Opening Lines—The Swallows by Lisa Lutz

Head & Shoulders used to tell us that, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That’s true for wearing dark shirts, and it’s especially true for books. Sometimes the characters will hook the reader, sometimes the premise, sometimes it’s just knowing the author—but nothing beats a great opening for getting a reader to commit. This is one of the better openings I’ve read recently. Would it make you commit?

Some teachers have a calling. I’m not one of them.

I don’t hate teaching. I don’t love it either. That’s also my general stance on adolescents. I understand that one day they’ll rule the world and we’ll all have to live with the consequences. But there’s only so much I’m willing to do to mitigate that outcome. You’ll never catch me leaping atop my desk, quoting Browning, Shakespeare, or Jay-Z. I don’t offer my students sage advice or hard-won wisdom. I don’t dive into the weeds of their personal lives, parsing the muck of their hormone-addled brains. And I sure as hell never learned as much from them as they did from me.

It’s just a job, like any other. It has a litany of downsides, starting with money and ending with money, and a host of other drawbacks in between. There are a few perks. I like having summers off; I like winter and spring breaks; I like not having a boss breathing over my shoulder; I like books and talking about books and occasionally meeting a student who makes me see the world sideways. But I don’t get attached. I don’t get involved. That was the plan, at least.

from The Swallows by Lisa Lutz

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Library Haul 8/3/19, My Eyes are Bigger than My Stomach

Sometimes it really hurts when most of your Library Hold list becomes available at the same time.

Case in point:

That’s my library haul for today. 1,654 pages of reading ahead of me—1,410 pages of which are due back on 8/17. Sure, that’s a very doable number, but at least a thousand of those pages are going to be slow work. Oh, and there’s the new Robert Crais book that should be arriving in my mailbox Tuesday (and you know I can’t let that sit around unread).

Honestly, it’s not that big of a problem (and a great problem to have!), but man…I look at that stack and just feel tired. Anyone else ever do this to themselves?

July 2019 Report

July in a nutshell: 24 books, 6757 pages (roughly 1400 more than June). There were a couple of stinkers here, but mostly really good books, 3.6 average — 3 of them were 5-star!

I’m a bit frustrated with how behind I’m getting, 3-4 book posts a week just isn’t enough. I may have to grab a couple of 800 page books to slow down the pace so I can catch up 🙂

Still, all things considered, it was a good month around here between reading some great stuff, having a lot of fun with #IndieCrimeCrawl, and some great interaction with readers both here and elsewhere on teh IntraWebz.

Anway, here’s what happened here in July.

 Finest Sh*t! The Bookish Life of Nina Hill Bark of Night
3.5 Stars 5 Stars 4 Stars
The Butcher Ink to Ashes The Frame-Up (Audiobook)
3.5 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
Heart of Barkness Gravity The Queen Con
4 Stars Still Deciding 3.5 Stars
In the Eye Worst Case Scenario The Blue Zones Solution (Audiobook)
3 Stars 4 Stars 2 Stars
Riding the Elephant The Rosie Result Base Cowboys
3 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
Time Travel + Brain Stealing = Murderous Appliances and Good Times The Depth of Winter (Audiobook) The Shameless
Still Deciding 3 Stars 5 Stars
Nightfall The Whole Armor of God Thirteen
4 1/2 Stars 3.5 Stars 5 Stars
Laser House on the Prairie Screamcatcher Ashes of Honor (Audiobook)
3.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars

Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 4: Soteriology Heaven on Earth The Bitterest Pill

5 Stars 3 2 1/2 Stars 0
4 1/2 Stars 2 2 Stars 2
4 Stars 6 1 1/2 Stars 0
3.5 Stars 7 1 Star 0
3 Stars 4
Average = 3.6


Physical Books: 1 Added, 2 Read, 24 Remaining
E-Books: 2 Added, 5 Read, 20 Remaining
Audiobooks: 3 Added, 2 Read, 6 Remaining

2019 Library Love Challenge

2019 Library Love Challenge

  1. The Blue Zones Solution(Audiobook) by Dan Buettner, Joe Barrett
  2. Riding the Elephant by Craig Ferguson
  3. The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion (link forthcoming)
  4. The Depth of Winter (Audiobook) by Craig Johnson, George Guidall
  5. The Shameless by Ace Atkins (link forthcoming)

While I Was Reading 2019 Challenge

✔ A memoir or biography of a favorite celebrity: Riding the Elephant by Craig Ferguson
✔ A book written by a comedian: Riding the Elephant by Craig Ferguson
✔ A book with your favorite animal on the cover or in the title: Heart of Barkness by Spencer Quinn

LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

#LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

  1. Finest Sh*t!: Deviant Stories by Nick Kolakowski
  2. The Butcher by Nathan Burrows
  3. Ink to Ashes by Russell Day
  4. Gravity by Maggie Lynch (link forthcoming)
  5. In the Eye by Robert Germaux
  6. Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald
  7. Base Cowboys by Mark Farrer
  8. Laser House on the Prairie by David W. Barbee (link forthcoming)
  9. Time Travel + Brain Stealing = Murderous Appliances and Good Times by Richard Steele (link forthcoming)
  10. Nightfall by Matt Cowper (link forthcoming)
  11. Screamcatcher by Christy J. Breedlove (link forthcoming)
2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

  1. Finest Sh*t!: Deviant Stories by Nick Kolakowski
  2. Worst Case Scenario

  3. The Butcher by Nathan Burrows
  4. Ink to Ashes by Russell Day
  5. In the Eye by Robert Germaux
  6. Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald
  7. Base Cowboys by Mark Farrer
  8. The Depth of Winter (Audiobook) by Craig Johnson, George Guidall
  9. The Shameless by Ace Atkins (link forthcoming)
  10. Bark of Night by David Rosenfelt
  11. The Frame-Up (Audiobook) by Meghan Scott Molin, Andrea Emmes
  12. Heart of Barkness by Spencer Quinn
  13. The Queen Con by Meghan Scott Molin (link forthcoming)
  14. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh
Humor Reading Challenge 2019

Humor Reading Challenge 2019

  1. Riding the Elephant by Craig Ferguson
  2. The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion (link forthcoming)
2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

    Nothing this month.

How was your month?

WWW Wednesday, 31-July-2019

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! Something I’m really enjoying as I find myself falling further and further behind with posts.

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words — and shown to me by Aurore-Anne-Chehoke at Diary-of-a-black-city-girl. I had fun with this last week, thought I’d try again.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Easy enough, right?

What are you currently reading?

I’m about 19% into an eARC for Robert B. Parker’s The Bitterest Pill by Reed Farrel Coleman, Coleman’s 6th Jesse Stone novel. It’s off to a great start. And I’m less than an hour away from finishing Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire, with Mary Robinette Kowal narrating.

What did you recently finish reading?

Yesterday, I tore through Laser House on the Prairie by David W. Barbee, and today, I managed to polish off Screamcatcher by Christy J. Breedlove.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m not sure what my next audiobook will be, I should probably figure that out before my commute tomorrow. My next book will probably be Chances Are . . . by Richard Russo. I just got word that it’s waiting for me at the library.

Hit me with your Three W’s in the comments!

WWW Wednesday, 10-July-2019

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words — and shown to me by Aurore-Anne-Chehoke at Diary-of-a-black-city-girl. I had fun with this last week, thought I’d try again.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Easy enough, right?

What are you currently reading?

I’m still working my way through Craig Ferguson’s Riding the Elephant: A Memoir of Altercations, Humiliations, Hallucinations, and Observations, and am about 50% done with Gravity by Maggie Lynch.

What did you recently finish reading?

Earlier today I finished the return of Chet and Bernie in Heart of Barkness by Spencer Quinn and I polished off The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin, Andrea Emmes.

What do you think you’ll read next?

My next audiobook is The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People by Dan Buettner, and tomorrow I should also be starting The Queen Con by Meghan Scott Molin.

Hit me with your Three W’s in the comments!

WWW Wednesday, 3-July-2019

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words — and shown to me by Aurore-Anne-Chehoke at Diary-of-a-black-city-girl. I couldn’t finish what I was writing last night to get anything posted today, and I can’t imagine too many people will be reading book blogs tomorrow here in the U.S. So…thought I’d use this fun little thing to get something up before Friday.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Easy enough, right?

What are you currently reading?

Today I started a NetGalley eARC of David Rosenfelt’s Bark of Night, I’m working my way through Craig Ferguson’s Riding the Elephant: A Memoir of Altercations, Humiliations, Hallucinations, and Observations, and am listening to The Frame Up by Meghan Scott Molin and Andrea Emmes (Narrator) to remind myself just how much I enjoyed it before the sequel is released.

What did you recently finish reading?

Earlier today I finished the wonderful eARC of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (a strong contender for Book of the Year here) and I finally polished off Finest Sh*t! by Nick Kolakowski (because short story collections take me too long to read).

What do you think you’ll read next?

That’s a good question. It’ll be either: The Butcher by Nathan Burrows; Heart of Barkness (yes, two Bark-pun titles that close together) by Spencer Quinn (been too long without Chet in my life); or Ink To Ashes by Russell Day, the follow-up to one of the best things I read in 2018. I’m not really sure at the moment, but one of those three.

Hit me with your Three W’s in the comments!

June 2019 Report

Wow, I knew I was distracted this month — but only 18 books? And one was a picture book! Still, 5345 pages finished is nothing to sneeze at. And a 3.8 average is great. So I’m not complaining at all — just noticing. Pretty good month in the end.

So, here’s what happened here in June.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Dead Inside The World's Greatest Mousetrap State of the Union
5 Stars 3 Stars 4 1/2 Stars
The Big Kahuna Deception Cove Even Dogs in the Wild
1 Star 4 Stars 4 Stars
How Not to Die Rediscovering the Holy Spirit Paper Son
4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars 4 1/2 Stars
Null Set One Salt Sea (Audiobook) The October Man
3.5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars
The October Man Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Christology Magic for Liars
4 Stars 4 Stars 3.5 Stars
Fletch Won (Audiobook) Flynn (Audiobook) Marah Chase and the Conqueror's Tomb
4 Stars 5 Stars 4 Stars

Still Reading:

 Finest Sh*t! Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 4: Soteriology      

Ratings

5 Stars 2 2 1/2 Stars
4 1/2 Stars 4 2 Stars
4 Stars 6 1 1/2 Stars
3.5 Stars 2 1 Star 1
3 Stars 3
                                   Average = 3.8

Reviews Posted:

TBR Pile/Mound/Heap:

Physical Books: 3 Added, 2 Read, 25 Remaining
E-Books: 4 Added, 1 Read, 23 Remaining
Audiobooks: 4 Added, 3 Read, 5 Remaining

Book Challenge Progress:

2019 Library Love Challenge

2019 Library Love Challenge

  1. State of the Union by Nick Hornby
  2. The Big Kahuna by Janet Evanovich, Peter Evanovich
  3. Deception Cove by Owen Laukkanen
  4. How Not to Die by Michael Greger M.D. FACLM, Gene Stone
  5. Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey (link forthcoming)
  6. Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin (link forthcoming)

While I Was Reading 2019 Challenge

Nothing this month

LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

#LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

  1. Dead Inside by Noelle Holten
  2. The World’s Greatest Mousetrap by B.C.R. Fegan, Fanny Liem (link forthcoming)
  3. Kill for Me by Rebecca Bradley
2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

  1. Dead Inside by Noelle Holten
  2. Kill for Me by Rebecca Bradley
  3. The Big Kahuna by Janet Evanovich, Peter Evanovich
  4. Deception Cove by Owen Laukkanen
  5. Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin (link forthcoming)
  6. Paper Son by S.J. Rozan: Lydia and Bill in their most foreign setting yet — Mississippi
  7. Null Set by SL Huang: Cas Russell — the world’s most violent mathematician — gets proactive fighting crime.
  8. Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey (link forthcoming)
  9. Fletch Won by Gregory McDonald, Dan John Miller (link forthcoming)
  10. Flynn by Gregory McDonald, Donald Corren (link forthcoming)
  11. Marah Chase and the Conqueror’s Tomb by Jay Stringer (link forthcoming)
Humor Reading Challenge 2019

Humor Reading Challenge 2019

  1. The Big Kahuna by Janet Evanovich, Peter Evanovich
2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

  1. Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Christology by Geerhardus Vos (link forthcoming)

How was your month?