Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Where has the time gone?

I haven’t posted in 4 months, and I truly have missed it. I’ve been fairly prolific on Instagram lately, which works for me, but I miss the words. I’ll try to be better.

As usual after a blogging hiatus, I’ll start off with some baking, knitting, and books talk.

I actually haven’t been baking as much as I was. I’ve been counting calories and using my Fitbit (which I love) and, believe it or not, I haven’t really *wanted* the baked goods as much. Last night, though, I did do a little baking. I made a lemon gooey butter cake, modifying Paula Deen’s recipe by adding some lemon zest and about 1/4 cup lemon juice. It turned out very good!

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The last post I made was about my Vintage Cakes project. I’ve actually done several recipes now, but have only posted pictures on Facebook or possibly Instagram. Looking at the table of contents, I’ve made (in addition to the ones in the previous post): Texas Sheet Cake (which was a fail as far as the actual recipe went (baker error), but still tasted delicious), Lemon and Almond Streamliner Cake (this was amazing!), Malted Milk Chocolate Cupcakes (pretty good), and The Pink Cake (which was a chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream – oh.my.god). These cakes tend to be a little time intensive, which is part of the reason I haven’t been baking them regularly. I tend to wait for an occasion, of which there haven’t been many lately. I can’t remember which cake I was planning to make next just by looking at the table of contents, but it involves strawberries and ricotta cheese. Maybe that will be a “yay for the end of school cake” in a couple of weeks!

On to knitting. I’ve been knitting a ton lately, but finishing little. Wow, I just looked at my projects page on Ravelry and got a little persective. I’ve actually finished 10 projects in 2013 so far. I have several things on the needles but am actively working on 3 right now:

And reading. I’ve only finished a handful of books this year – well, according to Goodreads I’ve read 12, which isn’t too shabby, but it feels like I haven’t read much. The only “wow” book I’ve read this year has been The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, which was *this* close to getting 5 stars. It lacked some little spark that would have put it over the 4-star edge, but it was a damn good book. I highly recommend this one, especially if you are a fan of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

In other news , or just rambling-ness, life is crazy. Work is crazy, and I will be very glad when July 1 has come and gone. My daughter was going and is now not going to Japan, all in the course of less than a week. Disappointing (and expensive, since we had to get an expedited passport) to say the least. We’re planning a trip to Big Bend in early July, and I absolutely can’t wait. I just wish we could stay longer. My husband is in Atlanta for the weekend with his school’s Academic Challenge (aka Quiz Bowl) team for Nationals, and we’re planning to go to the Mississippi coast in a couple of weekends. And that’s about it. I miss writing and hope to be back soon.

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2012 Reading in Review

I meant to post this at the beginning of the month, but life and all. I was pretty disappointed in my fewer-than-30-books reading total this year but have to remember that the biggest culprit is that I was knitting a lot, which I enjoy. So it should be a fair trade, huh? Well, it should be, but I don’t really see it that way. I’d really like to increase that number in 2013.

What I read in 2012 (roughly in order of most recently read):

  1. A Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
  2. Funny Little Monkey by Andrew Auseon
  3. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
  4. A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres
  5. Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
  6. The Passage by Justin Cronin
  7. The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
  8. Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr
  9. Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo
  10. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
  11. The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
  12. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  13. Sabriel by Garth Nix (re-read)
  14. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  15. The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer
  16. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
  17. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  18. Bound South by Susan Rebecca White
  19. Remember Ben Clayton by Stephen Harrigan
  20. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
  21. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
  22. Tangled by Carolyn Mackler
  23. Once by Morris Gleitzman
  24. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  25. The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love by Jill Conner Browne
  26. The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale
  27. Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

19 Adult Books
8 YA/Kids Books
3 Nonfiction

Some reflection. First of all, as I was making the list, I kept thinking to myself, “Oh, that was good!”, so overall, while my number wasn’t high, there was some quality reading. Second, I quit thinking that about halfway through the list (so the first half of 2012, roughly). I’m not sure exactly what that means, except that the second half of the year had much less “obligation” reading. I think the biggest takeaway from this is “Read what you want, not what you’re supposed to read.”

I would also like to point out that while my total was only 27 books, I have 2 chunksters going that I’ve been working on for more than a year, so that accounted for a chunk of reading time. Also, there were a lot of books that I started and didn’t finish for whatever reason (either I didn’t like them or I was sampling them for the Dublin Award nominating committee at work).

And that’s all, folks – final Readathon post

Up until the last 5 or 6 pages of my book, I really thought I still had some reading mojo going. And then I realized I was asleep. I absolutely refused to not finish Glass Houses, with so few pages to go, so I slapped myself a few times (not really) and made it to the end.

So, only 1 book read. But I read a whole book from start to finish! I didn’t ever have any desire to switch books, so I don’t feel bad about not reading anything else.

This was fun. I’m so glad I joined in! Now, I’m going to join my snoring husband and hit the sack.

Mid-event survey – an hour late

I may have taken a long break for dinner, but I’m back!

Mid-Event Survey

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired?

I’m getting a little sleepy, but I’m doing ok. Breaks have helped me from getting too bleary-eyed.

2) What have you finished reading?

Yeah, I haven’t finished anything. But I’ve read 227 or 292 pages of Glass Houses by Rachel Caine, and I feel confident I can finish it tonight. I VERY rarely read a book in one day, so I consider this a success.

3) What is your favorite read so far?

See above. But I think it would be my favorite even if I had picked up other things. It’s really good!

4) What about your favorite snacks?

Not a ton of snacking. The best was probably the chewy butterscotch bars I made the other day. Yum! And if you’re reading, Debi, I did make Rotel but had to “beef” it up (literally) to make it count for dinner…

5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!

I haven’t spent a lot of time blog-hopping but I see lots I’d like to check out soon.

Readathon Update

It’s about 5 1/2 hours into the readathon, and I’m enjoying being holed up in my bedroom, with my computer, iPad/book, and iPhone, my old lady kitty, and my knitting. I’m not keeping official stats, as I jump around from thing to thing to keep a close eye on the clock. So far I’ve read 113 pages of Glass Houses by Rachel Caine, which is fantastic! And I’m knitting one round of a sock between each chapter, to break things up.

I suppose I should break for lunch and feed my children. Plus I have a cake to pick up. I’ll be back later!

Hour 3: Snacks

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I’m all about food, as my waistline can attest to (unfortunately). This week was crazy busy, though, so I didn’t have time to really plan my snacks for the readathon. Thus, I’m playing it by ear. My son and his friend were hungry, so I hit the donut shop (Shipley donuts, yummmmmm) and got some glazed donuts and kolaches. For those of you unfamiliar with kolaches, they’re basically dough stuffed with usually savory fillings and baked. You can find them all over certain parts of Texas, thanks to the Czech influence. These are the most common kind you’ll find at places that don’t specialize in kolaches – link sausage with cheese.

Later, thanks to the idea from Debi, I think I’ll make some Rotel dip for me and the kids.

24 Hour Readathon – October 2012

Well, I hadn’t planned on participating in the readathon from hour 1, as I was really hoping to sleep in this morning, but all the animals in my house had other ideas. So, here I am, hour 1. I’m definitely not a 24-hour-reader – I’m too ADD for that – but I plan to participate as much as possible during the day today, and perhaps in the evening.

Introductory Questionnaire

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I live in Meadows Place, Texas, which is literally one street outside Houston city limits.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Glass Houses – the first book in the Morganville Vampires series. My library hosted a virtual author visit with Rachel Caine on Thursday, and I became a fangirl, even though I haven’t read one of her books. I managed to find an e-book to check out from one of our local library systems yesterday.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Well, I don’t actually get to eat this today, but sometime this afternoon I’m going to pick up my 16-year-old daughter’s birthday cake – a custom cake with a Supernatural (tv show) theme. We’re hoping for either a spectacular cake or a spectacular cake WRECK! I will post a picture after I pick it up.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I am a librarian in Houston. My to-be-read list is so long that it would take me about 40 years to finish it – assuming I never add anything new… I love to bake and knit. I’ll probably take knitting breaks today, but I don’t plan to bake. 🙂 I’m married with 2 kids, Laura (who turned 16 on Tuesday, thus the cake…) and Eli, who is 14. My husband Jimmy is a nerd extraordinaire – teacher of computer science, astronomy, physics, and web design. He’s a reader, too, when he has time (which isn’t often these days, unfortunately), but he is off to an academic challenge (aka Quiz Bowl) competition with students today. You can follow me on Twitter at @somernewland, find me on Goodreads as somereads, and if you’re on Ravelry, you can find me there, too, as someryarns.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I’ve participated in lots of readathons over the years, but this is the first one in a while where I feel like I actually can get a huge chunk of mostly uninterrupted reading time. I plan to take full advantage of that!