Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tuesday Check-In

Dear Reader,

Hope you had a good reading week!


I enjoyed listening to The Power of Habit, and I figure I picked up a few interesting and useful tips, so I'd give this a 3.5/5. The best part of the book was listening to all the anecdotes - those are always what I like best, rather than the lessons learned. It's why I also enjoy fiction as much as I do - what's important to me is trying to understand how the human psyche works. And it's never the same! So I am continually fascinated.

In any case, definitely a fun one to pick up. Not very heavy-handed with the "business advice", either, so don't let that part of the title scare you away.


Trevor Noah's book is still incredibly enjoyable - now to add to the unforgettable pooping story is the one about Hitler! Oh my gosh, I was laughing so much while listening to this - I am certain people think I'm insane, because they can't see my earbud when I'm listening. And I don't want to give anything away, so all I can say is just: Do yourself a favor and read it! - What I love most about it, and what is making it a 5-star book for me, is that Noah not only masterfully relates his formative years, he also delves quite deeply into many social issues with - unsurprisingly - quite a bit of depth and perspective. For every memorable story, he also has some great insight into the way things work - in South Africa, in America, and in the world.

I've begun My Name is Lucy Barton, and so far (maybe an hour in?) it's...slow, but kind of poetically bucolic (although not everything in the town where Lucy grew up was sunshine & roses, of course). I am enjoying listening to the narration of this woman's life in bits & pieces. I have no idea where the story is going at this point, but...it's not unenjoyable to listen to, nonetheless.

The other books are slow but steady progress...I kind of pick up each in turn. I'm about halfway through the Tolstoy, and I can't believe it! It's hefty but so engaging. And I'm still not totally into The Golden Compass, although it's a good adventure read.

So...I'll just keep chugging along! (I've been immersed in trains recently, as that's the current theme of my daughter's Kindermusik classes - hence the above turn of phrase.) See you next week!


Thursday, March 2, 2017

TOB 2017 - Thoughts, Progress & Updates 2

Tournament of Books 2017

Thoughts - Progress - Updates 2

Hello again! So glad you came back. Last time I gave you a little update on why I've been away for some time and now I'll divulge on that a little further. I had so many changes this past year: job, relationship, moving. I am now happily living in Newington, have a new boyfriend (who gets me surprisingly well) and might even have an opportunity to snag a part-time book related job (something I've been trying to do for a very long time).

Back to the books. As I mentioned last time, I've been slacking in the reading department (due to all the distraction). I gave some thoughts on a few of the ToB books that I enjoyed so far. I wish I could say I've kept the momentum up, but I haven't. I think this might be due to the fact that the last few books have been letting me down, sadly.

First up? I tackled "Grief Is the Thing with Feathers" by Max Porter, which is a very short book and I read it all in one sitting. This was DEFINITELY not my kind of book. Not only did it remind me of "Department of Speculation", which is another book that didn't "do it" for me... but I am not a poetry/prose gal. I'm struggling to rate this book. It's not poorly written... in fact, it's beautiful in many ways... it's just not for me. I have never been a poetry person and this is pretty much that. I could definitely see someone giving this 5 stars and loving everything about it... and my rating (2-Stars) reflects exactly why books are so subjective. I'm glad that the TOB brought this to my hands because I think it's important to keep trying things outside of the box... tastes do change over time. Who knows, maybe later down the road poetry will start to "click".

I've also picked up "All the Birds in the Sky" by Charlie Jane Anders and this was a book that I should have LOVED. Filled with magic, a little science fiction, child narrative mixed with coming of age... how did I not like this? I didn't. Ugh, very frustrating. Part of me thinks it's because I wasn't in the mood or something... but that's not it. Talking it over with a few readers in the ToB Goodreads Group (check it out and join if you haven't already), a few mentioned something about the similarities with this and "The Magicians" by Lev Grossman. After that was brought up... things clicked... Yes, that's it! That's the frustration I was having. It just so happens that I read "The Magicians" very recently with a group of my friends (Arianna, Marsha and Jess). We not only read it but hashed it out. I don't think ANY magical school "potteresque" book would have a chance with me after such a recent breakdown of "The Magicians".    

So after reading two books that didn't do it for me, I am finishing up "Sweet Lamb of Heaven" by Lydia Millet (another "okay" book) and I've started listening to "My Name is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout (which so far has been pretty darn good). I'm hoping things look up for me (in the reading department). Next up on my list will be "Version Control" by Dexter Palmer, which should be another book that has all the bits I love and crave (science-fiction, current events, technology, physics, scientific philosophy). Hopefully this one will be that itch I've needed scratching.

Have you read any of the books yet? Any you'd recommend for me to pick next? Which book do you think will take the win? So far, I have no clear book to cheer for... this is the first tournament that it's happened this way. I can only cross my fingers and hope I find that gem before the tournament starts!  

Happy Reading,

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