Monday, December 5, 2016

This Is How We Read #AMonthofFaves2016

Today's post is one that I love -- sharing reading stats!

I'm on my 120th and 121st books of the year -- one audiobook (a reread of The Wee Free Men) and one review book (The Ferryman Institute). So far this year I have listened to 17 books, have read 9 non-fiction books, and have read 11 books for review.

There are quite a few authors that I've read three or more books by this year:
Christopher Fowler (3) -- Bryant and May Off the Rails and The Memory of Blood and The Invisible Code
Roald Dahl (3) -- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and Matilda
Kage Baker (3) -- Sky Coyote and Mendoza in Hollywood and The Graveyard Game
Diana Wynne Jones (6) -- Witch's Business and The Lives of Christopher Chant and Archer's Goon and Dark Lord of Derkholm and House of Many Ways and Howl's Moving Castle
Terry Pratchett (4) -- Equal Rites and Guards! Guards! and Nation and Sourcery
Beverly Cleary (3) -- Ramona the Pest and Ramona and Her Father and The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Catherynne Valente (5) -- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There and The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two and The Boy who Lost Fairyland and The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home
Maggie Stiefvater (4) -- The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King
Maile Maloy (3) -- The Apothecary and The Apprentices and The After-Room

As you probably could have guessed, DWJ is in the lead.

For the rest of December, I would like to do a couple more rereads (A Christmas Carol, more Flavia de Luce stories), get through a couple more review books, and read one or two more from the TBR. I'm also waiting for the audiobook of The Raven Boys to be available so I can start that series again!

And, as for my favorite book of the year so far ... it's a middle-grade book with a ship whose name shares a quality with me. Any guesses? (I posted about it in September.)

Counting my chickens, er, reads,

Friday, December 2, 2016

5 Popular Books Worth the Hype #AMonthofFaves2016

Today we are supposed to list 5 Popular Books Worth the Hype. So, looking back at my reading list from this year, the number one through four spots go to ...

I didn't start the Raven Cycle series until this year because somehow I didn't believe all of my lovely bookish friends that were raving about them. Now, even though I only read them all between the end of May and the end of September, I'm about to start a series reread. I miss the characters and world so much that I need to go back already!

And the fifth spot is going to ...

Okay, so that's technically two more books but I *loved* the first two books in this series. I had heard great things about this series but only picked them up on a whim this summer. Again, the world building is amazing and the characters complex and diverse. I can't wait for Ash and Quill to come out next year.

What book did you read this year that deserves the hype it has gotten?

Reminiscing about great reads,

Thursday, December 1, 2016

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things #AMonthofFaves2016

I had no specific blogging plans for December but then saw that Andi, Tanya Patrice, and Tamara are hosting A Month of Faves again and it seemed like a good way to add some positivity back into my blog and life. I've just been far too focused on the worst things in the world lately. Head over to any of their blogs to see the Monday-Friday prompts if you're interested in participating!

Right now my favorite things are:

The French press: I somehow never had one of these until about a year ago. Now I don't know how I ever lived without it. I'm a blonde/medium roast gal and I always use dairy creamer. My current one makes about 2 cups of coffee--one for me, one for the husband--but we're thinking of getting one that's double the size.

Sticky Fingers scone mix and a scone pan: I find myself making scones about once a week these days because they are comforting and yummy. My favorite flavors right now are Tart Cherry, Cranberry, and Blueberry. (They make gluten-free mixes too.) And the ceramic scone pan from World Market makes them all into nice, pretty triangles!
Marketspice Tea: When I'm not drinking coffee, I'm drinking tea and I bought a nice big bag of loose leaf Cinnamon-Orange tea when I was at Pike Place Market at the beginning of November. It's so delicious that I don't add any milk or sweetener or anything. (There's also a decaf version if you aren't a caffeine addict like me.)
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Heel Repair: This isn't a glamorous thing but it's the time of year when I have to try and fix all of the damage of a summer of flip-flops and bare feet. This stuff smells great (cocoa and peppermint) and works well when I remember to use it nightly.

What are some of your favorite things right now?

Incrementally cheerier,

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Month Just Gone

The Seattle Great Wheel, night and day

Normally, I would write a nice #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks post since it's the last day of November but today I have no progress to share toward my goal because, well, I didn't read a single one of my own books this month. I'm about 2/3 through Suite Fran├žaise but I took a break between the two parts to read other things, including a couple of review copies I had around that fit more with my current reading mood than anything of my own. The two best reads of my month were for the Top 100 Chapter Books Project at The Estella Society (which I've only got four months left on!) -- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Number the Stars. I don't think this is a bad time to brush up on what life was like in the pre-Civil Rights Era and during WWII and these were both stellar middle grade books.

I'm not sure if I'll read 10 more books from my TBR/home library in December to reach my goal but I still feel like I made great progress on the project. It was well worth paying attention to where the books I read come from.

Do you tend to read more during the winter holidays or less?

Calling for a November do-over,

Thursday, November 17, 2016

New Release: The Gentleman

I had The Gentleman by Forrest Leo on hold at the library long before this political sh*tstorm began and so decided to read it even though I wasn't in the mood for fiction. It turned out to be just the book to bring me out of my funk and help me feel more like myself again. (The other book, which I'm still listening to, but which is helping immensely is Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist.)

I thought, when I first began reading, that the titular gentleman was our main character Lionel Savage, Victorian poet and unhappy husband, forced to marry for money after bankrupting himself buying books. However, it is soon revealed that The Gentleman is, in fact, the Devil, come to thank Savage for what he perceived to be kind words said about him by Lionel. The Devil laments that he has no friends and admits that he has been wanting one for ever so long. Savage finds that he is also longing for a friend and so accepts this new person into his life, loans him a book of Tennyson's poetry, and insincerely wishes to be rid of his wife. When his wife is no longer around the next day, Savage begins to think that his friendship and wish might have been a bit foolish.

Written in first person as a memoir that has been edited and footnoted by Savage's wife's cousin, this is a funny and surprising story. There are all sorts of commentaries on gender, race, science, progress, art, and friendship. The way they are presented, through the conceited and wayward lens of Savage's ego, is quite amusing and enlightening. I enjoyed the unconventional family relationships and the bucking of Victorian mores. It was irreverent at times (many, many times, to be honest) and that was just what I needed right now.

What books are helping you through this tough time?

Finding my own sense of purpose,

Monday, November 14, 2016

Moving Forward

My first instinct as I lay in bed on Tuesday night was to quit blogging. This just seemed so trivial an endeavor. I was looking for ways to make a big difference, a way to save the world single-handedly. But then I read Song of the Trees and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred B. Taylor this week and I realized that, when one is reading books that matter and sharing about them (my post on RoT will go up at The Estella Society tomorrow), it can change the world. It is admittedly a small thing but it isn't meaningless. So, I'm going to keep blogging. It might take me a little while to get going again regularly. Right now, it's hard to focus on anything for very long. I have pains in my stomach and I am sleeping far more than I normally do. I feel alternately hopeless and angry and I'm not sure when this will improve. Still, I'm looking forward to beginning planning for the holidays and I hope to also find some solace and joy in books. If I do, I'll be back to share that with you.

In solidarity,

Monday, October 31, 2016

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks : October Edition

Oh, October. The weather has changed and I've not quite gotten used to the lack of evening daylight. I have to be very diligent about taking my vitamin D every day. I'm also starting to dream of a warm vacation destination ...


A Fine and Private Place - Peter S. Beagle
A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle (reread)
Poe: A Life Cut Short - Peter Ackroyd
The Boxcar Children - Gertrude Chandler Warner
Rustication - Charles Palliser
Murder is Bad Manners - Robin Stevens
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley (reread)
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern (reread)
Edward Scissorhands: Parts Unknown - Kate Leth and Drew Rausch (reread)
Edward Scissorhands: Whole Again - Kate Leth and Drew Rausch
The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag - Alan Bradley (reread)

Monthly Total: 11
Yearly Total: 70

I just have to read 10 more of my own books in the next two months to hit my goal. Yay! My reread of The Night Circus (third time) was amazing. I am in awe of how that book can capture my attention and imagination even as it becomes more and more familiar. I'm also really loving my Flavia de Luce rereads. The thing I'm noticing a lot more this time through is the loving way that Flavia manages Dogger. I'm finding that I respect her for more than just her scientific prowess.

The third annual Witch Week hosted by Lory of The Emerald City Book Review starts today and the theme is Made in America. The schedule is up and the event kicks off with a post from ME about Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Be sure and head over to Lory's blog to read all of the great guest posts she has lined up this week!

I've just changed the top shelf of my TBR bookcase from RIP tomes to books I want to get to this fall and winter. I've moved The Handmaid's Tale up there because I've heard it referenced so many times this election season. I think I'll wait to read it until after November 8th though, when I'm sure it's a fantasy and not a possibility.

Is there a book that you are looking forward to reading in November?

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

#RIP XI : 12, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

I was about to start reading Alan Bradley's eighth and latest Flavia de Luce Mystery but then, on a whim, I decided to reread the entire series first. I won't have enough time to read them all before the end of the month as part of the RIP Challenge so I'll just make this a personal project for the fall and winter, using them as comfort reads as the days get shorter and the rain heavier.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie was possibly better than I remembered it being. The writing is fantastic, the characters are sufficiently complex, and the peril was quite real. It didn't even matter that I could kind of remember some of the details of the various crimes. I was there mostly for Flavia, the de Luces, and Dogger and just wanted them all to be safe and well. Now that I've started the second book, I'm even happier that I decided to do these rereads!

Do you reread mystery series? Which is your favorite one to revisit?

Picking my poison,