advantage of my library’s OverDrive book options. I find e-reading, although less preferable, much easier to accomplish these days so I have been stocking up. I’ve also been checking out duplicate ebook copies of things I have in physical form so I can read both simultaneously, depending on what’s going on at any given moment. Additionally, I discovered the plethora of children’s books available, and have decided to read before I buy to determine if it’s something worthy of adding to Baby E’s growing personal library. Right now I’m looking to diversify his bookshelf a bit, so if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Library Books Read

Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman, by Lindy West

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters, by Barack Obama

Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler

Checked Out, To Be Read

Sex Object, by Jessica Valenti

At The Mouth Of The River Of Bees, by Kij Johnson

Returned, Unread

A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, by Eimear McBride

The Long Shadow Of Small Ghosts: Murder And Memory In An American City, by Laura Tilman

The Uncoupling, by Meg Wolitzer

On Hold

Men We Reaped, by Jesmyn Ward

The Handmaid’s Taleby Margaret Atwood

Stiff: The Curious Lives Of Human Cadaversby Mary Roach

Roses And Rotby Kat Howard

Sweetlandby Michael Crummey

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindnessby Michelle Alexander

Girls & Sex: Navigating The Complicated New Landscapeby Peggy Orenstein

 

How was your library situation this month? Link up with Shannon over at River City Reading.

 

Bookish Shame Paralysis

Bookish Shame Paralysis

Bookish Shame Paralysis

With so many good books yet on the horizon this year from popular and much-loved authors, it has come to my attention how “woefully behind” I feel sometimes in the reading world. I spent a large majority of my previous life in college not reading much of anything at all (outside of my nursing textbooks) and many years thereafter reading strictly from Oprah’s Book Club and New York Times Bestseller lists, without ever realizing the vast world out there waiting for me to get a clue, and to explore beyond the “popular,” shoved in your face books. This is the world I want to read in these days, but I feel as if I have some significant “catching up” to do. I mean, I’ve still never read anything by Margaret Atwood, or Toni Morrison, or, or, or…

But let’s take a step back here… WHO CARES. (I mean, obviously I do, hence this ramble, but, stick with me here). Why does it matter that I’ve never read an Atwood, and why do I care so much? It doesn’t *really* matter, but YES, I care. I like being part of the conversation, and I like getting wrapped up in the hype of a favorite author’s next big thing. This is one of the biggest reasons I continue to maintain my blog; the bookish community and conversation (not the “free” books!).

The same can be said for new releases. We all know those those *big buzzy books* that “everyone” has read. I usually get around to reading a few of them, but others slip by (cough, The Vegetarian, cough, Homegoingcough) that I may or may not ever get to. Inevitably, they’ll show up on all of these “best of” or bookish prize long/short lists, and again I will experience the dreaded bookish shame paralysis (okay, not really, that’s a little dramatic, but you know what I mean) in which there are so many things to read, and yet I can’t seem to read any of them.

Do any of you ever feel this way? How do you cope with or cure your Bookish Shame Paralysis©?