The TBR Tag!

I was tagged by Andi at Estella’s Revenge for the TBR Tag. Here it goes.

1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I have an organization plan for my monthly TBRs. I don’t have any organization for all the books I want to read and reread before I die. That would be too crazy to even begin to organize. My monthly TBR goes like this (at least for this year):

1 wildcard read — this could be something that just tickles my fancy or is for a read-along

1 Virago — for my Virago Project

1 book from a series — right now I’m working on The Forsyte Saga

1 contemporary read — because I need to remember that books were written after 1960

1 classic — because I love classics. This year I’m trying to work on reading all of my Penguin Threads

1 audio book — I am more of a podcast / music gal, but I like to keep an audio book on hand for exercise and for when I work nights and weekends.

I don’t get to everything, but I feel like I have a good range of selections for the month.

2. Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

I’ve tried, but I don’t really like ebooks. I will read one on occasion, but 95% of my reads are print.

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

See answer number 1! I usually just let my mood guide me when I’m picking from my monthly TBR pile.

4. A book that’s been on your TBR the longest:

Probably No Name by Wilkie Collins. I adore Wilkie Collins and I try to spread his books out so I always have a Collins book to anticipate reading.

5. A book you recently added to your TBR:

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I was on the fence about this, but several folks I know who have similar bookish tastes enjoyed it.
6. A book on your TBR strictly because of it’s beautiful cover:

hild_jacketIt is a historical novel, so I will probably like it. My initial draw to this book was the beautiful, turquoise cover.
7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading:

Ummmm…. If I’m not planning on reading it then it doesn’t go on das TBR.

8. An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for:

Rumor has it that a new collection of previously unpublished Shirley Jackson stories will be out this year. I would give my left and right ovary for that book.
9. A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you:

I am totally drawing a blank on this one. I’m going to go with The Girl on the Train.

10. A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you:

The Quick by Lauren Owen. I’m thinking it will be a spooky, autumnal read so I’m saving it for this fall.
11. A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read:

Wildwood by Colin Meloy. I’ve gotten it into my head that I must own all of those beautiful books.

12. How many books on your GoodReads TBR shelf:

1,102 hot dang.

I’m going to tag folks, but no pressure if you don’t want to participate.

Sky at Humming for Promise

Thomas at My Porch

Catherine at The Cake Wife

Works in Progress: 11 February 2015

works in progressThe rainbow blanket is done. I finished it on a Saturday when Atticus had a wicked stomach virus. It could have used another skein of yarn and I wanted to do a border, but when a sick four-year-old is whimpering for  you to finish the blanket to make his tummy feel better you just get it done. He loves it

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We put his little bed in the living room so I could sit up with him. He has a tendency for febrile seizures, so I get nervous when he is ill. He slept peacefully and cuddled with his blanket.

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I thought I would move on to some Pinterest inspired valentines (so not happening this year) or some embroidery. Instead I whipped up a baby blanket for one of our student-employees who is expecting a baby boy at the end of the month.

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I really like the colors. In fact, this was my original plan for Atticus’s blanket, but he insisted on a more literal interpretation of rainbows.

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I used Vanna’s Choice yarn and it is just a basic granny square with a linen stitch border.

Hummmmm…. What’s next? Baby bibs. Everyone seems to be having babies right now and I need to get on it. Hold me to it you guys. I solemnly swear I will show y’all some stitchy goodness next week.

Goodbye, January and Hello, February

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January was a weird in a good way. A mix of busyness and lovely solitude, one extreme to another. Sam started his college courses, increased his work hours at the Boys and Girls Club and started a small, part-time job at the campus book store. Hope began prepping for track season. Atticus started gymnastics in addition to ballet. Persy isn’t in any extracurricular activities, but she is a toddler and that means plenty of play, but also making sure nap and bedtime schedules aren’t interrupted. January certainly took some balancing for her. In addition to work and ferrying everyone to and fro, I picked up some volunteer work with the local Democrats, organized a Valentine’s swap for bloggers, and have been busy playing in yarn. I’ve learned to never leave my home without a book AND yarn. I can crochet while folks talk to me and I read when I am in the car waiting for activities to end. I cherish these pockets of silence.
In January, I constituted a set time each week for me to hang out with Hope. I celebrated my 5th wedding anniversary with a day trip to Athens filled with books, coffee, and food. The 19th marked my 17th year of being meth-free. I nursed the two little ones through a rotten stomach bug, which of course I caught. I finished the rainbow blanket and many good books. I probably spent most of January drinking too much coffee. Oh well.

February is looking good. New projects, new books, and family celebrations. Yesterday was Persy’s birthday and on February 19th Hope will turn 15. FIFTEEN, Y’ALL.

Happy February!

Happy Birthday, Persy Jane!

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And now you are two. A spunky, bright, giggling two-year-old. Your world is getting bigger day by day and you are well up to the challenge. Am I up to the challenge? My heart catches in my throat as I watch you bounce, leap, run, and attack life with so much gusto for a little lass. Persy Jane, you have a good thing going… being you. Keep it up.

You are insulted when we chop up your food, or help you guide a paint brush, or pick out your clothes. Please don’t lose that independence. Keep that strong-will and the desire to do things your way.

Our home can be rowdy and loud, but you are perfectly comfortable with being the loudest and the rowdiest. Use your voice and keep it loud; never let being the youngest or a girl or (insert ridiculous reason) make you silent.

You’re a busy girl and there’s lots to do, but you always have time for hugs. You give the best hugs. They are sincere and full of warmth. When you hook your little arms around my neck and squeeze I absolutely melt. You have a tender-heart and that is a blessing; never be afraid to love and show that love.

You may be all independence in most things, but you still want mom and dad quite a bit. That is completely okay. You cry, “mama, mama” when frustrated, angry, sad, joyful. You can always ask for mama when you are frustrated, angry, sad, and joyful.

This year will be spectacular and full of learning, wonder, and moving from toddler to little kid. Happy Birthday, Persephone Jane!

List Love: Ten Historical Novels I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is a good one! Actually this is a list of Ten Standalone Historical Novels I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read. Talking about historical series is a whole other post.
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (a murder mystery set in a 14th century Italian monastery)

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (about the1832 uprising in France)

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Great Depression)

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (1666 Plague)

The Black Arrow by Robert Lewis Stevenson (Wars of the Roses)

Company of Liars by Karen Maitland (a re-imagining of the Canterbury Tales)

The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George (yay Egypt!)

The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson (10th century Vikings)

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel (French Revolutions)
An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears (1663 England)

I need to get on it! So many great books to read aghhhhhh!!!!

Readerly Rambles: 02 February 2015

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What I Read: I finished three books in January. I thought I would slip a fourth book in but then a wicked stomach bug obliterated our house. I haven’t been “actively ill” since Friday, but I STILL CANNOT DRINK COFFEE. I feel so unlike myself.  Anyhoo, onto the books. I read Emily Eden’s The Semi-attached Couple and the Semi-detached House for the Virago Project and I read the first book in the Forsyte Saga, The Man of Property by John Galsworthy.

My last book of the month was Catherine Bailey’s The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, A Plotting Duchess, & a Family Secret. Baily originally did not set out to write this book. She wanted to write about the 1,700 young men from the estate’s 30 villages who fought in World War 1. Many of the soldiers didn’t survive. As she was sifting through the 9th Duke of Rutlands “secret rooms” — where he meticulously cataloged and archived all the family’s correspondence and documents — she discovered three HUGE gaps with very precise start and end dates. Fascinated by the intentional editing of this family’s history she set off to explore what secrets lurked in those gaps.

I really enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book. The meticulously detailed logs and letters, the layout of the castle, the daily lives of the servants…. riveting. What makes it more exciting is the books details the night the 9th Duke dies and indicates that an attempted break-in occurred shortly after his death. I was riveted and then I wasn’t. See I was expecting espionage or madness or incest or something sordid and wicked. Instead I found the three gaps to be “meh”. The first is tragic, but not scandalous. The second was cranky, but not scandalous. The last secret was scandalous, but I think only in that time period and I believe modern readers will be more sympathetic. And the break in detailed at the beginning of the book? Never resolved and completely unrelated to all the secrets. Grrrr.. So there isn’t a haunted castle, the duchess is more overbearing, conniving mother than plotting and the family secrets are meh.

That isn’t to say that this book is no good, I did really like it. The historical detail about World War 1 was fascinating and I loved hearing about all the letters. Read it for the research and the history and NOT for juicy gossip.

~~~ Stats ~~~

Started: 23 January 2015

Finished: 29 January 2015

Pages: 465

Challenges:

Owned/Borrow/Library: From the library

Stars: Four out of Five

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What I’m Reading: At lunch I picked up Geek Love by Katherine Dunn for the Estella Society Read-along!

GeekLoveRAL-300x300I’m also still into my Cranford audiobook.

What’s Up Next: In addition to Geek Love and Cranford, my February TBR consists of:

  • Frost in May by Antonia White for the Virago Project and my TBR Challenge
  • In Chancery by John Galsworthy for the Forsyte Saga Read
  • The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters for the Literary Exploration GoodReads Group
  • Black Beauty by Anna Sewell for fun
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson as an audiobook.

Bookish Miscellany:

I’m putting the final touches on my gift for my Bookish Valentine! I’m having so much fun with it!

Let me know what’s shaking in your corner of the reading world. Happy Reading!

Bring on the Swaps

I am having a ridiculous amount of fun with the Bookish Valentine Swap. So much fun I’ve decided to do several more swaps for bloggers throughout the year. I’ve also had folks contact me who are generally sad they missed the cut off day for swaps. I thought I’d show you what I have planned for the year. My goal is to post two weeks before the swap begins and allow a full two weeks of signup. However, to participate you must have a blog and the swap will be capped at 50 people. More details will follow as we closer to swap time (details of signup, hashtags, parameters, etc…). For now let me know, just for fun, what tickles your fancy:

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autumn buttonI’m excited! Let me know what you think!