Monday, January 19, 2015

New Year, New Resolutions

The beginning of the year is a good time for self assessment and goal making, right? I've self-assessed that I haven't been blogging much lately, and I think it's because I've been pretending that I don't exist. That makes it easier to do things like shirk my hosting responsibilities when I suddenly find myself in charge of Christmas in the year when I forgot to buy a tree.

But it turns out that I'm still here no matter how hard I shut my eyes, and that I like being able to look back and see what I've read lately. Since I've probably even driven away my family during my hiatus, I can now confide all my secrets to you, my private Library Chicken!

This year I decided it didn't matter if I didn't finish all my challenges, that just because I made a list didn't mean I had to finish it. In fact, my resolution for January is to let myself stop reading as soon as the going gets tough. So I'll pick up a book, and then if it gets emotionally thick, or somehow annoying, or just not what I want at that moment,  I just put it down and pick up something else! Tomorrow is another day! Que sera, sera! When the going gets tough, the tough are OUTTA HERE!

I'm also doing the TBR Dare, where I don't get new books from the library or the store, I just read what I've got. Honestly, it might take me until April just to clear off my library backlog, so that should work out. And I'm going to approach all of my challenges as ways of sorting my reading, not as markers of success.

What have I been reading? Funny I should ask that, because just this week I started keeping a reading diary!

Wednesday: The Given Sacrifice (completed), A SEAL Wolf Christmas, Pickwick Papers (completed),  A Love That Multiplies (started)
Thursday: A Love That Multiplies
Friday: A Love That Multiplies (completed), A SEAL Wolf Christmas, NERDS, The Waking Dark, Reading and Learning to Read, Wide Open
Saturday: The Waking Dark (completed), NERDS, Reading and Learning To Read, Lost Enchantment, A SEAL Wolf Christmas (completed)
Sunday: The October Country, Sex and Violence, Not Quite a Husband (started)American Heiress (started)Wide Open, The Shadow ThroneBlood & Betrayal (started)

So I started four books, and finished five. That's progress on my currently reading tower!

I'm off to sign up to see what everyone else is reading lately at bookjourney's and Teach Mentor Texts lists.

The Given Sacrifice (Emberverse, #10)There was a lot of religion in these books, starting with the Given Sacrifice, because almost all the characters believe completely in their faiths, and expect the people around them to also have religion. They also actively experience miracles, and have seen magic in their lives, so faith isn't always the right word -- belief is something that comes from tangible events, so disbelief in the supernatural would be irrational.

A Love That Multiplies: An Up-Close View of How They Make it WorkA SEAL Wolf Christmas (Heart of the Wolf, #12)When I followed that with the biography of the Duggar family, who also put their religion in the center of their lives, it made for interesting contrasts. The Duggars also experience their faith as a tangible thing, going so far as to roll dice in a literal attempt to decipher what God is telling them. But they also disbelieve in everyone else's religion, feeling that those who believe in different religions are doing it wrong. This narrow world view found an echo in the romance book I read for the Vaginal Fantasy book club -- a major plot point in SEAL Wolf Christmas is that the main character doesn't celebrate Christmas. The other characters ponder this for a hundred pages and yet never consider that she might not be Christian. Of course, it turns out that they are right -- she DOES have a traumatic past (after being raped as a teen, she miscarried twins on Christmas Eve) but that gap astonished me. Oh well, it's not like romance protagonists are typically chosen for their brains.

I also thought a bit about missed opportunities; most classics are better when read as an adult, but I think I would have enjoyed Pickwick Papers much more in my twenties or thirties. Instead I found myself backing away from the humor as I would from a reddit threat. Even the tropes of Lost Enchantment are harder for me to swallow in my forties than they would have been in my thirties. Yes, my children, I am getting old.

2015 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2014: 1/81
  2. Where Am I Reading?: 6/51
  3. Alphabetically Inclined:
  4. TBR Challenge:
  5. Best of the Best 2012: 52/25.  I am stalled.
  6. Reading My Library: Library temporarily closed, so on hiatus.

2014 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2013: 74/77. I'd better finish so I can get started on next year.

1 comment:

Stephen Jarvis said...


Sorry to hear that you didn't totally enjoy The Pickwick Papers, but I wonder whether I can give you a new perspective on Pickwick, from the point of view of a 57 year-old author? You see, I have actually written a novel about the creation of The Pickwick Papers - it's called Death and Mr Pickwick. And that very title should indicate that my novel is not exactly a comedy! In my view, The Pickwick Papers has the most fascinating backstory of any work of fiction.

Anyway, if you are interested, Death and Mr Pickwick will be published in May by Random House (in the UK) and in June by Farrar,Straus & Giroux (in the USA).You can find out more at: where I can also be contacted. And if you feel like getting in touch, please do.

Best wishes

Stephen Jarvis