March Recap 2015

2015 03-15 Coffee ShopsSo far 2015 is turning out to be one hell of a roller coaster. Every time something great happens it’s like there’s someone waiting to smack you in the face before you get too excited or stay happy for too long.

The major positives are 1) we’re 1/4 of the way through the year so we’re past the “Monday” of 2015. 2) We beat the record so all the snow was worth it. And 3) Most of the snow has melted in Boston (even though it snowed this week), and we’re finally starting to see signs of spring including a couple of 50+ (10C) degree days over the past two weeks and the sun is out a lot more than it has been. It never ceases to amaze me how an extra 10-15 minutes of sunlight a day can seriously improve your attitude! As the weather has been so iffy lately I’ve spent a lot of time in coffee shops and curled up reading books, and thus the starting photo. (Yes that’s a spoon pushed into the cement.)

Other things happened and many more are still happening, so for now on to the books!

Books and Bookish
This was a fast month for reading, but according to Goodreads, I’m still TWO book behind! It must just be from February where I only read three books and something I’m refusing to call a book. I’ll catch up I’m sure!

The books I did read this month included one library book (Funny Girl), two “to-be-read” books (Tender as Hellfire and Emma – Yay JABC!), two galleys/ARCs (Shadow Scale and The Anxiety Toolkit), and one book a friend loaned me way too long ago (Crome Yellow), thanks Nick!

Recent Acquisitions
2015 03-20 Anxiety GalleyAccording to my spreadsheet I was really good in March! I only purchased one book and received one from a publisher (at my request). I purchased a copy of Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Dispossessed after recording episode five of Come Read With Me! The book I received from the publisher was The Anxiety Toolkit by Dr. Alice Boyes, which I cannot recommend enough. Seriously, go check out my response and then get a hold of a copy somehow.

What’s Next?
2015 03-12 Madrid PlanningI’m already most of the way through my first book of April (Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks) and I’ve already got the next few lined up including that Anne Rice novel I mentioned last month and the book for episode six of Come Read With Me with my friend Emily.

On a non-book related note (which you know I’ll make book related). We’ve started planning, and mostly finished, what we will be doing in Spain this coming summer. I’m hoping to quick read Don Quixote as I know I’ll see the famous Don Quixote and Sancho Panza statue in Madrid, but I’m not sure I’ll get to it. Either way I’m very VERY excited and can’t wait to be there.

Hope everyone had a great month!

February Recap 2015

2015 02-15 King of the SnowAnother month gone. I know they say the years go by faster the older you get, but this is getting ridiculous. Maybe I was just too busy, or maybe I just don’t have a grasp on time with so much snow covering everything, but 2015 is 1/6th of the way over and I’ve no idea what happened.

February was a rough month personally and professionally. It’s never a good sign when one aspect of your life drains into the other aspect in negative ways, and I honestly couldn’t tell you which bled into which more, but either way it was just a gross month. But that being said I did have an excellent last weekend of the month when I went skiing with my sister and a bunch of friends for a belated birthday and Christmas present! (See photos below.) The photo directly above is of me in South Boston standing on a snow bank. I could touch the One Way sign and was taller than the street light. Thankfully, snow is starting to melt, but we’re LESS THAN TWO INCHES from the all time record (107.9) and I can’t help but think, “Bring it on!”

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Book 330: Waiting for the Flood – Alexis Hall

Hall, Alexis - Waiting for the FloodIf I didn’t know better I’d say one of my good friends from high school (cough *Alexandra* cough) was writing under a pseudonym, “Alexis Hall” – HA! But that aside, I requested a copy of this novella from the publisher as the synopsis (Publisher’s website) caught my attention. I received a copy from the publisher and below is my honest response.

This is the story of Edwin and how he’s finally ready to get over his 10 year relationship which ended, not on bad terms, but on terms that he wasn’t able to comprehend. Having never been in a 10 year relationship (holy shit that’s 1/3 of my life – and Edwin’s!) I can’t really relate, but I can relate to coming out of a relationship not knowing what happened because it ended in a way that didn’t make sense and we apparently both thought and had different feelings on where things were and were going.

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Book 327: What Matters in Jane Austen? – John Mullan

Mullen, John - What Matters in Jane AustenNeither a bad end to 2014, nor a bad start to 2015, this was well worth the read. It wasn’t all I thought it would be, but considering it was a galley I got ages ago (2012 I think) and never read (Sorry!) I’m glad I finally read it. I think I’m going to spend a lot of time with Austen this year. A few friends and I are doing a Jane Austen book club and I have quite a bit of non-fiction I’m looking forward to reading about Austen and her life. I hope everyone sticks with me throughout! I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and received nothing in return for my honest response.

What worked best for this book was the selecting of 20 themes and then talking about them across Austen’s novels. I’ve read all of her novels at least once and a few of them much more. You can look at the chapter titles to see the themes, but the ones that stood out most to me where when Mullan spoke about Austen’s mastery of novels and groundbreaking skills as a writer.

“She did things with fiction that had never been done before. She did things with characterization, with dialogue, with English sentences, that had never been done before.”

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Book 302: Stone Mattress – Margaret Atwood

Atwood, Margaret - Stone MattressAtwood is an incredible writer and story teller and there’s really not much more that needs to be said, so when I saw her newest collection of short stories I knew I had to request it! I received a copy from the publisher, in return for my honest opinion:

Spectactular.

That would be a little cruel, to leave it just at that even though it would still describe it perfectly. Below, you’ll find a one-to-two sentence review of each of the nine tales and a single quote from each.

On a different note, if you haven’t heard Margaret Atwood is the first author of the future library! This is a project where authors are asked to write a work and it won’t be read for 100 years. This makes me both incredibly happy, as she writes such fantastic speculative/near future fiction, but also sad that I won’t be able to read it! It’s a fascinating project and I could go into it in detail, but really you should just read about it at The Guardian.

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