WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday June 12, 2019

Here we are again, another Wednesday! Halfway through the week. I’m feeling mostly alive and still struggling to catch up with everything, but that’s what happens when you’re down for the count for so stinkin’ long. But everyone loves WWW Wednesday, right???

WWW Wednesday is a superfun bookish meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Hi, Sam! Thanks for hosting! It’s all about answering three very important questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Are you ready? Let’s do this!

What are you currently reading?

Based on a suggestion from a Book Riot article, I added Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age Story by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh to my TBR and grabbed it from the library yesterday. It’s a slim tome, but it’s giving me a different perspective on the aftermath of September 11th, one that I’d thought about but had never read any firsthand accounts of, so I appreciate that. I’ll most likely finish this tonight.

What did you recently finish reading?

Living More With Less by Doris Janzen Longacre has been sitting on my shelf for a few years. I finally got around to finishing it this weekend, and I’m SO glad I did. It’s thrift, frugality, and sustainability with the express purpose of better caring for our neighbors, and it was exactly what I needed to read to reset my brain. My review will be up tomorrow. And also…

I don’t always review the books I read out loud to my daughter, but I’ll probably do a write-up of Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards (yes, THAT Julie Andrews, she of The Sound of Music and The Princess Diaries fame). This was a childhood favorite of mine and I was beyond thrilled to be able to read it out loud to my daughter, who loved it as much as I did. 🙂

What do you think you’ll read next?

No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court by Edward Humes has been on my TBR list for…let’s not discuss how long. I picked up a copy from a local library branch and will start reading this next. My one reservation is that it was published in 1997, which means it’s pretty dated- the kids who were teenagers at the writing of this book are now in or nearing their forties, so… I may skip it and move onto the next thing if it’s not working for me. I have a few books on their way via interlibrary loan, and if they’re not here yet, I may dive into the book that got me into reading romance, which I’m sure will be all sorts of hideous and hilarious. I’m looking forward to seeing just how terrible it is!

And that’s it for this week! What are you reading???

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday June 5, 2019

Good morning/afternoon/evening, readers! I hope you’re having a fabulous day. Would you look at that- it’s Wednesday again, so that means it’s time for another WWW Wednesday! (Again? Wasn’t it just Wednesday???)

WWW Wednesday is a superfun bookish meme hosted by the lovely Sam of Taking on a World of Words (hi Sam! Thanks for hosting!). It’s all about answering three VERY important book-related questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Are you ready? Let’s play!

What are you currently reading?

So, I’m still sick. I woke up yesterday feeling like I’d been run over by a bus, with pain still raging in the left side of my face, head, and jaw (and coughing! I’m still coughing!). Off to the doctor we went, and I came home with a prescription for stronger antibiotics. So far, they *seem* to be working out better (*crosses fingers*); I’m not as bad off this morning as I was yesterday. All that is to say that last night, I was half-dead and wanted to throw myself in bed and read something that I didn’t have to work for, that I could just lie there, try not to die, and get lost in the story. Second Chances by Lauren Dane, the story of a woman who returns to her hometown after years away, fit that bill. I read through 30-some percent of it and then crashed, but I’m enjoying it so far.

What did you recently finish reading?

I couldn’t resist Big Rock by Lauren Blakely; any book that can make such innuendos with both the cover and the title (and the font!) gets my inner twelve-year-old snort-laughing.

I also finished American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment by Shane Bauer. This was utterly amazing, infuriating, and eye-opening. It’s the kind of book that makes you need to take a breather every once in a while, because some of the information in there is just so brutal and intense. I cannot recommend this highly enough, especially if you live in the US.

What do you think you’ll read next?

So, usually I have a whole stack of books lined up, just waiting for me. This illness has seriously kicked my butt, and I’m plum worn out. I have no stack other than the books on my own shelves (and we all know those don’t count, right?). I’m really hoping to be back to my normal self in the next few days and get back to my regular reading. After making a stop at the grocery store today, my daughter and I are going to hit up the library in a nearby town; they’ve got a few books from my TBR list (whether they’re in stock remains to be seen), including The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Younts, Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, and The Idea of You by Robinne Lee. So hopefully one of those will be next on the list, and hopefully I’ll be back to normal soon!

And that’s it for this week’s WWW Wednesday! What are you reading this week???

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday May 29, 2019

Today was my weekly grocery shopping day, so that means it’s time for another WWW Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Thanks for hosting, Sam!

(Also, I just remembered it’s WWW Wednesday. Just as my daughter started to recover from what was eventually diagnosed as a sinus infection, I started my downhill slide and ended up coming home from the doctor with two prescriptions yesterday. The three day weekend was no fun, and it’s been a looooooooooooooooong few weeks around here. I’m SO far behind on blog-related stuff, so if I owe you a post, I WILL get to it; I haven’t forgotten anything, I’m just sick and in pain. Anyhoo.)

WWW Wednesday is a superfun bookish meme all about answering three bookish questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Let’s get this party started!

What are you currently reading?

I’m a little over halfway through The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam by G. Willow Wilson. The author had found herself drawn to Islam in college and ended up converting on a plane on her way to working as a teacher in Cairo. After a little bit of difficulty getting into this, I found my bearing and am really enjoying seeing Cairo and Islam through her eyes.

What did you recently finish reading?

This weekend, I finished Everything I Know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell, she of the fabulous Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. After that, I plowed through This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins. I enjoyed both of them, though for very different reasons, and I still need to get my reviews written up. Being sick has slooooooooowed meeeeeeeeeee dooooowwwwwwwwn. 😦

What do you think you’ll read next?

Up next, I have two graphic novels, which I always enjoy. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, and The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui. Both are straight from my TBR and I’m very much looking forward to reading both of them.

And that’s it! Hopefully by the next WWW Wednesday, I’ll be feeling more human, instead of feeling like I’ve been kicked in the face, because that’s apparently the thing with a sinus/double ear infection. (And if not, I may take a chainsaw to my own head…)

Happy reading, friends! What have you been reading this week???

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Tell Me Something Tuesday #177: Topics I Avoid in Books

Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and covers a range of topics about books and blogging (you can check out their answers here).

This week’s question:

What are things that make you steer clear of a book?

Excessive violence, especially against women. This is where Pat Conroy lost me. His writing is beautiful, but after being shocked by reading brutal rape scenes in several of his books, I decided I couldn’t do any more. I tend to steer clear of a lot of thrillers as well, since I’m not the hugest fan of reading about murder…or heists, for that matter. Crime in general, really.

Titles/covers that show the book is obviously sci-fi or western. Just not genres that really interest me, for the most part.

Sometimes size matters. (Insert inappropriate joke here.) I’m not opposed to gigantic brick-sized books- Alaska and Hawaii, both by James Michener, were gloriously enormous books and some of my favorites ever, despite being close to or over 1000 pages- but at this point in my life, I prefer shorter reads. Hit me up again when my daughter’s older, giant books.

Man vs. nature books. There are exceptions; Jon Krakauer’s books are awesome for this, but in general, I’m not a fan of ‘the plane crashed and now we’re all fighting to survive in the jungle/desert/side of a mountain!!!’ books. I find them stressful. And in that vein…

Books about or containing animals. If there’s a beloved pet in the book, you can be sure I’m stressing from the first mention that that pet is going to die (or be horribly injured) somewhere in the book. This was like the Number One Plot Device in books when I was a kid; the author would kill off the main character’s pet in order to foreshadow the death of someone even more important, like a parent or sibling. It was horrible and traumatizing and to this day, I get uncomfortable when the plot centers too closely on an animal. I LOVE animals and don’t need to stress about them more than my own two cats make me. (See pic of me doing yoga and Turd Cat Reba, also known as The Bitey One, getting all up in my face. Not shown: the blurry pictures of her climbing across my face, the pictures I couldn’t take because she was jumping on me when I was trying to downward dog, and the other cat, Piglet, who likes to stand at the edge of the mat and scream at me. Yeesh!)

I’m half-tempted to put religious fiction here, but I’m not entirely opposed to that. I don’t enjoy religious fiction when it comes on too strongly, but I’ve read a few that were okay, so that’s not a never for me. It doesn’t necessarily have to be my faith for me to appreciate how it works for someone else.

Very Serious Biographies About Historical White Men. I don’t necessarily want to read, say, a biography of Winston Churchill or Abraham Lincoln. It’s not that they’re not interesting people; I just got my fill of that in school. Now, say, a Very Serious Biography about Harriet Tubman or Maya Angelou? YES PLEASE.

Literary Fiction. When it gets too literary and the writing gets too flowery and convoluted for my tastes, I’m out. Just not my thing.

That’s about it for me. What about you? Are there things you run screaming from in the bookstore or library? Any certain genres you refuse to engage with? Certain tropes you can’t stand? (I’m not adding this to the list, but years ago, I somehow managed to read three or four books that year that involved cousin love, and not like, “Here is your cousin, the Earl of Moneyton. Marry him to increase our fortunes!”, more like, “Dude, my mom’s sister’s son is freakin’ HOT!” NO NO NO. SO gross, and I will nope out of books that do that, because seriously, there are so many other people you can get it on with besides one you’re related to.) I’d love to hear what doesn’t do it for you, literarily-speaking!

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20 Questions

Today, we’re going to play 20 Questions, which I borrowed from Blair over at Feed the Crime (her answers are here). The cat in the photo is Piglet; he’s one of my two ridiculously patient cats who put up with my daughter’s insane love of dress-up.

Let’s begin!

How do you feel about cliff-hangers?

If they’re at the end of a chapter, cool. If they’re at the end of the book, ALL OF THE SCREAMS.

Hardback or paperback?

If it comes from the library, I prefer hardback, but if I’m buying, I prefer the bigger-sized paperbacks. The smaller ones, like category romance-sized paperbacks, I have a hard time holding open sometimes, but the bigger ones are easier.

Favourite Book?

Oh JEEZ. You can’t ask a book blogger THAT. SO many books, but Till the Stars Fall by Kathleen Gilles Seidel and Back Home by Michelle Magorian top the list.

Least Favourite Book?

Oof. I really didn’t like Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, nor did I enjoy A Passage to India by E.M. Forster. (Not even linking them, that’s how grumpy they made me.)

Love Triangle… yes or no?

That’s a no from me, dawg. I find them kind of icky.

The most recent book you couldn’t finish?

The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer. Right off, the dialogue seemed forced and unnatural to me, and within a few pages, I noped out and moved on to the next book.

A book you’re currently reading?

I’m going to start this really neat little book called Make Do and Mend: Keeping Family and Home Afloat on War Rations (Reproductions of Official Second World War Instruction Leaflets), foreword by Jill Norman. I try to be a good steward of my resources, so this will help, plus I’m fascinated by wartime rationing. After that, it’s The Cider House Rules by John Irving.

The last book you recommended to someone?

Ooh, I’m not actually sure about this!

Oldest book you’ve read (based on publication date)?

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (which is a seriously weird story), published in 1831.

Newest book you’ve read (based on publication date)? 

Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married by Abby Ellin, which was published in January of 2019.

Favourite author?

Oh gosh. Christina Lauren, Diane Chamberlain, Jennifer Weiner, Jennifer Crusie, Rainbow Rowell, Stephen King, Emily Giffin, James Michener, Ted Conover, Susane Colasanti, Chris Crutcher, Jon Krakauer, and I’m gonna stop there, because otherwise I’ll be here all day.

Buying books or borrowing them?

I think that answer’s obvious. If I’m not home and I’m not running errands like groceries or driving the kids somewhere, I’m probably at the library. (I’m seriously there an embarrassing amount.)

A book you dislike that everyone else loves?

I really wasn’t a fan of The Plot Against America by Philip Roth, which has almost four stars, so I think that probably counts.

Bookmarks or dog-ears? 

Bookmarks. My library has stacks of them for patrons to grab, so I always have a few floating around the house.

A book you can reread over and over?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald are books that I seem to take away new things each time I read them (which I do, every now and then).

Can you read while listening to music?

Ugh. No. I can read with the TV on and with my daughter playing and running around, but music makes me lose focus.

Multiple POVs or one POV ?

The more, the merrier. I love dual/multiple narratives.

Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days on average?

Depends on what I’ve got going on. On the weekends, my husband and daughter do a lot of projects together, which frees me up to read and I can plow through quite a few books during that time. During the week, I read when I can, which usually means while my daughter watches TV or naps, when I’m waiting in the car to pick my husband or daughter up, etc. Little bits of stolen reading time here and there.

Who do I want to tag?

If you want to do this tag! You’re it. 🙂

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Tag: 30 Interesting Questions

It’s a chilly, breezy Saturday in the neighborhood (as evidenced by the cozy little nap my Reba is taking on MY pillow; don’t you wish you could sleep that soundly?), and I’m not much feeling like venturing out, so today I’m borrowing a tag from Sara over at The Bibliophagist (which is a seriously amazing name for a blog!). Here we go!

1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

My husband usually calls me Steph or babe; in my everyday life, I generally prefer Stephanie.

2. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?

Hoooooo boy, I have ZERO art skills. I once drew a horse that my husband thought was supposed to be a dog, and now my horsedog is the stuff of family legends. I don’t doodle all that often because my doodles are worse than stick figures.

3. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I’ve spent the better part of my life struggling to fall asleep, but it’s a lot better these days. Listening to podcasts helps put me out (current listen: Book Riot’s All the Books with Liberty and Rebecca). If I truly can’t fall asleep, I get up and read downstairs for a bit.

4. Do people consider you to be talkative or quiet?

Every report card I ever got in school included some version of the phrase, “Stephanie is so quiet!”

5. What makes you cry?

Holy crap, just about everything. My family, books, TV, my cats, stress, frustration, anger, happiness. I’m a crier by nature.

6. What is your biggest pet peeve?

People making more work for other people. Leaving messes, not putting stuff away, asking other people to do things that they could easily do themselves. I worked in retail for years and the people who would treat the employees like their own personal maids and personal shoppers drove. me. NUTS.

7. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

Usually only when I’m getting ready or before I go out.

8. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I believed for YEARS that there was a bear loose in our house at night, because I could hear it snarling and growling.

Turns it out was just my father snoring.

9. What is the guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

Norwegian pop music! I could listen to Bare Min by Morgan Sulele forever- it’s been my ringtone for four years now. His Du Er Så Deilig is super happy-sounding as well. Always puts me in a good mood. 🙂 I have some serious Norway-love going on here!

10. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?

That would be my mom. She’s always bringing us things, doing nice things for other people simply because she’s kind. She’s good people.

11. How often do you read the newspaper? Which sections?

An actual physical newspaper? Only rarely. My daughter was the kind of toddler who would’ve pulled it apart and eaten the entire thing (I’m not actually joking here…), so we got away from reading newspapers. Occasionally, my mom will bring up a copy of my hometown newspaper for me to read, which I always appreciate.

12. Which animal scares you the most?

I’m like Indiana Jones; I. HATE. SNAKES.

13. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage with it?

RUN AWAY!

14. What is the most recent compliment you’ve received?

My dad told me he was proud of me yesterday for something I’ve done, and that felt pretty good to hear. 🙂

15. What question are you tired of hearing?

In no particular order: “Why?” “What’s for dinner?” “Where’s my/Have you seen my ____?” “Can you drive me to ____?” “Can you get me ____?” The life of a stay-at-home mom!

16. What is the strangest thing you have eaten?

Back in my meat-eating days, my then-boyfriend (now husband!) and I traveled to Paris, where he proposed at the top of the Eiffel Tower (swoooooooooon!), and then we took the train to visit his family in Belgium for Christmas. Someone had asked what they were serving for dinner, and one of the items the person responding mentioned was sanglier. I blinked and thought, ‘Wait, isn’t that wild boar?’

It was indeed wild boar, and it was what we had for dinner. 🙂

17. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends?

I’m definitely more in the ‘lots of acquaintances’ group these days, and not many close friends either. I don’t get out much, mostly because I’m always ferrying husband and kids where they need to go!

18. Do you have a catchphrase?

It….probably involves a few swearwords, so I’ll just say yes. 😀

19. What’s your all-time favourite town or city? Why?

Hm. I have places I’ve loved being. Paris. Raleigh, NC. Traverse City, MI. Mystic, CT. I don’t know if any of them are an all-time favorite, but I’ve enjoyed them all.

20. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

Stephanie has always sounded like the name of someone who’s a whole lot more outgoing and extroverted than me! I’ve always figured I should have a quieter name, like Beth. (Of course, she didn’t end up so well in Little Women, soooo…)

21. When was the last time you lied?

I try not to lie, but if I do, it’s usually a lie to mask my anxiety, like, “Oh, that sounds great, I’d love to come!”, when I’d really love to stay home and read and not be around groups of people!

22. What’s something that amazes you?

Honestly? People that live their lives without anxiety. Like, you just wake up every morning and…function? You don’t worry about every little thing? That seriously amazes me, because I have a highlight reel of everything that could possibly go wrong at any given moment running in my head at all times. To not have that must be so fantastic.

23. Would you rather be the first person to explore a planet or be the inventor of a drug that cures a deadly disease?

Space scares the crap out of me (SO much potential for something to go wrong!), so I’d happily stay home and cure something terrible.

24. What is your favourite amateur activity?

I’m not entirely certain what this question means, but I’ll agree with Sara, I enjoy baking, although my creations never look as nice as the ones in the cookbooks or on the blogs. They taste just fine, though, and that’s what counts.

25. What was your first thought when you got up this morning?

It’s usually some form of, “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY???” Weekday alarm goes off at 5:50 am, and my daughter usually wakes us up around 6:30 am on the weekends. I’m a very tired person.

26. What is your favourite song (at least at the moment)?

Morgan Sulele’s Andre Enn Meg charmed me and made me laugh the other day (it’s one of those songs that when I discovered it, I was cracking up and wanted to share it with everyone I know…but none of my friends or family speak Norwegian, so no one would appreciate it in the same way!).

27. List someone you know and describe them in five words.

My husband is hardworking, intelligent, determined, trustworthy, and awesome. 🙂

28. You can select one person from history and have them truthfully answer one question. Who would you select and what would the question be?

I would love to sit down with Fred Rogers and listen to how he handled the challenging moments of life. He’s one of my personal heroes and I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read about him.

29. Which celebrity or artist do you resemble the most?

I don’t think I resemble anyone at all (other than my dad!), but I’ve had two people tell me I look like Geena Davis, although I’ve never seen that.

30. What do you want me to know?

Books are amazing and life-altering. The Norwegian language is gorgeous and sometimes makes me cry, I find it so beautiful. Beets are disgusting. I hate putting dishes and laundry away. My deepest wish is that someone invents a self-cleaning kitchen and then gives me one immediately.

And that’s it! I’m not going to tag anyone personally, but feel free to steal this, as I love learning about other bloggers. 🙂