WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: January 16, 2019

This week feel exceptionally long for some reason and so I am more glad than usual to be writing the answers to my WWW post: What did I just finish? What am I currently reading? And, of course, What will read next? As always, thanks to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for hosting this weekly roundup and to all who participate. You keep me organized while ensuring that my TBR never stops growing!


What did I just finish reading?

I finished the fabulous Atomic Habits by James Clear and I am obsessed with his simple and proven habit building technique. The full review will be featured here for NonFiction Friday but if you want more information now you can head over to his website. I loved it and I have already seen huge improvements in my habit formation in the two weeks I have been following his advice.

I also finished listening to the audiobook version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. The adventures and mysteries of 15 year old Christopher made me so happy. I highly recommend it. If you want more information, my full review is here.

I also finished Kevin Kwan’s fun Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. All three of these books are pure undiluted fun and give you have the opportunity to see how the insanely rich live. I highly recommend them and I will have a series review up soon.

I also started and finished The Similars by Rebecca Hanover this weekend.


What am I currently reading?

I just started reading Awakening Your Ikigai by Ken Hogi yesterday and I am only one chapter into the book. I am excited by the idea of waking up each day to joy and purpose without having to fold my socks a la Marie Kondo.

I am more than half way through listening to the audiobook version of Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas. I watched the movie years ago without realizing it was a book and the series has been languishing on my TBR for far too long. So far, I am really enjoying it.

In a rare double nonfiction week I am also reading Conan Doyle for the Defense by Margalit Fox. This is a book I discovered during nonfiction November that came highly recommended by a number of bloggers and I was excited to be able to borrow it from my library. In this book a man is aided by the real Arthur Conan Doyle in his murder defense. The first few chapters were a little too tightly packed full of information on the murder and involvement of Conan Doyle but at about 20% in, the story has started rolling along nicely.


What will I read next?

I already have Springfield Confidential by Mike Reiss cued up on my library app, ready to listen to when I am finished with Odd Thomas. I really need to get back to working through my huge physical TBR and so I have randomly selected Before TomorrowlandThe Night Diary, and Un Lun Dun off my shelf. If you have read any of these and have a recommendation on where to start – let me know!


Tell me, please!

What are you reading this week?


 

Audio Book · fiction

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

I don’t remember adding this book to my to be read shelf and, honestly, I couldn’t have told you what it was about at all. And so, it languished for years in TBR purgatory. But, since I am still deeply into my New Years resolutions I delved into it when I saw, by chance, that it was immediately available to borrow from my library

curiouscaseAnd I loved it. Many have labelled this a coming of age story and, while that is accurate, it is also a story of metamorphosis. That enormous moment in time between being a child and becoming an adult when you suddenly understand that your parents are people (not simply your parents) and there is far more grey in the world than there is black and white.

Except, for main character Christopher, it would be more accurate to say that there are more colors than red and yellow and brown. Fifteen year old Christopher is clearly highly intelligent but struggles daily with an exceptionality that is not labelled in the story. He attends a school with other children with exceptionalities but he is planning to sit for his A level Maths.

Christopher’s world falls crisply into two timelines. Before the dog Wellington is murdered and after. Before Wellington’s murder Christopher knows that seeing five red cars in a row on the way to school makes it a very good day but seeing yellow cars in a row makes it a bad day. Before Wellington’s murder Christopher knows that his mother is dead and he loves math and dreams of being an astronaut. After Wellington’s murder Christopher is still those things but now he is also a detective. And once he begins to investigate Wellington’s murder he finds mystery after mystery in the world around him. Will he be brave enough to figure out what is happening?

I loved Christopher, his Dad and all of the other characters because they were interesting and unique without being cliche. The author seemed to both embrace the positives to being an individual with exceptionalities and the strain that being different puts on a person and his family. Also, I really appreciated that the story allows us to see how having a child like Christopher can radically change you as a person and as a parent. I laughed, I sighed (but never cried) and I listened anxiously while Christopher solved the numerous mysterious of his world.

If you have read this book, please come over for a cup of anything so that we can talk in detail about all the best parts. If you haven’t yet, do read it and let me know what you think!


Tell me, please!

Do you enjoy stories featuring unique characters like Christopher?


 

nonfiction

Non Fiction Friday: You are a Badass…by Jen Sincero

I love New Year’s Resolutions. Actually, I just love making goals. I also make birthday resolutions and summer resolutions. New Year’s Day is a great time to harness the energy to start working on them. I am usually trying to pick up a new skill or cultivate a habit. But, if you are unhappy with life and want a major change what do you do? I recommend starting that journey by reading You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero.

YoubadassHow many of us are living the life we have always dreamed of living? If you are then thank you for making my blog part of your ideal life! If not, perhaps you are getting in between yourself and happiness. Jen Sincero is a self made life coach and, while I have never had any life coaching, I wish I could hire her. Her positive, no nonsense approach to setting goals, believing in yourself, and expecting good things to come in life is inspirational.

Typically, these types of book start with an author talking about their own personal roadblocks and points are usually given for traumatic / terrifying / mind-blowing awful experiences. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this author just wanted to live a happier life. No trauma required. She was just broke and not living anywhere near her dream. That meant that listening to her transform into a badass was, more than anything else, great fun to listen to. Also, it made me feel like pushing myself and setting higher goals didn’t mean that I was unhappy now, just that I could be even more fulfilled.

The author begins by focusing on self identifying our own preconceived notions about life. I thought this was an ingenious place to start becoming a badass. So many people I know believe that a “good job” is what their parents had – even though they know full well that their parents were never happy. Or, they have ideas about relationships or money that are subconsciously are keeping them from living that awesome life. The idea that the journey to self-reinvention has to start with self awareness seems to obvious after reading the book but I never really reflected on this before.

I borrowed the audiobook version of this book and the author narrates it herself. While I really enjoyed listening to her, I need to get a physical copy of the book. I want to live that awesome life and to do so I need to revisit some of the ideas in this book! There is one thing she ingrained into me: You start with you. Embrace your badassery. Then live that awesome life!


Tell me, please!

What would be your ideal job?


 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Welcome to the middle of the week! Thanks, as always to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for hosting this mid-week update. If you want to participate, feel free to let me know what you have been reading in the comments! Also, make sure and head over to Taking on a World of Words to read what everyone else has been reading this week.


What Did I Just Finish Reading?

I tore through Another Find Myth by Robert Asprin! It is the first in a 20 book series and it was a fun and delightful fantasy read. I am looking forward to working through the rest of the series this year.

I also listened to You are a Badass, How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero as my first audiobook of the year. It is read by the author and it is a fantastic six hour pep talk. Whether the information that Ms. Sincero presents to you is new or not you will enjoy her telling you repeatedly, “you can do it.” A full review will appear on Friday for Non Fiction Friday.

Finally, I finished The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley. It was nearly as good as The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (my favorite book of 2018) and I enjoyed it immensely. You can read the full review here.


What am I Currently Reading?

I have nearly 100 pages remaining in Atomic Habits by James Clear. So far it is a great re-framing for how to achieve my goals. I cannot wait to put the advice into action.

I was at the library this weekend and I spotted the second and third Kevin Kwan books. Since they are both on my TBR list I grabbed them and so far, China Rich Girlfriend is just as good as Crazy Rich Asians. I am more than halfway through and loving it!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon has been on my TBR for too too long so when I saw the audiobook available at the library I checked it out immediately. I am only a few chapters into the story but I am already deeply attached to the main character.


What Will I Read Next?

chinarich

The only book I have sitting ready to be read is Rich People Problems. I will certainly grab something off of my physical TBR shelf as well! I need to read at least four more books before January 29th when 99% Mine, the new Sally Thorne book, comes out. My new incentive program (read five books I own before I buy a new one) will hopefully keep me working through my already-owned treasures.


Tell me, please!

What is on your WWW list?

fiction · historical fiction

Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley

badlamstacksMy favorite book of 2018 was The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. For me, it was like eating my favorite meal complete with a perfectly sized (but decadent) desert. Ms. Pulley’s new book Bedlam Stacks was just as delicious although it lacked that certain little bit of sweet and depth that made Watchmaker such an ideal story. Like Watchmaker, Bedlam Stacks is a mixture of historical fiction, magical realism and mystery. Pulley’s careful and meticulous story building could be seen by some as boring but I consumed this story quickly even as I tried to slowly enjoy myself.

Bedlam Stacks features Merrick Tremayne. He is the second son of an impoverished family who finds himself living at home after an injury that nearly cost him his leg. It is the mid-1800’s and so Merrick nothing but a drag on his brother’s estate. When he is faced with taking a new job from the India Office to gather cinchona trees for quinine or be sent to a location of his brother’s choosing, he elects to travel to Peru. He is concerned that he is losing his mind and he expects to die during the expedition but that is preferable to the former Naval man over a slow death in the English countryside.

In Peru, Merrick meets Raphael. Raphael is the keeper of a small town with an enormous secret. There is also a character from Watchmaker that plays a tiny but instrumental role in this book. Figuring out what is happening in Bedlam Stacks consumes both Merrick and the reader as navigating the mystery may open a path to the life saving quinine supply.

I cannot decide exactly why I loved this book. I know that it is not as good as Watchmaker but, honestly, that is an epically high bar. But the characters that Ms. Pulley creates stay with you. The story, the expedition, even the mystery all faded to the background as these characters consumed my imagination. I find myself revising it again and again in my mind and desperate to discuss the subtle nuances of the book.

Some have complained that Merrick was flat and boring. I disagree. Instead, Merrick has grown up poor but privileged. As a former Navy man with a physical disability he continues to live between two worlds. Individuals that do so gain a perspective so many others cannot experience. He is, by nature, a man made for observation and I enjoyed the opportunity to watch him.

Natasha Pulley has written another fantastic book. I sincerely hope that she is planning a third and that she will continue to include reoccurring characters!


Tell me, please!

Have you read either book? What are your thoughts?


nonfiction

National Trivia Day!

I received the cutest calendar for Christmas that tells me something I can celebrate everyday of the year. Yesterday was Women Rock and so I attended a showing of Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings, photography, and fashion. Today is National Trivia Day! My Dad got me hooked on trivia as a kid and I love it. I didn’t realize how many trivia books I owned until I went looking to celebrate toady. Here are a few of my favorites.


50875087 Trivia Questions and Answers by Marsha Kranes, Fred Worth and Steve Tamerius is where my trivia collection began. My Dad gave me his copy and I brought it on a long road trip with my best friend as a way to keep ourselves entertained. We took turns asking each other questions and laughing at how much we didn’t know. It is a big wide world of information out there people! I have owned this book from long before you could just say, “Hey Siri / Alexa / Cortana…” and I still flip through it for fun.

 

orderofthingsThe Order of Things is not a pure trivia book but it is one of my favorites to spark an interest in new subject matters. It lists, in order, all of the things in the world and until you look through it you won’t believe how deeply our world is interconnected.

 

 

 

Daily Dose of Knowledge and The Handy History Answer Book are both trivia books around my pet subject. I love anything historical and have used both of these books sporatically to foster a lifetime of learning about history.

condensedI love mental floss so when I saw this irreverent guide I had to have it. The Condensed Knowledge reads like mental floss, full of information and ripe with humor. The perfect combination!

 

 

 

 

thirtyThirty Days Has September, Cool Ways to Remember Stuff by Chris Stevens is the absolute best book for taking all that trivia and putting it together in ways that help you memorize it and seamlessly regurgitate it. If you ever have to cram for a pub trivia night this is the book for you.

 

 

 

 

 

commonCommon Phrases and Where They Come From by John Mordock and Myron Korach is the trivia book for etymology enthusiasts.  If you have ever wondered why we say things like “on the fence” this book is for you. A warning: this is the kind of trivia that helps you find friends for life or enemies in the office. Use sparingly.

 

 

 

 

 

2548 best thingsAnd, this one is not really trivia, but The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said is more like trivia-eque quoting at its best. I have always wanted to be savvy enough with quotes to use another person’s words to capture my own ideas. Since this quote book is divided up into subject matter it is perfect for me. Now, when I need something to say about marriage or taxes I have a selection to choose from!

 

 

 

 

good job brainGood Job, Brain! is from a popular pub quiz podcast (unbeknownst to me until I saw this book!) and I grabbed it during my quick trip to the library yesterday. I already love the Q and A style of the book and I plan to find a willing victim to play trivia with me sometime this weekend.

 

 


Happy National Trivia Day!!

Tell me, please.

Do you enjoy trivia?


WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday January 2, 2019

It is the first Wednesday of the New Year! A perfect time to participate in the WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Please add your links below or participate by just letting me know what you have been reading! Happy New Year!


What Did I Just Finish Reading?

returnoftheking

Of all the challenges I made for myself for 2018, the goal of reading The Lord of the Rings Trilogy proved to be the most difficult and the most satisfying to finish. I finished the trilogy with the gripping final The Return of the King. I found it as thrilling and wonderful as the second instillation was annoying and boring. If you can make it through The Two Towers this book is the reward. My review of the trilogy is here.


What am I Currently Reading?

Last year one of my biggest mistakes was not reading several books at once, it was the erratic organization to my…um, system. I almost always read on my Kindle in night but if I don’t have something selected I read whatever I find on Kindle Unlimited. So, I am hoping a little better organization will help me not only read great books but also work through my TBR. So, at any time I will have a physical book, an electronic book, an audiobook and perhaps a nonfiction book working. All of this is in an effort to successfully complete my challenges. This week I loaded Bedlam Stacks onto my kindle (through my library app – double points!) and rented You are a Badass through the same library app (triple points!!!) as an audiobook. There is nothing like a New Year to make you feel hyper organized. Let us see how things continue around March.


What Do I Plan to Read Next?

I have a LOT on my physical TBR shelf to choose from. Oddly, I have more childrens book than anything else. So, I will probably start there! Or, I will leap right into my Harry Potter re-read and complete Potter consumption.


 

Challenges

2019 Reading Resolutions and Challenges

Happy 2019!

I had a wonderful year of reading and I am really excited for another! My biggest resolution is to read and enjoy the books I already own. Since the book buying ban was an absolute flop I am instead trying to be more gentle and encouraging about my book buying. Therefore, for every 5 books I read off my massive physical TBR, I am going to give myself permission to buy a new one. Perhaps the carrot will work better than the stick.

All of the following challenges were chosen to support this major goal: read the books I already have.


Goodreads Challenge

I found success in this one last year and I hope to do the same this year. I will be keeping my goal of 100 books but this year I plan to scrupulously log everything – even if I feel I slightly embarrassed by my choices! I read for fun and I would never judge another reader and I will just have to trust that the same is true in the people around me.


Series Serious Love

This is a challenge of my own invention inspired by one of my favorite new blogs, The Perks of Being Noura. I have complied all of the series that I already own at least one book for (or, embarrassingly, the whole series) and I want to work through all of them this year. You can see that page here.


Hot Listens 2019 Audiobook Challenge

This is an audiobook challenge and I credit it for introducing me to the joys of audiobooks. Last year I managed 15 and so this year my goal is to obtain the Socially Awkward level of listening (15-20). You can join me in listening here.


Beat The Backlist

I joined this last year and, while is inspired me to read many of my backlisted books, I was terrible about actually participating. This year, I am joining again and I am going ALL IN. You can join this challenge here.


The Learn Something New Reading Challenge

Perhaps my most favorite part of 2018 was participating in the NonFiction November. I am already excited to see what NonFiction November 2019 brings and in order to be more prepared I want to participate year long in this challenge. You can sign up here.


Harry Potter Complete Read Through

I miss Harry, Ron, Hermoine and (most of all) Neville. So, I resolve to re-read or read all of the Harry Potter books and related stories. This includes the three unread books on my massive physical TBR shelf.


The Library Love Challenge

This challenge is hosted by Angela at Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. I chose this challengeto further encourage me to avoid impulse buying new books. The basic goal is to read at least 12 books this year from your library. You can sign up for this challenge here.


If none of these appeal to you please check out Girlxoxo’s fantastic blog where there is an amazing list of all the reading challenges out there. I was tempted by many (MANY) more but I am determined to clear those shelves this year!


Tell me, please!

What are your resolutions? Are you using any challenges to get you to a goal?


Challenges

My Massive TBR 2019

These are the physical books I already own that I vow to work through during 2019. As I read them I will cross them off and if I buy more I will add those in bold.


Harry Potter 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Screenplay

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Illustrated

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The Tales of Beedle Bard

Harry Potter, a history


Non Fiction

Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*uck by Amy Alkon

A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon

Quakery by Lydia King, MD

Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne

Karate-Do, My Way of Life by Gighin Funakoshi

The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Mindful Games by Susan Kaiser Greenland

Uppity Women Speak Their Mind by Vicki Leon

Bullshit by John Grant

Mindfulness by Tessa Watt

Emotional Intelligence by Dr. David Walton

Have you Eaten Grandma? by Gyles Brandreth

Snacks, a Canadian Food History by Janis Thiessen

How to Teach your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig

Brainstorm the Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Daniel J. Siegel, MD

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

The Sherlock Holmes Handbook by Ransom Riggs

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Reference (I will consider these read if I consult them at length ten times)

A Treasury of Favorite Poems

You can Do It! by Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas

The Art and Science of Handreading by Ellen Goldberg and Dorian Bergen

1000 Books to Read Before You Die by James Mustich

Awakening Your Ikigai by Ken Mogi


Series

The Dead in their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce)

Seventy-Seven Clocks by Christopher Fowler (Peculiar Crimes Unit)

Arch Enemy by Frank Beddor (Looking Glass Wars)

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Darker Shade Magic)

Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Mass (Court of Thorn and Roses)

Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Mass (Court of Thorn and Roses)

Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Mass (Court of Thorn and Roses)

Another Fine Myth by Robert Aspin (Another Fine Myth)

Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen (Queen of Tearling)

The Invasion of Tearling by Erika Johansen (Queen of Tearling)

The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (Queen of Tearling)

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman (Arc of a Scythe)

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase)

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase)

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Cycle)

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Cycle)

Fantasy

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Eon by Alison Goodman

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Shadow and Fox by Julie Kagawa

Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Catching Stars by Cayla Keenan

Roseblood by A.G. Howard

Un Lun Dun by China Mieville


Science Fiction

Live Free or Die by John Ringo


Fiction

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon

The Hunting of Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Rick Yancey

The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

Star Wars (William Shakespeare) by Iran Doescher

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Swords and Scoundrels by Julia Knight

The Gunslinger by Stephan King

Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully

The Mask of Zorro

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen

The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller

My Plain Jane by Hand, Ashton and Meadows

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde


Historical Fiction

Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold

Votes for Women!

The Removes by Tatjana Soli

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Mrs. Houdini by Victoria Kelly

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris


Classics

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers


Children’s Books

Nightbooks by J.A. White

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Of Two Minds by Carol Mata and Perry Modelman

Nevermore, The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket

Montrous by MarcyKate Connolly

HeapHouse by Edward Carey

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin

Tom’s Midnight Garden

Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

The Wonderling by Mira Bartok

Frogkisser by Garth Nix

The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The Strength of the Wolf Pack, Disney

Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks

Furtunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Detective’s Assistant by Kate Hannigan

The Dragon’s Eye by Dugald A. Steer

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Al Capone Does My Sheets by Jennifer Choldenko

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

The Never-ending Story by Michael Ende

Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

The Legend of Greg by Chris Rylander

Before Tomorrowland, Disney

Evil Genius by Catherine Jenks

Polar Bear Explorers’ Club by Alex Bell

SeriousSeriesLove · Uncategorized

Serious Series Love

Who doesn’t love a good series?

Here you can see my ever changing list of book series I want to read. I will add when I find new ones to enjoy and let you know when I have finished others.


The Raven Cycle Series


A Court of Throne and Roses


Myth Adventures Series


The Magnus Chase Series


Queen of Tearling Series


The Arc of Scythe


Flavia de Luce Mysteries


Darker Shade of Magic


Peculiar Crimes Unit


Looking Glass Wars