14 January 2016

Bests of 2015!

Yes, i'm a bit late.

 Overall, just going for a ballpark figure, I think I read somewhere between 45-55 books last year.  This includes a LOT of comics.  I read some Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, Saga, and Hellblazer, the one about John Constantine.  I also tore through a good number of mysteries by Dorothy Sayers, and some modern mysteries like The Girl on the Train and Career of Evil.  And I did a bunch of rereading of Jane Austen, the Brontes, Agatha Christie, Tolkien...a lot of rereading. 

So what were the best things?

  • All the Dorothy Sayers I read was amazing
  • The Girl on the Train
  • Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere by Poe Ballantine
  • I read the first 6 volumes of Hellblazer, the John Constantine Comic
  • The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin
  • Armada by Ernest Cline
Movies and TV:
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (what's with the subtitle thing I've got going here?)
  • The Martian
  • Game of Thrones Season 6 
  • Jessica Jones 
  • I watched all of the Hannibal show

  •  I had an amazing daughter who I have the privilege to watch grow and learn
  •  Going on this journey with my awesome husband
  •  Seeing so many of our relatives meet little Eleanor

I really want to get back into blogging but am trying to find the time.  It's just so hard!  Maybe doing some challenges will help? 

30 November 2015

I'm ALIVE!!!

Though that was never really in doubt.  I have had an incredibly crazy last 9 months.  Here's the main reason:

This lovely lady is Eleanor Octavia!   Here she is awake:
 And having some yogurt:

And reading a book a few months ago:

She was due to be born at the end of May but she just couldn't wait to meet us.  She decided to show up 10 weeks early on St. Patrick's Day!  She weighed all of 2 pounds 12 ounces but other than being so small she was very healthy.  She was on oxygen in the NICU for about a week but after that just got better and better.  After 7 weeks hanging out there, she was able to come home. The doctors, nurses, and specialists were all so amazing and gave Eleanor, and us, such great care.  We're so thankful for them!
Here we are on the day we finally go to come home!

It's been amazing and exhausting.  I started a new full-time job in August so that made everything even more crazy; it threw our whole schedule out and I also now get so much less sleep.  :(   

Here here she is with her dad at Shakespeare in the Park in September:

My reading habits have changed a bit.  I seem to have no time to read in any long stretch; i read in little 10 minute increments it seems.  I've been reading more on my Kindle because it's easy to hold a sleeping baby and read with that device.  I've also been rereading a lot; it's easier to follow things that i've read before.  I now have a lengthy commute too so audiobooks have become my friend again.  I've not kept up very well with what i've read but, roughly, I've read probably 35-40 books if you include graphic novels.  Not too bad I suppose!

Going forward, I want to try to get back into blogging. I'd like to at least keep up with what I do manage to read as well as getting more involved in the community again. Maybe I can keep up a running total but just write about the really good books I read. I do plan on writing up an end of the year post.  

 So here I am, back to the web!  Feel free to say hi, or ask any questions you want about having a premature baby, or if give me any hints about getting a baby to sleep through the night!

28 February 2015

wow, I haven't blogged in 2 months!

Ok, this really really surprises me.  I knew it had been a bit but I had no clue that I had gone 2 months without really touching this blog. On the one hand, I'm a little disappointed in myself; I definitely like writing about what I'm reading and I haven't really been keeping up with even titles.  On the other hand, I've been super busy with work (even though I'm half-time, and we had 8 days off recently for the snow) and with personal events.  

That personal event?  Well, if you're a Facebook friend you've seen that I announced a few weeks ago that B and I are expecting our first kid at the end of May!  We're having a girl.  No name yet but I am sure we'll come up with something. 

I'm feeling great;  I'm having an incredibly easy pregnancy.  Hope she comes out just as easily! Even having no problems though I'm still busy.  So many Dr appointments!  And B and I are trying to spend lots of time together since that will be a bit curtailed come May.  So between all the work stuff, baby stuff and relaxing, I've been doing lots of reading but no blogging.  I'll see what I can do to try to get back into the habit.  


31 December 2014

Yet Another Best of the Year Post

I am a little shocked that we've gotten to "end of the year post" time already.  I know everybody says this but this year really has passed quickly it seems, at least the fall has.  

As always, these are things that were new to ME this year, not necessarily published or released this year.  And not just 10 of things!

  • The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
  • Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
  • The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell
  • Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink
  • My Real Children by Jo Walton
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  • The Lucifer Box series by Mark Gatiss
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
  • Kindred by Octavia Butler
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • Night Film by Marissa Pessi
  • Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

Graphic Novels:
  • March, Book 1 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
  • Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
  • Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • In a World
  • Dallas Buyer's Club
  • Fargo, the TV show
  • Broadchurch (UK version)
  • True Detective
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Sherlock Season 3 
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Only Lovers Left Alive

And Life/Events:
  • Spending several days with B and my family in Orlando, hanging out and doing Disney.
  • Meeting my nephew X.
  • Passing my comps and getting my master's Degree!   
  • Finally finding a library job.
  • playing several video games (including Tomb Raider and Bioshock 3) through to the end.  I guess I can thank unemployment for that :)
  • Going with friends to an amazing Halloween Party dressed as Death from Sandman
  • Seeing Ok GO live in a packed venue
  • Going to SPAIN!  My first use of the passport I got when we got married in 2012
  • Learned to make decent bread, both French and regular
  • Watching Arsenal win the FA Cup!

There's one other thing that really made 2014 amazing that I'll probably blog about next week.  Consider my vagueness a teaser trailer!  

I'm rather annoyed at myself.  In writing this post, I scrolled back through my facebook feed to remember events and other things I raved about.  Came across at least 4 books that I read but never blogged about.  It was, in part, a side-effect of reading so much; i would finish one book and almost immediately start another and completely forget to make a blog note about it.  I have to be a little better at that next year. 

What was your best book, movie, event or happening in 2014? 

30 December 2014

Total numbers!

I had a pretty good reading year!  I read a LOT of library books and many Kindle books too, especially in these last few months.  

Books Read Total: 112

Library books: 93
YA/Children's Lit: 30
Non-fiction: 10
Graphic Novels: 20
Audio books: 5
Kindle: 40

These numbers include 4 more non-fiction books that I'm not quite ready to discuss yet.  I feel like I did pretty well this year.  Studying for comps and doing an internship last spring had my numbers pretty low, but then being unemployed for 5 months, and half-time employed at a school since then, gave me a LOT of time to read.  I suppose it balanced out. Here's to great reading in 2015!

23 December 2014

What I read on my Vacation

I got through 2 books on my vacation.  We met up with some of my family in Orlando for a few days and went to Disneyworld and Universal Studios with them.  

Jackaby by William Ritter:  This is a YA novel, which I didn't realize when I picked it up.  It is a sort-of mashup of Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes.  It takes place in the late 19th century in a fictional New England town.  The narrator is a girl, Abby Rook, who is about 20. She arrives after running away from university to find adventure.  She meets and becomes the assistant to Jackaby, a man who uses Holmes' methods to deal with fantastical creatures and supernatural beings.  It was a cool setup and a well-written world.  I figured out the mystery plot pretty quickly but it is written for middle schoolers.  I'd say I would have loved it at that age and I will read any sequels. a 6.

The Art of English Murder by Lucy Worsley: This book is a non-fiction look at murder and crime in British literature from the early 1800's through WW2.  It also shows how some of the literature referred back to real crimes and discusses how authors translated those crimes and criminals into fiction.  I'd read about plenty of the cases before but it was super interesting to see how they affected what people wrote about.  I did feel really weird reading this book at the airport though! a 6.

19 December 2014

Foreign books

I'm catching up on reviews!  I've read two very different books in translation recently. 

From Japan, I read Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgimage by Haruki Murakami.  It is about Tsukuru Tazaki, a man in his mid-30's who designs train stations (it's a better job in Japan than here I suppose) who's neither happy nor unhappy with his life.  He had intense friendships with 4 friends in high school but, during his first year of college, all 4 cut him off completely and will not tell him what happened.  He lets them go until a girlfriend tells him he needs to find out what happened to move on with his life.  He goes on a journey to contact them and discovers why things changed.  I liked it but Murakami tends to give us half-endings. He always leaves you wanting 1 more chapter of info.  This one ended up a 5 for me. 

From Sweden, I read Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist.  It is a horror novel. It also has some big unanswered questions, which, strangely, a ton of the books i've read this year seem to have.  It was a pretty horrific, and bloody, girl-power book.  Half the time I was rooting for the girls, half the time I wanted them stopped, at least until the end.  Also a 5.

17 December 2014

Sherlock Holmes books

So I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan.  I first read all the stories back one summer in high school.  I got a giant book with super thin pages of all the stories from the library and read it over the course of a month.  Since then, I've reread all the stories at least twice as well as various stories in singles again.  I've seen lots of adaptations too.  I recently read two non-fiction books about Holmes and the stories.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes by Vincent Starrett: well, I say this one is non-fiction but the premise is that it is a biography of Holmes (and Watson) as if they were real people.  It was really interesting and did include some info about the Baker Street Irregulars, the superfan club that still exists.  Definitely one to read if you're willing to play The Great Game.  a 5.

The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics by James O'Brien:  This book was something like an encyclopedia; it took a topic, like chemistry or fingerprints, and explains how Holmes used it and in which stories.  The author explains when Holmes gets things right or wrong scientifically as well as whether the technique is still in use. It was really informative but rather dry in places.  also a 5.