Books and Reading

Sol Book Box

A few Mondays ago I mentioned that I was lurking on the La Phoenikera blog. Thanks to a post there, I learned about Sol Book Box, a  book box subscription service which promotes bilingual bookwormism. I don’t have young children and there’s no reason for me to sign up for this service….but I did anyway.

I got my box in May and I finally took the time to open it and snap some crappy pictures so I could share with y’all.

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The Box. Corgi not included.

Obviously when you open the box there is packing material. No surprises there. I did like the “what’s in the box” card though. Inside there was a mask, a green kid-sized cape and some stickers. (Wow I take crappy pictures. Also, please ignore the havoc my cats have wreaked on my couch.)

Quick Book Review

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Esteban has this cape. He loves it, but it is kind of boring and doesn’t really help him do anything cool like fly. He does eventually find a good use for it though.

I thought this was a really sweet book. I particularly liked the use he found for his cape. Maybe I was overthinking, but I thought it was a nice reminder that males can be caretakers too.

I read it really more as a Spanish teacher and couldn’t help but think it would be a great tool for present tense verbs. The sentences are simple and I don’t think it would be too intimidating for the end of Spanish 1 or as review for Spanish 2. It would also be a good way to show that you can’t always have word for word translations. 

Books and Reading

May Wrap-up And June Goals (Which May or May Not Be Reading Related)

May Wrap-up

Heeey…It’s June 1st. Let’s just say that May 31st snuck right past me and I forgot to do a wrap-up post.

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The May Reads Bujo page for the lazy and cynical

Total: 11 (pitiful)

Books Read (Traditional Dead Tree Format):

New Books: 3

From my own shelves (ROOTs*): 0

Audiobooks: 6

Comic Book: 1

Kindle: 1

DNF (Not counted in total): 1 (Alphabet Juice by Roy Blount Jr.)

Favorites: Meh. I didn’t really have one.

Number of Days I Stuck To My Book Diet: Don’t ask

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Because blogs need pictures-May covers (Thanks for making this easy, Library Thing!)

June Goals

Blog Check

First of all, I really need to make blogging more of a routine so I can maybe have some content. Mostly I’ve been firing off blog posts and hitting publish (like I’m doing with this post.) I don’t really keep a bunch of posts in draft status and actually go through the process of writing. I guess the It’s Monday posts have been the closest to being written, edited and *snort* polished. Really it’s more like I add a line or two daily and forget about it. Soooo. I’d like to maybe set some time aside daily to build up some content so I can pay more attention to the writing and editing then have posts in my arsenal and can publish more regularly.

But I know I’m going to get lazy, so please don’t expect any sort of improvement in quality. In a few weeks time I’ll be right back to keyboard vomiting and publishing.

Reading

I am a little bummed by how little I accomplished reading-wise. May was incredibly slow. I’m on summer vacation and I really should be reading more. Instead I find myself parked in front of the TV. My husband tells me I should just relax and go with what entertains me right now. He’s known me long enough to know that I cycle through the same 3-4 distractions. He knows I’ll get back to books eventually. Still, I’d like to maybe sit down and read for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Book Diet

Ironically, a shopping spree can often set off a reading slump for me. I admit it, I’ve bought quite a few books in the last few months. So now I’m overwhelmed by all the books that I need to read. Y’all know how it is, right? That paralysis that comes from being so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start? So I need to put the kibosh on buying at least for a month or two (all book box subscriptions and BOTM selections being exempt.)

*ROOT: Stands for Read Out Own Tomes which is a group on LibraryThing. Members can define what a ROOT is. I’ve defined mine as any book I purchased in 2016 or before.

Books and Reading

Library Stories 

I have to make a confession.

I’m almost 50 years old and in my lifetime I’ve barely used the library. I absolutely love the idea of the public library. It’s fundamental to democracy and literacy. I just don’t use it much. Partly because I’m lazy (ugh. Get dressed? Go somewhere?) And partly because I just read so damn slow and in the past I just never knew what I was in the mood to read. But I decided to get off my ass after I heard about The Budget Cuts. The Library needs me!!

The first step I took was to get in the habit of always checking my library catalog online before going to Amazon. For the most part this works. I’ve got a shortcut on my phone home screen and I can sign in and add a book to my library wish list wherever I am. Still it’s been a little frustrating.

Even with Hoopla and Overdrive, my library doesn’t seem to have a lot of recent bestsellers and books I like to call viral (you know what I’m talking about…the ones that are all over Goodreads and Litsy for a period of time until the next one comes along.) Worse, I would sometimes find the book, but they only had it in CD format. Maybe I’m not understanding something, but it still feels strange to me that The Mothers by Brit Bennett was only purchased on CD. Of course the Littens helped me out. Many asked if I could get in interlibrary loan.

Next confession: I had to get the school librarian to show me how to request an interlibrary loan.  I decided to request You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain from a library about two hours away. (The Mothers? Oh. Um. Yeah. I had already purchased it…) We hit “request” and I didn’t get anything. No confirmation e-mail, no “success!” pop up. We both found it odd, shrugged our shoulders and moved on.

Fast forward a week or two…

I get a call. It’s not a number I recognize so hell no I’m not picking it up. They left a voicemail. It was the library. First they apologized for not getting back to me sooner. Then they explained that they had received my request, but since the book was so new they weren’t able to get it. Books less than a year old are generally not eligible for ILL. BUT they were going to order the book for our library because it was one they really should have. Since I was the one who requested it, they will contact me as soon as it comes in!

I am in awe. I am cynical by nature so when all the Littens were saying that libraries really want to help the patrons and get what they want I sort of scoffed. I have been proven gloriously wrong.

 

Books and Reading

April Wrap-up

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BUJO of the lazy and cynical

In hindsight, it might have been better to work on this post all month. Meh. Planning ahead is for punks.

Total: 21

Dead-tree: 7

Kindle: 10

Audio: 4

ROOTs: 3
(ROOT stands for Read Our Own Tomes. It’s a group on LibraryThing and the goal is to read books that you already own as opposed to buying books. I really suck at that. I generally read 1 ROOT for every 10 books I buy or check out from the library.)

I would pat myself on the back for the fact that 11 of the books were from the library, but I also bought a bunch of books and didn’t read very many of my own books. One of these days I’m going to stop caring about the ROOT to New Book ratio. Today is not that day.

Overall I am very pleased with how much I managed to read. I have a couple of weather days to thank for that. When school gets cancelled twice in one week, you get a lot of reading done.

Because I felt so successful in April I decided to raise my Goodreads challenge goal to 126. This probably means that all my reading is going to come to a screeching halt. In fact, it already kind of has. I didn’t read a thing yesterday and today isn’t looking much better. I’ve got a backlog on the DVR, the 3rd season of Bosch is available AND Las chicas del cable is now streaming on Netflix.

Books and Reading

A Love Letter to Litsy

SmartSelectImage_2017-04-27-07-35-03In March of this year I read about Litsy on the Book Riot website. The timing couldn’t have more perfect. It was the week before spring break and I was in a mild reading slump. I decided to try it out and it hit all the right notes for me.

Focus

It’s been described as the marriage of Goodreads and Instagram. It’s an apt description. I also like to think of it as “what happens when Goodreads and Instagram decide to focus and get rid of the clutter.”

Litsy is nothing but readers and books. While there are publishers and professional book people there, it still feels like it’s everyday readers generating most of the content. I love it.

Shame Free

I admit it.  I have book shame. I am a lazy, lazy reader and I don’t want to feel taxed when reading. I read what most people would consider to be of low literary merit (Yes, I realize I should not compare myself with others and I should revel in my love of Nancy Drew. I’m still working on that.).

On Litsy I get none of that shame. Something about seeing readers and their books in their own habitat seems to validate my own book feelings. Just seeing everyone’s shelves jammed with books that they haven’t read yet makes me feel better about my own possibly out of control book-buying habits.

Like = No Pressure = Introvert Paradise

Littens (the absolutely perfect term for people on Litsy….I guess you’re a Luppy if you prefer dogs?) get me. They understand the introvert struggle. On Litsy I feel like a downright extrovert!

My favoriteist thing is the “like heart”. I just scroll away and read blurbs and like all the things and BOOM! I’m like participatory and sh*t. I swear if everything in life had a “like” button I would be the queen of social interaction. Every blog should have the option of liking all the comments (note to self: look into that.)

I can participate on group activities like BuddyReads or Photo Challenges (like the monthly one hosted by Real Life Reading.) and never have to leave my house. I know there are things like this on Goodreads and LibraryThing, but they seem so…organized. I lurk by nature. Because of that, it always feels a little like a waste of time to be in a group if I’m not adding anything or participating. I need something loosey goosey. Have hashtag, will participate…or not. Even if I am not adding to the conversation daily, there are stil other things I can be doing on Litsy.

Animals

Yup. Animals. I worship the #catsoflitsy and the #dogsoflitsy. I’m on a first name basis with some of them (Hi, Max! Hi, Bitsy!)

If you’re on Litsy, feel free to look me up. I’m Sace over there.

Books and Reading

Weekly Babble 7/16/16

I guess if I sit around and wait for some lightning bolt of creativity this blog will never have any content. I’ll start simply with weekly updates of what’s happening on my bookshelf. This post will be kind of full. I’ve read and acquired quite a few things since that last post in May.

Books I’ve finished:
Disclaimer: I actually tend to forget everything I read, which is problematic when you want to review books or have a conversation about a book you just read. It’s more precise to say I react to books. Hopefully you can still get some use out of that.

Why Be Jewish? by Edgar Bronfman

Stand out quote:
“I end where I began, with Einstein’s quote: “The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice, and the desire for personal independence—these are the features of the Jewish tradition which make me thank my stars I belong to it.”

I am a Jew by choice, so I am already convinced. Honestly, I wish I could remember why I decided to read this one, but I’m glad I did.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

It takes less than an hour to read it. It’s worth it.

Stand outs:

“I often make the mistake of thinking that something that is obvious to me is just as obvious to everyone else.”

This is the story of my life.

“Culture does not make people. People make culture.”

BOOM.

Otomen, Volumes 10-16, orange: The Complete Collection 2, Food Wars, Volume 12

Manga. It’s my dirty little secret and I don’t care who knows it.

Learn German with Stories: Ferien in Frankfurt and Karneval in Köln by André Klein

I’m trying to brush up on my German. It’s slow going. These stories are easy enough that I feel confident, but challenging enough that I feel like I’m really studying.

The Complete Persepolis, Che: A Graphic Biography, Hark! A Vagrant

I’m a sucker for graphic novels, too. Even more so if we are talking about a memoir or biography.

Hark! A Vagrant was more like a collection of comic strips, some of which I understood and found hilarious. Most of them referenced historical events and literature I knew nothing about.

Through the Narrow Gate by Karen Armstrong

Stand out:

“The most difficult thing is to come to terms with yourself. I had never fully realized how much the world outside the convent shields an individual from having to endure any great degree of unpleasant self-knowledge.”

Corazón Salvaje by Caridad Bravo Adams

I watched the telenovela, which really helped me with the comprehension. I found this to be a difficult read (as far as my Spanish reading goes.)

Hard Magic by Larry Correia

My husband recommended this. I’m really particular about any fantasy I read (that’s code for “Harry Potter is about my speed), but i enjoyed this. I just wish I could separate the books from the authors. I feel a little guilty for reading him since I heard about the Sad Puppies (I guess I should be glad he’s not one of the Rabid Puppies. And yes, I do live under a rock.)

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Why did I wait so long to read this?????

Dreaming In Cuban by Cristina Garcia

This has been languishing on my shelf since I bought it in 1993 (It’s moved with me 3 times!) This is how I roll. I’ll buy a book and wait perhaps decades before I read it. I don’t do libraries nor do I borrow books from friends. Just because a book sounds interesting doesn’t mean I’ll be in the mood to read it any time soon. There’s a difference.

I don’t think I would have appreciated this if my younger self had read it. Though part of me sort of wishes younger me had read it. Then old me could compare my thoughts on it.

I’ve also read a slew of romance novels and a Nancy Drew. I don’t feel the need to link those.

Books I’m Currently Reading (for realz)

I usually have 4+ books going at a time, but I’m really only making progress on 2.

Celia: Mi Vida by Celia Cruz

Telemundo recently aired a Colombian telenovela based on the life of Celia Cruz. I’d heard that they took some liberties so I decided to read the book instead of watching the telenovela. The telenovela is long over, but I’m just now reading this in earnest.

Miscelánea by Ana Álvarez

A romance. Nothing to really write home about. I’ve learned some Spanish. It’s taken me way too long to read this. I’ve read other books that have gone faster.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Offspring and I recently visited the Fitzgerald Museum and it was fascinating. I haven’t read The Great Gatsby since high school so I decided to revisit it. (Please don’t tell anyone I’m reading a dead, white, male author.)

Recent Acquisitions

I’m too lazy for linkage. To make a long list post a longer list post, I’ll just write a list, in no particular order…

Fruits Basket Collector’s Edition (1 and 2) by Natsuki Takaya

What is Islam?: The Importance of Being Islamic by Shahab Ahmed

Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle

Ghost Bride by Yansze Choo

The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

The Girls by Emma Cline

El tiempo entre costuras por María Dueñas

I also swiped two books from Offspring’s shelf:  A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and The Namesake by Jhumpa Lhairi

General Rambling and Links

I started yesterday with this article about sexism and literary prizes. That led to a great article about the experiences of writers of color by Asian poet Jenny Zhang. Needless to say, I’ll spend some of today reading the articles linked there.

Oh, and if I weren’t pissed enough….Innocence is a Privilege and Book Deserts.

I’m digesting a lot. I’m not sure how to react to the things I read. Most of the time I think the best course of action is to be still and to listen, listen, listen.

I guess I’m going to start taking this thing a little more seriously, but I still have this idea that I really have nothing to say. I wish I was  little better at the technical stuff.