Saturday Miscellany — 4/13/19

Odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

Lastly, I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to Occidentally Orthodox (who may not like a lot of what I post, but I hope he comments) and whovinawrites for following the blog this week.


D.E.A.R. Day (Drop Everything And Read)

Today is the 103rd anniversary of Beverly Cleary’s birth, and drawing inspiration from Ramona Quimby some years ago, a group of people started commemorating her birth with a focus on families reading together. Which is just a cool idea. There’s a pretty good website with details and activities here.

I don’t really know if I can get my family to come together and read as a family anymore — but I can at least encourage them all to do it on their own. But for those of you who have younger kids (or more compliant teenagers), take a half-hour today and read together.

If you’re like me, or single, or just not into spending time with your family — it’s still a decent way to spend 30 minutes.

Just Drop Everything And Read

Awkward Moments in Book Blogging

This weekend I received a request to review an indie published book from the author. His name rang a bell, so I assumed I knew him from twitter or had read him before.

Yup. I had read him before. The same book, actually, two years ago. Clearly, record-keeping isn’t his strong suit. But, that’s no big deal. I figured I’d hit him with the URL to my original post, say something jokey in response, and call it a day.

But, I hated the book — gave it 1 1/2 stars. My post on it was sketchy, because to really get into what I thought of the book, I said, “it’d just be mean.”

So, yeah, I think this’ll be one of those emails I forget to reply to…

Saturday Miscellany — 4/6/19

Seriously, if Real Life would just shut up for a minute and let me focus on my blog/prep for my blog, it’d be nice. And I’m not talking about huge, important things like — my kid had life saving surgery, or I was distracted by the tragic events unfolding in [insert important sounding city], or whatever. It’s just been busy and I find myself very tired lately. I really look forward to compiling these weekly posts, and the last few have just seemed . . . empty?

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me — I do like what we have for this week by way of the odds ‘n ends about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

    This Week’s New Releases I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:

  • Postgraduate by Ian Shane — Recovering from a divorce, a former college DJ reconnects with his roots and maybe finds a path forward. I gushed about it yesterday.
  • You Die Next by Stephanie Marland — To be honest, I groaned when this showed up on my Kindle Thursday because I’d just finalized my reading schedule for the rest of the month and we feeling pretty good about life. I have no idea when I can fit it in, but I really want it to be now. Anyway, this follow up to last year’s My Little Eye is gonna be great.

Lastly, I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to Madam Mim, Sonam Tsering and indianeskitchen for following the blog this week.

March 2019 Report

20 Books, 6258 pages (finished — a few were started earlier, and I’ve never done that page count before, and now I feel tired), an average of 3.8ish (my indecision on a couple of titles is stopping me from having a hard number — but I have to write my way to a conclusion on those). Overall, a decent month here. I hit a couple of hot streaks — there’s a few books here that will be in contention when I do the Best of 2019 lists, but man, there’s a couple I wish I hadn’t read. You take the good, you take the bad, and now you have the same song stuck in my head that I do.

So, here’s what happened here in March.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

My Lovely Wife Slow Horses And Drink I Did
3.5 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars
Killing State Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Audiobook) Rogue Superheroes
4 Stars 5 Stars 4 Stars
Who Killed the Fonz? No Country for Old Gnomes Mama's Gone
4 1/2 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 2 Stars
The First World Problems of Jason Van Otterloo Crossline Lingering
3.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars
Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles A Local Habitation Postgraduate
3.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars
5 Stars
Fletch’s Fortune (Audiobook) The Fourth Courier Water Week
4 1/2 Stars Still Deciding 3 Stars
Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2: Anthropology The Prayers of Jesus: Listening to and Learning from Our Savior      
5 Stars 4 Stars      

Still Reading:

Rediscovering the Holy Spirit            


I really don’t like being this flaky.

5 Stars 2-3 2 1/2 Stars 0-1
4 1/2 Stars 4-5 2 Stars 1
4 Stars 3 1 1/2 Stars 0
3.5 Stars 5 1 Star 0
3 Stars 3-4
                                             Average = 3.8ish

Reviews Posted:

TBR Pile/Mound/Heap:

Physical Books: 5 Added, 1 Read, 29 Remaining
E-Books: 1 Added, 0 Read, 20 Remaining
Audiobooks: 4 Added, 2 Read, 6 Remaining

Book Challenge Progress:

2019 Library Love Challenge

2019 Library Love Challenge

  1. Slow Horses by Mick Herron
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, Jim Dale (Narrator)
  3. Who Killed the Fonz? by James Boice
  4. Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles by Thomas Lennon, John Hendrix (Illustrations)

While I Was Reading 2019 Challenge

  • Didn’t have time to do anything here. (again . . . but things are planned)
  • LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

    #LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

    1. And Drink I Did: One Man’s Story of Growing Through Recovery by Jay Keefe
    2. Killing State by Judith O’Reilly
    3. Rogue Superheroes by Matt Cowper
    4. Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinski
    5. The First World Problems of Jason Van Otterloo by James Bailey
    6. Lingering by Melissa Simonson (link forthcoming)
    7. Postgraduate by Ian Shane (link forthcoming)
    2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

    2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

    1. Killing State by Judith O’Reilly
    2. Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinski
    3. Slow Horses by Mick Herron
    4. Who Killed the Fonz? by James Boice
    5. My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
    6. Fletch’s Fortune by Gregory McDonald, Dan John Miller (link forthcoming)
    7. The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith (link forthcoming)
    Humor Reading Challenge 2019

    Humor Reading Challenge 2019

    1. No Country for Old Gnomes by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
    2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

    2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

    1. Reformed Dogmatics: Anthropology by Geerhardus Vos, Richard B. Gaffin Jr. (Translator) (link forthcoming)

    How was your month?

    Saturday Miscellany — 3/30/19

    Another week of slim pickings . . . odd. Is it just end of month malaise? But there’s some good stuff here nonetheless. The odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

      Book-ish Related Podcast Episodes you might want to give a listen to, both from Hank Garner’s Author Stories:

    • S3E06 Ben Aaronovitch and James Swallow of Book Off! (“A literary podcast with a difference…”)This is the first I’ve heard of this podcast, but it’s a cool concept and I’ll take any excuse to listen to Aaronovitch (and I need to track down Swallow’s series).

      This Week’s New Releases I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:

    • Not Everyone is Special by Josh Denslow — a short story collection with some fantastic writing — and a couple of good stories. My longer take on it is here.
    • My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing — this tale of a husband and wife serial killer team is fun, and almost as good as I’d hoped. I really did like it, but had a reservation or two.
    • Ruff vs. Fluff by Spencer Quinn — Quinn gets controversially inclusive here by having a cat as one of his protagonists in his new MG series. This is likely pretty cute, and I am curious how he’ll handle a feline lead, but is only a placeholder in my mind until we get a new Chet & Bernie book this summer.
    • Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by sRajeev Balasubramanyam — I wish I could remember how this ended up on my radar, but it looks like it’ll appeal to the Maria Semple, Fredrick Bachman, etc. side of me. Probably you, too.

    Lastly, I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to amiiiesbooks for following the blog this week.

    Where the Magic Happens…or something

    So, I’m just too tired to write anything real tonight — besides, I have to wait until next week before I can talk about most of what I’ve read lately. So let’s do a little behind the scenes . . .

    Three years ago when I switched to a day job, my reading habits had to change — among other things. It took almost no time at all to realize that reading in the break room just wasn’t going to work — it was too loud, there were too many things going on, you couldn’t sit by yourself, really. And then there were all these nice people wanting to talk.

    Actually, people in general being around was something to get used to, but that’s another story.

    Then I realized that there were perfectly good stairs a lot closer to my work space than the break room was. So I started hanging out there and reading — sometimes, sitting on the stairs, other times leaning against the railing — it’s at a decent height for that. Nowadays, that’s where 40-60% of my weekday reading happens while on break.

    It’s not perfectly quiet, but it’s close enough. Except when the flautist practices every couple of months. There are people who pass through — and some of them talk to me, but the conversations are short — because they’re on their way to somewhere else. Sometimes it’s just a “hi,” occasionally I workshop ideas for posts here when someone asks about what I’m reading. I’ve even been given a couple of good recommendations.

    Now, the keen-eyed among you might have noticed a couple of post-its on the wall (circled below).

    So, for a couple of years people would joke about putting up a sign where I read with my name on it or something (more than one person has suggested getting me a chair). But last December, I moved to a different floor, and within a month, someone had put up the larger post-it reading “[H. C.]’s Reading Spot.” This would be in the larger circle.

    A couple of weeks later, that person asked if I liked my sign. I had to confess that I had no clue what she was talking about and apologized profusely. Who pays attention to the walls along the stairs? Especially when you’re not climbing the stairs, but are focused on the book/eReader in your hand. So when I went out for my next break, I went looking for it — and she’d added another post-it (the smaller one), “<– This is the sign.”

    Very helpful.

    So, yeah, that’s where I read and recharge from all the interaction with people so I have enough energy to get back to work and interact with more people.

    Sure, it’s not as snazzy as some of the reading nooks you see on Instagram, Bookstr, etc. It could be more comfortable, that’s for sure. But I’ve gotta say, when the book is halfway decent, I don’t notice. That’s where the magic happens.