- My birthday! (it’s tomorrow)
- Also, my cats’ birthday on Saturday. I kinda love that we know when it is.
- Free blogging webinar! Learn more here
- Doing our taxes. We are *finally* hooking up with an accountant.
- springtime activities like yardwork, hammocks, iced coffee and weekend adventures
- Day trip with Kam!
- Maybe going to Phoenix another time or two
- Project Life and Currently List and working on my Scotland Blurb book
- finishing Linchpin
- My brother may be staying with us for a few days on his way to move to Hawaii!! SO fun!
I thought I was going to get so much reading done during the week I was in Arizona without internet. Not so much. But! Lots of good fast fiction reads. I seriously have this problem where I just stop working mid-afternoon and read for hours and hours and hours.
I’m going to get a few novel-research-related books in the next month that I’m looking forward to!
Some of my reads from March:
Yesterday’s Gone (season 2 and 3) by Sean Platt and David Wright: Forget what I said about Yesterday’s Gone reminding me of The Stand. About the middle of season 2 it turned crazy sci-fi. Way different than anything I would usually read. I still don’t love it, but it’s kind of like … Lost, in that every episode I thought, “This is ridiculous. Why am I watching this? … I can’t wait til the next episode.” The second season brings up a lot more questions than it answers and I still don’t love any of the characters, but I can’t stop reading. Season 3 is perilously close to a trainwreck. Every single chapter takes place in a different time and place. Which means that while for most writers the goal is to keep the reader turning the page to the next chapter and next chapter, for this book every single chapter is a jarring reset, trying to remember how this time fits in with the previous chapter and then also the chapter 6 or 8 chapters ago that was from the same time and place.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith: If you hadn’t heard, Robert Galbraith is actually a pen-name of J.K. Rowling. I tried to avoid reading reviews of this book before reading it – I don’t want anything to color my judgement of Rowling’s writing. Verdict: I liked it. Even more than I liked Casual Vacancy. I’ve only read a few real mysteries in my life, so I don’t know exactly how this fits into the genre, but I definitely enjoyed it. I think she’s planning on writing more with this same Private Detective character which I will read too! (Related: Anyone have good mystery recommendations? I’ve only ever read a couple Agatha Christie)
Burr: A Novel by Gore Vidal This book is the second I have read by this author – and I’m pretty sure I’m going to read all of his books. This is heavily and thoroughly researched historical fiction. Which, obviously, I love since it’s U.S. history-ish. The structure of this was a bit weird – it basically jumped back and forth between 2 1st person POVs : The protagonist (fictional character who is a writer) and Aaron Burr (who is dictating his memoir to the writer). Only very slightly confusing at times. But overall, I really liked it. (sidenote: I’ve read about 8 books about Thomas Jefferson and I really don’t like him. All of Burr’s characterization of Jefferson in this novel is *exactly* how I would describe Jefferson from what I’ve read).
Serena by Ron Rash: Added this to my to-read list because apparently it will be a movie later this year. Within the first 20 or so pages I thought, I really do not care for this Serena woman. She is well-written and fits in the context of the novel. But if she were a person? No thank you. That said, I feel like the book itself is fairly well-written and someone else might really love it. Some of the descriptions are particularly lovely.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth: The third book in this trilogy, I had been on the library waiting list since December or January. Pretty much the only reason I even finished this trilogy was because I’m a completist and they are CRAZY fast reads. But otherwise, I don’t particularly care for the main character, the general plot/conspiracy is awfully depressing and I don’t really know that I gained anything by reading them. But, you know. FAST reads.
Atonement by Ian McEwan: This was the fist book by Ian McEwan I’ve read, but I’ll probably read more. I really enjoy the super detailed and stream-of-consciousness writing – mostly because I don’t think I can write that kind of thing myself. This is one of the few books that I’m glad I saw the film first. I’m not totally sure why – the stream of consciousness, same scene from multiple points of view can be a tiny bit confusing. But, in general, I enjoyed it.
Read anything good lately?
P.S. I’ve added all of your recommendations to my To-Read list. But since there’s 1500+ books on there, please forgive me if I don’t get to them all right away.
This month’s book report is a bit lengthier …. And no YA books – sorry everyone! I have a giant stack of U.S. History to read for March.
I read far fewer books in February, but several long, slow-ish ones. In about the order I finished them, here are my reads from February:
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper: The ONLY reason I read this was for my U.S. History Class and for the historical context. It’s an *early* American novel and was published around the time that Congress was debating their Native American policies (just prior to Andrew Jackson and his Indian Removal Act). This was one of those books that influences popular opinion (and helped create the stereotype of the ‘noble savage’), so I think it’s worth reading for that context. The language of the book is convoluted and flowery, and the story is pretty hard to take. Not to mention the fact that (spoiler alert) the one female character that has any kind of agency at all and a barely alluded to connection to the ‘noble savage’ is essentially punished for it (by being killed in the end). However, if you’re not as obsessed with history as me you can probably skip it. See the movie with Daniel Day-Lewis instead.
11/22/63 by Stephen King: Turns out I love Stephen King. Who knew? I was too literature-snobby (and busy) in college to bother, but now that I’ve read a few of his books I want to read all of them. It might not be high art, but his books are certainly all page-turners. I enjoyed the history aspect of this book the most (obviously). And I think he did the best he could with the whole time travel paradox/snare/trying to make it remotely realistic. All that said, I found the ending frustrating. That is all that I will say on the matter. The first 800 (or so) pages were great.
Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy by Ian W. Toll: This book was also read for my U.S. History Class. I kinda love military history, and don’t really know anything about the Navy at all so I was excited to get this book. But, really, it ended up being a bit about the legislation/political fight to found, and mostly about this war and this war. Both about which I’ve already. But if you have a hankering for in-depth Navy battles play-by-play, definitely read Six Frigates.
Yesterday’s Gone (season 1) by Sean Platt and David Wright: The short version is I enjoyed this post-apocolyptic series, but I wish I had not read it quite so soon after reading The Stand by Stephen King. The long version is, Sean Platt is one of the writers of this book that I enjoyed so much, so I was interested in his fiction. I read (for free) season 1 episode 1 and liked enough to actually buy (!) the full season 1. It is essentially structured like a TV show – problems are solved in each episode, but the end of season 1 is just as open as the end of any TV show season 1. That said, I don’t *love* the series yet. At least, I don’t particularly love any of the characters, but the story is interesting so I’m going to keep going. (And I have seasons 2-4 ready to start soon)
The Art of Growth by Tara Gentile: I knew peripherally about Tara Gentile and her business, but never really paid super close attention until her most recent CreativeLive class on pricing. Most of what she was teaching I already knew, but it’s still impressive that she can teach about pricing for 3 full days! Anyway, partway through the first day I remembered that I had this book of hers on Kindle. Liked not loved. I don’t feel like any of the info is new to me, but it was good for me to revisit and review some of the things (like, for example, thinking about structuring a sales funnel).
Arguing About Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress by William Lee Miller: I really really enjoyed this book. I mean, I love history. And I love John Quincy Adams. So I shouldn’t have been surprised how much I liked this book, but really … it’s 514 pages about a legislative battle about the right to petition. Which really SHOULDN’T be so interesting. I really don’t know if this battle in Congress would have been nearly so interesting (or led to the Civil War in the same way) without John Quincy Adams. He had that particular blend of constitutional knowledge, a little bit of slyness, and complete disregard for his party line (if he could even have been said to have a political party) that brought all this on. PLUS bits of humor here and there. I *actually* laughed out loud once! If you’re at all interested in this period of history read it.
Read anything good lately?
This year, I am focusing on making the small choices to bring my One Little Word into my life on a weekly-or-so basis.
This year I want to NURTURE my life and the things I already have, rather than fall into that rat-race-style trap of more, bigger, further, etc. I want to cultivate my existing business rather than stretching myself too thin. I want to take care of ME and all the little pieces that make up me.
I have been really doing a lot of work around the house. Which, of course, means I’m a bit behind on my computer-ing work. But still.
I took 45 minutes or so to completely re-pack my linen closet and pull out some of the older sheets and things that I want to get rid of.
I’ve been trying to do about 20-30 minutes of yardwork every day for the last few weeks. Including raking, taking out a tree and starting our first SchubertHQ garden. This was a BIG goal for 2014 – to make our backyard into a place I want to just hang out (instead of avoid).
Plus, Andrew and I took a trip to Lowe’s to get the supplies and things we need for a few more house projects. We’re replacing a small shelf outside the kitchen window and painting a wall in our garage (it’s currently an ugly brown).
I’m happy with the progress I’m making. We’re making. My strawberry plant is already going like gangbusters and it’s only been a week! I’m so excited to continue this throughout the year.
What have you been doing for yourself lately?
- 30 Days of Lists starts today!!
- Our 2 year anniversary of living in our house!
- Which means I’ll take another anniversary as-is photo tour
- Going to a friend’s wedding in San Diego (excited!)
- St. Patrick’s Day! No plans, even though I’m very Irish
- Finish taking out the tree and keeping our first SchubertHQ garden alive
- Catch up on podcasts. I’ve been trying to listen to 1 or 2 every night.
- Tackling unfinished projects
- and (obviously) read tons and tons of U.S. History
What do you have planned for this month?
- #30Lists starts on Saturday! Will you be joining us?
- Andrew and I started a band. We don’t have instruments or songs or a name, but … you know. We will.
- Make something people hate
- My brother in law (who is an art student in Chicago) is FINALLY on Instagram! I’m so excited!
- The one thing with having a large family is communication is terrible. Everyone thought someone else told me my grandma was in town so I missed the first half of her 2 weeks here!
- Gorgeous spring time weather here recently. I love living in SoCal.
- *Trying* to grow our first veggie garden this year! I’ve been posting a lot on Instagram
- Speaking of Instagram, we had to have a bee hive removed and I am LOVING the company’s instagram feed! SO INTERESTING!
- Have you grabbed your copy of Linchpin by Seth Godin for March and April’s L&R Book Club read?
- Need some attention for your business? Sponsor L&R for the next month!
- How’s your February going?
- I love mornings too. Someday I want to have a lovely backyard to drink my morning coffee in.
- Right now I just have a trashy backyard
- Have you registered for 30 Days of Lists yet??
- I think I’ve decided to do a SUPER simple Project Life insert for my #30Lists
- Speaking of, I haven’t even started my Project Life 2014 yet. I’m way behind on my photo editing
- There is a chance we will be going here this summer! Excited!
- Andrew was home most of last week, so he got to see how weird the cats are in the middle of the day. I love them.
- English has a new preposition, because Internet.
- Will you be doing a regular Currently List this year?
- Andrew and I recently started re-watching The Wonder Years. LOVE that show. Makes me so happy!
- I can’t really believe I made it to 30 without realizing I am an introvert.
- I always want coffee when the characters on whatever show I’m watching have some. Or mention it.
- My father-in-law has quite the green thumb. I love their house and their neighborhood.
- I’m working on a new FREE ebook for email list subscribers. Are you one of them?
- Have any big plans for Valentine’s Day?
- Photo of the week: August 2007. I was about 35 lbs heavier and dressed as Pam Beesly for an Office-themed party
I love the idea of sharing what I’m reading, but I feel like the lists that I did last year (In the last month) aren’t enough info and Elise’s quarterly book round-ups aren’t frequent enough. I love to read. It is my favorite hobby and I make time every single day to read a little bit (or a lot).
Without further ado, my favorite reads from January:
Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow: I read this for my self-paced U.S. History class. This is without a doubt my favorite Washington biography. The only one I’ve read that I really get a sense of his personality. Ron Chernow is a great writer. Read my full review here.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I chose this after reading and liking Eleanor & Park by the same author. But I loved Fangirl a lot more! I love reading about the beginnings of relationships; it’s been so long since I’ve been there myself. Plus this book made me want to go read some Harry Potter fan fiction!
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk: AMAZING book. One of my new favorites. I absolutely need to buy this book so I can read it again. Only problem? I thought this book was so great it made me discouraged to ever be a writer myself. I can’t produce anything close to this. Sigh. But, now I need to read the rest of Palahniuk.
Write. Publish. Repeat. by Johnny B Truant and Sean Platt: If you are at all thinking about writing and publishing, read this book. Truant used to be a marketing teacher/blogger that I followed and now he makes his living writing fiction. You may be surprised at the business model he and his partner are using – but the truth is they are both making money self-publishing. So fascinating!
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini : I never read this when it made the best-seller rounds a few years ago, but I had the opportunity to borrow it so I thought why not. I liked-not-loved this book. This was his first novel, and felt like it might be halfway autobiographical so I’m interested to see what his other novels are like.
(and others… )
Read anything good lately?
- 30Lists registration opens!!
- Weekend with some friends for a bachelorette party!
- Photographing a wedding with Maggie
- Valentine’s Day (we don’t really celebrate, but still)
- Reading the second half of Focus for L&R Book Club
- Reading about John C. Calhoun and Lafayette and others for my US History Class
- Focusing on our backyard as spring arrives in SoCal
- Staying caught up with Project Life
What do you have planned for the month?
I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve posted one of these updates! Since at least before Christmas! So that means in the last month around here ….
….. We took our traditional family photo in front of the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. And then Andrew got crazy sick and stayed on the couch the rest of the day.
….. Andrew’s boss got us this inflatable unicorn horn for the cats! haha!
….. New Year’s Eve we spent at home, in front of the TV, and went to bed early. Loved it!
….. First weekend in January we went to Arizona for my grandmother’s 90th birthday! My parents had the party in their backyard.
….. That same weekend in Phoenix, we did “Christmas” with my family and Andrew and I were given matching Phoenix Suns PJ pants! Ridiculous
….. That same weekend we went over to some friends-of-the-family for dinner, and roasting marshmallows over the fire pit.
….. 2 weeks after that I went back to AZ on my own without Andrew. A friend picked me up from the airport and we went to the Desert Botanical Garden!
….. My mom works for the Suns, so we got to go to the game AND get a VIP tour of the locker room. It was amazing! (But I’m not allowed to post pics)
….. My mom and I went to Bisbee, AZ for the weekend! Antique shopping, ghost tour, mining museum, and tour of the Queen Mine.
….. and then on Friday morning I woke up with a fever. Lost the whole weekend to being sick. LAME.