Friday, April 27, 2018

Readathon Weekend!

I’ve been making slow steady progress with my reading but I really need to kick it up a notch so I’ve decided to make this weekend a Readathon. It’s the perfect weekend for it. No plans. The Husband is spending all weekend working in the yard which means The Toddler will be outside with him most of the day. Which leaves me the nurse Book Baby and read.

I’m a little more than half way through A Court of Wings and Ruin and about 25% through The Lost For Words Bookshop. I’d like to finish both of them, and start the May book club pick, the Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. I also want to start another book on my kindle once Lost for Words Bookshop is finished but I’m not sure what yet.

So it’s a little after 10pm Friday night and I’m starting now! Happy reading!

Update #1: it’s about half past midnight. I read for two hours but then took a break for a snack (leftover pizza) and got sucked into booktube. I’m at 45% now in The Lost for Words Bookshop. I’m about to lay down and read it on my phone till I fall asleep!

Update #2: it’s 7 am. I fell asleep pretty quickly last night so still at 45% in The Lost for Words Bookshop. I’m just made coffee and I’m going to read some of ACOWAR. Later today I’m taking the kids with me to a book sale at the library so that should be fun.

Update #3: 2pm. I’m now 415 pages into ACOWAR and 50% in The Lost for Words Bookshop. We went to the library and I found a copy of The Alice Network and a bunch of books for The Toddler. We came home, ate lunch, and now I’m going to make a cup of coffee and read some more. I’m pretty happy with my progress so far and I’m really enjoying both books so I should be able to finish the both by tomorrow.

Update #4: it’s almost 9pm and I didn’t get much reading done this afternoon. I’m up to 60% on Lost For Words but didn’t read anymore of ACOWAR. The Toddler is finally asleep. We did finish reading the first book in the Spiderwick Chronicles tonight at bedtime so I finished one book for the weekend so fsr! I’m headed out to get some ice cream for me and The Husband and then I’m going to read as much as I can tonight.

Update #5: I got a good chunk of reading done last night. It’s 10 am and I’ve got The Lost for Words Bookshop almost finished. I need about half an hour and I’ll be done with that one. I’ve still got about 286 pages left of ACOWAR so hopefully I’ll have that finished tonight. I do need to do some cleaning and laundry today so we’ll see how it goes.

Update #6: it’s 11pm and I had an unanticipated busy day today. I did finish The Lost for Words Bookshop but I’m still working on ACOWAR. I only have 175 pages left so there’s still a chance I could finish it before I go to sleep. I just made a cup of coffee and got a huge bottle of water out and I’m going to give it a good try. I’ll post a final update tomorrow!

Final update: I only read about 40 more pages before I feel asleep last night. I’m still reading ACOWAR but I should finish it today. I’ve been reading it this morning and only have 100 pages left. I’m working on my review of The Lost For Words Bookshop which I finished this weekend, and I’ve started In Azgarths Shadow. I’ll also be doing anoth What I’m Reading post soon.

April Book Club Pick

April was the first month I actually read the book club pick. It was C's pick and she chose The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson This book is not one I would normally pick up. I'm not religious, at all, and worshipping God is one of the main components of this book but for the sake of bookclub I tried to remain open-minded and give this book a chance. However I found the main character, Jodie, annoying. The story dragged, every time something happened that could have been a plot point it kind of fell flat. The story didn't really pick up till around page 300. It just wasn't an enjoyable book and everyone at book club agreed. I believe that this is the first time we've all disliked a book and I honestly felt bad during the discussion because I know C really enjoys this whole series.

May's bookclub pick was M's and she chose The Tea Girl of Hummimgbird Lane by Lisa See. I read Shanghai Girls by this same author but it was so long ago that I don't remember anything except that I liked it. The cover is beautiful and it looks good so I'll be starting this one as soon as I finish my current read.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Longing for a Bookstore

Last week I went to a bookstore for the first time in a long time. I think it was the first time since moving into the new house last May. I just felt this strange need to be surrounded by books that don't belong to me yet. To be surrounded by all their possibilities. Each book a rainbow bridge, ready to take me to the world waiting inside. 

I'd been trying to find my way to a bookstore for nearly a week. Last Saturday I'd been excited to go to my local libraries used book sale, but when I got there, there was no book sale. I'd gotten the dates wrong. So I'd left to go to my old library, that is now a half hour drive away, with its excellent secondhand bookstore. As soon as I turned on the car the 'low fuel' light came on and upon checking my wallet I found I'd left my debit card at home. I went home, got the card, got gas, drove the half hour to the library, and the bookstore was closed. The volunteer who was supposed to work Saturday afternoon didn't show up. I nearly cried. I went home so disappointed. 

On Monday I made the decision to try again. All morning I debated whether I should suck it up and make the hour drive to the nearest Barnes and Noble or try the library again. But I love my secondhand books so I decided to try the library. This time I had both kids with me. I had to warn The Toddler that we were going to the bookstore before the kids area and that she could play after the bookstore. And to my surprise everything worked out this time. 

The Toddler was cooperative. Book Baby slept in the stroller. And I got to browse through the preloved books for nearly an hour. When I left my soul was a little calmer. I only found one book to take home but taking home books wasn't what I needed. It was the hushed presence of all the books, shelves full of friends, and enemies, and possibilities. It was just to feel myself at home with books. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Review: Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White

Image from

Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White

Format: Audiobook
Rating: 5 stars

I didn't think I needed this book. I listen to Dana's podcast, A Slob Comes Clean, and every time she mentioned preordering it I resisted the temptation.  I already have all that information, I told myself. I know the two decluttering questions. I know about the container concept. I already have the tools to declutter. What could I possibly get out of Decluttering at the Speed of life? 

The answer: A lot.

I did have the information already but I wasn't using it to its full decluttering potential. I wasn't combining the rules, and the questions, and the concepts in a way that they could be effective and make a difference in my home and as a result I was still stuck way above my clutter threshold. I'm still above my clutter threshold, but now I'm working on fixing that.

I don't usually listen to audiobooks but when I decided to go ahead and get this book I decided that audiobook should be the format. I listen to Dana's podcast while I'm cleaning, it gives me motivation and keeps me going but at the same time I'd like talking to a friend. That's just Dana's style and I love it, and since I've read her previous book, How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind, I figured her writing style would be much the same. When I saw that Dana was narrating the audiobook herself I knew the deal was sealed. Listening to this book is great decluttering motivation, which is why I've listened too it twice already and plan to listen again and bookmark the parts that really speak to me so I can go back to them quickly. Since reading this book I've fecluttered things that I didn't even know were clutter. Like stick lighters. I had four of them. All in one drawer. I had no idea I had so many and because I just assumed that everything in my (horribly disorganized) utensil drawer was useful and valuable I had no idea that there was clutter in the drawer.

And the visibility rule! Now that's a game changer when it's used right. I have a half wall right by my front door and there used to be a planter full of plastic plants and real dirt. We pitched the planter when we first moved in but there is still a giant hole where it used to be and the hole had filled up with tools and garbage and mail and basically anything that could fit. But since I wasn't using the visibility rule while cleaning or decluttering the hole stayed full of crap. Now it's empty and that half wall stays cleaned off. That's just one example. This book has totally changed the way I clean an declutter. It's changed the way I see my house and the stuff in it. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to have a more manageable place to live and give it 5 stars.

Pick up the audiobook here. Read Dana's blog and listen to the podcast here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

What I'm Reading Right Now #14

Since I'm pretty much starting all over again here I thought it made sense to start with what I'm currently reading. I'm actually reading three books right now. They are all on different forms and about totally separate things but it's working for me right now. As I'm writing this I just realized I hadn't done anything on Goodreads in nearly a year so I might have to go update my Goodreads when I finish this.

This post also needs to include a disclaimer. In the past I've always included lots of pictures in my posts, but I currently do not have a working laptop so I'm blogging from my phone and I'm not sure how to include pictures on my phone yet but I will be trying to figure it out.

1. Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White - This one is a reread. I read it for the first time in March and instantly started it over again because I got so much out of it and found it so inspiring as I work on finding new normal being a mom of two. I've followed Danas blog and listened to her podcast for a few years now and read most of her books and I honestly thought I didn't need to buy this book because I'd already heard all her decluttering advice. But having all the decluttering info laid out for me, step by step and room by room is awesome. And I got this as an audiobook so being able to listen to Dana read it is like one super long podcast, which I love.

2. The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson - This is the March book club pick. So I'm doing my best to keep an open mind with this one but it's really not my cup of tea. I'm only about halfway through this one and it's already made me roll my eyes more than The Toddler does on a cranky day.

3. At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenrider - Tsh is one of my favorite bloggers. I love her blog (The Art of Simple) and her podcasts (The Simple Show and Women's Work) and I'm loving this book so far too. Tsh and her husband Kyle spent nearly a year traveling the world with their three kids and this book is the result.

Ok, so far I have been unable to figure out how to get my pictures from photobucket and/or my phone to Blogger so this is it for today. I'll keep trying though!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

It's been a while

I've tried to write a new post several times. I had a really long one typed out before new year but never got around to finishing it.  And, truthfully, I haven't read anything in so long that I haven't had anything to write about.

Needless to say, I didn't complete the Read My Shelves Challenge. I tried to fight the pregnancy reading slump and I failed miserably.

But it's a new year and I can start all over again, maybe with some more realistic goals. Of course now that I have two kids my available reading time is at a minimum but I'm becoming quite good at sneaking in a paragraph here and there and I've found some ways to make it easier, but that's another post.

I'm just glad that I'm starting to emerge from the reading slump, and that I have the time and desire to read again. When The Toddler was born it took nearly two years for me to start reading again on a regular basis. Now Book Baby is only 10 weeks old and I'm feeling much more like myself. Not having postpartum depression/anxiety this time around makes a huge difference.

Now anyone who knows me, knows that I'm really bad at sticking to plans so I don't really have one right now as far as reading and blogging goals for the year. I do have a goal of reading two books a month right now. The book club book and one other book. For march I didn't meet that goal, although I was close. I'm hoping to do better in April.

So hopefully I'll be writing again here soon!

Monday, July 3, 2017

July Book Club Pick

Image from Goodreads
June's book club pick was from C and she chose The Color of Water by James McBride. I was pretty surprised that this book isn't more popular. It was a fantastic read. The Color of Water is the story of the author, James McBride, and his mother, Ruth McBride-Jordan. Ruth was a Jew, born in Poland, the daughter of a rabbi, and raised in the American South. She married her first husband, a black man, in the early 1940's and spent her life raising 12 children in the projects of Brooklyn, and managed to get all her children through college. While Ruth's story is one of overcoming her past of abuse and dealing with prejudice (or not dealing with it), James story is one of self-discovery. He grows up confused, as a black child in a black neighborhood, with a white mother and attending a predominately white school, in the midst of the civil rights movement.  What comes out of their stories in amazing journey in to Ruth's past. Everyone in the group was enthralled with this book, most of us reading it in just a couple of days. Most people said it reminded them of The Glass Castle, but not having read that one I can't say anything about it. However, it did remind me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, mostly just in the way James talked about growing up poor and, obviously, being set in Brooklyn. We were also surprised at the way Ruth was able to just ignore talking about the issue of race in her house. She refuses to answer questions when James is growing up, and changes the subject whenever it's brought up. However, we were all in agreement that Ruth was an amazingly strong woman, in her own way, and managed to raise 12 children and send all of them to college. I gave this one 5 out of 5 stars and I highly recommend it to everyone.

July was my turn to pick. I went back and forth between several books for a week before I made my final decision. Snobs by Julian Fellowes, The 13th Tale by Diane Setterfield, and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, were all on the table at one point but I ended up choosing my initial pick.

Image from Goodreads
This book is amazing! I'm excited to share it with the book club even though it's a little outside of what most members would usually read. I look at it as expanding their horizons, but I'm also going into this pick knowing that not everyone is going to like it. With my last pick (The Other Boleyn Girl) I think I would have been heartbroken if someone had hated my favorite book in all of existence, but this one I think I can handle it.