Sorry, Lamb, but I want to read other books.

I tried, Christopher Moore, I really did. Unfortunately, Lamb just wasn’t doing it for me. I had to put it down and move on to something else.

And isn’t that just the hardest thing to do?

But sometimes reading a book can feel like this:

I find the world of readers is pretty split on the “when do you give up on a book (if ever)?” question. It’s pretty divisive, actually. Some people are fine with putting down a book they are not enjoying – there are so many books out there, why waste time on one that’s not giving you what you want out of it? Right? Others disagree – you started it, you made a commitment. Suck it up and finish that thing! Maybe it gets good at the end!

I seldom give up on a book. Even when the plot plateaus, the characters all begin to irritate me, and I have almost entirely disconnected from the narrative, I’m usually still able to push through it and get the job done. Primarily because I’m stubborn AF. Case and point: Lord of the Rings.

Then, sometimes, I say, life is short and I have a list to read so I don’t have time for you, Mr. Bad Book. Or, I lie to myself and say, “You can go back on the bookshelf for now, I will try again later. Maybe I’m just not in the right place/state of mind/environment/mood to appreciate you right now.” This is also because I’m stubborn. I’m also in denial about my addiction to books.

I can list on one hand the number of times I’ve given up on a book: (1) The Shadow Boxer (a bargain book I picked up because I fell in love with the font and paper), (2) Watership Down (which I will eventually have to read as its on the list), (3) Interview with a Vampire (this one is definitely getting a revisit, I refuse to believe this book is not for me), and now, (4) Lamb.

BUT THAT’S OKAY, wanna know why? Because soon I won’t have time to spend on any of these books anyway.

Wanna know why?

Okay, I’ll tell you why.

It is because as of this fall I will be starting my English Masters program! SQUEEEEEE! This means my days of self-directed reading are behind me for the next little while. I have reading lists upon beautiful reading lists on my horizon, and I cannot wait to tear through them all.

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Unfortunately, this means I also need to press pause on Middlemarch – though that decision is not a reflection of my enjoyment of the book. It is a treasure and I am looking forward to picking it back up.

So, over the next week I’ll be re-reading Tale of Two Cities, which as it turns out is even better the second time around, as well as a number of course readings in preparation for my first term as a graduate student. Oh, I will also be finishing up Clockwork Princess because that will take me all of one day to do. I’m so close to completing that series, I just want to finish it while I still can, okay?

What will happen to this blog while I’m focusing on fancy book learning? Don’t worry, kids, you’re all coming along for the ride 🙂

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I got this.

It turns out that I had incorrectly logged books I’ve read (*cough* or listened to as audiobooks *cough*) this year on Goodreads, and am actually much closer to my goal as previously believed (yay!).

After correctly logging books I have read, and with the help of a recent long driving trip which allowed me to finish two and half audiobooks, I find myself with only three books left to read to reach my goal.

According to Goodreads I am now “on track” to reach my goal. Coming off of months of being ridiculously behind, this made me feel very good, and very confident. In celebration, today I decided to ditch my plan of relying on young adult fiction, Shakespeare (with the exception of Henry IV Part Two, which I’m still working on and will finish soon), and audiobooks, and turned once again to my bowl to pick which book to read next.

My next book will be: Anna Karenina

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True, this is not the most digestible of books, but it is supposed to be very good. It’s on The List after all, right?! Don’t worry, guys, I totally got this…

…I am 62% sure I got this…

…I picked up the first Infernal Devices book and The Five People You Meet in Heaven…just to be safe…Safety first!

 

 

Competing Goals

Obviously the big picture here is The List. Continuing to make progress towards crossing off those titles is clearly the larger goal.

HOWEVER. I also made a Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge goal of 30 books. I have read sixteen this year so far (I know, I suck!).

That leaves fourteen to read to meet my Goodreads goal. With six weeks left in the year, this means I need to read more than two books per week. Which is insane because I have a full-time job, a husband, dogs and friends who sometimes require my attention.

I think I have a fighting chance. Not a very good chance, but a chance nonetheless. Between Audible, young adult fiction, Shakespeare, strategic short List reads (such as Alice in Wonderland, which I read last week and neglected to write a post about), I just might pull this off.

Relationships may suffer. Success has its price, sacrifices must be made.

Wish me luck!

sounds about right…

me: these books are soooooo looooong *explaining why it takes me nine months to read six books on the list*

me: these books aren’t that long… *takes me two weeks to read entire Mortal Instruments series*

For those of you who are not ‘in-the-know,’ The Mortal Instruments is a young adult fiction series. It covers the love triangle saga of one girl, a boy she thinks is her brother, and another boy who is her brother. Each book is between 600 400 and 1,000 pages long. I’m approximating – suffice it to say they are THICK.

Now, as we know, size does not always mean quality; bigger does not necessarily mean better. In the case of The Mortal Instruments, these books are 60% incest, 10% sexy times, 20% sexual tension, 5% daddy issues and 5% killing demons.

Considering this distribution, what often struck me while reading these books was the maturity level of the subject matter being discussed held in contrast to the level of the writing being used. The writing often struck me as very juvenile, and okay, yes, I was reading young adult, what do you expect, right? But the subject matter was so mature in many ways, heavy, sometimes controversial (the themes of incest and being sexuality active at a young age come to mind) and would raise a lot of questions in young readers. If you’re going to give your audience enough credit to handle mature themes, you should also give them enough credit to write for them at a level commensurate to those themes. 

In th end, much like the YA series I have loved before (Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent, etc), these are not masterpieces, nor do they try to be. But oh man, was it ever fun to just inhale a book again!

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moi (note: I googled “inhaling a book” too, but those images turned out to be…darker…)

YA 4EVA #YOLO

After finishing The Count of Monte Cristo I picked King Henry IV Part 2 , so you can imagine how exciting that was. I haven’t read Part 1 yet, so I decided to do that first, then read Part 2.

While taking on another Shakespearian history, I also decided to have a little bit of fun. I’ve put down Interview with a Vampire as it did not turn out to be as intoxicating as I expected it to be. It’s actually very dense. I’ll revisit that one later.

Instead I’ve picked up The Mortal Instruments. I’ve already finished City of Bones and am on to Book 2: City of Ashes. It’s amazing how it took me so long to read Moby Dick and then I polished off this 400 page young adult book in 3 or 4 days. Of course…it is a much easier read…and I’m a sucker for a story about star crossed lovers. Don’t you hate it when you fall in love and the guy turns out to be your brother? It’s the worst.

I’m enjoying the mental vacation I’m getting from reading Young Adult fiction compared to the heavy literary classics.

Nerd Pride! #ireadwhatiwant

I’m supposed to be reading Troilus and Cressida right now, but guess what? It turns out that following up Moby Dick with obscure Shakespeare is maybe not the best idea. At least not when you are also reading the 5th edition of the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge). I’ve been reading a play that should take me 2 hours to read for the last – what? – month now? My brain is working out more than my body is. Granted that’s not very much but you get the idea!

Full disclosure: I also read a fantasy novel instead of Shakespeare…because I wanted to.

Next week Colleges and Universities across the land will be going on reading week. Well I’ve decided I’m going to take a little reading week of my own!

WOOO HOOO! READING PARTY!! Did that just make me sound like the biggest nerd ever? DON’T CARE! I just googled “nerd pride” and this is what I found:

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#damnstraight

I.O.U.

I finished The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers about a week ago – I know I owe you a post about it. It’s coming shortly, promise 🙂

In the meantime, you can enjoy this video my husband shared with me of an adorable child signing Elvis:

 

and this one of Weird Al’s new song “Word Crimes”:

Lord of the Rings videos (a.k.a. surfing YouTube instead of reading)

In an attempt to break-up my reading a bit, I decided to watch Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring last night. I failed to watch the whole thing because it’s nearly four hours long and who do you think I am anyway that I would have that kind of time to spend watching a movie on a Monday night?? Moving on. Here are some funny videos on the Lord of the Rings 🙂

Here is the Lord of the Rings Symphony (how grand!). This is actually pretty cool:

The below is the Honest Trailer for Lord of the Rings. For anyone unfamiliar with Honest Trailer (as I was), Screen Junkies have a channel on YouTube where they post their versions of trailers in which they “tell you the TRUTH about your favorite movies and TV shows.” I’m assuming they are Americans, based on their spelling of the word “favorite,” but that’s all I can tell you about them. Anyways, this is pretty funny, and they make some good points about walking and Golem’s future career prospects.

This next video I felt compelled to include because of this previous post. Their logic isn’t always sound, but when you’re comparing Harry Potter and LOTR I suppose you do have to throw a bit of logic out the window…

Along the same thread is this video…

And of course I had to include Flight of the Conchord‘s “Frodo” here – because who doesn’t love Flight of the Conchords?! They invented rap in Australia.

That’s all for now! Back to reading I go 🙂

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List? What List?

I have a confession to make. I haven’t been reading from The List for some time now. I warned you all that this would happen from time to time! Still, I feel that is a weak excuse, at best. In short, I’ve been a bad bad girl (get your heads out of the gutter now, we’re talking about reading here, not sexy time).

First, I diverged from the reading list to read The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, which I’ve documented in previous posts. No regrets!

Then my reading ran away with itself…

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Someone I greatly respect (and one of my superiors) at work recommended The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi. The last book recommended by this superior was Arlene Dickinson’s Persuasion, which I really enjoyed. As far as professional reading goes, it was very insightful and it made a lot of sense to me – it also ended up being some required reading for the company. So it follows that once I saw her recommendation for The Effortless Experience pop up, I used one of my Audible credits for the audiobook. I’m glad I did, too. Essentially, the authors posit that the new goal for companies should be to focus on making the customer experience easier. Apparently there has been too much of a focus over the years on providing an over-the-top amazing customer experience, when all people really want is for you to make their lives easier. You make their life easier, you win their business and potentially their loyalty. BAM! Eureka! But in all seriousness it has had a positive impact on the way I do my job. For that reason, I’m glad I took the time to listen to this audiobook. Also I wouldn’t be too surprised to see it pop up as required reading at work, or having some kind of influence on strategies for next year. So if you think about it that way, I’m one step ahead!

Next up, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell. (SIDE BAR: that man has a lot of “L”s in his name, doesn’t he?) This was also acquired with Audible credits. Listen – I went into my account one day and saw that I had saved up 6 credits. That’s a lot of credits considering you only get one a month! I had no choice but to use them!! Right? Right. Of course. Let’s not be wasteful. For those of you out there still raising an incredulous eyebrow in my general direction, here was my justification: (1) I wanted to use my Audible credits, (2) I still wanted to finish Allegiant before returning to the Lord of The Rings series, and (3) I wanted an audiobook to listen to for my commute.

So after finishing Effortless Experience I moved on to David and Goliath. It was really interesting – I didn’t agree with all of the conclusions drawn by Gladwell in his discussion of our perceptions of advantages and disadvantages, but I still found the conversation to be thought provoking and intriguing. It’s the sort of thing I think a debate club or Toastmaster’s club could really have fun with. Actually, it might make for an interesting blog post of its own…maybe I’ll do a follow-up post on that one…we’ll see, no promises.

Now I’m reading Allegiant by Veronica Roth, which I think I should be able to finish up in the next week or so, and listening to Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. To be honest, I think I’m a bit premature in my listening of Dad is Fat. I think I might enjoy it more when kids start being a factor in my life.

After I finish Allegiant I PROMISE I’ll go back to Lord of the Rings. Pinky swear! I already have the audiobook and everything!

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