Skip to main content

Featured Post

A New Way of Living | Weekly Snapshot

I don't know about you guys but this has been one of the longest weeks ever. With schools closed and work moved to home, this has been a new way of living. When the changes and shutdowns came just before last weekend, there was no time to really process the information. Within days, life had changed. And then on Monday, I reported to work, from my home, with kids also at home. It was when Friday finally rolled along that I felt the gravity of the situation, how we'll be rarely getting out for weeks, if not for months. How schools were likely going to be closed for months. How work still had to be done remotely or worse, there was no work to do anymore due to layoffs or a shutdown. How there was not going to be any dining in restaurants for months.

That was a very sobering thought. I didn't sleep until 1.30am that night.

How are you all doing? What are some of your tips to keep your sanity on while we get through this very difficult time? Some of you are in places that are …

The Sunday Salon: A Month of Two Readalongs

The Sunday

You know a pregnant woman is nesting when she signs up for too many reading projects/reviews, especially when she is very close to her due date. Yep, that's just what I did.

Back when I was just newly pregnant and delivery/baby was a distant idea, I decided that I wouldn't make any commitments in reading or blogging, starting from May to some unknown month. The way I saw it then, I was likely going to have a ton of things to do and it didn't make sense to add more to my plate. Now that May is here, and I was right - there is a ton of things to do - I am more desperate than ever for life and work to be more normal than it is. I don't want to pause the things that have been a constant in my life. Instead, signing up for readathons, readalongs, and book reviews seem to be just what I want to distract myself from the ongoing chaos that is preparing for a baby. If I didn't have reading as a hobby, I'd probably be fretting about trying to get things done, even though, let's be honest, what is the point of all this prep work? It's not like we are moving house.

Anyways, the point of all that rambling is to say this - I'm doing two readalongs this month (and super excited about them). I also have four books to review this month (gulp!). Oh, and Armchair BEA is also towards the end of this month, and although right now I'm undecided about whether to participate, I know very well that I WILL end up participating, so might as well get that planned out.

I haven't done a readalong in forever, so I am excited about the two I'm doing this month.

Flowers for Algernon readalong

Care of Care's Online Book Club and I somehow got talking about reading Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes when I mentioned purchasing this book last month. I'll admit not really knowing much about this book except that it comes much-recommended. It is later that I learned that this book is on several school lists (of course, it is) and banned at several too (of course, it is) and that it is some kind of science fiction book. So this month, we are doing a completely casual no-rules readalong and may post about the book when we are halfway through it. I think Care is probably already past that point so I need to catch up. Trish of Love, Laughter, and Insanity has also joined in - she has also started reading the book couple of days ago, so at this point, I'm the only one yet to turn a page. I promise - that's happening today. We will be tweeting about this book using #MayFFA.

A Visit from the Goon Squad readalong

The other book I'm reading along is A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan with Alex of The Sleepless Reader. She had just bought the book last month and I had always been eyeing this title for a while. I had given this book a try when it first came out but for some reason, I never got past two chapters - I don't remember why. I started this book yesterday and it is turning out to be wonderful so far and hard to put down. I've only finished one chapter so I'm not too far in, plus I probably won't be rushing it anyway - I'm enjoying the writing a lot. I had suggested tweeting about this book using #goonsquad but I don't think that hashtag was well thought out because umm.. well you can search for that hashtag and find out why. So we'll have to find another one.

So, if you are interested in any or both of these books, jump right in and let one of us know. Both are going to be low-pressure - we aren't doing any discussion posts, which always makes the actual reading suffer for me, because then I am trying to just meet that deadline. You can post often about the book if you wish, or none at all.

In other matters, the husband and I are heading for the early morning show of Avengers: Age of Ultron. I loved the first movie and have been waiting for this second one for a while, so I'm quite excited. Have you seen this movie yet? Or planning to?


bermudaonion(Kathy) said…
Yeah, we're always frantic to prepare for a baby but the baby doesn't care about anything except food, snuggling, and a clean diaper. Have fun with the read-a-longs.
My wife and I are planning to go to see the movie tonight. Can't wait to see it.

We'll have to compare notes later. :)
JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing said…
Readalongs are always so tempting, aren't they? I really enjoyed A Visit from the Goon Squad on audio and remember reading Flowers for Algernon in junior high. If they have a copy at the library, I may try to squeeze it in this month.
Care said…
Don't worry! I have a distraction - (The Luminaries is a complicated long book I am whispersyncing) so that I won't Algernon too fast. I am still on page 54 (haven't read any further since last Friday) and I wrote up my "Quarterly Thoughts" which I will combine and post with my "Half Way Thoughts" once you let me know you are also at that point. IN fact, let's set half way to be Progress Rpt 14 which for me is on page 115.
Jackie Bailey said…
Flowers for Algernon is one of my all-time favourites so I hope you get around to reading it at some point. Enjoy your readalongs!
Deepika Ramesh said…
Hi Athira, I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on your readalongs. :)

Also, I watched 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' a week ago. I liked it. Let us know what you thought of it too.
Ti Reed said…
The Teen saw Avengers and thought it was good.

Hey, you can join my read along for Atlas Shrugged in July. You know, with all the spare time you'll have. I jest. When is your due date? My worker is due at the end of the month and already left for leave.
Exciting! I've read both of the readalong books already (but, a while ago), so I'm interested to see what y'all think of them as you're going through.

I saw Avengers today! It was not as explosion-heavy as I feared it would be! There was more Jeremy Renner than I'd maybe have liked (he's never been my fave), but there were also plenty of jokes and good quiet dialogue bits between all the characters.
Oh, and, Elizabeth Olsen was excellent. I would re-up on her character in another movie. Totally.
Nishita said…
I just saw Flowers for Algernon in my library. I would so totally have joined the readalong if I'd known about it before.
Athira / Aths said…
I hope you liked it! We loved it and I liked that there was so much action plus all that background on Hawkeye was a nice touch.
Athira / Aths said…
Hope you are able to join us! It will be fun comparing how the book fared now compared to your thoughts from when you first read it.
Athira / Aths said…
I still didn't get to start the book yet - so much stuff going on yesterday. But I am hoping to get some time to curl up with it later tonight.
Athira / Aths said…
Thank you! I can't wait to start Flowers for Algernon.
Athira / Aths said…
I loved the movie. I thought there was plenty of action to keep the pacing going and loved all the backstory they included about Hawkeye.
Athira / Aths said…
Ha! You know, I may still have joined in if I enjoyed Ayn Rand AND if my family wasn't going to come over in late-June. So I'll bail out. :P I'm due mid-July so not that long now.
Athira / Aths said…
You can still join in! I haven not yet started the book and may only get to start it tonight or tomorrow.
Athira / Aths said…
Elizabeth Olsen was amazing! I am glad they are training her on the Avengers team so I hope she gets a major role in the next movie.

I actually loved all that Hawkeye background. He wasn't one of my favorites either but I always felt he was kind of an underdog surrounded by the biggie players so it felt nice to learn more about him. At the same time, with all that extra focus on him, I worried they were writing him off from the show so I loved how Joss Whedon made it look like he was going to die but then completely changed the tune.
literaryfeline said…
I'm looking forward to seeing the new Avengers movie. :-) It's been ages since I last read Flowers for Algernon. I hope you like it. I haven't read Egan's book. I hope you enjoy them!
Lisa Sheppard said…
I passed on the Flowers for Algernon readalong because I really don't have time. But...I've been meaning to get to Goon Squad for a very long time. I might just have to squeeze that one in!
Belle Wong said…
I would go for the Flowers for Algernon readalong, only I'm failing miserably on the three readalongs I'm supposed to be doing right now :( Hope you had fun at the Avengers!

Popular posts from this blog

Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri (Short Fiction Review)

I first read Jhumpa Lahiri years ago, when her Interpreter of Maladies was making a huge buzz. At the time, I didn't catch any of the buzz, but for some reason, when I saw the book on the shelf at the store I was browsing in, I felt it just might be a decent read. Funnily, I read the entire short story collection without complaining about it, but for some reason, I cannot read any collection anymore without agonizing over its disjoint nature.

I did enjoy Interpreter of Maladies, but I did get bothered by the thread of loneliness and infidelity and distrust that laced through the stories. For that reason, I have been reluctant to read Unaccustomed Earth. However, when I came across Hell-Heaven at the NewYorker - a free short story from her book, I decided to go ahead and read it. I can't resist the pull of stories set in India or featuring Indian characters, and it is that same aspect that hooked me throughout this story.

In Hell-Heaven, the narrator contemplates the relations…

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place.
Bernadette Fox has a reputation. While her husband and her daughter Bee love her, there's barely anyone else who share the sentiment. Her neighbor Audrey loves to gossip mean things about her with her close friend, Soo-Lin. The other parents of kids at Bee's school look down on Bernadette because she doesn't involve herself in school affairs. Bernadette herself goes out of her way to avoid company.

And then one day, Bee comes home with an excellent report card and asks for her reward - a family trip to Antarctica. The very plan throws Bernadette into a panic but she has no other option. She hires a virtual assistant, based out of India to take care of all her demands, including getting prescriptions at her local pharmacy, doing her online shopping and taking care of some of the logistics of her trip. (It is ridiculous! Bern…

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Short Fiction review)

With the Hunger Games hype that engulfed us last week, it was hard to avoid all the discussion of similar works that existed. Of the many titles that I came across, two stood out particularly - a short story called The Lottery and a Japanese novel (and movie) called Battle Royale (which I'm reading right now and just cannot put down). The novel will be fodder for another post, so for now, I just want to rave about the awesomeness that was The Lottery.

In contemporary America, villagers across the country are gathering on the 27th of June (and some a day earlier) for an annual event called the Lottery. Children, women, men, all come to the main square of their village or town, where the lottery master keeps a black box full of paper chips. One of these chips is marked has a special mark on it to identify the winner (the person who draws that chip). Not everyone draws however, but only the head of the family. Husbands are viewed as the head of their families/households, and if the …