I’m still trying to manage my library holds so that I can also read some of my own books… so far I’ve been doing a good job of not letting them all come in at once. Is it an art, or a science… I’m not sure! My pre-ordered copy of the new Kate Atkinson, Big Sky, arrived at home Tuesday, so the library books will have a wait a few days. Here’s what I got up to at the library this month. Thanks to Bookish Beck for hosting this monthly celebration of library use!
The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
The Huntress by Kate Quinn ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (Such a page-turner!)
Nothing. I’m reading two of my own books!
CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ:
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
Queenie by Candace Carty-Williams
I Miss You When You Blink by Mary Laura Philpott (underwhelming)
IN THE HOLDS QUEUE:
Soooooo many books. Here are a few:
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Evvie Drake Stars Over by Linda Holmes
The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali
Maid by Stephanie Land
Let’s hope I can keep an eye on those holds and still chip away at the books from my own shelves. Anything catch your eye from my list?
Another week, you guys. This summer is flying by. FYI, it’s a full moon today. I haven’t participated in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? in a long time, but it feels like the perfect way to begin the week. Thanks to Kathryn at The Book Date for hosting the meme.
Last night I finished Daphne Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel. I LOVED it. I think I might even like it more than her novel Rebecca. It’s a masterful portrait of obsessive love and suspicion. It’s a Classic Club pick, so hopefully I’ll write more about it soon.
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John. This is a book that I started reading aloud to my son, and then he went and finished it on his own, so now I have to find out what happens! It’s really funny and I think it has great appeal for adults as well as children. It’s about a new kid in town who wants to be his new school’s top prankster, an identity he cultivated at his old school. Little does he know that he’s about to meet a stealthy prankster from whom he can learn a thing or two.
I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Mary Laura Philpott. Comparisons to Erma Bombeck, Nora Ephron, and Laurie Colwin all sound appealing. From the Goodreads blurb:
She offers up her own stories to show that identity crises don’t happen just once or only at midlife; reassures us that small, recurring personal re-inventions are both normal and necessary; and advises that if you’re going to faint, you should get low to the ground first. Most of all, Philpott shows that when you stop feeling satisfied with your life, you don’t have to burn it all down and set off on a transcontinental hike (unless you want to, of course).
Bookish Conversation: My son and I visited a local independent bookstore weekend before last in search of Father’s Day gifts. I was proud of myself for not buying anything for me! My son said that I didn’t need to buy anything for myself because I already had so many books at home “that fill up our entire bookshelf.” I counted my unread books and told him that I only had 57 unread books in the house. He said, incredulously, “57?! You don’t need to buy any more books until you read at least 5 books you already have!” So that’s my plan, folks. Gotta read five of my own books before I can purchase any more. (Note: this does NOT include anything pre-ordered, i.e., the new Kate Atkinson!)
“…it’s important to remember that outer order isn’t simply a matter of having less or having more; it’s a matter of wanting what we have.”
If you’re someone who feels like you’ve got too much stuff and all that stuff weighs on your mind, then Gretchen Rubin’s new book Outer Order, Inner Calm is for you. If you enjoy Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix but you think that her system is too rigid, this is definitely a book you should check out. (Literally. Check it out from your library so you don’t add to your clutter! ) Its bite-sized bits of advice are logical and encouraging and just might give you the push you need to let some things go.
If I only take away one idea from Rubin’s book, it’s this one: If you don’t need it, love, it, or use it, you should probably get rid of it.
Simple, right? And for me, it works better than Kondo’s “spark joy” idea. Everybody’s different, and Rubin seems to get that.
Another favorite piece of advice: The Three Strikes and You’re Out Rule. If she’s thought about getting rid of something twice before, the third time she thinks it, she gets rid of it. I sometimes find myself holding on to things that people have given me as gifts, but they’re things I don’t really want. I just keep them out of guilt, I guess. Now I can use this idea to show myself that I really DON’T want that scented candle or whatever it is.
Another great tip: Make a Mock Move. Would you bother to wrap up this item in bubble wrap and stick it in a box and put it on a truck to take it to a new house? If not, out it goes.
This is a very approachable advice book for people who don’t want to dump every piece of clothing they own in a big pile on the bed and tackle clutter all at once. Rubin is logical but also recognizes that people need beautiful things and sentimental things in their lives. In fact, her last section is titled “Add Beauty.” I really enjoyed this book and found it very helpful. You can read a few tips at a time or read the whole thing straight through in no time at all. I bet it will inspire you to look at your belongings and habits with a new eye.
I can’t put down The Count of Monte Cristo for any length of time and expect to pick it back up again with a good memory of what I’d read before. And…
I’ve got to quit getting new books on hold at the library if I want to read all the books on my TBR list that I say I want to read.
So I’ve delved back into my gigantic Dumas classic, after letting it sit on my shelf for most of March. I’ve already made some good progress – I’m now at 70% complete! That Count is quite the master of disguises. I feel like Villefort is juuuusssttt about to figure it all out but he’s not quite there yet. It’s still a wonderful, entertaining read. I just have to maintain my momentum and not let it sit for too long. Then it becomes too easy to not pick it back up again.
Also, I’ve used the “vacation stop” function on my library holds and pushed them all back until next month so that I can focus on what I’ve got checked out now and what I’m reading from my own shelf. I was getting inundated with holds and could feel the others looming.
I was going through my Goodreads TBR list, which I do from time to time to assess whether or not I really want to still read these things. And I kept thinking, Oh I really want to read that! Why haven’t I read that yet? You know why? NEW BOOKS. Shiny new books that keep coming out every week and sound so amazing and I have to get on the holds list right now! Perhaps as my holds stop date gets closer I’ll extend it further. I really want to make a dent in my TBR list, which at the moment is 363 books.
What am I reading now?
My Sister the Serial Killer is SOOOO compelling. I just started Notes of a Native Son and so far it’s wonderful. It’s my choice for April’s Instagram #Unreadshelfproject2019. The prompt this month is to read the latest book you’ve acquired. I’ve only read three stories in the Gallant collection but I will finish it by the end of the month.
Have you had any bookish light bulb moments lately?
How’s it going, gang? I don’t know about you but I’m really ready for Spring. Yesterday we had a beautiful day, 70 degrees F and sunny. I was able to do a bit of weeding and soil amending in my garden, and I can’t wait to get out there and do some more on a regular basis. I’ve got way more seeds than I have actual room for plants, LOL. That’s the optimist in me I suppose. Anyway, it’s time to check in with my yearly reading goals.
Read from the New Books Shelf at work. Well, I tried a book in February that didn’t work for me (The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson.) I read about 35 pages and wasn’t hooked. And I haven’t yet picked my choice for this month’s New Book Shelf read. So not much progress has been made since the last update.
Read The Count of Monte Cristo. I’m on page 799, which is 55% finished, according to Goodreads! So quite a bit of progress.
Read more poetry. I’m enjoying Kevin Young’s collection Jelly Roll. Really playful, earthy, musical, vibrant stuff. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a poetry class, so I’m rusty in all the correct poetic terms to describe and analyze a poem. But in terms of pure emotion, this is stuff I can connect to. Also, I’ve found an awesome poetry podcast: The Slowdown by American Public Media. U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, who has a lovely voice, by the way, gives the listener a little emotional context for a poem, a personal story from her life, perhaps, and then reads it. It’s five minutes and a new one comes every week day. I highly recommend it if you’re wanting to explore poetry.
Read My Own Darn Books. As part of Whitney’s Instagram #UnreadShelfProject2019, this month’s prompt is to read the book that has been on your shelf unread for the longest time. As my longest unread book is Anna Karenina and I’m already reading a monster classic at the moment, I decided to pick the book that’s been on my Goodreads TBR the longest: Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon by Jane Austen. (It’s also on my Classics Club list.) I finished Lady Susan today and it’s wonderful – what a piece of work she is! Not only is this project making me choose at least one book from my own shelf every month, it’s making me look at my books with a more critical eye. I’m asking myself, Am I really going to read this? Am I still interested in this? And if the answer is no, it’s going to the Friends of the Library.
How are you coming along with your own yearly reading goals? Have you heard The Slowdown podcast? Are you desperate for consistent Spring weather like I am? Oh, I started a book for Cathy’s Reading Ireland Month today. It’s Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart. The first chapter was excellent so I have high hopes. I hope you are all well, my friends. I say this a lot, but I really do love this bookish community. Talk to you soon.
I apologize for my absence here the past couple of weeks. We’ve all been sick at my house, the boys with the flu and I with a cold that turned into a sinus infection that has knocked me on my bottom. I’m just now starting to come out of it. Things have also been nutty at work and I’m in the midst of trying to hire a senior assistant. I haven’t had energy to write and not a lot of time to blog hop, but I have been reading! It’s time for another installment of my Count of Monte Cristo reader’s journal (covering pages 417-605.)
Here’s what I want to say most about this book right now: Don’t be afraid of big books. For so long I put off reading this classic because its size intimidated me. I was afraid the style would be off-putting or too archaic. How wrong I was! Yes, there are sections that drag a little bit more than others, but on the whole, it’s a remarkably fresh, exciting, well-crafted story. Breaking it up and taking it slow has enabled me to enjoy this classic at my own pace while still reading other books.
Here are some plot highlights of this section (Chapters 34-45:)
Two young French men, Baron Franz d’Epinay and Viscount Albert de Morcerf, become acquainted with the Count in Rome. In fact, Dantès orchestrates a “kidnapping” of Albert just do he can save him. Why is Albert so special to Dantès? He’s related to someone from Dantès’ past.
The Count is powerful and wealthy enough to save an old associate from being executed, but he’s weird enough to make Franz and Albert watch the other criminal get executed.
Franz realizes he’s met the Count before, only when he partied with him in the grotto on Monte Cristo he knew his as “Sinbad.”
Dantès and Albert make a plan to meet in Paris at Albert’s house in exactly 3 months.
Who should Dantès meet at Albert’s house? Mercédès, his former fiancee, who is Albert’s MOTHER. Dear old dad is none other than Fernand. Mercédès is shaken and unnerved by The Count’s appearance, but she doesn’t say anything about her true feelings to her son.
Dantès buys a house in Paris and discovers that Villefort once had an illegitimate child with Madame Danglar there, and tried to kill it. Dantès’ servant, Bertuccio, rescued the child and gave him to his sister-in-law to raise.
Whew! This book certainly doesn’t lack for plot! And all the connections of the characters sometimes make me have to consult Wikipedia so I’m sure I know what’s going on. But it’s still good fun.
So I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, both here and on reading your blogs, friends. I hope you’re all staying well this winter – flu and other illnesses have been running rampant down here. My son’s school was closed because of illness for two days ahead of the holiday weekend. Drink lots of fluids, get some sleep, and wash your hands! 🙂