While I spent a huge portion of October not blogging, I for once allowed myself to indulge in a massive series re-read. The series I chose was the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire (very appropriate for October, I think you’ll agree), one of my favorites. The Winter Long is the eighth book in the series and I, of course, bought it on release, but didn’t want to read it without re-reading the series. After seven previous books, the first of which I read a good few years ago, I was losing track of who people were, what they meant to Toby, and where the wider plot was going. I knew that the seventh book hadn’t had the same impact on me as it should have simply because I forgot what happened. I had read that this eighth book was a game changer and I didn’t want to miss out any emotional impact.
I intended to re-read the series gradually, spacing in between them with other books, but what happened in actual fact was that I raced through the entire series. I genuinely had forgotten a lot of what happened. I only read one book while I was in the midst of my re-read and it was only because I went on holiday to Italy and couldn’t bring all those paperbacks in my luggage.
As with many of us, I loved re-reading as a child and teenager, even as a younger adult. There was a time in my life when I’d read every adult book I owned at least twice and I think my record for an adult book was eight times. This ended when I got old enough to buy books for myself, but I still re-read sporadically then. Unfortunately, once I hit book blogging there wasn’t time any more. My logic went like this: There are so many books in the world. I own a solid chunk of them. I don’t have time to spend reading over again books I’ve already read. But that misses an essential fact; I loved re-reading these books. I enjoyed immersing myself back in Toby’s world so very much. It was fascinating to remind myself of the habits she acquired over the course of the series (coffee addiction – almost absent in the first book, rears up in the middle, vanishes) and the characters she befriends, admires, loves. And with so many books in the series, I could really feel how much things had changed for her, how she’d gone from a lonely woman who had lost everyone who meant something to her to a strong, confident one with friends and family.
I knew I loved these books, but I think re-reading them cemented that for me. I was worried a little bit that they wouldn’t hold up. Seanan McGuire is an auto-buy for me and I’ve read a lot of her books, so I was actually worried that Toby would sound just like all the other characters McGuire has written. She doesn’t and neither do the other characters in this book. In addition, McGuire has obviously grown as a writer since she started writing these books and the last book was jaw-dropping. I picked exactly the right time to do my massive re-read as I genuinely don’t think I’d have gotten the connections as much without it. Yes, McGuire fills in the backstory, but filling in the backstory has never been the same for me as having it in my own memory. I’d rather flip through a paragraph of who Simon Torquill is remembering the emotional impact his actions had on Toby than forget who he is and need that paragraph. This book truly is a game changer, just like the back cover says. Toby is hit by revelation after revelation that change the way she views many parts of her life and which will have a significant impact on future events in her life. I was so glad I could make those connections.
I don’t think I’ll re-read all eight of these books when the ninth comes out, but I am so pleased I’ve reminded myself of how much joy there is in re-reading. This won’t be the last time I read these books.
And this re-read, although it was a few months ago, has sparked another one, which I’m in the midst of at the moment; all of Robin Hobb’s Farseer (and related) books. When I went to hear Robin Hobb give a talk and sign books in honor of Fool’s Assassin a few months ago, I was dismayed by how little I remembered the books. Not small things – big things, like who characters actually were besides Fitz. I shouldn’t have been particularly surprised since I read them in high school (I think – I can’t even remember how I discovered Robin Hobb, let alone when I read Assassin’s Apprentice for the first time, since she was already a favorite when I started recording books I read) and there have been a lot of books between then and now. Rediscovering books I think I’ll love just as much now as I did then seemed like a great way to start 2015 to me, and so here we are.
How do you feel about re-reading your favorite books?
I had so much fun actually getting through the books on my summer reading list that I thought I’d make it a bit of a seasonal ambition and put one together for autumn, too. I read all but one of those books and I’m reading the final one now, The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan. The focus it added to my reading was really nice – I didn’t have to pick through the shelves to decide what I wanted to read next because I’d already done the job for myself. I would like to call that a bookish success, and so I thought I’d try and get some of the same success going for autumn, too.
Plus, this one was easy. This season we have #diversiverse, which starts today, and RIP IX, which started on the first of September. I have been gleefully thinking of books I’d like to read for both of these for weeks. Add a few books that I know I also would like to read soon, and we end up with this:
I got ambitious as I was putting this together, as you can see – the summer pile was a little bit smaller. I have however already read Lagoon so we’re on our way.
- Iron Kin by M.J. Scott – this is the third in an urban fantasy alternate world series I haven’t written anything about yet, but which I do like. It has vampires and similar types of monsters so I’m going to count it for RIP.
- Written in Red by Anne Bishop – this was actually an impulse purchase but again sounds like a new urban fantasy series (no, I clearly don’t read enough of these) and I thought it would be a good fit for autumn. Even the title reminds me of leaves and the cover has the heroine wearing a hoodie in a wintery environment.
- Timebomb by Scott K. Andrews – this is actually a review copy that turned up unsolicited but looks really intriguing. More dystopia, but I think I’ve avoided that for long enough to return to the genre a little bit refreshed.
- The Silvered by Tanya Huff – Werewolves! And I love Tanya Huff. I have read the latest book in her Gale series so it’s time to move on to the next book I have by her, which is this one.
- Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine – to be perfectly honest, I haven’t particularly enjoyed the first two in this series, The Morganville Vampires, but I bought all 4 of them years ago at a discount shop. I should probably just send them all to a charity shop but they’re short, fast reads and for some reason I keep thinking I should like Rachel Caine’s books. So I stuck it in the pile.
- Empress Dowager Cixi by Jung Chang – Jung Chang is the woman who wrote Wild Swans, which I read out of the library a few years ago, so picking this up recently felt natural. I haven’t read any Chinese history for a while now so I’m keen to get back into it. Also, #diversiverse.
- The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai – I forgot I had this in the UK with me until I was pulling various options out of my bookshelves. Right on the stack – this has been waiting far too long.
- Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri – I read The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri earlier this year and, sadly, didn’t write about it, so remember very little other than how much I liked it. I thought it was time to read her first collection of short stories. I’m never sure how I’ll get on with short stories, but they are worth a try.
- Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – I feel like everyone is talking about these books but me! I finally bought the first one last month and I do want to get to this one soon.
- A Kiss from Maddalena by Christopher Castellani – this is another book I’ve had for a long, long time but sounds very appealing. I’m going to Italy next month, so I thought it would be a great idea to actually get some themed reading in before that happens.
- The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters – this is purely in the pile because I can’t wait to read it.
- Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor – believe it or not, after I took this picture I immediately took this book out and read it yesterday, as I’ve mentioned above. I just needed an excuse and it was very easy to give myself one!
I would like to get to all of these books before the end of December. I think I can – and then I can make a winter reading list!
What are you going to be reading over the next few months?
It’s the last day of August and, to me, this means that summer is over. For the most part we had a really nice summer this year, lots of sunshine and warm days, although most of August has been pretty dreary in true English style. The fall has its charms, though, so I’m not too disappointed to see the summer go. We have several exciting plans for the rest of the year, including a trip to Florence and Pisa, completely paying off all debt except for student loans, and my husband finally finishing his university course after six years. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, in a couple of months I hope to feel a lot freer and happier and ready to embrace more of the possibilities my life contains. I hesitate even saying that, because I know I should be embracing the moment rather than always waiting, and my life has been excellent at throwing bad things at me as soon as I think everything is okay, but never mind. It’s true.
As seems to be my regular refrain these days, I’ve spent a lot of this month not blogging. I’ve done plenty of other stuff, in particular a lot of crocheting while watching various things on Netflix. I finished watching Call the Midwife and we watched the first season of Orphan Black and now I’ve started watching Mr. Selfridge. Mostly I have made piles of granny squares, not sure exactly what to do with them, but when I figure that out I will share.
I read a surprising 15 books this month, with a lot towards the end of the month. I realized that I wasn’t going to hit my goal of 150 books if I kept reading at my current pace around the middle of the month, so essentially, I started devoting more time to reading. I don’t necessarily like reading just to hit a random number I picked out of the air, but I can prioritise my free time and I have plenty of books I can’t wait to read, so it wasn’t a difficult choice. I also had a work trip to London, which meant both a visit to Forbidden Planet and an evening spent mostly on my own reading. This always helps.
- Song of the Vikings, Nancy Marie Brown
- Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, Mary Roach
- Paris at the End of the World, John Baxter
- The Sandman, vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes
And I can’t really choose a favorite. It’s easier to choose books I didn’t like because I did like the majority of them, honestly. Maybe The Martian was my favorite.
Coming Up in September
Mostly this month on the blog I’m excited for A More Diverse Universe. I will definitely be reading several books by authors of color and possibly putting together some recommendations as well. This is something I feel strongly about so I hope I will be able to pull myself out of my blogging slump in enough time to actually write as much as I’d like to.
I’d also like to participate in RIP IX but I’m not sure what I’m going to read yet. If I can get my head together, I will do a post about it.
If you can’t tell, though, I’m really struggling to blog these days; I’m actually even still reading books I’ve been sent for review but then completely failing to write about them. I’m not sure where my desire to write has gone, or rather, I still have a desire to write, but I seem to stare at a blank screen for a long time before any words come out. I just don’t have the energy any more to come home and blog after work, and even weekends seem mainly devoted to doing things I enjoy more than blogging. Maybe the time has come for me to give it up, but I honestly don’t actually want to. I like blogging and writing and I love books and I still don’t have anyone regularly in my real life to share any of those things with. So for now, I intend to continue with a half-hearted presence until I decide what I actually want to do.
What’s ahead for your September?
Time // Sunday afternoon, 14:25
Place // At home in an apparently severe rainstorm – flood warnings in full effect
Eating // Roast chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner later on, yum
Drinking // Tea
Reading // I’m getting slowly into graphic novels. Here’s my nice and tiny TBR which consists of just three volumes:
That’s the second volume of The Sandman and first each of Fables and Saga. This week I read the first Sandman, Preludes and Nocturnes, and was sufficiently excited by it to immediately buy the second one.
I have held off on the graphic novel front for a long time. The main reason is because they’re expensive and I wasn’t sure such a lengthy investment would pay off in the end. I’d rather get them from the library if possible. But my main central library is now closed until the autumn and doesn’t have any of the series that blogger friends like (see, the above ones I chose). Secondly, I finally finished reading Bone, which was a series I did get out of the library until we capitulated recently and bought the whole thing. After reading that, and remembering some of the amazing graphic novels I’d read a few years ago like Maus and Persepolis, I decided to give the longer series a try.
In regular book format, I’ve just finished A Darkling Sea by James Cambias and Skin Game by Jim Butcher. I’m almost guaranteed not to review the latter, so I will just say that I still really love the Dresden Files and I was so pleased with the outcome of this one. I want to review A Darkling Sea.
I’m currently reading Song of the Vikings by Nancy Marie Brown. It’s so cool how much of our stories still contain references to Viking legends and sagas. Fascinating.
Watching // I finished Veronica Mars! I haven’t really known what to do with myself since. I loved it; I am simultaneously glad I didn’t get into it until the movie wrapped everything up and disappointed that I couldn’t have been part of the huge fannish excitement surrounding its release.
Next I plan to finish Call the Midwife and then we’re going to start a completely new series. I hope it will be Orphan Black which has just appeared on Netflix. A couple of friends and I have almost finished watching the latest series of Game of Thrones.
Cooking // Have I made anything exciting in the last few weeks? I don’t think I have. We’re still on low maintenance mode here. I’m hoping the stress will die down in September, but we’ll see.
Learning // Not started Italian yet. I have continued crocheting, though. I made this little cutie recently:
At least, I think he’s cute!
Gaming // Still no gaming, although after reading the first Sandman I’m thinking about trying Arkham Asylum.
Loving/Hating // Loving my city, as usual, where you can walk along to a vegetarian cafe and a gaming shop and encounter this in the masonry of York Minster:
Mostly hating how stressful my life feels right now.
Anticipating // Seeing Robin Hobb tomorrow at my Waterstones! I feel like I need to reread all the Farseer books before I get to Fool’s Assassin because it’s been so many years, but it’s not every day you get to meet one of your favorite authors.
Credit goes to Kim for the Currently format!
Time // Sunday evening, 16:12
Place // My desk – haven’t actually written a post on the laptop in ages.
Eating // Leftover pasta and homemade sauce for dinner a bit later on
Drinking // A glass of water
Reading // Today I finished Hild by Nicola Griffith, which I should be reviewing this week. It’s coming out this week and is definitely a read for the historical fiction lovers amongst us. One of the blurbs compared it to Game of Thrones, too, which I can totally see in some of the scheming and politics within the book. Great stuff.
Yesterday I finished The Devil’s Playground by James Traub, which was a relatively brief history of Times Square over the course of the twentieth century. I’m always interested in the history of places I’ve been and I knew Times Square had changed a ton even in my parents’ lifetimes, from a relatively seedy and unsafe part of New York City to the insanely crowded tourist and big brand hub that it is today. The book did a good job of exploring that change, although I got a bit bogged down by the large amount of it that had to do with corporations. The author did interview and get in touch with people on the street, but it’s kind of depressing how much everything is controlled by humongous companies now.
Finally, today I’m going to start A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie and I’m reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in ebook form. To say that I’m looking forward to both of them would be an understatement.
Watching // I’m nearly finished with season 3 of Veronica Mars and I’ve already pre-emptively bought the movie for when I finish. We spent quite a bit of time over the last few weeks watching the World Cup and it’s been nice to return to watching a show with a plot again. I’m also kind of glad I haven’t raced through this season as much as I have the first two. It’s not as addictive and it means I can stay in the world a little bit longer. Still very slowly watching Game of Thrones with a couple of friends.
Cooking // I’ve been falling down at cooking again lately, especially this last month. I’ve gotten a couple of vegetarian cookbooks and the second Hairy Biker diet cookbook, so I clearly want to get back into it, but haven’t had the energy.
Learning // We’ve decided that we’re going to Italy for our holiday this year, so I’m probably going to start learning a little bit of Italian, just to help us cope. I’ve not really started yet, though. I did get back into driving and spent the last week driving to work on the motorway for the first time, so I am tempted to count that as learning.
Gaming // I’ve played a little bit of Crusader Kings II recently but it has been a while since I got properly into a game. I have been reading less because of driving to work instead of taking the train, so now I consistently feel like free time has to be reading time.
Loving/Hating // Loving the fact that it’s been warm! We’ve had some amazing weather recently. Hating that it mostly happens on weekdays when I’m at work, but I will take what I can get.
Anticipating // Keith finishing his university course after something like 7 years doing it part-time alongside his full-time job. I can gleefully say only two months to go, although he will worry more about finishing everything in two months. After that, actually doing things together again!
Credit goes to Kim for the Currently format!
June will be over tomorrow and that means six months of 2014 will be gone. I’m sure I only wrote this goals post a short while ago, but now we’re here checking up on progress.
I’m not sure how I’d rate the first half of 2014. Nothing much has stood out to me, to be perfectly honest. We haven’t left the country except to visit my parents and that was pretty much the only time I’ve had off from work, too. Nothing to complain about, nothing to shout about. Just ticking along, working to clear off the rest of our debt, and buying copious amounts of books with what’s left over. This might be why the year feels like it’s gone by so quickly already; I know breaking up time with unusual events is a great way to make it feel like it’s taken longer, but there hasn’t been much of that this year so far.
I have kept to the spirit of most of my goals, I think, and I’m relatively pleased with where I am. I think we’ve spent most of the year so far being reasonably healthy. Both Keith and I have been exercising regularly (until I got shin splints which seem to never go away, but that’s a different story). We have a 10k to run in August which I hope I’ll be able to do. I’ve been cooking more without meat. I’ve not really taken enough pictures or signed up for a class yet, but we have six months to go, and it’s now looking like that class will be for swimming lessons (what with the shin splints and the not being able to swim at 28 years old).
On the reading front, according to Goodreads I’m just behind my goals, about 2 books behind with 71 books read so far this year (assuming I finish a couple in the next two days, which might not happen). I don’t think this is *too* bad and I can easily make it up if I try, so I’m not going to worry about it too much. What does disappoint me a little is that I haven’t stuck well in particular to the non-fiction goal. I am doing better reading more international fiction and authors of colour, with June the single exception where I managed the former but not the latter. All other months I have actually been right on target, if not exceeding it, about which I’m pretty pleased. I’ll try and make up for June’s lack in July.
Here’s what I’ve read this month (I’ll add if I finish anything tomorrow):
- Three Weeks with Lady X, Eloisa James
- Mogworld, Yahtzee Croshaw
- Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather
- The Borgia Chronicles, Mary Hollingsworth
- Year of the Demon, Steve Bein
- Deadly Sting, Jennifer Estep
- Fortune’s Pawn, Rachel Bach
- The Emperor’s Blades, Brian Staveley
- The Dead Girls’ Dance, Rachel Caine
- We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler
I’m much happier with the quality of my reading this month than last month and some of these books were real gems. Fortune’s Pawn and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves were definitely the highlights in different ways. I hope to write about both; I’ve actually already drafted up a post about the second one.
In July, I’m hoping to get to more of my summer reading list. Hild by Nicola Griffith will definitely be read and written about, as I might actually start it today, and Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire might as well. I’m also going to finish Bone by Jeff Smith, which I’ve purposely been dragging out mainly because it’s amazing and I could race through it much too quickly if I tried, and I suspect I am going to start getting into more graphic novels in the very near future.
I honestly haven’t made many plans for the next six months; at the moment I feel like most of my life plans are put on held a little bit while my husband finishes the university degree he’s working towards (while also working full time, which makes for a distinct lack of free couple time). We’ll see what the world brings after that.
How is 2014 treating you?
I love summer. It is by far my favorite season. There’s just so much to love about it; sunshine right into the evening, flowers, warmth, greenery everywhere, holidays and weekends away (not this year, but most of them). It’s all about the endless possibility that nice enough weather brings. I like wearing dresses and t-shirts without thinking I’m going to be too cold or I need a jacket.
In addition, I love the heat, more so since I live in a country now which doesn’t actually get that hot. I’m the one who actually enjoys the heat inside a car that’s been parked for a while, who takes every opportunity to sit in the sun (within reason, I don’t like sunburn), and who delights in opening all of the windows in the house to let all the fresh air in. I love especially going home for a visit and feeling the humidity and heat in the air around me as soon as I step out of a plane; I’m sure this is at least partly because we have modern wonders like air conditioning, so it’s never endless, but I’m just happier when I’m slightly too warm.
Then there’s the fact that as a child summer meant almost limitless freedom; for me, it was hours and hours of reading and no real responsibility. Now that I’m an adult and and work full-time, this is no longer the case, but I think summer still retains some of that feeling of freedom. And that means it’s fun to think about which books I want to read this summer and always makes for a good excuse to pull together a pile of all of those books I wish I could just read now.
Here’s what I’m looking at:
- The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan – I read A Natural History of Dragons back in March and loved it. It was just the sort of book I love to read and completely fulfilled the expectations I had of it (which were honestly pretty high). I’ve been looking forward to the sequel ever since and so I picked it up on my last trip to Forbidden Planet in London. Hoping to get to it soon.
- We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – I don’t know much about this book except for the fact that I want to read it! It’s been gaining rave reviews all over the place and I feel I’ve had it in my TBR for too long already.
- Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire – I buy pretty much everything Seanan McGuire writes (in actual fact, I do think I own every book she’s published). I’ve so enjoyed all of her books, especially the October Daye series, that it’s always worth giving the next one a shot.
- A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie – I loved the first book I read by Kamila Shamsie and I’m really looking forward to this.
- A Darkling Sea by James Cambias – My craving for science fiction has not gone away in the slightest and I’ve had this space opera on my list since I first heard it existed. I had intended to get it last time I went to the United States but actually couldn’t find it anywhere. I was delighted to find it in Forbidden Planet at the same time I bought The Tropic of Serpents and it goes straight into the immediate TBR.
- Skin Game by Jim Butcher – The Dresden Files are awesome. I have a whole shelf full and there was no question I’d be buying this as soon as it came out. I suspect I’ll get to this sooner rather than later.
- Hild by Nicola Griffith – The only historical fiction book on my pile, this promises to be an amazing read set in 7th century England around St Hilda of Whitby, starting with her youth in what is now northern England. Very much looking forward to this.
What are you looking forward to reading this summer?
Apologies for the long, unexpected break from blogging! I’ve spent very little time on the computer in the last three weeks; we went to visit my parents on the 1st of May and stayed for 10 days, during which time I pretty much didn’t touch a keyboard (although I meant to). We have now been back for 2 weeks, but my free time has unexpectedly been consumed by starting to watch Veronica Mars and randomly getting back into crochet, as I’ve made two little toys in the space of that time as well. I’ve also been handling most of the cooking and general chores as my husband has had to spend quite a bit of time on some coursework in addition to his normal full-time job.
This is made a bit more complicated by the fact that we’ve turned mostly pescatarian for general health reasons in the last couple of weeks. I’d like to be closer to entirely vegetarian but fish is allowed as a backup at least a couple of times a week. I actually tried to be a vegetarian for a while when I was a teenager but went back – I don’t remember why I stopped, but probably because it made my mom’s life too difficult. It is important now for various reasons for my own health and I’m more or less forcing it on my husband when we’re eating together too. I’m allowing myself exceptions while eating out or a guest at other people’s houses, but in my own we’re going meat free. If you have any amazing vegetarian recipes or any great resources online / in print, please send them my way, as I’m now trying to rebuild my menus.
Excuses aside, I’ve also been having a week-long reading slump, which is pretty unusual for me. I think I’m actually reading five books and have paused in all of them for various reasons:
- The King Must Die by Mary Renault – I’ve actually heard a lot of really good things about Mary Renault and this book about Theseus seemed like a good place to start. I’ve had it for ages, so it would satisfy one of my once-a-month goals, too. I’ve really struggled to get into it; I know nothing about Theseus and Renault’s writing seems old-fashioned to me and hard to get into. I’m just not interested enough in the story to power through. I’ve only got about 100 pages left so I probably will finish it, but I will probably give away the other of her books that I have.
- Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather – For some reason I started a book I thought would be meh while I was reading the above meh book. Partly because I needed another book I’d owned for ages and partly because I thought a different style of book would work better. Wrong. I have tried reading other books by Willa Cather and haven’t liked them, but I was much younger. Turns out things haven’t changed for me.
- Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia by Christopher Clark – Okay, this one is good, it’s just somewhat dense non-fiction so takes a bit longer to read. German history has turned into an interest of mine and the small fraction of this book that I’ve read so far has been great.
- Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep – Accidentally started reading book 9 instead of book 8 in the series. Why is it so hard to label a book with what number of the series it is? -_- I read about 50 pages before I got to the catch-up part of the backstory that I didn’t recognize. Now need to both acquire book 8 and read it.
- Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw – And I started reading this because my husband read it and insisted that I read it so much that he emailed it to my Kindle (Humble e-book bundles are wonderful things) and asked every time I was reading whether I’d started it yet. I gave in.
And that’s all the books I’m reading! I hope to finish at least one or two this week because I’m feeling a bit lost with all of them floating around. Fortunately today is Bank Holiday Monday so I’ve not only found time to finish this post, but I also might have time to read for an hour or two. Let’s hope that works. If I’ve missed anything in the last 3 weeks, I’d love it if you let me know, as catching up on blogs is also a daunting prospect.
I hope May and the real start of spring has been enjoyable for all of you!
Time // Sunday evening, 18:45
Place // My desk
Eating // Nothing just now – earlier, some rosemary and olive bread from the market. Bread is my weakness. There may also have been a salted caramel brownie.
Drinking // A glass of water
Reading // Just like last time I did one of these posts, I’m actually between books – the space in which I fit blogging, these days. Earlier today I finished The Dynamite Room by Jason Hewitt. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. If anything, it was a bit too literary for me, and I never really felt pulled back to it when I wasn’t reading. In contrast, a couple of days ago I finished A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki and did absolutely love it – so still plenty of amazing reading going on. I’m not sure what to read next. I have Longbourn by Jo Baker up next on the immediate TBR pile, but I’m not sure it’s the one for my mood just now. I think I might make a Read-a-thon pile instead and see what catches my eye as I’m pulling books from the shelves.
Watching // I finished watching the second season of Call the Midwife the day before yesterday and immediately longed for the third! Unfortunately, all stores which might sell the DVDs are closed for Easter Sunday, so I have to wait a little bit longer to get my hands on it. We also went to see The Amazing Spiderman 2 in cinemas yesterday, which was okay. Not much else to say about it to be honest, I probably wouldn’t watch it again but it wasn’t a bad film.
Cooking // Amazingly, I’ve been doing a ton of cooking over the last week and a bit. It’s completely thanks to two things – Keith and I have been doing the Insanity workout for the last two weeks, which has been inspiring us to eat better, and the fact that we bought one of the Hairy Dieters’ cookbooks. The Hairy Bikers are a couple of British cooks who have made loads of TV shows and generally go off on their motorbikes to exotic locations and cook delicious-looking food. We became interested in their recipes after a friend cooked us an amazing beef curry and recently these two decided to go on a health kick and publish a couple of cookbooks, as well as make a TV show. These are perfect for doing with Insanity – they’re calorie counted to about the right amount of calories and actually are pretty healthy, easy to cook, and taste really nice. I find that cookbooks often contain elaborate recipes that don’t fit in too well with normal life and this cookbook so far has really been the exception. The recipes have a few more fresh ingredients than I might normally buy, but all the food is stuff we’ll actually eat pretty happily and has turned out well. So far, we’ve had a chicken pot pie, chicken bake, and fajitas, and made a couple of different cooked breakfasts.
Learning // Not actually learning much at present, which sounds pretty bad. I’ve been pouring effort into work and then doing the Insanity workout almost every day for the last two weeks. My brain is a little bit fried. I’m hoping, as usual, that things let up before too long.
Gaming // Nothing here either! As above. I haven’t been prioritising any of the games I want to play. Perhaps another time.
Loving/Hating // Still loving the coming of spring. It feels like new flowers spring up every week, which is just what I need on weekends. It’s also been surprisingly sunny, though not really warm enough for my tastes yet. Struggling with work at present – I wouldn’t necessarily say I hate it, but I’m not anticipating the return on Tuesday. Trying not to think about it until I’m there, and hoping that this week is the end and I can go back to feeling things aren’t too bad.
Anticipating // We’re going to see my parents and taking a long weekend trip to London in May – it’s going to be a busy month but in the best ways. And, next weekend, the Read-a-thon! I’m excited to participate and hope I do the event a bit more justice this time.
Credit goes to Kim for the Currently format!
Good bye, first quarter of 2014! I have been so happy to see most of the back of this winter; the daffodils out have been making me really happy over recent weeks and just this last weekend we started spotting a greater variety of flowers and buds on the trees. It’s my allergy season, but this year I genuinely don’t care. I’ll sniffle happily outside if we’re heading towards summer.
As with a lot of months these days, March seemed to slip through my grasp. Suddenly it’s April, and we’re already nearly halfway through the month. How did that even happen?
I read a lot in March. I also went a little bit overboard with the book buying (probably my most egregious sin was buying six books in Forbidden Planet while a little bit tipsy. I guess if my worst crime while tipsy is going into a store full of books and buying too many, I probably don’t have much to worry about), which probably spurred me to read more than I ordinarily would have. I also appear to have gone on a mini fantasy binge in the middle towards the end of the month.
So, to books:
- The Arrow of Sherwood, Lauren Johnson
- Empress, Shan Sa
- A Dance with Dragons: Part 1, George R.R. Martin
- One Night in Winter, Simon Sebag Montefiore
- Secrets of the Demon, Diana Rowland
- The Chalice, Nancy Bilyeau
- Night Broken, Patricia Briggs
- The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black
- A Tangle of Magicks, Stephanie Burgis
- The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi
- Promise of Blood, Brian McClellan
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
- Panic, Lauren Oliver
- A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan
So yeah, that whole writing about every book I read again thing? It really isn’t happening. I’m a bit disappointed in myself, but at the same time, I have a lot to write about if I can dig some motivation up from somewhere.
Fortunately, I am still accomplishing those reading goals I set out in the beginning of the year. One book by an author of colour, which was Empress, and One Night in Winter is set in Russia. I also acquired Empress in 2008, so it satisfies my other condition of reading books bought pre-2013. I need to get better at that, though; all the rest of the books came from 2013 and 2014. I actually could get better at all of the goals, but I had a rough second half of the month, so I’ll let myself off a little.
Over the rest of April, I would hope that I’ll be able to get a few more posts going; I’ve got a lot of great books to review and I would like to re-start some mini reviews. I’ve also, believe it or not, had several post ideas going in my head, but whether or not they will make it to the blog is another question altogether. That said, it’s a four day weekend coming up, and I am really hoping to draft up some posts and schedule them out. We’ll see!
How did your March go?