Category: musings


That Obligatory ‘How My Reading Year Went’ Post

Posted 2 January, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

‘Tis the season! I don’t do my ‘best of’ list until June… because you’re all sick to death of best of’s… plus it gives me some more time to read some 2015 titles… win win for everyone. However, it is time for the obligatory post on how my reading year went. So without further ado, let’s discuss our wins and losses.

Goodreads

After the epic failure of 2014, I kept my goals simple and only participated in my own self imposed Goodreads challenge, which I almost didn’t make… but did! (Thanks to Joe Hill’s graphic novel series Locke & Key, which is amazing and you should read, like, yesterday.)

  • Goal set 1 January 2015: 105 books. I can’t find a page goal that I set.
    • Actually read: 109 books, 38,690 pages

reading goal

So let’s break it down a little more!

Source

source of books

Oooo. Girl. Nothing to be proud of here.

  • 21 galleys (19.3%)
  • 4 purchased from a brick and mortar new bookstore (3.7%)
  • 9 received as gifts (8.3%)
  • SIXTY SEVEN (67) purchased through Amazon (61.5%)
  • 8 checked out from the library (7.4%)

Page count breakdown

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Enough said, I think. I like books that are about in the 350 page range.

Nationality of Author

author books

Yeahhhh… it’s pretty apparent I read primarily US and UK authors. I put in a special category for Australian authors because I felt like I was reading a lot of Aussie Lit…. I guess not…

Gender of Authors

author gender

So this year I read more men than women, which is unusual for me… the ‘MF’ category is for things like anthologies which have both men and women writing in them.

How I Read

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I will not be ashamed!!! I love my Kindle and I will not lie. This is perhaps a new record for me in the number of audiobooks that I’ve listened to in a year, but I’ve done a lot of commuting… and my job is mentally demanding, so sometimes instead of reading with my eyes before I go to sleep, reading with my ears is easier.

  • 23 galley books (mostly e-Galleys)… (21.1%)
  • 10 paperbacks (9.2%)
  • 11 hardcovers (10%)
  • 42 e-Books (not including e-Galleys) (38.5%)
  • 23 audiobooks (21.1%)

et cetera

I only read eight books towards my 1001 Books project. One book at a time I suppose…

I contributed and helped to found the fabulous Socratic Salon. I kept up with the best four goddamned book bloggers that I know… (Catherine, Jennifer, Monika, and Shannon), I got a little out of the game after I got a job… but no one holds that against me… I think. One of my best good friends from college, Heather, got into the book blogging sphere (though I’ve sucked at getting to her site and commenting and supporting her …. but…. yeahhhhh #NoExcuse)

But… overall… it’s been a good bookish year!

How was your bookish reading year, Reader? Have I alienated you by not coming by your blog enough? By not blogging on my own enough? Help me try to improve myself! I love each and every one of you that takes the time to read this little ongoing project of mine. 2+ years in the making, I can hardly believe it. Tell me about you!

I love you all!

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: After Hours Edition

Posted 13 December, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, musings

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Time // 10:38 PM EST

Reading //  EVERYTHING! Honestly, I’ve been reading like a crazy person the last week or so and it’s absolutely magnificent. I finished two Tournament of Book long list titles, the entirety of Joe Hill’s amazing graphic novel Locke and Key, an ARC, maybe two… In short, I probably have about ten books I need to review but I don’t want to stop reading long enough to write a review post. It feels goooood. On the other hand, I need to crack down next week at…

Work // Last week of court for the year for me. Tons to do tomorrow and the rest of this week so I guess I’m really going to have to crack down on myself. Made myself write a review of a delightful book that ended up on the Tournament of Books 2016 long list. It should go live in about an hour. Speaking of…

Tournament of Books!!! // Obviously I’m thrilled the long list has been released, just as obviously there’s no way I can read the entire long list. Take a look, what interests you? Personally I think Mort(e) sounds just weird enough to be amazing. We’ll see.

I think I’m going back to the books, Reader. I’m about a quarter of the way through David Mitchell’s newest Slade House. (I know, late to the party.) What are you reading?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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#AMonthofFaves : December First – Books

Posted 1 December, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

Going to go ahead and start these posts with no promise of finishing them. A Month of favorite books (and bookish things)!

Number of books read this year (so far)  88 of the 105 that I’ve challenged myself to, today that puts me eight books behind schedule so I need some fast, quick, amazing reads. Suggestions?

Genres? Honestly, I haven’t been great at the tracking this year so I have to go off of Goodreads. It tells me that most of my books fall into the ‘other’ category, with literary fiction and horror falling close behind.

Et cetera …  I’m going to tell you without looking that the majority what I read were eBooks that I purchased myself. Though towards the end of this year I’ve taken a shine to audio, probably because my job leaves me so mentally exhausted I can hardly do anything else.

What about you, Reader? How’s your year of reading going? Join me at Estella’s Revenge for #AMonthofFaves!

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: Saturday Night

Posted 17 October, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, musings

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Time // Saturday, 10:25 PM EDT

Watching // George Lucas films. Just finished up A New Hope, starting up on Raiders of the Lost Ark. Why? Well…

Receiving // THIS MAGNIFICENT CHRISTMAS DECORATION.

16 foot Darth Vader Christmas Lawn Decoration

Sixteen foot Darth Vader Christmas Lawn Decoration

I have researched my new HOA bylaws and there is nothing that should prevent me from putting this sixteen foot magnificence in my front yard. At least not this year. There have to be perks to owning a home, right? I am so freakin’ excited.

Reading // A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Still wending my way through Accidental Saints and Furiously Happyreally need to start of Fates and Furies for the upcoming Socratic Salon discussion.

Work // My last trial week before the new boss officially starts is coming up. I’ll be so happy when he starts because it should take my caseload down by a third

Writing // …or thinking about writing, a comprehensive review on my re-listening of Stephen King The Dark Tower series, a chat about hearing Jenny Lawson speak and meeting her a second time, and probably a review of the newest Atwood. Among other things.

I thought I had more to say, but apparently I was wrong. How was your week, Reader?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Loving People Who Love Jesus: Nadia Bolz-Weber and Me

Posted 14 September, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Authors, musings

accidental saints collage

So I was fortunate enough to get to spend an evening with Nadia Bolz-Weber, and by ‘spend an evening’ I mean going to an already scheduled book reading that she was having here in Decatur. Let me tell you, this lady loves Jesus. Real hard. Most of the time this would be a turn-off for a gal like me. Don’t get me wrong. I make exceptions for people that I know in real life, but public figures who love Jesus usually get a mark in the ‘con’ side of a pro/con list I keep in my head about people.

But Rev. Bolz-Weber is way different. I found her talk to be charming and accessible; open and inclusive. I went with my friend who attends(ed) a Southern Baptist church and after listening to Rev. Bolz-Weber speak about how we’re all ‘accidental saints’ and the light of Christ shines upon even the worst of us, J. turned to me and was all, “That’s exactly how I feel, I want a church that accepts me for me.” For this atheist, that’s exactly the kind of public-figure Christian that I can get behind.

Of course she did some readings from her newly released book Accidental Saints, which I’ve started and (of course) is fabulous. She also did the most amazing raffle with the proceeds going to two excellent bookish charities. She ranted about the Hallmark-ization of Christmas, including her extreme dislike of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ and the mischaracterization that modern Christianity has made of the magi (“We’re not talking cute magicians that you hire for your kid’s birthday party, we’re not talking about Gob Bluth.”)

lighter fluid

Another point of her lecture that really hit me hard was her speaking about demons in the Bible and how real those demons may be today. No matter what we want to call them by, depression, mental illness, addiction, even this atheist must agree we have demons that inhabit the world today. I’m probably more sure in my feelings than she is that these ‘demons’ are due to neurological and social causes rather than actual supernatural beings, but despite this I was deeply touched and affected when she spoke of her depression. She named her depression Frances, and “…the only drug that bitch didn’t like was called Wellbutrin.” I too have experienced depression so deep it was tangible, self destructive tendencies so big they felt like possession. This openness and frankness is what I have loved about Rev. Bolz-Weber since I read Pastrix, she’s so real and honest. A lack of honesty is something that I often want to criticize in modern Christians (especially those I don’t know personally).

We are all deeply flawed and all we can do is to continue to love our neighbor, even the bad ones, to the best of our ability. To forgive, to strive harder to be good people and make the world a better place. Again, this is what I love about Rev. Bolz-Weber, is that even though I don’t embrace her theology (though I deeply, truly wish I could) I honestly and completely embrace her philosophy and admire her convictions.

Now for something fun. I totally fangirled out at the book signing portion of the night and was all “You probably don’t remember me, but I was that atheist who loved Pastrix so hard.” and… she claimed she totally did! I got a giant hug from this CrossFitted, Jesus-loving, ELCA pastor and I’m just going to show you how happy I was (and how possibly freaked out she was).

nadia bolz-weber and me

 

What about you, Reader? Felt fan-person-y recently? Have you read anything by Rev. Bolz-Weber? DO YOU LOVE HER? Keep your eyeballs peeled for a review of Accidental Saints, the Socratic Salon might even be tackling it. Obviously if I’ve mischaracterized anything she’s said the mistake is mine.

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: On Creativity

Posted 13 September, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

creativity

Time // 8:54 AM EDT

So I’ve been having an extremely crazy week at work. My direct supervisor retired suddenly adding thirty cases to my case load on the October trial calendar and god knows how many other cases that will come to me on bench (judge) trial calendars, that have been continued, and that will need motions argued, plea deals negotiated (easy), and all the other things that go with prosecutorial lawyering.

Additionally, we’re set to close on the new house Friday, movers come Saturday, The Girl starts (another) new school Monday, and I wrecked my car last Thursday – so repairs have to be done. (I’m getting to my manifesto soon, promise). So, needless to say, there’s a lot of stress.

But over the past few weeks, even before the boss retiring and getting in the car crash, I’ve been feeling a weird void. I think it’s been due to the lack of my creative output in the world, which sounds weird because I’m not particularly good at any creativity that I do. I’d also argue that criminal law work, perhaps any trial law work requires quite a bit of creativity, little ways to twist the case law to make it work in your favor instead of against you.

Regardless.

Legal creativity (despite me being better at that [arguably] than any other type of creative undertaking) is not the kind of creativity that I dreamed of being good at as a little girl. I wanted to be a musician, a writer… an artist… if you will. Though, I should clarify I never had any delusion of being a visual artist. Despite my real talents lying elsewhere I think I still need at least some proximity to art, music, and literature. That’s something that’s been missing in my life the past few weeks… or months. My reading has stagnated to audiobooks and just when I was ahead at work… thirty more cases coming up for trial in October.

Aside from missing out on my reading time, I’m missing out on my blogging time. I don’t think that I realized how much of an outlet for me that this blog has become. I still contend that I’m I reader, not a writer (see my NaNoWriMo posts), but at the same time apparently something happens to my psyche when I write my little reviews here. I’ve been neglecting that.

While I don’t see any semblance of work/life/art balance coming to my life anytime soon, it’s something that I know I need to work into my life as soon as I can.

What about you, Reader? Do you need proximity to beautiful and brilliant things in your life? Do you need to make art or do something creatively in one way or another?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: John Oliver Edition

Posted 23 August, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

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Time // 11:12 AM EDT

Reading // Making progress on Mindhunter, I think that it might make a pretty good analytical post. But let’s not count our chickens.

Feeling // Meh. I’ve been feeling ick since Friday. I suspect it’s a combination of a stomach bug and general anxiety. I’m doing a lot of teeth grinding and feeling really edgy.

I dunno guys. I feel with a Sunday Salon I should have more to report. Something interesting and exciting, but the stuff going on isn’t necessarily things I can share in a public forum. We should be closing on a house next month which means minor renovations, finding a new school, and moving. Can you hear my teeth grinding? I’m struggling between a complete shutdown and drinking heavily, (kidding!) neither which are real options.

In the Meantime // John Oliver cracks me up and everyone should donate to Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption. Let’s amend the Constitution today and make him President tomorrow!

 

I’m going to go ahead and post this and see if anything groundbreaking comes to me throughout the day making me want to edit it.

How was your week, Reader?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: Sainthood Edition

Posted 9 August, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings, Reading

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Time // 9:22 AM EDT

Place // The doghouse. I pulled what I like to refer to as ‘a man’, but what is more accurately described in my relationship as ‘an April’ and made a major purchase of a new phone without consulting The Mister. While lying in bed next to him… … I promise it was less sneakiness and more thoughtlessness. When the iPhone6 came out last year I was an idiot and used my upgrade to only get the one with 16 gigs of storage, I had to have more… like 112 gigs more. The man really should be a candidate for sainthood for putting up with me. He doesn’t even read this, so you know I must mean it.

Reading // Finishing up the audio for Jo Nesbø’s The Son, a decent enough Scandinavian thriller I guess. Also about to finish up reading Atwood’s upcoming The Heart Goes Last, as I suspected it is basically the entirety of the published Positron Serials in one book, expanded, and with (I hope!) an ending. I’m not sure what’s next up though, I got a recommendation from a co-worker that looks pretty intriguing. Huzzah for free-range reading!

Happenings // Went to a birthday party with friends on Friday night at a local establishment resembling a Dave and Buster’s with an indoor go-kart track. It’s been a million years since I went go-karting, played skee-ball, or arcade games in general. To end the night a group of us ended up in the parking lot behind a Krispy Kreme at midnight just goofing off and eating doughnuts. (The dining room was closed, okay?!)  Ah, to be sixteen again. Good times. (…and another example of why The Mister is a damned saint, he stayed home with The Girl so I could pretend I was sixteen.)

playing video games

We’re terminating machines.

Family // The Girl started her new Montessori school this week. We had some hiccoughs because I pulled an April and never opened the ‘Welcome Letter’ email that the school sent. I mean… seriously, ‘welcome letter’ sounds like there’s nothing at all substantive in it. Well, there was and it was Wednesday before I hunted down the required white cloth napkins we were supposed to be sending with her lunchbox. I thought The Mister was going to have a stroke. But that’s all sorted out now.

Trying to buy // a house. We’re putting in a bid today on house number four (we’ve already bid and lost on three prior houses), this is important because we got an email this morning from our ridiculous landlords saying they’ve sold the rental that we’re living in and would like to close ASAP. (We weren’t even aware it was on the market and if they’ve been showing it we haven’t known.) Fingers crossed.

Confessed // to much of the office that I have a blog. I’m terrible at keeping my own secrets, but great at keeping secrets that belong to others. Hi Office!! *waves*

Edit //  I also wanted to share this post from some dear IRL friends about dealing with scary things during pregnancy. Get your tissues out.

What about you, Reader? Have you had an eventful week? Tell me!

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: “I’m So Tired”

Posted 19 July, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

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Time // 10:45 AM EDT

Reading // Go Set a Watchman, it’s slow going – mostly because I’m so tired after commute and family time that I go straight to bed listening to audio books instead of reading, so it’s taking me way longer than it should to complete it. But maybe today?

Listening // Unsurprisingly, to a bunch of stuff! I finished up Vanity Fair, which was surprisingly enjoyable. I also finished listening to Wizard and Glass, which probably accounts for my fourth or fifth ‘reading’ of it. I’m on to Wolves of Calla, which will only be my second ‘reading’ of it. I’m looking forward to book seven, which I remember when finishing it I wanted to go start the entire series all over again.

Also, finally catching up with the cool kids and listening to ‘Serial’ from NPR on my commute. It’s interesting and thought provoking as a lawyer. I’m interested to see what comes of it. Maybe I’ll finally download some episodes of Literary Disco to see what all the buzz is about. Also, I could catch up on Annasaurus Rex’s podcast Type O-Maha.

Watching // Went to see Minions this weekend with hubs and The Girl. Fun.

Feeling // Tired. Naturally. I’ll leave you with a Beatles song to inspire you.

What about you, Reader? How was your week? 

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: Where She’s an Exhausted Reader

Posted 12 July, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

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Time // 8:27 AM EDT

This Week // Started my new job. I think it’s going to be a great fit, outside of the commute. I love prosecuting – largely because it doesn’t require me to bill hours or bring in new clients. Oh, and the whole justice for all thing being in my hands is fulfilling as well.  Yesterday Mr. SFR and I went to look at houses closer to the job site, but since he works in the opposite direction the whole thing is going to be tricky. Especially with Atlanta traffic.

Office

My big girl, fancy pants office that I’m quite pleased with.

Now // I brought some case files home that I need to work on a bit to get ahead for next week. I don’t anticipate every weekend being this way, but since I inherited a ton of files – well, it’s catchup time.

Needing // Time and inclination to write and schedule a ton of reviews in advance! My poor comrades at The Socratic Salon are always waiting on my to make my menial contributions to our discussions. Obviously the blog is in the pits as well.

Reading // Okay… well listening… I’ve been making some serious headway into Vanity Fair during my commute and while that time period is definitely far from my favorite — I’m kind of loving it. It’s smart, sassy, and I don’t care what people say about Becky Sharpe, she’s one smart cookie. Amelia makes me want to barf. Before I go to sleep at night I’m listening to Wizard and Glass still. I get home and I’m just so tired that audio is really working well for me all the way around.

Though, I have read the first fifty pages of the new Matthew Quick novel, Love May Fail, and it’s pretty arresting too. Hopefully it won’t take me a decade to finish it.

Good week here, Reader! How was yours? 

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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