As you all probably don’t know, I am participating in SJ’s summer read-along of all books Tolkien. Well, all of the ring-related books (unless there’s more that I don’t know about). The read-along kicked off on the 23rd with the reading of the first five chapters of The Hobbit. The read-along will continue on through the end of August with the reading of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, following our reading of The Hobbit. For more info on SJ’s readalong, check out her announcement over at Snobbery.
A little background on my prior knowledge of The Hobbit: my dad kept copies of Tolkien around the house growing up, but I don’t remember him ever really encouraging me to read them; my 7th grade teacher showed us the cartoon version of The Hobbit in class (he was a big fan of movies adapted from books–we never actually read any of the books); once the LOTR films were released, my dad got back into Tolkien, and I joined in and read the LOTR series; after I graduated college and moved back home, I finally read The Hobbit for the first time.
So, that’s my background with Tolkien, but I don’t think I was as good a reader in those days as I am now (surprising, actually, since I read them while and after majoring in English at SDSU). Thus, I’m expecting to get quite a bit more out of these books than I did the first time around. Plus, now I have buddies to discuss the books with, which always adds to one’s comprehension and analysis. I’m pretty excited to really soak up Middle-Earth!
SJ has posted her first discussion post over at Snobbery, so I’m going to reflect here in a sort of a reply to her post, with additional highlights for me and questions I have for SJ and any other readers who may be well-versed in Tolkien. I’m gonna split up my reflection by chapters. Here we go!
Chapter I: An Unexpected Party
Here we meet Bilbo, Gandalf, and the many dwarves. In reading the first chapter, I was struck by
- the tone of The Hobbit vs the tone of the LOTR series. It feels like a wonderful children’s book. Was this Tolkien’s purpose? Was he setting out to write a children’s book with The Hobbit?
- my love of the Took ancestry. Bilbo is related to the Tooks, who are known for their adventuring ways (which is very unconventional for hobbits). Bilbo struggles with a deep-rooted desire for adventure, which stems from his Took blood. It’s a completely different genre, but this reminded me of Mr. Prosser, the man heading the demolition of Arthur Dent’s house in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Prosser, a very mild-mannered simp of a man, had a deep-rooted desire for battle, due to his distant relation to Genghis Khan. Love these kinds of internal conflicts!
- the humor of Bilbo’s extreme flusteredness (to use SJ’s coined term) at the unexpected arrival of a pack of strange dwarves. Bilbo is a creature of habit, enjoys MANY meals throughout the day, and these uninvited guests completely screwed up his routine. I’ve been there, Bilbo!
Chapter II: Roast Mutton
And, they’re off on their journey! The big highlight of this chapter, for me, were the three trolls. I loved the scene with the three trolls, and so far they are my favorite characters. Lucky for Bilbo, they’re not too hungry when they catch him trying to burgle the troll William’s pocket. Bilbo gets all flustered (again) when they question him, and, surprisingly, William apparently has a sensitive heart and wants to let Bilbo go. I love the trolls’ exchange over Bilbo:
‘Poor little blighter,’ said William. He had already had as much supper as he could hold; also he had lots of beer. ‘Poor little blighter! Let him go!’
‘Not till he says what he means by lots and none at all,’ said Bert. ‘I don’t want to have me throat cut in my sleep! Hold his toes in the fire, till he talks!’
‘I won’t have it,’ said William. ‘I caught him anyway.’
‘You’re a fat fool, William,’ said Bert, ‘as I’ve said afore this evening.’
‘And you’re a lout!’
‘And I won’t take that from you, Bill Huggins,’ says Bert, and puts his fist in William’s eye.
Then there was a gorgeous row.
Gandalf, of course, rescues Bilbo and the dwarves, and when splitting up the trolls’ booty, Bilbo, Gandalf, and Thorin get some super-cool elven blades. They glow when goblins are near–how cool is that?!
Chapter III: A Short Rest
In this chapter, our adventurers take a break with Elrond and the elven gang at Rivendell. I had forgotten that Elrond was in this book, albeit for a short time. I wonder for how long Peter Jackson will extend his role in the upcoming film adaptation? Jackson loves those elves!
My favorite part about this chapter was the revelation of the moon-letters on the adventurers’ map, and the discussion of runes overall. I am a nerd who has a handy guide to runes in my library, so, at this chapter, I pulled it out and set about translating the runes on the map. I dig that stuff!
Chapter IV: Over Hill and Under Hill
Here the gang has a run-in with some goblins. It was fun to get more backstory on the goblins vs. dwarves conflict, but, for some reason, this chapter paled in comparison to the other four. But, that’s just me. : )
Chapter V: Riddles in the Dark
You are absolutely right, SJ. This is a very creepy chapter–it definitely came off as more creepy than the first time I read it. I wonder why. Mood always affects my reading, and I was reading this chapter when I was alone in the house, in the dark. Maybe that’s why? Or maybe it’s my extreme aversion to cannibalism (duh, Mandy, no one likes cannibalism. But, that’s in my top 3 scary elements! Some people hate clowns, I hate cannibals!). Gollum wants to eat Bilbo. That’s creepy. Plus, his little lake is super creepy, with him going around in his little boat. And his descriptions of hunting down goblins for dinner was creepy too. I dug this chapter–I love to be creeped out!
Now for SJ’s discussion topics:
1. Tolkien’s songs I read all of the songs, not skipping any. I don’t hear them or sing along with them, but I definitely read them. These serve as backstory and act in a way similar to the chorus in Greek tragedies. Therefore, it’s essential that the reader doesn’t skip them, as they are serving the plot.
2. Has my opinion changed about these chapters since my first reading of The Hobbit? Not necessarily my opinion–I knew what a masterpiece The Hobbit was when I read it the first time–but, I am a much more conscious and curious reader on this go-round. I have more questions than before, and I am noticing a lot more details than I did at 22.
3. Did Bilbo cheat in the riddling challenge? Nahhh. If this were a proper riddling contest, like, say, with a train named Blaine, it would definitely be cheating. But, Blaine wouldn’t put up with crap like that, so it would never be considered cheating. It would never get to that level because he would simply say “that is not a riddle, Roland, son of blah blah blah (oh crap, I’ve already forgotten his father’s name! It’s just like Derry…you step away from it, and details start to disappear!)” and that would be the end of it. Move on! But, that was a proper, structured riddling contest. Bilbo and Gollum really don’t have any official rules going on, and Gollum, unlike Blaine, actually fell for the “What’s in my pocket?” question. It wasn’t even intentional by Bilbo. I say that the moment Gollum went for it, it became an official entry. Besides, Gollum’s a big cheater too–he was going to eat Bilbo either way. So, no, it wasn’t cheating!
Alright, so this week is chapters 6-12 of The Hobbit, which I will get started on (and probably finish) tonight!
Anyone else reading The Hobbit?
I am participating in Dewey’s Readathon again! On this post, you will find my reading updates. These will be posted every three hours (5, 8, and 11 a.m.; 2, 5, 8, and 11 p.m; and 2 and 5 a.m.). Please feel free to check back here on my progress! Also, I’d love to interact with you…so please leave comments or send me a tweet @borkadventures!
Update #6: 11:00 p.m.
Reading: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
On Page: 78
Hours Read: 18
Pages Read: 818
Books Read: 2
Mood: I’m so tired now! My eyes are droopy. I might pass out holding my book.
Reading Reflections: I want to keep going. I really do love the Guide, I’m just so tired!
Update #5: 8:00 p.m.
Reading: Ready Player One
On Page: 313
Hours Read: 15
Pages Read: 681
Books Read: 1
Mood: I’m still going strong! I’m making a pot of coffee now, and I think I’ll start drinking wine around 3:00 a.m. to bring myself down for eventual bedtime. That’s my new strategy. It’s so weird how quickly the day goes by when you’re readathoning. I can’t believe it’s already 8:00 p.m. when it feels like it was just a.m. and I was checking in here with the first update.
Reading Reflections: I’m still not done, but I am still loving it, and I will definitely be finished with it by my next update. Then, I shall be reading Lamb!
Update #4: 5:00 p.m.
Reading: Ready Player One
On Page: 203
Hours Read: 12
Pages Read: 571
Books Read: 1
Mood: I’m not sleepy anymore, thanks to the Red Bull! But, for some odd reason, I’m craving a cheeseburger! I had a healthy dinner planned, but all I want is a cheeseburger! So, I shall have it! I think my husband is getting it for me right now.
Reading Reflections: This book is taking up so much readathon time, but that is fine! Because it is so worth it to spend the whole time with a good book than reading a bunch of mediocre books. However, I do believe that all of my planned books are probably excellent. I might not get to the Wilder book, but I’m pretty sure I’ll get to Lamb and Hitchhiker’s Guide. <crossing fingers>
Update #3: 2:00 p.m.
Reading: Ready Player One
On Page: 90
Hours Read: 9
Pages Read: 458
Books Read: 1
Mood: I am not so energized. I have been considering a nap. But, I’m resisting. I’m drinking a red bull instead. I know it’s a teenager drink, but it’s my Comic-Con beverage of choice, and it seemed to go so well with this book that I bought one. Hopefully, it will boost me up!
Reading Reflections: So, seriously, this book seems to have been written for me. Or, probably every other person alive in the ’80s with some sort of geek leaning. Even Patrick Rothfuss said (on the back of the book) “I felt like it was written for me.” So, apparently Cline should’ve dedicated his book to all of us.
I am loving this book so much! I am going slow (and probably even slower now that I’m getting sleepy) because I am just soaking everything up. I love all of the references, I love the descriptions of OASIS, and I love how I feel like I’m on an adventure. This is a blast.
Update #2: 11:00 a.m.
Reading: Ready Player One
On Page: 4
Hours Read: 6
Pages Read: 372
Books Read: 1
Mood: Still very energized! I am working on a snack right now–celery, broccoli, and garlic hummus, along with my second Arnold Palmer (so refreshing!). I have also switched my wardrobe into “geeky-work mode”–reading glasses(my eyes started getting fuzzy around hour 2), my “STEPHEN KING RULES” shirt, and my Lost Boys-Frog brothers red headband. This shit just got real!
Jesse (the husband) has been delightfully distracting, which I think has actually helped with keeping me up. He is now banished to a day outside, so I probably won’t be distracted again until the wee hours when he gets home from his self-imposed Dude-Day hangout. He’s a good guy.
Reading Reflections: The Secret Garden was absolutely wonderful, and I wish I had read it on Monday when I was in such a self-doubting mood. It would definitely serve as a panacea to any funk like the one I suffered from this week! I took copious notes, so I should have no problem writing a review on it this week.
From the measly four pages that I’ve read of Ready Player One I can tell that I am going to love it! I only wish I had Wil Wheaton reading it to me (he is the reader of the audiobook). That would be absolutely perfect–whoever came up with that idea was a genius.
Update #1: 8:00 a.m.
Reading: The Secret Garden
On Page: 217
Hours Read: 3
Pages Read: 217
Mood: Wonderful! I am eating my breakfast now–asparagus frittata and toast with an Arnold Palmer. This book has me in a lovely, magical mood. I am inspired to start working in my garden again!
Reading Reflections: Burnett is a delightful writer–her characters are true and alive, and the scenery is magical. Plus, I finally learned what “wuthering” means (as in Wuthering Heights)–“the hollow, shuddering sort of roar which rushed around and around the house”. Am a little over half-done, so I should be finished by the time I check in here again!
5:00 a.m. (Start):
Reading: The Secret Garden
On Page: 0
Hours Read: 0
Pages Read: 0
Mood: We’re too excited to sleep!
Man! I woke up 30 minutes earlier than I had to. And I was wide awake.
But, here we go! I’ve got my cup of coffee, loads of fruit on the coffee table, post-its and pens at my side, ready to roll! I’m pretty groggy, but so very excited! I’ve been wanting to read The Secret Garden ever since I saw the Hallmark movie when I was a kid (the one that starred Bastian from The Neverending Story as the weird nature boy). I know I’m going to love it!
I will update twitter regularly, so feel free to follow me @borkadventures, or check back here to see my twitter feed in the right margin. I will also try to complete some of the mini-challenges today and will check in here on this post with updates on my reading (every 3 hours). Wish me luck! And good luck to all of the other participants–(Go Kyle, Jillian, Jessica, SJ, and Priya!)
I’ll probably be about as tweaked out as Jessie come 3:00 a.m. tomorrow night. But, I’m so excited!
Amidst all of my brooding and cleaning and task-completing (and Angel-watching), I have been quietly anticipating this weekend’s readathon. I can’t wait!
I had such a good time in the fall when I participated in Dewey’s Readathon that I’ve been counting the months until the next one. Even my family and friends have been checking in on it–“When’s your next readathon?” It’s here friends and family! Tomorrow!
For me, the readathon is a major event. It’s a pretty big deal. Preparing for this month’s readathon has been a major part of this week’s tasks. I have to make sure that I’m prepared for a wonderful experience. Here are the (lucky) seven necessities for my perfect readathon experience:
1. Pre-selected Books of Different Genres
2. Ready and/or Easily Prepared Food and Beverages
3. Comfy Clothes
5. Writing Tools
6. A Strategy for Success
7. Check-ins with My Reading Pals
1. The Books
This week, I set about obtaining all of my books for tomorrow. I am going to set aside the seven (seven!) books I am currently reading to start anew tomorrow. My plan is to read five books, all new to me, that are highly recommended by five of my blogging buddies.
Here are the five books I will read tomorrow, with the recommending blogger listed and how the book was obtained.
• Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore (Suzy of Insatiable Booksluts); checked out from the library
2. Food and Beverages
Last time, I really didn’t care about eating healthy. I was bad! I ordered a pizza for the weekend, and that’s about all that I consumed. I’m currently trying to eat better, and I’m not going to use a readathon as an excuse to eat junk. Here’s my food for Saturday:
• Green tea and lemonade (Arnold Palmers)
• Water (must stay hydrated for such strenuous activity!)
• Asparagus Frittata and toast for breakfast
• Mangoes and watermelon for snacks
• Soup and roast beef sandwich for lunch
• Dagoba dark chocolate bar for my sweet tooth : )
• Curried pork over basmati rice and peas (made in the Crock Pot the night before) for dinner
• I might cave to an ice cream craving around hour 20 if need be : )
3. Comfy Clothes
Yes, I do have a reading wardrobe! I have special cozy sweaters, yoga pants, and fluffy socks for the occasion. Plus, I have my secret reading weapon–my blue robe, with large pockets perfect for holding pens and post-its. I kinda wish I had a super-cool tee-shirt to wear under it, like maybe one with a dodisharkicorn on it or some reading statement like this:
I guess that I’ll make do with my “Book Wyrm” tee.
I love my husband so very, very much. He is so supportive of me and my hobbies, which are so very different from his. With that said, he’d better find something to do tomorrow night because I need my quiet time!
He works during the day tomorrow, and then he’s, of course, welcome to join me in reading. Stranger things have happened. We will have to discuss a plan. I will probably owe him a camping trip or a visit to the archery range or something for this. Maybe I could do a movie night where all we do is watch Jean-Claude Van Damme movies or Mythbusters. We have a system for these sorts of situations, so I will indulge him in some way for his sacrifice tomorrow.
5. Writing Tools
• An internet connection
• My computer
• My IPad
• Pilot G-2 gel pens
• A steady supply of post-its (if you don’t want to forget what you thought of a readathoned-book, I highly suggest jotting down notes on post-its as you read tomorrow!)
6. A Strategy for Success
Like last time, my goal for the readathon is to read for the full 24 hours. I had a pretty good strategy last time, so I’m going to follow it almost to a T.
• Tonight: Draft my Readathon Update post and my Readathon Mini-Challenge post.
• 4:30 a.m. Wake up and get prepared. Drink some coffee and check in with my readathon buddies.
• 5:00 a.m. Get started reading right away. My first book will be The Secret Garden, a children’s book that should be easy on my groggy eyes and mind.
• Every hour: update my reading progress on Goodreads. This will automatically update to Twitter.
• Every three hours:
– Compose an update post here on the blog. This will contain reflections on my mood, the book I’m reading, the total number of pages read, and the total number of hours read.
– Check in on the Readathon mini-challenges to see if there are any I’d like to take part in. If so, I will complete the challenges on the Mini-Challenges post.
– Prepare a meal, snack, or drink.
• Read according to my perceived stamina. Here is the probable order of my reading choices based upon my stamina from the last readathon:
1. The Secret Garden (light and easy for when I’m groggy)
2. Ready Player One (I’m always at the top of my game from 8 until noon)
3. Lamb (Around book three, I might be dragging a bit, so humor will help me wake up)
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide (Same as 3, plus it is supposed to be a quick, fun read)
5. Little House in the Big Woods (An easy children’s book, which should be perfect when my mind is mush in the wee hours. I will have the brain of a child around 2 in the morning!)
7. Check-Ins with My Reading Pals
I know of at least three of my buddies who are also participating in the Readathon–Jillian, Kyle, and Jessica. If you’re reading this and participating, please let me know because I’d love to add you to my list of people to interact with tomorrow!
I like to think of the readathon as a big sleepover for book dorks. Remember when you were a kid and you went to sleepovers? Remember how hard you and your friend(s) tried to stay up all night? That’s what I expect to be doing with my reading buddies tomorrow. We’ll all be comfy, we’ll all have snacks and goodies, and we’ll all be reading together (did you ever have sleepovers like this? I did!). Let’s support each other and just have a good time! There aren’t many opportunities like this as grown-ups. We get married, have kids, get caught up in being adults, and lose sight of how much fun it is to just stay up all night hanging out with friends. Granted, I’m a very nostalgic, immature adult, but I think this is a good thing! Let’s have fun!
Meanwhile, my buddies who aren’t participating in the readathon, I might check in with you too! And maybe you should consider signing up! It’s still not too late, and you don’t have to go for the full 24 hours!
• A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
• Hardcover: 211 pages
• Publisher: Scribners, 1964 (first edition!)
• Genre: Memoir/Classic
• Recommended For: Anyone interested in descriptive memoirs, classic authors, “the Lost Generation”, and writing tips from one of America’s best authors.
An excellent quick read that inspires the aspiring writer and paints a lovely picture of Paris in the ’20s. Really brings Hemingway down-to-earth and makes me want to try to re-read some of his novels (never was a fan).
How I Got Here: My sister is currently on her belated honeymoon in Paris, and one of her goals was to see all the sights that she read about in this book. Before she left, she insisted that I also read the book, thinking that it would be inspiring as a writing book. This books satisfies tasks for A Classics Challenge, End of the World Challenge, and the Award-Winning Challenge. It’s also number 72 on my list for The Classics Club.
The Book: Goodreads’ Synopsis
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
– ERNEST HEMINGWAY, to a friend, 1950
Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway’s most beloved works. It is his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein; tender memories of his first wife, Hadley; and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft. It is a literary feast, brilliantly evoking the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the youthful spirit, unbridled creativity, and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.
My Analysis and Critique:
I’ve written quite a bit about this book already, and I’m sure it’s obvious that I greatly enjoyed this book.
I was and am surprised that I enjoyed A Moveable Feast so much as I’ve never been a fan of Hemingway’s. I always considered myself in the Steinbeck camp–Hemingway’s style always felt cold to me. Maybe it’s his minimalist, lean style. However, A Moveable Feast was nothing but heart! I saw Paris through Hemingway’s eyes, I could hear every conversation he transcribed, and I could taste the delicious meals and wine he consumed.
The book is composed of the journal entries he recorded as a young man living in Paris in the ’20s, and this is apparent in his stream-of-consciousness style. It was very engaging. Hemingway reflects upon his favorite spots in the city, the start and dissolution of his friendship with Gertrude Stein, his true friends and his phony colleagues. He comes off as a jerk at times, but his writing reflects his youth, and is as forgivable as any youthful misbehavior.
A Moveable Feast is also full of writing tips from Hemingway, as he reflects quite a bit on his writing process, the obstacles that got in the way of his writing, and how he dealt with said obstacles. Any creative person would get something out of Hemingway’s tips. I would place this on the shelf next to my most-prized writing books.
Overall, I highly recommend this book for its wonderful descriptions of Paris, the lively characters that Hemingway reflects upon (including Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald), and the inspiration it stirs in my writer’s soul. A quick read and worth anyone’s time!
Check out my previous posts below to get a better feeling for the writing in the book!
• The Waste Lands by Stephen King
• Paperback: 588 pages
• Publisher: Signet, 2003 (originally published in 1991)
• ISBN: 0451210867
• Genre: Fantasy/Horror
• Recommended For: Any serious Stephen King fan who wants to truly understand the Stephen King universe via reading the Dark Tower series; fans of fantasy.
Quick Review: Earns a 98 %, or 4.9 stars out of 5. Check out my rubric for my detailed assessment. The Waste Lands Rubric
Simply put, this book (the third in the series) is amazing! If you have tried to read The Dark Tower series and couldn’t get into it, I’m guessing that you didn’t get this far. Keep going!
How I Got Here: It was next. It should be noted that this, and all of the Dark Tower series, is a re-read for me. I first read the series in 2004-2005. This book satisfies tasks for The Dark Tower Challenge and The Stephen King Project.
The Book: Goodreads’ Synopsis
Roland, the last gunslinger, moves ever closer to the Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares as he travels through city and country in Mid-World – a macabre world that is a twisted image of our own. With him are those he has drawn to this world: street-smart Eddie and courageous, wheelchair-bound Susannah.
Ahead of him are mind-bending revelations about who and what is driving him. Against him is arrayed a swelling legion of foes-both more and less than human…
My Analysis and Critique:
When you love a book as much as I loved this one, the review is either very easy to write, or very hard. I’ll do my best to write well. Sometimes the best writing is simple, so I’ll keep it simple.
Simply put, this book (the third in the series) is amazing! If you have tried to read the Dark Tower series and couldn’t get into it, I’m guessing that you didn’t get this far. Keep going! Although I loved The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three, neither are as good as The Waste Lands. Yet, they are definitely essential for building the back story leading to this action-packed thriller/horror/fantasy novel.
So much happens in this book, and I don’t know how to discuss it without giving spoilers (ugh, I hate the limitations caused by spoilers!). The plot is quick, yet full, loaded with world-building, mystery, and suspense. The characters are fully-functioning and developed–I have completely fallen in love with the Ka-tet of Eddie, Roland, Jake, and, of course, the billy-bumbler Oy (Susannah still needs room to grow, but I remember loving her in book 5, so I’ll give it time). The themes have grown huge in this novel–I have questions about other dimensions, nuclear holocaust, time travel, cross-textual themes, and so much more that I can’t even explain. This book makes one think and question.
The Waste Lands is the point where my Dark Tower addiction begins. I can’t get enough of the connectivity between the Dark Tower series and King’s other novels, and this is where it really begins (fans of The Stand–if you want more Randall Flagg, you’ve gotta read this series!). I love the mystery of The Beams, the legends behind the Guardians of The Beams, the horrors of a world devastated by some sort of nuclear disaster (you know when King writes it, it results in some seriously frightening mutants), and the thrills I get when Jake is in danger (twice in this book). And then there’s Blaine. Blaine the pain.
Hopefully, I’ve sold you. Read the Dark Tower series. Read it so that you can read The Waste Lands. You won’t be sorry.
Review Bonus Features:
Soundtrack to the Book (the drums heard throughout the novel):
At this time of year, I am always reminded of my childhood in Oklahoma. I grew up as an Air Force brat, and my family lived in Moore, Oklahoma (just outside Oklahoma City) from the time I was six until I was eleven. Those were good times to live out there–I played archaeologist in the red clay, discovering cow skulls in the fields behind our house; took part in staged “land runs” in commemmoration of the Sooners; and just really enjoyed being a kid in the country. Some of the greatest impressions of Oklahoma left with me are the tornado watches and warnings. We always knew when one was coming our way…the skies would turn a greenish hue, the air was still and strange, and the clouds would gather in the distance. April and May are tornado season in the central states, and, like always, I will be thinking about my experiences hiding out in the closet with my family around me as the sirens went off.
So, what does this have to do with books and reading? Nothing really…it’s just where my brain is today, the first day of April.
Being the first day of April, I’d like to share a recap of what happened in March. So little, and yet so much!
Books Read: 3.75
– The History of English Literature (audiobook) by Perry Keenlyside
– The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
– The Waste Lands by Stephen King (review coming tomorrow!)
– Almost Finished: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (will be completed today!)
Pages Read: 1722 + 5.3 hours listened
On the Blog:
– Won two awards from Snobbery (2nd one will be discussed this week)!
– Vented about this year’s lay-off notice
And, what’s coming up this month…
This week: I will be posting a couple of posts relating to my reading of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, as well as two book reviews (The Waste Lands and A Moveable Feast).
Reading Plans for April:
– The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (Back to the Classics Challenge, A Classics Challenge, and The End of the World Challenge)
– Wizard and Glass by Stephen King (The Dark Tower Challenge, The Stephen King Project)
– The Dark Tower graphic novels (The Dark Tower Challenge)
– The Wind through the Keyhole by Stephen King (The Dark Tower Challenge, The Stephen King Project, and The End of the World Challenge)
– Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allan (The Sarah Addison Allan Challenge)
– The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allan (The Sarah Addison Allan Challenge)
– The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (The Award-Winning Challenge and The End of the World Challenge)
In April, I’ve also decided to add to my reading list by choosing one favorite novel from five of my blogging buddies who are on Goodreads. All of these books received 5-star ratings from the recommending blogger(except LHITBW, but Kyle loves the Little House books, so I’m sure she’d want me to start at the beginning) and I have never read them (or, in the case of THGG, I never really read it, just played the video game). These five books are as follows:
– Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore (Suzy of Insatiable Booksluts)
Have you read any of these books? What are your reading plans for April?
At this time of year, working at a year-round school is so freaking awesome (not so much in June and July, when other schools start vacation and I’m still working in the heat). I get my vacation separated into months throughout the year, with two weeks added on to Christmas vacation, and a whole month for Spring Break, and then one month in August. Now, a reminder for those who don’t know…teachers are technically not paid for vacation…we get ten months of pay every year, and that pay is split up amongst the twelve months for some teachers. This is why many teachers take a second job during vacation–summer school, independent contract work, etc. But, not me!
Every time I get a month off, I set personal goals to accomplish. Most are simply things I wish I had more time for, and I always set one for something that I’ve always been too chicken to do–a big goal. Last year, in April, I set the goal of reading as many books as possible, and ended up reading 28 and gained 10 pounds in the process! In August of last year, my big goal was starting a blog, and here I am! January of this year was the beginning of boxing and Muay Thai classes, which I am still taking four times a week! So, what are my goals for this Spring Break?
- Read at least two books per week! I think I can easily manage this one (except for The Canterbury Tales…I think that will be read concurrently throughout the month!) I’ll just be reading during the day while the husband is at work. Depending upon the difficulty of the books, I should be able to manage more than two per week!
- Write at least five posts per week! Again, I think I should be able to easily manage this, if not more. With all of the reading I’ll be doing, I’ll have a lot of reviews to write and post. Plus, there’s some really good television happening in April (Mad Men and Game of Thrones), so I’ll never run out of things to talk about!
- Drop five pounds–cut calories, run, bike, etc. Ugh. Despite my major sweat sessions doing boxing and Muay Thai for four hours per week, I have actually gained about six or seven pounds since January! I’m told that this is muscle, but this is ridiculous. I have never weighed so much in my life! So, it’s time to get all Dr. Phil and get real…time to cut calories and take more walks or ride my bike. Maybe I’ll also “Just Dance” it off. I just want to see if I can!
- Deep-clean the house! When I say “deep-clean”, I mean normal stuff that I’ve been putting off–dusting and sweeping, clean the bathrooms, pick up the clothes in the bedroom, shred the huge pile of stupid, unsolicited credit card applications, etc. I’ve become a terrible housekeeper!
Cook at least one Game of Thrones- A Clash of Kings-themed meal! Ah yes! This is a fun one! Last year, when Game of Thrones premiered on HBO, I got together with friends to watch, and I cooked Honeyed Chicken with potatoes and onions (like they serve in King’s Landing) and Sansa’s favorite–Lemon Cakes. Then, for a later episode, I made a true Dornish meal with pita, hummus, olives, rice, and chicken (I think?). I get all of my recipes from The Inn at the Crossroads, and this year, I want to make another GOT-themed meal. Maybe something they’d serve in the kitchens of Harrenhal…
- Go for at least one hike! I better do this one–I need some nature in my life!
- Do something special for my one-year anniversary with my husband. We got married during my Spring Break last year–April 12 in Reno. We need to do something for this occasion, since we both accidentally missed our other anniversary–the anniversary of our first date, which we have celebrated every year for the last five years. What to do though? Maybe a camping trip or a night in a hotel or something. I have no idea.
- Read The Canterbury Tales! This one is long and difficult! I will be reading TCT in it’s original format (using the footnotes a lot!), so I’m anticipating a very slow rate of reading. Since it’s broken up into each traveler’s tale, I’ll probably set my goal for two tales per day. That way, I should be able to complete the text by the end of April. It’s a moral imperative that I do so! I have been wanting to read this for the last 12 years!
Write a short story that I don’t want to throw in the trash! This is the big goal! I haven’t written a short story since college–ten years ago, to be exact. I want to see if I can write one complete short story that doesn’t make me want to puke! To do this, I have to do the next task as well.
Start writing in my office. Last summer, I turned our spare bedroom into my own personal writing office. All of my writing books are in there, I have a huge desk covered in quotes from my favorite writing texts, pictures of my heroes staring down at me from the wall (two pictures of Stephen King, hard at work on his own writing, as well as my signed picture of Felicia Day, who is one of the hardest-working creators I know of –she’s my lady-hero!) It’s all set up and ready for me, but because I don’t have a working laptop, I haven’t been working in there. But, for Christmas, I got a keyboard to go with my IPad, so I could turn that into a laptop. I need to start making that office work for me! This will have to happen!
So those are my ten goals for Spring Break! If you had a month off from your responsibilities, how would you spend it?