Quick Lit [March]

Welcome to Quick Lit! This is where I partake in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up and share short (sometimes) and sweet (cavities not included) reviews of what I’ve been reading lately.pages of the book as a bird flying awayAfter 10-book-January, I really wasnt suprised to hit a lull month right away. I am a little bit perplexed at it continuing well into March, but not too concerned. I have too many other goals I should focus on this year to worry too much about my reading goals–as long as I am reading.

LANDLINE  Rainbow Rowell
Rowell has written four books, and Landline was the only one I hadn’t gotten to yet. I knew it was quite a bit different from E&P and Fangirl, both of which I marathoned through at the end of last year, so I didn’t mind waiting a while on the holds list.

I liked Landline. I know I’m not alone in feeling that it didn’t live up to everything I adored with Rowell’s last two books, but withough the comparison, it’s an interesting women’s fiction sort of book with a magic phone mixed in for kicks.

THE RED TENT Anita Diamant

Last July. Andie took me to the Newberry Library’s book fair (after getting over her disbelief that I’d never heard of the thing). I was immediately disappointed that it was the last day and that I only had a few minutes, but I managed to pick up four or five books anyways.

And then I read none of them. Nothing I’d bought had actually been on any of my TBR lists, and I was reading a lot more recent books, so the stack just graced my shelves (an admirable purpose, but still).

Till for no apparent reason last month, I declared that enough was enough with all of my unread paperbacks, and picked one more or less at random (ie, from the closest shelf to my bed.) And was hooked, like, instantly

The Red Tent won me over so fast that I could probably justify a cliche about whiplash. It was right up my alley, even if it was an alley I’d forgotten about for awhile: historical/biblical fiction.

You have to go into a book like this expecting the author to take artistic license, and if you can do that, it’s beautiful.

Seraphina-cover

SERAPHINA Rachel Hartman

I just finished rereading this last week, but I don’t want to wait to write a few words about it, because by March Quick Lit I fully intend to be gushing about the sequel. (Which is currently ‘out for delivery.’ Which, weirdly, doesn’t always mean it will definitely come today.)

I. Love. This. Book. I’d forgotten how good it is, but rereading it was brilliant. When I like a book this much, I’m much more aware of how inadaquare I still am at reviewing and at explaining a book, but I can try.

“I became the very air; I was full of stars. I was the soaring spaces between the spires of the cathedral, the solemn breath of chimneys, a whispered prayer upon the winter wind. I was silence, and I was music, one clear transcendent chord rising toward Heaven.”

Hartman’s writing isn’t always this lofty sort of stunning–that would get cumbersome–but it is always good. Seraphina is a brilliant protagonist. She’s cranky sometimes, and I love that. The story tells you she’s smart, sometimes in particular ways that make sense with her particular background, and the character doesn’t betray that.

I look forward to writing about the sequel soon!

Linked up with ModernMrsDarcy.com

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Top (Thirteen) Tuesday: Spring Reading

Every Tuesday, The Broke and the Bookish hosts a top ten linkup, and this week’s is “Top Ten Books On Your Spring TBR List.”

But rules are hard, so mine has 13.

SpringTBRImage

NONFICTION


NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL
 Lena Dunham >>> I’m reading this because it’s trendy. No shame.

DAMAGED GOODS Dianna F Anderson >>> I follow @diannaeanderson on Twitter and am looking forward to her take on Christian purity culture.

BLOG, INC. Joy Deangdeelert Cho >>> I’ve practically done no real research into how to blog properly, or better, or profitably, so it may be time to actually read this book that’s been gracing my shelves for some six months now.

SEARCHING FOR SUNDAY Rachel Held Evans >>> I would give this a shot regardless, but the copy for Held Evans new book sounds super good and, for me, timely as I’m meandering through the process of figuring out and finding church (like pretty much all of my millenials peers who didn’t jump straight from Moody to ministry.)

ALMOST FAMOUS WOMEN Megan Mayhew Bergman >>> It just sounds fantastic.


FICTION


FIRST FROST
 Sarah Addison Allen >>> I’m still one behind with Allen (haven’t yet read Lost Lake), but First Frost is a sequel to (the lovely) Garden Spells, so it’ll lure me in first.

TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE Jenny Han >>> I’ve seen this YA novel given thumbs up by enough bloggers to put it on my Overdrive holds. (And then suspend that hold indefinitely because, ehmm, I’m way behind on reading my Overdrive books.)

I CAPTURE THE CASTLE Dodie Smith >>> Apparently this is basically a classic, and also YA, which sounds like a nice gateway drug for me to get into some classics later this year.

MISTBORN Brandon Sanderson >>> Isaac’s been reading these and really liking them, so I thought I’d give them a shot. I doubt I can catch up before he gets around to starting the fourth book, but I can always use a good fantasy series in my life.

GLITTERING IMAGES Susan Howatch >>> This is another book where I don’t know much about it, but it’s well recommended enough that I got it from paperback swap a couple of months ago and it’s been waiting for me ever since.

STONE MATTRESS Margaret Atwood >>> I need to read more Atwood, and her newest short story collection has gotten a few rave reviews from bloggers I trust.


ARCs


AT THE WATER’S EDGE
 Sara Gruen >>> Loved Water for Elephants, and looking forward to trying another Sara Gruen.

HAUSFRAU Jill Alexander Essbaum >>> I’m still newly thrilled that ARCs are a thing I can do. I requested this mostly because it popped up on the Goodreads New Releases in my genres page for March, and, well, it was gorgeous. I think I read the marketing copy too. Maybe.

Happy Spring Reading!

That weekend, tho. (Tales of the very specifically Chicagoan version of an Irish holiday.)

So apparently when they turn the river green for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s actually pretty cool. I expected to be underwhelmed, but the only disappointment was the devatating lack of sun. People, if it’s going to be nine AM and it’s still March, just wear your coats. It’s not worth it to be cool.

Pun not intended, but completely left there on purpose.


Also not underwhelming? Out of town friends visiting for the weekend! I would likely have been incapable of dragigng myself out of bed for the river-dying and the parade, but I am so glad I did. Thank you, Kristi Joy 🙂
She also coaxed me into buying this bow. I have no regrets.

And then… It was Pi day! (Talk about enough good things in one day for a month… Or to tire you out for a month.)

This is pie. & this is how nerdy people (and pie-eating friends of nerdy people) celebrate March 14.

(And yes, we did take bites of pie at 9:26. 

3.1415926<3)

And there was, completely unrelated to pie, but also a two year tradition, playing of cards against humanity: the card game for terrible people.

Then. Did you guys meet Monday? Spring! Real spring! The kind of spring that doesn’t require socks! (And then Tuesday was chilly. Can’t win them all this early in the year.)

Another result of a Kristi Joy visit: I’ve now discovered the Chicago cultural center. 

I may go back just for the ceilings.

And then she left: very disappointing. The actual St. Patrick’s Day tried to make up for it, but it had a hard time. Deciding to take a picture of most of my green books helped a little bit.

It really is the little things. The little, tiny, weird and kind of nerdy ones.

Not-green drinks at an Irish pub with live accordions and a folk band lent a hand too 🙂

Happy March!

Life, Currently // Two

Time //  Lunch break on a Thursday. I don’t normally work in the office Thursdays, but the infamous Kristi Joy is visiting this weekend (AKA getting here at an ungodly early hour tomorrow morning), and so this is one of the times when my flexible work schedule is extra convenient.

Reading // Rereading Seraphina in anticipation for just-released Shadow Scale, the sequel. I’d forgotten how fabulous this book is, super smar, sharply written YA with good mythlogy and good dragons. Any days that fall between finishing this up and my Amazon package coming with the sequel will be awful, but slightly neccessary for an ARC I’ve been neglecting. And all the other books I’ve been neglecting. 

seraphina

Listening to // Still just The Dandy Warhols. This might not be a practical category for me, unless I get back in the habit of habittually making playlists for each new month. When I’m not intentional about listening to music, I often just don’t, or I stick with the same thing for awhile.

Watching // My inner Stargate nerd is still flourishing. I rewatched season 6 (where I lft off six years ago) and am almost finished with 7. Three more seasons, then… two more Stargate series with multiple seasons. This could actually take awhile.

Untitled2
You can either buy these, or hint to me that you want some. You choose.

 Loving // There’s a strong change that I’ll mention these a million times more, but I can’t even wait for a book post. These book darts are possibly my favorite discovery in a long, long time. I have never liked bookmarks, and was a chronic dog-earing offender most of my life. But these darts work for me: they’re convenient, they stay on the page without getting in the way until I’m ready to move them, and they’re just very satisfying to slip onto a page. I’m a veritable fan girl for these things. If you visit my home and we end up discussing books, I’ll probably make you try them.

Floral Diamond 8x10
I found a print on Etsy that I liked, but not enough to purchase it when I realized I could more or less recreate the effect. So this happened.

Working on // My walls. In the fall, I finally put a few things up in my studio, and while I didn’t really get to a satisfied point,winter took away my motivation. Good enough. Well, with warmer weather is coming the need to up the ante on my decorating, so I’ve been working on gallery-type arrangements, buying frames and printing photos, and working on a couple of my own silly designs for art prints.

dontblink
This is called, “I wanted to use these two floral prints together and figured I may as well add some good advice.”

 

Anticipating // I mentioned a friend visiting me tomorrow for a few days, and that’s about the best thing ever. Hopefully three days gives me just enough time to convince her to just move back to Chicago, for heavens sake.

& Even though our weather is finally warming itself up, (40s! Wow!) I’m starting to day dream about visiting South Florida for a weekend. Spend some time with friends, shop for some spring clothes, enjoy some 70 or 90 degree weather—whenever I manage to go, it really can’t come too soon.

Learning styles (and challenging my own with audiobooks)

This is more-or-less part of my slow-updating Newly-Minted Adult series. Technically it’s just another way for me to talk about books, but it still counts. It does!

I am not an auditory learner.

Not even in the slightest. I used to feel lacking, or lazy, or disrespectful when I had so much trouble paying attention to lectures, sermons, lessons—you name it, I struggled with focusing in it.

It helped when I began understanding it about myself. I realized that it probably explains my being a better student in high school than in college (in addition to the general lack of time for studying after running around Chicago every evening). I no longer feel guilty that I don’t get a ton from sermons, or feel bad at how many chapels I slept through in college, and I can allow myself to feel fine about needing to not yet even consider going back to school.

And if I want to work on any of those things, that’s fine–but I finally let myself off the hook for being how I am in the first place (most of the time). Maybe that’s part of  adulting: learning to work on your flaws, but in healthy ways that don’t involve beating yourself up for them. (Or maybe I just wanted to say adulting again.)

LearningStylesandAudiobooks

Not being an auditory learner also means that I’ve never really cared to be read to (although if I ever did as a small child, I just don’t remember.) And that means I’ve never considered audiobooks as desireable, or even an option.

Which is exactly why I finally decided to give them a shot.

(Well, that, and all the other cool book-blogging kids are listening to them!)

LEARNING STYLES AND LISTENING

Maybe it won’t actually work this way, but I realized that probably the only sensible way to improve my auditory learning would be to, well, use it.  And since listening to lecture recordings or even a lot of podcasts sounds like a surefire way to make me not bother, audio books are clearly the superior option.

And I’m not sure which came first: the idea of audiobooks as a way to train my sucky auditory learning skills, or the need to read books in all of the ways books can be read.

& I also felt left out when reading blog posts about audiobooks. Let me in the club!

So I am just  trying it all out now. Sometime in the last year I started trying to do library audio books, but I didn’t like the feel of the Overdrive app, or having a limited check out period (something that doesn’t bother me as much with Kindle books).

AND THEN THERE WAS AUDIBLE

Sometime before Christmas, Isaac pointed me to a fantastic trial-period deal on Audible (because if a deal exists, he will find it).

I’m often hesitant to go for trials because I am awful at cancelling things. I had a credit score checking subscription for about 9 months longer than I wanted it because their process for canceling was horrible… not that I’m much better when the process isn’t horrible.

Anyways. The trial offer was for three months at their gold level: 1 credit each month. And since it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I missed canceling in time and hit a fourth month at 1 credit for $14, I signed up and downloaded Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please. 

Which is a fabulous book so far.
Which I have only listened to 5% of in three months.

Clearly I needed to start somewhere more basic (for me) than non-fiction.

Enter my obsessive marathoning of Veronica Mars and the subsequent movie. After finishing I discovered the results of one very obsessive fandom: There’s a book too?!?!!

It was a good move: I’m much more interested in opening my audible app when it’s fiction. I’m more likely to be thinking ahead to times I can take advantage of my headphones when it’s a story I’m really interested in (and has great narration!). I’ve even opened it to listen before going to sleep a few times.

It’s still slow, it’s still not instinct in the slightest to want to listen to a story, but that’s hardly a surprise. The surprise is that it’s tentatively working, no matter how slowly.

The other day I bought Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warnings because I though he might narrate it himself (he does, and it’s great) and that short stories would be a curious thing to try listening to. I like short stories, but I tend to forget I’m reading a collection of them—so if listening to them turns out to be a bust, it’s not a great loss.

And Neil Gaiman is fantastic, and I was going to have to read it in some format eventually. (Seriously. Go read something by Gaiman.)

THE RESULT—SO FAR

I’m starting to “get” the appeal. I can listen on the bus if I don’t feel like reading (or need both my hands for stability) or walking around. It’s not like I’m not willing to read my kindle while walking, but this is probably safer.

And while I don’t drive often and can’t multifocus well enough to listen while doing chores, I totally get how perfectly suited Audible would be for both.

So I’m not quite sold yet, but when I finish 8 hours of Kristen Bell narrating her very own Veronica Mars, I might be.