I was in stage mom mode again today. It’s been a while since the last time I had stage mom duties, when Dylan was a child extra in a number of operas during the CoC’s 2013-2014 season. Last year when he was in the National Ballet’s Nutcracker (he played a guard and a chef), there was no need to be a stage mom, as parents were not allowed backstage at all (and they were very strict about this rule), so there was no waiting around, which was nice. We just dropped him off and picked him up (although what the book-reading demon and I actually did for each performance was buy the cheap standing room tickets, and came back to watch Act II, which was the Act Dylan was in).
Today, Dylan was an extra in a film my daughter Hayley is working on. It’s a thesis film for her final year in filmmaking school, and for this one she’s the cinematographer, or director of photography. They were to be on set the entire afternoon, and I had this vague idea that I’d be able to drop Dylan off and pick him up again later in the afternoon. Ha!
They weren’t too sure exactly when they’d be done (although they knew the time when they had to be finished by), so I ended up hanging around, just in case. (And can you believe it, I forgot to take pictures of the set- I really need to make picture-taking a habit.)
At first I was on my phone – I mean, I can spend hours on my phone, right? Only I’d already spent time on my phone in the morning, and after a while, I realized I should have brought a book to read. Luckily we live close to where they were shooting, so I ended up coming back home and getting my Kobo (for Pet Sematary) and Dead Scared, the second in S.J. Bolton’s Lacey Flint series.
It was a good thing, too – I read a few more chapters of Pet Sematary for the #gangstercats readalong, and a huge chunk of Dead Scared. It was quite nice to get some unexpected reading time into the day. Dylan had a great time (there were seven other kids there) and we got home in time for a bit of a rest before having to trek back out for his dance class.
While waiting for him during dance class, I managed to finish Dead Scared, so that’s another one for the done pile! (Now that I’m tracking my reading, I find myself geeking out every time I get to add another entry to my spreadsheets.)
Now the random stuff:
- our dishwasher started leaking yesterday, so we’re handwashing until the plumber comes tomorrow morning to fix things. My hands are not particularly pleased – this weather’s already been pretty rough on them, and the soapy dishwasher isn’t helping!
- yesterday on their way home from dance class Dylan and the book-reading demon decided to expand the taxi counting game. We’d been counting only the taxis coming and going on the street we were on, but now it’s been extended to any taxi we see while we’re waiting for the bus or riding the bus back home. They came home with a whopping 267, so tonight on our way home, Dylan and I were determined to beat yesterday’s total. And I believe we would have, too, only the bus we got on had extremely dirty windows, and we had a tough time seeing out them. We only counted 231 taxis but I believe in my heart we would have bested 267 if we’d only been able to actually see out the window.
- I bought a new laptop today. It should arrive in a few days. The current laptop has been acting rather temperamentally for about a year now. Little things like a black screen even though the rest of the laptop is running fine (when that happens, I have to hook it up to a TV or monitor so I can power it down properly, remove the battery, remove the AC/DC power cord, hold down the start button to discharge whatever energy it is that’s jiggling things up, replace the battery and power cord and restart. Really. I found these instructions online last year and was so amazed they actually work). Oh, and documents not saving when I use “save as”, for a variety of programs. Chrome being laggy, oh, so so laggy. Many more grievances I won’t air here. I’m happy about getting a new laptop, BUT I’m not looking forward to that “transition from old laptop to new laptop” thing we all must do. Mainly because there are a number of programs I think I might have forgotten to save the serial codes for on Evernote (hello, Word? And Roboform?).
Back on Thursday, Andi put out the word about the Flash Readathon, a no pressure, read and have fun kind of readathon. I loved the idea, and ended up spending quite a bit of time with an assortment of books this weekend as a result.
I’ve never participated as a reader in any of the formal readathons, although I’ve been a cheerleader several times – in the past, each of the big readathons fell on weekends during which I was unable to commit huge chunks of time for reading. So participating in this Flash Readathon gave me a little taste of what it feels like – and now that I’ve had that little taste, I think the next readathon that comes around, I’d like to play!
Here are the books I got to over the weekend. These aren’t start-to-finish books, which is what I guess I’d be aiming for with one of the formal readathons. These are just the books I dipped into (and in one case, finished) over the weekend:
First up was Pet Sematary, for the #gangstercats readalong. I read about five more chapters, bringing me to chapter 30 – I want to take this slowly so I can play along with everyone throughout the rest of March.
The Creeds are going to learn that sometimes dead is better.
Up next, I read more issues of The Woods by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas. I’m really liking this series, which I’m reading on Scribd*, and I’m hoping more issues will be coming to Scribd soon.
On October 16, 2013, 437 students, 52 teachers, and 24 additional staff from Bay Point Preparatory High School in suburban Milwaukee, WI vanished without a trace. Countless light years away, far outside the bounds of the charted universe, 513 people find themselves in the middle of an ancient, primordial wilderness. Where are they? Why are they there? The answers will prove stranger than anyone could possibly imagine.
I then hopped back into Norwegian by Night, and when I went to bed last night, I had another forty pages to go on it. I finished up those forty pages late this afternoon when I’d had a chance to get back into the Flash Readathon. This is a good book, with an octogenarian protagonist who is real, not stereotyped as depictions of the old tend to be in fiction.
Sheldon Horowitz—widowed, impatient, impertinent—has grudgingly agreed to leave New York and move in with his granddaughter, Rhea, and her new husband, Lars, in Norway—a country of blue and ice with one thousand Jews, not one of them a former Marine sniper in the Korean War turned watch repairman. Not until now, anyway.
Home alone one morning, Sheldon witnesses a dispute between the woman who lives upstairs and an aggressive stranger. When events turn dire, Sheldon seizes and shields the neighbor’s young son from the violence, and they flee the scene. As Sheldon and the boy look for a safe haven in an alien world, past and present weave together, forcing them ever forward to a wrenching moment of truth.
I’m finishing the readathon off with the first in S.J. Bolton’s Lacey Flint series, Now You See Me, which I’d listened to a while back. I’d like to read the rest of the books in the series, so I’ve decided to give this a reread. Now that I’ve read a few chapters, I think I do remember some of the ending, but I’m not sure, and the book is definitely engaging enough that I won’t be bored during this reread.
Late one night after interviewing a witness, Lacey Flint, a young detective constable, stumbles onto a woman brutally stabbed just moments before. Within twenty-four hours, a reporter receives an anonymous letter pointing out alarming similarities between the murder and Jack the Ripper’s first murder—a letter that calls out Lacey by name. If it’s real, and they have a killer bent on re-creating London’s bloody past, history shows they have just five days until the next attempt.
No one believes the connections are anything more than a sadistic killer’s game, not even Lacey, whom the killer seems to be taunting specifically. But as the case unfolds, the details start reminding Lacey of a part of her own past she’d rather keep hidden. And the only way to do that is to catch the killer herself.
So that was my Flash Readathon weekend. How about you? Did you get any #flashreadathon reading done this weekend?
*the Scribd link is my referral link. If you sign up for a trial membership through that link, you get two months free trial rather than just one, and I get a free month too!
February kind of flew by, didn’t it? It turned out to be a great reading month for me, though – I managed to finish 13 books! It breaks down to three audiobooks, two graphic novels, and eight print books. No ebooks! Which is a little surprising, although I did finish Stephen King’s IT in ebook format (because it was too suspenseful to finish in audio).
Here are my February 2015 reads, in the order I read them – and oh, can I just say here, I love love love my reading spreadsheets – never before have I had access to such information about my reading! Before I started keeping track this year, I would have been hard-pressed to tell you what I’d just finished reading the previous week, much less the format and the order of reading!
What Did You Eat Yesterday? by Fumi Yoshinaga (manga/graphic novel). This is definitely one for those who like graphic novels about food. It’s the story of Shiro and Kenji, a gay couple living in Tokyo and the food they eat. Lots of cooking on these pages, plus a recipe after each story. Do not read on an empty stomach, or you’ll find yourself raiding the fridge.
Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton (Sharon Bolton) (print copy). This is the third book written by Bolton, but the first one of hers that I’ve read (although I think I may have previously read the first in her Lacey Flint series a while back). This was a suspenseful mystery, with a nice twist at the end. My favourite character was Harry, the vicar. I didn’t like the way the book ended, in the epilogue, but I really enjoyed the book as a whole.
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (print copy). The story of a truly epic detour that Amy, whose dad has recently died, takes with Roger, the son of an old friend of her mom’s, when they drive cross country to the new life her mother’s making for herself in Connecticut. This is not the type of book that normally finds its way into my TBR, and I don’t know what prompted me to put it there in the first place, but I’m very glad that I did. The depiction of Amy’s grief felt so very true to me.
“Good-byes didn’t seem as important to me as they once had – I’d found that when you’re never going to see someone again, it’s not the good-bye that matters. What matters is that you’re never going to be able to say anything else to them. And you’re left with an eternal unfinished conversation. (p. 118)
IT by Stephen King (audiobook) (I talk about it here). I started this one in January, but it got so intense near the end, I had to wait until I could get an ebook copy from my library to finish it. I really liked the way King went from the present to the past so effortlessly, without giving the reader any jolts. An enjoyable read, although I still say – what was up with that scene with Bev and the boys? It was SO unnecessary.
Saga Vol 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (graphic novel). I really enjoyed this one, although I’m a little embarrassed to admit, I was talking with Tasha earlier today about the Saga series and totally forgot I’d read volume 4 already. (I told her I really had to get to it – haha!). I think mostly I had it confused with volume 5, which hasn’t been released yet. That’s my story, anyway, and yes, I’m sticking with it. My bad book memory should in no way reflect on the awesomeness of this series.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (audiobook). I will probably be in the minority here, but I enjoyed Fangirl mostly for the Simon and Baz segments (and I’m thrilled that Rowell is going to be releasing a book about Simon and Baz!). And it was lovely seeing Cath finally figure out how to be her own person who can stand apart from her twin Wren. The characters are also nicely developed – not just Cath and Wren, but Reagan, Cath’s roommate and Levi, Cath’s boyfriend. Where the story dragged a little for me was Cath and Levi’s relationship, once they were clearly together. But overall, I enjoyed this one.
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (print book). This was another good read – my first Murakami that wasn’t a short story, although I can’t call it my first full-length Murakami either, as it’s more of a novella. The illustrations really added to the very strange and quirky story. It was a fun read, and at the end, there are quite a few ways you can take the final paragraph. It does take some getting used to, this not being able to say with any certainty exactly what’s meant by that last paragraph. But that’s also part of the appeal, I think.
Sacrifice by S.J. Bolton (Sharon Bolton) (print book). I enjoyed Blood Harvest so much, I decided to check out Bolton’s debut novel. It definitely didn’t disappoint, coming as it does with twists galore. You do have to read it fully willing to suspend your disbelief, as the plot does get quite wild there at the end. It’s a page-turner, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself staying up late into the night to finish this one.
Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (print copy). Trigger Warning is a collection of Gaiman’s short stories and poems. Very very lovely read, especially if you’re a Gaiman fan. I wrote more about it here so I won’t repeat myself now.
Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry (print copy). Yes, I finally did finish this one! And it took me a while not because it wasn’t good – it was very very good – but because I’d put it down on my desk and it got buried under a pile of papers. (I find it impossible to keep my desk tidy.) Since it’s nonfiction, I didn’t miss it the way I would a story I was in the middle of. But I’m glad I remembered to dig it out and finish it, because it was very very good (oh, did I say that already?). If you’re interested in creativity, imagination or drawing comics, this is a fun one to read.
Victims by Jonathan Kellerman (audiobook). Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series is basically a comfort series for me. For the longest while now, I only ever read these in audio, and I obviously don’t retain much of what I hear, as another blogger recently reviewed this book and I was all like “hey, you mean there’s an Alex Delaware novel I haven’t read?” because the plot did not sound familiar at all to me. So I borrowed this from the library, and started listening to it. And while I was listening to it, bits and pieces felt very familiar. It wasn’t until I was about halfway through that I realized I’d already read this one before. But despite this, I still couldn’t remember how it ended, so I just kept on going with it.
Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders (print copy). If E. Nesbit’s Five Children and It formed any part of your childhood reading, then you really must pick up this wonderful book by Kate Saunders. Saunders has taken the story of the five children (now six) and the Psammead ten years into the future, when England is at war with Germany. It is a lovely read, and it made me cry. I knew it would.
Awakening by S.J. Bolton (Sharon Bolton) (print copy). As you can see, I was somewhat enamoured of Ms. Bolton last month. Awakening is her second book, and another enjoyable read. It wasn’t quite as twist-worthy as Sacrifice and Blood Harvest but it was still a good read. I do enjoy the characters Bolton creates – in this case, particularly Clara, with that giant chip on her shoulder (and understandably so). And the larger than life Sean North! He was fun to read about.
So those are the books I read in February. Hopefully I will do as well in March! How did your reading go in February?
Photo of the week: It’s been so cold this past week, I haven’t even thought to bring out my phone and snap pictures when I’ve been out and about. So here’s another Creeper photo (that cat is just so photogenic). Hobbes is the cuddly – and naughty – one, but not nearly as photogenic.
Feeling: A little tired, even though it’s still quite early in the evening for me. I’ve been getting up a bit earlier the past few days (working my way toward a regular morning ritual – yay!)
Reading: I finished Sacrifice by S.J. Bolton. This was her debut novel, and I really enjoyed it. It was so good, I went and put a hold on her second book before I finished this one.
It’s been SO nice to have ample time for reading. I started Sacrifice last night and had the luxury of reading right through to the end when I picked it up again this afternoon (it’s that kind of a page-turner book).
Listening: I’m listening to Victims, by Jonathan Kellerman. I thought I’d read all of Kellerman’s books (except the latest, which I’m on hold for at the library) but then I came across someone’s review of Victims and I thought, hey, I don’t remember that plot – I must have missed this one.
But, as it turns out, I had read this one before. I began recognizing bits and pieces of the story once I started listening to it. I still don’t remember the whodunnit part, though, so I decided to just keep on listening. The Alex Delaware novels are kind of like comfort listens for me – I’ve done most of them in audio now.
Writing: I got an idea for a short story the other day, and I’m nearly finished the first draft. I’ve been playing around with titles. I think I might call it “The Devil’s Consort” or “When The Exorcist Arrives”.
Working: Nice and light on deadlines this week! I have an article to write and an index on regulatory law due later this week, and that’s all. I like my work when I’m not going frantic with deadlines.
Creating: Haven’t gotten back to creating a little something every day, but I’ve been thinking about it. Thinking about it counts a little … I think!
Looking forward to: More resting and reading. It’s so nice to know I have downtime between deadlines!