Book buffet

I am falling way behind in my book reviews. There’s still one book left over from 2020, as well as the 3 I’ve finished this far for different 2021 challenge prompts. So that leaves 4 titles that “need” covering. Now that I’m back to work after my end-of-year vacation, I won’t be completing books quite as quickly as I was before, which means it is hypothetically possible for me to get caught up. If I keep posting 4 or 5 nights a week and make sure that every other post is a book review, I could probably have everything back in balance before the end of January.

A closeup of a small stone cairn sitting on an empty beach. The water line and sky are out-of-focus behind the cairn.

But here’s the unpleasant truth. I’m not sure I want to post all those book reviews. Thinking about that responsibility, the schedule and discipline needed to get caught up again—and then to stay caught up as I keep reading and blogging—it’s kinda giving this blogging hobby of mine an unpleasant taste of obligation and work.

Call me lazy, but that’s what I’m feeling.

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Let the reading commence!

I had a profoundly, delightfully lazy New Year’s Day today. A little bit of puttering around, a little napping, a little bit of jigsaw puzzling, a little TV.

A LOT of reading. And a lot of spreadsheet-y getting organized for this year’s reading challenge. Which, since today is the first day of said challenge, it kind of makes sense that I should cough up my list tonight.

A soft focus shot, looking over the shoulder of a white, female-presenting human at the Kindle she is reading.

But first, some context. As I did 2 years ago, I’m focusing on the Goodreads community-driven challenge called Around the Year in 52 Books as my main reading challenge. Also similar to 2 years ago, I’ve created a master plan that cross-counts some of my ATY books against the annual challenge categories from PopSugar and from Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge.

What is DISsimilar from 2019 is how I’m not going to put any active effort into those other two challenge lists until I have a sense of how things are going with ATY. I mean, if I read a book that I’ve cross-counted for categories, I’ll mark off the relevant row in the other list(s): I’m not that single-focused! But I’m not even really committing myself to those other challenges until I make some good progress on the main one.

Especially since the prospect of Ed-doctor-school could blow all my fantasies of recreational reading out of the water….

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Not really feeling it

I’ve been a very lazy blogger this week. Took Wednesday off—the dog was all snuggly in my lap and I didn’t have the heart to displace her. And honestly, most Wednesday nights, Mr. Mezz plays D&D with his friends, so I might just plan for that to be a semi-regular night off while I dog-sit.

A picture of our dog, Cinnamon, lying right on top of my calf and foot as she sits in my lap.
See how she lies down right ON my foot? “You’re not going anywhere!”

And then I took last night off, because…

Um…

What the hell were we doing last night?

I know we watched something on DVR together, and then I watched Grey’s Anatomy on my own. But what was it we watched together? It was more than a regular length TV show.

(This is not a great sign about my current headspace.)

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Bell, book and candle

There’s a meme that’s been going around FB lately:

A toy company makes an action figure of you. What two accessories does it come with?

I haven’t shared it yet on my own feed—I kinda feel as if I should be able to answer this question for myself before asking it of anyone else.* I have, however, been enjoying the threads on different friends’ pages, and even helped do some hypothetical problem-solving for someone who had listed “Bell, book and candle” as their accessories and hit against the arbitrary two items rule:

The bell is suspended from a ribbon of fabric also being used as a bookmark. #ProblemSolved

We pagan types gotta help each other out.

Silhouette of a witch against a multicolored sky with bats and a crescent moon. The image is surrounded by this slogan: "I just took a DNA test, turns out I'm 100% that witch."
As always: WWLD?
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Closing a Loop

I’m in the mood to take a tiny break from COVID-specific diarizing. It’s like that line from Falsettos,

Let’s be scared together. Let’s pretend that nothing is awful.*

I’ll be back on topic tomorrow, but tonight I just feel like indulging the bookwormy part of my life.

bookworm 2 eyes

About 6 weeks ago—or was it a decade?—I said I’d dish up my new reading goals for 2020. And then I didn’t, because: heartbreak. Politics. Pandemic.

Absolutely understandable, but hey! Let’s take a little escapist side trip down reader’s lane tonight…

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February Recap and Looking Ahead

So, with the end of another month, time to milk another post out of the ongoing process of monitoring my progress on all these reading challenges. (One, two, three.) As with January, I’m going to do a small snapshot report on where I stand in regards to my initial reading plan, and where there’s been changes.

And, in light of the new diagnosis and research project I have going on, I’m also going to be putting some thought into a change of direction for the rest of 2019.

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100 Books Bucket List

Somewhere in that series of posts setting the context for my 2019 reading challenges, I mentioned an extra twist I was using to “level up” the complexity of my reading plans: a crosswalk with my “Bucket List Poster” to see if I could check off a few of those boxes along the way.

The poster is actually one of a set of three posters I purchased last spring: one for books, one for movies, one for music albums. I’m not entirely sure about the methodology of choosing what made the list—okay, I don’t have any idea what the methodology was. Some mix of legit Anglo-American classics, with some other titles tossed in to represent different genres (e.g., non-fiction, fantasy epic, kids lit, murder mystery), international perspectives, and titles that represent their zeitgeist.

My guess is that the company making these posters is British, both because of some of the inclusions (Dodie Smith? Kenneth Grahame?) and, more importantly, because of the absolute erasure of African-American and post-colonial titles. All of which is to say I wouldn’t want this to be the only source of new titles for me to choose and read,  but I’m happy enough to include it as a piece of a broader landscape.

Besides, having these hanging above my desk at home is a decor choice that is just so me, and I can’t deny the fun of scratching off a new title once I’ve read/viewed/listened to it.

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January Recap

When I first shared my plans for the 3 reading challenges I’m working on, I think I mentioned something about how I could milk tons of post topics out of these lists by doing individual book reviews, monthly recaps, and so on.

Well, here I am at the end of Month 1, and I’m trying to figure out exactly how I want to arrange this recap. As expected, I’ve already started swapping some “bonus reads” into categories where I had sketchy choices, so the lists as originally posted are no longer quite accurate. Still, it seems way excessive to post the lists in their entirety every darn month, just for the sake of capturing a few changes here and there.

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The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis

  • Started as a Bonus Read
  • SWAPPING IN: Book Riot #5: By a journalist or about journalism

If I’d been a tiny bit more on the ball, I could have swapped this into my list before I posted my review of Alyssa Mastromonaco. Oh well: hindsight is eagle-eyed, but my foresight is sometimes more akin to a bat wearing a blindfold. C’est la vie.

Anyhoo, Michael Lewis’s journalistic bonafides look a lot more, well, journalistic than Mastromonaco’s, so I’m glad to have a better choice for a weak category so quickly.

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Who Thought this Was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco

  • ATY #2: One of the 5 W’s in the title
  • PopSugar #16: Question in the title
  • Book Riot #5: By a journalist or about journalism (reaching)

And just like that, I’m caught up again! (At least for now.) As I predicted, the memoir I had lined up for Week 2 did go quickly, so I’m back on schedule, a status I predict will be maintained till the wheels fall off the cart in March.*

But hey, might as well celebrate being on track for whatever window of time I can claim that virtuous status.

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