Journal

Notes from a Poly-Reader: June 2018

Into June, and I gotta say, I need to make some concerted effort to get some books off my reading list. I realized yesterday via Goodreads that I’m currently circulating about ten books, which is two shy of my ABSOLUTE CUT-OFF of a dozen (at that rate, I’m just avoiding reading other books rather than simply swapping books based on mood). I should have more time–in theory–this month, because at the end of last month, Bug gave our beautiful, 1.5 year old 4K TV a mega-wallop and it’s gone to TV heaven where everything is available on streaming and the internet speeds are faster than light. Goodbye, sweet LG. We’ll miss you. *sobs quietly into sleeve*

The upside of this is that my evenings aren’t (as easily) filled by the temptation to watch hours of TV. Has it stopped us from TV binging? No, of course not. We just set up my laptop. But in theory, it should be easier to resist. Or, more realistically, I need to consider that by evening, most nights, I’m simply burned the hell out and don’t feel like thinking at all. That said, I do like reading rather than TV watching in the evenings; the real challenge is that 1) I’m tired, and 2) my husband’s tired-er, so if we sit down to share some reading time, in about 8 minutes, he’s asleep with his neuro textbook flopping onto the floor. I can sometimes read right before bed for an hour or so, if I get to bed earlier, so that’s another option. (Like, by 11pm latest.) That may be the ultimate solution.

On another side, however, I have been reading for about 30-45 minutes a night with Bug, who has just graduated to The Chronicles of Narnia (wee!) and other few-picture books, so we’ve been plowing through all my old childhood favorites, and I’m having a blast with that (and it’s keeping my reading numbers up, given I’ve always meant to go back to those and revisit them as an adult to see how they work their particular magic).

But the list still grows, and I need to start focusing in on the list to cull out some easy things to finish.

 

Notes:

The Everyday Parenting Toolkit – Still dragging my heels on this one. Probably about a quarter to a third of the way through, and it’s fascinating, but it’s also so packed with information it’s a bit of a slow read, and it’s overwhelming after a while. Should make a few pages goal per day to make progress.

One Breath – Picked this one off my shelf of Thriftbook finds, and it sits squarely in the armchair-adventurer/biography kick I’ve been on this year. While some of the biographical details (chapters) about Nick Mevoli’s background drag a bit, the chunks about freediving itself are truly amazing and I’m learning a ton I didn’t know about the sport. This one I can probably finish this month, if I give it some time.

Worlds of Wonder – This is actually a very smooth read, and it’s giving me lots of thinks, so I really just need to have it on hand. But while there are a few things here and there that make me twitch a little (as any writing-advice book inevitably has), it’s got some great nuggets that have made me rethink the way I approach various forms of fiction. Can probably finish this one in June, too, if I–you know–give it the time.

Clockwork Angel – I actually made quite a bit of progress on this one in May from reading it right before bed. I’m still not in love with it–it’s okay–but I know it’ll be useful having read it in terms of the tropes I’m finding in dark fantasy YA with clockwork-elements involving the rescue of an older brother. It’s got that classic gothic vibe, but that kind of annoys me in the whole wide-eyed heroine thing. It’s fine. But I need to just press on and finish it. It’s well-written, I’m just feeling a little too aware of the puppet strings attached to the characters.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – Just started this one with Bug for our bedtime reading, and are probably over half-way through. Should finish this one in no time and will probably pick up another Narnia book before the month’s out. Really enjoying going back through some of my favorite old classics, and cannot WAIT to get to back to Prydain sometime in the near future.

The Year’s Best DF&H 2014 – Haven’t really touched this one in a while. Will need to just make a concerted effort (maybe next month) to really double down on my short-fiction reading to get back into the headspace to write it.

Bored and Brilliant – This one’s a fine book, but I’m just not digging it right now. It should be easy enough to finish, but the truth is I feel like I’m already unconsciously engaging in a lot of the “spend less time on your phone” techniques, so it hasn’t offered any particularly new insights…yet. But I’m hoping it’ll pick up. Should try to finish this one this month just to get it off the list.

A Rage in Harlem – Plowing through this one–it was a tad bit slower to get started, but now it’s really cranking, and I’m loving it. Again, Himes is just a master of explosive emotion and his details–good grief! They’re brilliant! I mean, you can smell the river, even without his having described it at all, simply because of the few other details he picks to use, and they’re so clean, never overwrought, just–BAM. Instant head-image. Amazing.

The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony – Had some success with that two-pages-a-day plan, so will go back to that this month. It’s such a thick, chewy book, I don’t intend to rush it. I love the thinks it gives me on a day-by-day basis, so I really just want to savor it in small bites. May take a while to finish, but I’m still really enjoying it and learning a TON about Greek mythology I never knew before. Fascinating.

Damn Fine Story – I kinda forgot I’d started this one, but really, once I get started on it, I expect it to blaze through pretty quickly. Will probably finish Worlds of Wonder first, and then pick this one up as my “writing-related” book.

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