Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rounding past the first turn....

One of the books I had finished was due today, and a couple that I had put on reserve were ready for pick-up, so I went to the library yesterday, returned a few books, and picked up some new ones.

On the way home I finished The Alchemist, which I listened to on audio book.  Then when I got home, I finished So Long A Letter, which was a beautifully sad book about a woman mourning the husband who died--a husband who had left her five years earlier when he married a second, much younger wife.  A wonderful book at just 90 pages, to complete my "book under 100 pages" category.

Before leaving for the library I also finished Here Lies The Librarian, which was an odd book that didn't really seem to have much of a plot, although the main character was kind of fun.  But it was based in my home state of Indiana, so another tick mark on my list.

I also managed to read Calvin and Hobbes 1: Thereby Hangs a Tale and Freedom's Just Another Word for People Finding Out You're Useless to complete the "two comic books from the funny pages" category.

That officially puts me at 26 books, so I'm a quarter of the way done.  Woohoo!!!  Unfortunately I can't say that I've completed the "Fortnightly" challenge because in several categories I've read two or three books, and in others I've read none.  Some of that has to do with getting books from the library--I want to read them before they're due, so even if I've already read a book in a category, if I have a book due soon I need to read that and return it.  I've mostly identified all the books I'm planning to read at this point, and several of the categories are going to be books that I own.  If it's a choice between a library book due soon and a book that might just gather a little more dust on my shelf, the library book wins.

But I am hoping to hit at least one book in each category soon.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Day Of Many Adventures

Late last night I finished A Desperate Fortune, which fulfills the "book more than 500 pages long" category.  It had its flaws, but overall I really enjoyed it and gave it five stars because I was left feeling happy and relaxed after--and isn't that one of the best things about reading?

Somehow a lot of the books I'm planning to read for this challenge are on the longer side, especially the ones next up in my queue (translation: due back at the library soon) but I thought I'd take a break from monstrosities this morning, and pulled out The Face On The Milk Carton.  It turned out to be just the perfect length to finish before an 11 o'clock appointment.  It fills the "choose for you by a family member, bff,..." category. Or at least I'm going to use it for that.  She didn't exactly "choose" it for me, and she's not quite a bff, but the woman who told me about it definitely is someone I'd like to hang out with more except our work schedules are in conflict.

After finishing the book I had just enough time to shower and get dressed before heading over to my appointment.  The woman I met with is super chatty and British and had two cute Westies, one of which was so excited to meet me that she peed all over, much to her mom's embarrassment.  We had a great chat, and I picked up my order from her and headed out.

Next I stopped at the post office, where I was delighted to discover that the custom dog bowls I had ordered were in.  Yay!

Then I hit the back roads to head over to Columbia, MD, to go to Daedalus Books.

I adore Daedalus. Unlike most bookstores which are mostly full of best sellers, Daedalus sells remainder books at discounted prices.  There's an awful lot of good books published that don't make the New York Times Best Seller list, and many of them end up at Daedalus, just waiting for you to discover them. (They also have a handful of new/popular books to appease people who really need to buy a best seller.)

This book challenge includes two items that made me sad over there today. First there's the "first book you see in a book store." Second, Daedalus usually has a selection of " staff picks" which I figured would count for my "recommended by a local librarian or bookseller" category.  (Have I mentioned I'm an introvert and find talking to people difficult? I figured this would work as a recommendation while allowing me to avoid talking to anyone.)

I popped an audio book (yes, for the challenge) into my CD player for the drive over and enjoyed a good story along with some pretty countryside.  I followed a horse trailer part of the way until it pulled into a little lane in the historic area in Sunshine.  Always have to wonder if they're picking up or dropping off.

When I got to Daedalus I put my "devious plan" into action.  Most bookstores put their super sale final clearance type books, like "Healthy Cooking With Margarine" or "How To Repair Your Toilet With Motorcycle Parts" in the front of the store, and Daedalus is no exception. I figured I needed to make it to one of my favorite sections in the store without seeing any other books. So I squinted my eyes mostly shut and walked with my head down trough the front of the store and back to the right, back to the young adult table in the children's section.  Woo hoo!  I did it. Made it all the way back there without seeing any books. Then I opened my eyes and saw...

...the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy....

Well crap. Guess I have to read the whole trilogy now.  Luckily I have it on eBook, so I took a picture just to remind me, and then went back to the front of the store for a shopping cart.

I wasn't in the mood to spend hours looking at the shelves, so I mostly skimmed the display tables, picking up a couple young adult books, a few mysteries, some history books, and a cute book Tiny Hats On Cats that will make a fun Christmas gift for my mom next year.

Unfortunately the "staff picks" section was basically signed first editions that were fairly expensive--and I had to wonder if staff had really picked them. I took a picture of one that looked interesting and figured I'd check it out from the library.

I took my purchases to the front.  One of the guys bagging my books stopped as he was bagging and held up one of my books.  "This is a great book. You'll love it." Dude. Got a recommendation. Score.

And so I headed home with two bags full of books, plus my recommendation and my "first book I see" category filled.  And on my way home the same horse trailer pulled out in front of me. I couldn't tell, when I finally passed it, if it had a passenger or not.

Now I gotta get back to reading!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Snow Days Mean Lots of Reading

I really would have preferred not to get 30 inches of snow.  I mean, I'm from northern Indiana, so I know how to deal with big snow.  I learned how to drive in big snow.  That doesn't mean I like it that much.  One of the things I like about Washington, DC is minimal snow.

But every once in awhile DC likes to prove that big snow can happen.  And last week it did.  In a major way.  I've lived in the DC area off and on for more than 20 years, and honestly this was one of the biggest storms I remember.  There were a couple of others where we got back to back storms, or a second fairly large snow after a big storm, but this was just snow snow snow for about two days.  Which meant lots of shoveling.

And between shifts shoveling, lots of time to read.  Which has actually put me a bit ahead of my reading goal of two books a week--hopefully that will help later in the year if my schedule gets crazy (at some point I need to do inventory and get Gregory Road updated!).

So thanks largely to the snow, I managed to finish nine more books:

1. A book you are constantly recommending to others: One of my all time favorites, The Bellwether, by Connie Willis.
2. A book written by a celebrity:  Me: Stories of My Life, by Katharine Hepburn
3. A book by your favorite author: Hard for me to identify a single favorite author, but Cynthia Voigt is definitely high on the list, so I went with The Book Of Lost Things
4. A science fiction novel: Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom
5. A book you haven't read since high school: A Horse For X.Y.Z.
6. A National Book Award winner: The Color Purple
7. A book that's more than 600 pages: Lair Of Dreams
8. Read a children's book aloud: Three More Stories You Can Read To Your Cat (and yes, I did read this to my cats)
9. A book with a blue cover: The Assassin's Curse

I have been busily working on identifying other books for the challenge, and have quite a pile in my house of things I want to read.  I also recently replaced my library card and have been having a blast reserving things through inter library loan.  Having a list like that is encouraging a sense of urgency (READ ALL THE BOOKS), which I may have to rein back at some point so I don't get totally burnt out.  But I am having fun so far.