Archives for posts with tag: books

Omg, you guys. Did you know working two part time jobs is exhausting? It is. It’s exhausting. I started a part time job back in December, as I may have mentioned and was juggling it with an on call job up until April, when I started a second part time job. Now, theoretically, I would be working 41 hours, six days a week. This is not totally ideal, but it’s also not that bad. In practice, I work much more than that. This past week, Sunday to Saturday, I worked 51 hours, over the course of seven days. Also, my one day off per week (that I don’t *always* get) is alternating Fridays and Sundays and always works out so that when I have Friday off, I work Saturday and then have Sunday off. So…I’m working a lot, is what I’m saying. Understandably, I haven’t had much time to write nor much to say that isn’t work stuff.

At any rate, besides working lots and lots, I’ve been keeping myself busy in other ways. I reached my Goodreads annual goal already. I purposely set it a little lower than what I did last year, thinking that with all the working I was going to be doing, I wouldn’t have as much time to read. HAHAHAHAHA. I’m not sure where I found the time, but I definitely did, and the average length of book I read this year versus last is less than 40 pages shorter than last year, so it’s not like I’m padding my numbers with picture books or shorty middle grade books.

I will say, though, for those of you who want to incorporate more reading into your life, the two things I do that I think have the most impact on how much read are: 1. Audiobooks for LIFE. and 2. Reading before bed every night. Also, I’m in a book club conglomerate (Bay Area Book Geeks, for the curious), and I try to read as many of the book club books as I’m interested in. And, I am happy to report, I have relaxed a little with the due date anxiety and am actually reading the books that I want to read, no matter when they are due back at the library! And I am making a more conscious effort to read the books that I buy. I still have a lot of books on my “To Be Read” book case (yes, an entire bookcase. It doesn’t even hold all of them.), but I am trying to read through them.

You know what I haven’t had time for recently? Knitting. Or rather, I’ve been feeling very BLAH about knitting lately. I have a feeling part of it relates to the amount of stupid baby knitting I’ve been doing, rather than the fun, for me only knitting. I’ve made some cute af stuffed animals and about a gagillion duck socks, and I think I’m getting a little burnt out on all baby knitting, all the time. Because, seriously, everyone I know is pregnant or recently had a baby.

Also, my size 4 cable needles met a somewhat tragic demise (surprisingly, shoes + knitting on the floor is not a good mix), and I haven’t had a chance to replace them, which I probably need to do before I can do some actual, super fun knitting. I’ve got some gorgeous mustard yellow yarn that I want to make a shawlette out of, something like this or this. I like the second one the best, but with more of the lace all over. Oh! And it doesn’t require size 4 needles! Maybe this is just what the doctor ordered to cure some knitting ennui.

Advertisements

YOU GUYS. Penguin Random House, Goodreads, Mashable and the National Book Foundation are starting a NATIONAL READATHON DAY. I cannot even begin to describe to you the amount of joy with which this fills my heart. A whole day. For READING. (Or, as I like to call it, Tuesday.)

So I’ve actually heard of libraries organizing readathons before, and I always thought it was a cool idea, and maybe a good way to promote reading for pleasure. And the other day, as I was tootling about the internet, I came across the link to a national readathon! How exciting! I immediately decided that I would be dragging Feller along with me because he likes to read, too, and what better way could we possibly spend an afternoon together?

Upon further inspection, I discovered that the readathon, in the true fashion of all -athons everywhere, is meant not just for sheer joy of reading all afternoon, but to promote and raise funds for the National Book Foundation, who bring us the National Book Award and a variety of programs designed to promote literacy in the US and help instill a love of reading in people. And who can’t get behind a group that brings attention to authors such as Jacqueline Woodson (winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Young Adult) and Ursula K. Le Guin (recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution and who gave a kick ass acceptance speech).

So, if you feel like supporting our readathon, and we would LOVE to have it!, click on the logo down below, which will take you to our donation page. I’ve set our goal as $100, but it would also be great to surpass that!

national readathon day

And if you’re interested in participating in the readathon yourself, there are venues hosting readathons all over the country, but you can also read from the comfort of your favorite reading spot. Just read along with us on January 24th, from noon-4pm!

Feller and I made the trek into the city last Friday night to attend Neil Gaiman’s Last US Signing Tour. He’s one of my favorite authors and pretty much the only person in the world for whom I would sit around for five hours to get something signed. We got there just as the doors were opening, and, somewhat as I was expecting, the line to get in stretched down the block. Thankfully, we still got some pretty decent seats.

When he walked onstage around 715, he looked pretty much the way one expects Neil Gaiman to look: all in black with hair that goes in every direction. When he started speaking, I was somewhat surprised to learn that in real life, he sounds exactly the way he does in interviews and audiobooks and the like. I find his voice very soothing and absolutely ideal for telling stories. I told Feller that he reminds me of a cozy granpaw, who you love tucking you into bed because he’s got THE BEST stories.

He read to us from his new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The excerpt was delightful and witty, and I am looking forward sitting down and reading it myself. I’m also going to be downloading the audiobook, which he narrates. As I said, his voice is soothing, and he has a delightful cadence and inflection reading the story. (It doesn’t hurt that the audiobook is less than six hours long, which will provide me a nice break from the 43 hour long audiobook to which I am currently listening.) I was actually a little surprised at how short this book for adults is, clocking in at 181 pages, but it’s also a relief. I have so many other books in my To Read pile, that the prospect of adding a tome is not thrilling.

After the reading, he answered some questions and then read a bit from the children’s book he has coming out in September, Fortunately, The Milk, which sounds utterly wonderful. Following that, the signing begun. Feller and I were on the far side of the lower level, so we didn’t even get close to the stage until nearly 11. Feller was wonderful throughout, especially since he doesn’t love Gaiman as much as I do and was there primarily as my Book Mule (they only allowed each person two signatures).

When we finally got up there, Neil was warm and personable. He joked about Amy!, who comes with her own exclamation point, said that now he was really excited about my name, too, and went back to the “Amy and Feller” inscription to add an exclamation point when I asked him. He signed my copy of Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader “Bats Wishes” and drew a little moon on our copy of Ocean. He told the audience beforehand to just ask for a hug if we wanted/needed one. After Feller and I got our somewhat creepy hover picture behind him (as he wasn’t pausing in the signing for pictures), I asked and received a warm, wonderful hug that just cemented his place in my heart at Best Author Ever.

It was just such a phenomenal evening. Almost exactly what I expected but perfectly delightful nonetheless. It was one of those times when you meet your hero, a person you admire greatly, and they don’t disappoint you. He was just as warm and funny as I could have ever imagined, and I’m so glad I had this experience.

(Just so y’all know, this review contains spoilers. I’ll warn you before they turn up.)

I just finished One Day by David Nicholls. This is, as you will notice, the time when I usually write a review because if I don’t want to write about the book while I’m reading it and/or immediately upon finishing it, I won’t be writing about it. See: all the books I keep thinking about reviewing and then don’t.

Anyways, One Day is about Emma and Dexter, two college students who meet on graduation and become best friends. The story is told in one day snapshots on the anniversary of their meeting, and over the course of twenty years, the reader watches their relationship evolve as they navigate adulthood.

I’m still processing how I actually feel about this book because there are SO MANY *FEELINGS* involved, but I think I can safely say that it’s great. Really well written. I first heard of it during Epic Vacation when Feller’s BFF’s girlfriend was reading it (and plowed through it in about 24 hours). I picked it up and read the first few pages but didn’t have a chance to get farther along. I sort of forgot about it until I saw it on Overdrive as an audiobook, and y’all know how much I enjoy audiobooks.

I will admit that it took me a bit to really get into the story, I think, partly because I started listening to it right before I went back to Arizona last week, and I just didn’t have the time every day to listen to audiobooks, and partly because it took me … four or five anniversary snapshots to realize it was the same day every year (I’m sort of a visual person, okay?!). Once I got back in town and listening to it everyday though, I couldn’t get enough. I kept thinking about what was going on in the story after I had turned it off, and I kept hoping for Em and Dex to get over their shit enough to be together.

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS

And then they did, and it was wonderful, but I worried. I didn’t think they would be able to make it last, and I knew I couldn’t stand to watch their relationship fall apart, and so I thought that the solution was simply that one of them had to die. Well, I was JOKING, OKAY, David?! It was A JOKE. I didn’t ACTUALLY mean for you to kill one of them off! And OF COURSE it was Emma because she would have been able to survive without Dexter, but losing her very nearly broke him completely. I think it did totally break my heart.

END SPOILERS

And in the end, this was a story about life and friendship and loss. It was angsty and funny and gut wrenchingly heartbreaking but ultimately optimistic, and in the end, though listening to this was one of those book/movie experiences that is kind of horrible at the time, I think I liked it. I wouldn’t recommend reading it while sitting at home alone when your boyfriend is across the country and not available for post traumatic book snuggles, however. And I’m definitely deleting the movie version from my DVD queue. Probably.

If I’ve seen you in real life in the past week or so, no doubt I’ve babbled about The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This book is her account of spending one year changing her life by not changing her life. She’s a pretty normal lady with a great family and a job she loves, and she wants to know if she can become happier by making small adjustments to her everyday life, and, oh hey! It works!

She breaks her “Happiness Project” into twelve (one for every month!) different aspects of life in which she would like to create greater happiness, and she has three or four resolutions to accompany each area of focus, building on the resolutions from the previous month. Additionally, the entire book is filled with quotes from the extensive happiness research she’s done, and I have NO IDEA where she found the time to read all the books she cites, because DAMN.

Some of her resolutions, like going to bed earlier and clearing clutter, are (seemingly) simple but really draining when it doesn’t happen. She provides some universal Truths about happiness that are simple and things that most people probably already know, but sometimes, I just need someone to state the obvious. Several of the chapters deal with her relationships with other people and how to get the most happiness flowing in those relationships. She reminded me how important it is to show up and be present in people’s lives and how much my own attitude affects other people’s.

Really, I love the way this book got me to thinking. I have an AWESOME life. I have a wonderful boyfriend who I adore, a job I enjoy and that allows me to focus my energy on school, and I am so blessed. But, of course, there are areas for improvement, and I really appreciated some of Rubin’s suggestions and tips and ideas for making my great life EVEN BETTER. So, as I was reading, and in this past week since I’ve finished the book, I’ve thought about what resolutions I can make that will help me become a happier, More Awesome person. I have a whole list of resolutions and one time goals for my Awesomeness Project. I want to spend the year aiming to create more happiness, and thus, More Awesome, in my life. My resolutions range from silly personal things, like flossing every day, to things that will help me be a better girlfriend and friend. And in the next day or two, I’ll have a fancy chart on which to write out all these resolutions and gold star stickers to reward myself when I do a good job. Because one way to create more happiness is by not relying on other people to give me a pat on the back.