Some Light Reading For Now | The Book Update

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hello dear friends! It's been a while since I've talked about books. I'm not reading much but I'm trying to get more of it into my day. This is the part about new jobs and / or new places that can be hard - it gets so busy that it's difficult to squeeze in any kind of hobbies.

Finished reading


Saga by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples: As always, this series is stellar. I loved this one and boy, did it throw some emotional punches along the way. There were more heartbreaking heartbreaks in this one than in the previous books, if that makes sense. It's been a while since I read the last Saga volume so it took me a while to get my bearing - I had to reread certain sections of the previous volume, but then that's the challenge with series books.

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel: I enjoyed Sleeping Giants quite a bit but not so much that I wanted to read the sequel. However, when I saw this ebook at Netgalley, I decided that I did want to read the sequel after all. Sadly, this book didn't live up to my anticipation. It wasn't as engaging as the previous book was and there were way too many philosophical passages than I wanted to read. I think in this case, it may have just been me and not the book that was the problem because a lot of readers on Goodreads have enjoyed it.

Currently reading


Landline by Rainbow Rowell: I've loved / liked most of Rainbow Rowell's books. (I still haven't read Carry On though). So far, I'm not impressed with this one though. Again, I wonder if it's just me and not the book. I've been picking lighter books just because of how busy I have been but I wonder if that's not what my brain really wants to read. Maybe my next book will be something deeper but then I'll have to read more often than I do now.

What's Next?

Last week I picked a couple of graphic novels from the library - Nimona and Dare to Disappoint. Considering my record with print books (abysmal), there is very little chance that I will be reading either. But I'm hoping I will somehow find the time or opportunity to read them. I prefer reading graphic novels in print - it's a better way to enjoy the medium. I did read Saga as an ebook but only because I was desperate to read it.

    Are any of you doing the readathon next weekend?

    Hello from Cincinnati!

    Monday, April 10, 2017

    Hello, all you lovely blog readers! I've missed you.

    Sorry for the long absence but things have certainly been busy and very different since the last time I posted. We are in Cincinnati now (or rather in one of its suburbs - Mason). We moved exactly a month ago - but somehow, I also feel as if I have lost all my usual free time. Of course, life is bound to be crazy for a while after a move, but we did finish our unpacking within a week after moving (save for two boxes that are full of toys that nobody seems to be missing, which probably means we don't really need them anymore) and we did spend the next couple of weeks house-hunting but have been mostly free since. So I'm not sure why reading and blogging are not happening yet - I just think I'm not entirely in the mood to do them.

    So this is going to be THAT "I'm back" blog post. The one where I say I'm back but may not really be back, or maybe I will surprise everyone and schedule a flurry of posts. I just don't want to promise anything yet but I'm working on adding blogging and reading back into my routine, if only because I reaaaaaaaaally need this in my life.

    So what's new at my end? We moved (this was very uneventful). I've been working at my new job for almost a month now. My office commute is just a 2-3 minute drive. Even the husband's office is just a couple of minutes from mine, so we've been carpooling most days and coming home for lunch! The toddler has settled in very well but the dog is still very jumpy - barking at every person walking by our apartment. It doesn't help her that Walmart is literally in our backyard - many folks in our community just walk from their apartment to Walmart and back. Of course, we've taken advantage of this as well when we've started cooking some evenings only to find that we are missing an ingredient or two.

    However, as I mentioned casually above, we have been house-hunting so this convenience is going to be short-lived. Still, I'd rather have my own place with plenty of living space.

    Cincinnati is definitely a much bigger city than where we moved from so we've been visiting a new place (restaurant or amusement) every weekend. The weather is warming up as well and we're taking advantage of that. So far we love it here. I haven't yet personally run into any big city problems and I'd like to keep it that way for now. So, with all that we've been doing, I haven't read much. I did finish Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel (didn't like it as much as I did the prequel) and have also started reading Saga Vol. 7. That's about it.


    What has been happening with you? Please let me know the one (or more) big thing I missed about you or your blog!



    The Moving Edition | This Week's Five

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    That's right - this is the moving edition. I can finally talk about our big secret and how I'm dealing with it.

    1. A new job

    We are moving between jobs, homes, and cities. Towards the end of last year, the husband accepted a job in Cincinnati, which was a huge step up for him. For a while, I have been looking for a job change but I have been dragging my feet on that. When the husband got this opportunity, I started looking as well and found one relatively soon. I won't be joining until two weeks later, mainly because of time-consuming paperwork but time has certainly gone by very quickly since I got the offer. I'm both excited and sad. I've been itching to announce this for the past one month but I had to wait until I told my company. I've been with my current company and in Lynchburg for almost 7 years, and am going to sorely miss my colleagues and this place. But, I know this is the right move for us and for our family. It's going to be rough for some time, while I transition and get used to my new job, but I can't wait for things to quiet down, because you know, I'm big on routines and predictability.


    2. Oh, the things we own

    With that said, guess what we have been so busy with for more than a month? Yup, packing. I am in shock that we have so much stuff. It was easier to ignore it all when they were sitting in shelves or cabinets or hanging on the walls. But, taking each item, packing it, and putting it into a box has me wondering how we ended with so many "essentials". It's ridiculous. We have been packing a little everyday to avoid having to do many sleepless nights closer to the d-day. We still have so much to do, but I am beginning to see the finish line. Telling my office yesterday about my move has made it mentally easier to actually speed things up. Somehow, the idea of telling my colleagues has been this big block that I couldn't look past. And now that it is done, it's made it easy to take care of what's left.


    3. A new home

    We are lucky to already have a buyer for our house. Although we won't be closing just yet, it's the biggest hurdle crossed. We are moving into an apartment for now - a huge downsizing for us but we will be looking for a house once we are somewhat settled. In other words, I have been spending a lot of time poring through Zillow and MLS, and ogling at beautifully decorated houses priced above my budget. I mean, some of these houses have wall to wall bookshelves that are built into the house. It is hard to stop wanting that house once I see that. Honestly, this is just my way of dealing with the big change that is coming. I am still sometimes in denial that in two weeks, we will be in a new home.


    4. African American reading

    I have been reading quite a bit this month. Two books finished (which is a lot for me) and three books in progress (which is too much for me). Somehow, I have been in the middle of several African and African American books this month. Totally unplanned but all the more welcome because one thing that has always bothered me is that I have to consciously look for diverse books. I'm glad to see more diverse books slowly making their way into the mainstream. Of course, the books I'm reading are among the more popular ones in their categories so there is still a lot of work to do, but it's a step in the right direction. I still have a post drafted on my current reads that I need to finish writing - someday this month, I'll get there.


    5. When busy, open Facebook

    After years of giving Facebook the cold shoulder, I downloaded the app on to my phone this week. Yes, I am literally embarrassed to admit that but Facebook's groups (on topics I care about) are a wonderful escape when I need to relax. Right now some of those topics are Instant Pot (what a magical device!), Home decor (hey, I do want some ideas on decorating my potential next home), Minimalism (because, you know, see #2 above), and Montessori (I am hoping to get Shreya started in such a school in a few months). Of course, political stuff is always on my feed and last night, I got sucked into one such wormhole but for the most part, I limit my news to news channels and Twitter.


    So that's my life for a few weeks so far. What's happening at your end?

    A Very Slow January | A Month in Review

    Thursday, February 9, 2017

    Reading

    I barely read a book in January. Even though I started the month with very good intentions, by the time the first week was over, I pretty much abandoned my reading. It's not that I passed through a rut but other things came up and I found it easier to just put aside my books and, at the end of each day, watch TV. So that's what I did.



    I did finish one book though - Michael Pollan's Food Rules, which I blazed through in less than an hour, while the baby toddler napped. It's that short. Besides, this is the first time in a long period that I carved out some time to read a physical book. Of course, that was in the first week of January, followed by three weeks of nothing. Ha!

    I'm not complaining, honest. This is what worked for me in 2016 - I had months when I read nothing and months when I read a ton of books. So I expect more of the same this year, and frankly? I liked that approach much more than when I used to plan my reading.

    Blogging

    Blogging also didn't happen much this past month. I just about managed to post my 2016 review and 2016 favorites before the month ended. But I am working on some review posts currently so I may have something coming up soon. I've also been thinking about where I want to take my blogging this year, as I always wonder at the start of each year. I will likely shake some things up to suit my routine, cut out some kinds of posts, add some other kind of posts, but nothing too drastic.


    Watching

    I am still watching Star Trek Voyager. This is the longest I have spent with any TV show. I love it and am savoring every minute of it. You could almost accuse me of intentionally watching it slowly just so that it doesn't end soon. Right now, I am halfway through Season 5 with two more seasons left.


    Work

    Work was alright. There were some frustrating days and some rewarding days - not too different from everyone else's workdays. We’ve been through some very rough months in the past so any month that's only frustrating and nothing more is okay by me.

    Life

    We had just returned from a week-long vacation to Boston at the end of last year, so much of the first week was spent mostly playing catchup. We did make a short weekend trip to Cincinnati because that's where the husband's client is based in and that's where he travels to every other week. It was more of a meet-and-greet friends kind of trip but we did head to downtown one day and enjoyed walking along the Ohio river.

    The other thing that happened this month was that the husband and I started the Game on Diet! game. Do you guys remember that one? A few years ago, lots of us did the game with several others. Even though I only did it for one month five years ago, I liked the ideas behind it so we along with his brother and sister-in-law decided to start a slightly modified version of it, in an effort to lose weight and keep some healthy habits. So far, it's working like a charm. It has also prompted me to get in 10-11k steps every day - nothing close to what Kathy gets in daily but it’s still something.

    2016 Favorites in Books

    Sunday, January 29, 2017

    Last year, this time, (with a 6mo keeping me busy) I managed to post my annual favorite books list around the 13th of the month. This year, I am posting on the 29th of the month. At least, we are still in January. But, next year, I have no guarantees on making this post on time. Still, maybe the benefit of being late to the party is that I am so late that you are all probably over the tiredness of reading yet another 2016 post. Right?

    Truth be told, it is getting harder for me post here, pretending that everything is all right in the world. That makes it harder to blog - since November, I was expecting that "This too shall pass" but I'm not so sure now. With all that's going on, I somehow managed to write this post, so here goes my 2016 favorites.

    Among the heavier, deeper, not-so-quick reads of the year, these six had a resounding impact on me:



    Reality or Fiction? book of the year: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. When I read this book, I got plenty of goosebumps because so much of it sounded very relevant to the present. And that was seven months ago. I'd probably weep with despair today.

    The book with many layers: God Help the Child by Toni Morrison. My very first impression of Morrison after reading this book was "eh? that's it?" And then a nuance from the book revealed itself to me. And then came another one. And then more. Very soon, I realized that there were so many layers to this book and that it was one fascinating story to try to explain to someone.

    The most realistic (graphic) fantasy epic: Saga by Brian Vaughan. I am still disappointed that it took me so long to read this book. It's one of the most diverse and realistic fantasy fiction out there. And those illustrations - Fiona Staples does a fabulous job bringing the story and the characters to life.

    Two books with kickass women: Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart and Ten Days in a Mad-House by Nellie Bly. Both these books are set at a time before women (in the US) even had a voice. Both show a woman standing up to the establishment and making a change happen. One is fiction (yet based on a real character and true incident) and the other is nonfiction.

    Creepiest book I ever read: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. I started reading this book in a mountain cabin on a creepy windy night. Needless to say, I didn't sleep too well that night.

    And then, among the lighter reads, these four stood out. I'm surprised I don't have more books below since most of the books I read last year were lighter or faster reads. I guess on some level, I still struggle to rate books that I finish reading quickly. How do you rate a book that you didn't spend a lot of time with?



    If you love Mexican food, then go read Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero. Of course, this is not a food memoir or cookbook but Gabi knows how to talk about food (and about many other life matters too). I had to make it a point to never read this book before mealtimes because I found myself craving for Mexican food so badly (and we don't have a good Mexican restaurant in the area, so craving for it didn't mean I could satisfy it properly).

    For all kinds beauty advice, Nora Ephron has it all: I Feel Bad About my Neck. I am a big fan of Ephron's movies so I was not surprised to find that I loved her essays in this book as well. They are very tongue-in-cheek humorous little pieces that occasionally felt elitist but only occasionally. Didn't dampen my interest in this book however.

    The poetry book that everyone should read, even if you don't do poetry: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I can't remember how I came across this book. I think I ran into one of its poems online, then looked for the book in my library, found it, devoured it, and struggled to go back to my life. It was too good.

    Finally, I've leave you with the cutest funniest LOL Picture book: Mother Bruce by Ryan Higgins. If you have been wondering, yes, I read a lot of picture books last year. Mother Bruce wins the prize for being the most entertaining one of the lot. Seriously, you have to pick it - it just tickled the heck out of me.

    Are any of these books on your favorites list?