The Week – A Conclusion


Book Table|Matteo Tarenghi|CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Well, it feels a bit odd to be closing out a week when there’s been only one post, but since I’m doing a quiet, soft re-launch of my blog, this is a good way to start catching readers up.

What I Read

This week, I finished Sparrow Migrations, The Repeat Year, and Starry River of the Sky. This week was a bit of a mixed bag as I really enjoyed Starry River of the Sky but was meh about the other two reads. The review for The Repeat Year posted yesterday and the review for Sparrow Migrations will post on Monday. I hope to post a review for Starry River of the Sky soon! I went out of town this week and actually skipped a night of reading, but I was still able to get in a good amount of reading time overall. I’m happy with my reading week!

What I am Reading

I currently have a complicated system of books I read all at the same time. It goes as follows:
Children’s audiobook CD for the car: Peter Pan
Easy fiction or nonfiction audiobook for working around the house: For the Love of a Dog
Classic book reading daily on Serial Reader app: Carmilla
Friend book club book: The Color Purple
Bed time book: The Woodcutter
Day time book: Bad Romance
Great Courses book reading through Hoopla: Philosophy of Mind
Great Courses book reading through the library: Understanding the Fundamentals of Music
Plus a few nonfiction books I am taking forever to get through (see side bar for a complete list)

I started The Color Purple, Peter Pan, Carmilla, and For the Love of a Dog this week.

I think I might have a problem. This week, I added a day time book in addition to my night time book as well as deciding to only read my book club book during the day. I may have over done it. But the book club book needs to be read by Sunday, so it should be off that list very soon and I can get back to a mostly normal number of books I’m simutaneously reading. Which is still a ridiculuous amount.

I started listening to children’s audiobook CDs in the car after I lost Nica in February. I found myself uncontrollably sobbing while driving and decided that had to change. I wasn’t much of a fan of listening to audiobooks while driving because there are distractions from time to time (i.e. trying to not hit things) that prevent me from hearing everything that is said. But I found with children’s books, it’s usually easy enough to fill in the blanks so that I still feel I fully read and understood the story.

In early January, I adopted a puppy. I started reading a bunch of dog training books, watching training DVDs, and attending training classes. And then, I burned myself out on them. Thus, there are a few dog books on my currently reading list that have been lingering there for a bit. There are a few books that are just hanging out on my coffee table. I am determined to get through them, but it’s anyone’s guess whether I will.

At some point, I moved on my from dog training nonfiction craze to intergrative medicine nonfiction craze and thus there are a few audiobooks lingering from that on my currently reading and a few more on my coffee table. I’ve decided to return all the ones I haven’t started to the library, but I am committing to trying hard to finish the ones I started. My biggest problem with those is sitting down to do the practices (I’ve listened to all the rest of the audiobook), but skipping that part kind of skips the whole point of the book, so I just need to find the time.

Well, that was a lot of explanation on why my currently reading list got so long! I’ll save for next week a discussion of why a day time book, the Serial Reader app, and the Hoopla app were added to the list.

What I’m Reading Next

My children’s audiobook for the car is nearly always planned out, so I can say rather confidently that sometime next week I will start When the Sea Turned to Silver. Outside that, I’m not sure. I have a Netgalley back log that I plan on getting to as soon as the Woodcutter is finished. I still need to sit down and plan out when I’m reading what based on release dates. But my next novel will very likely be an ARC.

I also plan on reading another volume of Ms. Marvel this week before it is due back at the library. Outside of that, I am trying very hard to get through all the books on my current reading that have been sitting there awhile because it is out of control!

Well, there’s so much more I could talk about, but that’s enough for now. As I write more of these, it will become clearer what has been going on for the last couple of months and I’ll reconnect with all of you! Glad to be back!

Update – Relaunch Preview part 1

update-1672349_640 Gerd Altman / Pixbay / CC0 Public Domain

Guys, it’s been 7 months to the day since I stopped blogging and I finally have started making real progress toward re-launching this blog. I still deeply miss Nica and blogging will continue to be a reminder of her, but, I’m finally in a place to start moving forward, at least a little. Before I dive back into blogging, I’m in the process of revising the site in terms of visuals and content. To start, there’s a new site name, about me blurb, and profile pic. What do you think of the changes?

I am actually pretty excited; I very much enjoyed blogging, even when I made it into too much and again still when it became too much with everything else. With that in mind, I plan on modifying the focus of this site a bit and reducing the frequency of scheduled posts. I will update the blog and you as I finalize these plans. Over the next few weeks, I will do a soft launch of this site and write blog posts about things that have happened over the last 7 months. I look forward to connecting with all of you again! I’ve missed you!!

Update – Temporary Break

update-1672349_640 Photo credit: Gerd Altman / Pixbay / CC0 Public Domain

Unfortunately, I am going to have to take a break from blogging. I don’t want to take this break and I was hoping to find a way to balance everything, but it’s currently not possible. My recovery from surgery has been slower than I had hope and in general, I am more easily tired than I expected. In addition, between Nica’s and my surgeries, I have substantial medical bills I currently do not have the resources to pay for, so I am seeking out temporary employment. Unfortunately, that leaves very little time for blogging.

I will be posting at least one more review as I already committed to doing so. I hope to post reviews of the books I’ve already read, but I am not certain that will happen. I will try to participate in the community from time to time and maybe participate in a tag or two (I have a backlog currently), but I do not want to make promises I cannot keep.

I am grateful to all of my followers and hope to reconnect with you all very soon. This has brought me great pleasure and I do not plan on abandoning this blog.

August Reads and an Update – Bookish: Reads

Welcome to August Reads! Overall, I read 7 books, including 2 audiobooks, 2 nonfiction books, 1 ARC, 1 eARC, 4 diverse books, and 2 books written by women. This month, 57% of the books I read were diverse, which is over my 50% goal. For July and August combined, 60% of the books I read were diverse, which I very happy with. Only 29% of the books I read this month were written by women, which is below my desired 50% goal. For July and August combined, 55% of the books I read were written by women, which meets my overall goal of at least 50%. The biggest change this month was not listening to audiobooks. This was due to my dog’s sudden and critical illness and the toll it took on me. It’s also why it took me longer to get through books as there were some days I just didn’t have the energy to read. For an update on Nica’s health, please scroll all the way to the end!

the judgment of richard richter coverThe first book I started and finished in August was the Judgment of Richard Ritcher. This was an interesting change of pace from my normal reads and I am so glad I decided to grab it through the Kindle First program. It’s been a long time since I read an Eastern European/ Russian author and it wasn’t the only book by such an author this month. This was a 4 star read for me, though note that it comes with trigger warnings.

The Power of Habit coverThe next book I finished was a hard one for me to determine what the star rating should be. I ranged from giving it a 2 to a 4 and finally settled on a 3.5. There are parts of The Power of Habit that are really good, but ultimately, there were several flaws, which are common in pop science journalism, that got under my skin as a scientist. But, I was able to take a few useful things away from it, so I decided on a positive star rating. This book was reviewed on Goodreads.

The Shadow of the Wind coverMy next read was also challenging to figure out a star rating. I was so excited to read The Shadow of the Wind and so let down by its sexism and poor finish. Honestly, this book combined with The Power of Habit probably contributed to the reading slump that was excerabated by my dog’s illness. This was not exactly my month for great books. But like The Power of Habit, there were things I enjoyed in The Shadow of the Wind and it made it hard for me to give it a low rating. Again, I was between a 2.5 and 4, but settled on 3.5 stars.

Still Here coverOnto a book I greatly enjoyed reading, even if I barely remember it now. Still Here was a book I couldn’t put down and read in no time at all, but it wasn’t that memorable. Because I enjoyed it so greatly while I read it, it was a 4 star read, but it won’t end up on a favorite list. I do expect to read Vapnyar’s books in the future as I loved the tone of this book. Plus, it was great to have a second Eastern European/ Russian book in one month!

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music coverI finally finished an audiobook I started back in June. It was very long, though it generally kept my interest and I moved through the early sections pretty quickly. Then I took a break and powered through again. How to Listen to and Understand Great Music is definitely an audiobook I would recommend to anyone interested in better understanding orchestral music. This was a 4 star read and I have already stated another audiobook by this author! This was reviewed on Goodreads.

The Circle coverAh, The Circle. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a movie more than the book before, but it happened here. I chose to read this book to meet a reading challenge requirement to read a book that was being turned into a movie this year. This book sounded super interesting and I was really excited going in. Unfortunately, I didn’t much like the main character and the ending was the worst. Oddly enough, those issues were fixed in the movie, which was coauthored by the book author. So, maybe he ended up agreeing with me in the end. This was a 3 star read for me since the plot was interesting. It was reviewed on Goodreads.

Little Gold coverThe last read was Little Gold which was a unique story for me that was hard to get into, but absolutely worth sticking it out. I fell in love with Little Gold (the character) and was satisified with the book, even though the ending was a bit too perfect. This was one of those books that is hard to describe, but I want to push on everyone. I’m not sure it’s a book for everyone, but for that certain reader, it is a wonderful treat.

update-1672349_640Lastly, an update on Nica. Nica (pictured in the profile picture) has been recovering a little more every day from a major surgery which removed a large tumor, her gallbladder, a lymph node, and a small mass. Before surgery, she was suffering from severe adema and would have died without the surgery. Going into surgery, there was a greater than 50% chance that this was liver cancer, which has a median survival time of 2 years. Unforunately, this was a rare presentation of bile duct cancer, which is an aggressive, fast metatsizing cancer. The vet expects her to live 3 to 6 months, though median survival time in the medical literature is 6 months. I will try to keep up with this blog through this challenging time, but I may not go back to doing reflections for awhile. They are simply too much for me in terms of emotional energy and time. As it nears the end for Nica, I will likely take another hiatus. She is my world, my child, and my spirit animal. Losing her will be an incredible blow and I’m simply not sure at this point how it will affect this blog. I will keep you updated as I know more.

What book did you enjoy most in your August reads? Please comment below!

Update: Reviews

update-1672349_640Photo credit: Gerd Altman / Pixbay / CC0 Public Domain

I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend! After much contemplation, I have decided that this week will be a week of reviews. There will be no reflections and I won’t post reflections for these books at some point in the future. While I love writing reflections, they are emotionally draining and time consuming. With my dog being diagnosed with bile duct cancer and given only a few months to live, I’m finding I cannot write reflections. I am struggling to write reviews as well, but those are much easier and I’ve been making it through.

How do you guys feel about my stopping reflections for a bit? Do you enjoy the reflections? Are they something you don’t find interesting? What would you like to see outside of reviews?

Update: Brief Hiatus

Photo credit: Gerd Altman / Pixbay / CC0 Public Domain

There was no Bookish post today and I apologize for that. I opted for sleep over writing a post. My dog, Nica, who is pictured in my profile picture, presented with severe fluid retention on Wednesday, August 16th and was diagnosed with a liver tumor. The tumor was surgical removed on Monday, August 21st. They ended up removing more than expected, including her gallbladder and a mass on her spleen as well as addressing an abnormal lymph node. Her recovery has been suboptimal and what was expected to be an overnight hospital stay turned into several days. Even though she was still incredibly anemic, we decided she should come home on Wednesday night in hopes of her improving faster out of the hospital. While she has made gradual improvement, she still needs care from me at least every 2 hours. This entire process has been incredibly draining as it has not been clear what is the underlying issue. We are still waiting on pathology results from the biopsies. The blog was updated last week mostly because of my writing the posts in advance, but my post on Thursday was written that morning and I am not happy with the quality. So in the interest of my own sanity and ensuring the quality on this blog is maintained, I will be taking at least a one week hiatus from blogging. If it needs to be longer depending on her recovery, I will update you as soon as the decision is made.

I appreciate all of your support and hope to connect with you all again very soon!

Update: New Posting Schedule

update-1672349_640I have decided to move to two reviews and reflections a week starting this week, with reviews on Mondays and Wednesdays and their respective reflections on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays will stay bookish days. The reviews on Monday will be ARCs or eARCs, typically reviewed around their date of release. The reviews on Wednesdays will be of older books either from my personal collection of books or from the library. Of course, since I cannot control how often I am approved for ARCs or eARCs, reviews on Monday may sometimes not be ARCs or eARCs, but since I have ARC and eARC reviews planned through the end of October, I suspect this will not be an issue anytime soon.

This change will first run as a trial and if I find it possible to maintain this schedule, will become the norm. The trial will run for a month with final determination made in early September. Thank you to each and everyone of your for your support of this blog. It is because of your support I am making this change! As always, if you have any feedback, ideas, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to reach out!! ❤ ❤ ❤