Tag: reading


Sunday Salon: Getting Motivated

Posted 5 February, 2017 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

sunday salon books

Hello, friends. I know it’s been a minute since I showed up here. I want to thank all of you for the kind words you sent in response to my Dear Friend post. It was a difficult post both to write and to decide to keep it live. (I apologize for the insane punctuation in it.) I work in a public job where I deal with many different types of people. Some of which might like to use my mental illness against me. I might also harbor thoughts of running for public office one day. Though honestly, in this current political climate and the more I realize about myself as a person, the more I realize my talents may be better used in a non-profit, like NAMI, Freedom from Religion, or the ACLU, rather than elected position. ANYWAY.

I’m trying to psych myself up to prepare for jury trials next week. I have three cases that may possibly go to trial and currently my preparation has been less than wonderful. There are still plenty of hours between now and Monday morning though.

I finally broke my running streak on Friday. For 38 days I ran at least a mile a day, most days more. I feel like my joints are thanking me for it. I think I might go back out today, I need to stay motivated. The endorphins help me, but unfortunately, they’re just not enough. Registration for the 2018 Disney marathon opens up in nine days, I plan to register.

Finally, the most interesting and relevant part to this blog, my reading has been better and more motivated than it was at the end of 2016. I’m working my way through the Tournament of Books titles at a semi-decent pace. I even have some thoughts in the back of my mind on reviews. I just finished Grief is the Thing With Feathers and absolutely adored it. Katie, my maybe, perhaps guest reviewer/future blog partner is working through the titles too – I’m hoping I can peer pressure her into writing some reviews.

That’s the status of things here in the beautiful state of Georgia, Reader. How are you? Are you motivated? How’s your reading? Exercise? Mood? 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Friday Musings: A Return to Paper

Posted 30 December, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, books and publishing, Reading

I’ve been using a Kindle since the first generation was released in 2007, when it was going for $400. I was stationed in Europe and my parents bought it for me for Christmas that year. I loved it instantly, though being overseas I was unable to use the bitchin’ WhisperNet feature which was disappointing. Since then I’ve owned a few of the other models including the PaperWhite and I currently use the Voyage. I’ve bought Kindles for my husband, my mother, friends, and my sister. I have been a huge proponent of eReaders from the very beginning.

Lately, however, my enthusiasm for my Kindle has waned. I actually bought a couple of dead tree novels (not graphic novels or coffee table books) for the first time in years. I’ve been working my way (slowly) through the books that I picked up at BEA. I’m not sure what exactly has changed after nine years of steady reading on a Kindle. The conveniences of the Kindle are unparalleled, all the books on a tiny device, the backlight on certain models allowing me to read long after my husband has turned out the light, etc.

What has prompted this return to paper? I can’t exactly say. Maybe it’s the insidious creep of technology into all facets of our lives all the time. Maybe it’s the constant staring at screens all day, every day – sometimes even in court. Maybe it’s just simply nostalgia for a simpler time that is unlikely to come again. Whatever it is, it’s sent me into a renaissance of paper books. I was at Barnes and Noble yesterday looking forward to the Tournament of Books 2017 and I bought five…  five hard cover books. They’re more expensive, more bulky, and less convenient than my Kindle but I think I’m going to ride this train while it lasts.

What about you, Reader? I know there are those out there who have never taken to eReaders, is there anyone else who used to love them but now has a craving for paper books again?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: Reading on Vacation

Posted 4 September, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, Reading

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Good morning, Readers! It’s been a hot minute since I checked in here, but there are things going on and there is reading being done. While on vacation I made it through a fair amount of books. I hit up a wide array of books, making it through all of the current Wicked + Divine graphic novels that are available to date, as well as the first volume of Chew, which was not nearly as gross as I had anticipated. I managed to get through Graham Moore’s novel, The Last Days of Night, Lionel Shriver’s amazing economic dystopia The Mandibles: A Family, 2029 – 2047, and last but definitely not least was Amor Towles’ excellent historical fiction piece A Gentleman in Moscow. What I realized by the copious amount of reading I was able to get through on my vacation is that my main problem with my lack of reading these days is work. C’est la vie.

Now, a week back in the real world, I’ve started Herman Koch’s newest Dear Mr. M, so far its just as twisty as his other two novels, but I’m not sure where it’s going yet. I’m still working on Mischling, though not very studiously – it may be a bit too harrowing for what I need to be reading right now. We’ll see. I’m also thinking of starting The Mothers by Brit Bennett.

Had the pleasure of going to the Decatur Book Festival with Katie yesterday. We agreed that we’re super psyched about books in the moment, listening to the authors on the panels but over dinner got realistic on what we were actually going to read. Garrard Conley gave a pretty brilliant talk on a panel about changing ideas of masculinity that definitely piqued my interest in his memoir Boy Erased, which tells of going through conversion therapy as a boy. Jim Obergefell was there too, and he was incredibly inspiring when talking about why he chose to go forward with what became the landmark Supreme Court case making marriage equality the supreme law of the land. I’m extremely interested in his book, Love Wins.

We went and heard a few more talks which were all interesting in their own rights, but didn’t strike me the way Conley and Obergefell did.

So Reader? What have you been reading? 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: Anxiety

Posted 17 July, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

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Time // 6:41 PM EDT

Feeling // Wicked anxious. For no particular reason. I had a meltdown on Twitter today, at the pool. As I was saying, I’ve finally come to the point in my life, where for the most part, I don’t give a fuck what other people think about me. I’m comfortable with the way that I look, the job  that I do, the friends that I keep. Until I go out in public with The Girl. Then I lose. My. Shit. Is she bugging other people too much? Are they judging me for the way that she’s dressed? Am I paying enough attention to her? Too much attention to her? Helicoptering? Neglecting? On. And. On. And. On. My blood pressure rises, my heart starts hammering, and I usually feel frozen in place. It’s a terrible, awful, no good feeling that I don’t know how to shake. Anyway.

Reading //  I just finished up a book that I loved, except for the ending. I hate when an author takes a perfectly content atheist character and makes him/her find god. It’s so… trite. Also still working on Kathleen Glasgow’s upcoming YA(?) novel Girl in Pieces which is raw and powerful and awful in all the best ways. I’m in a reading slump and need to feel excited about something. Suggestions?

That’s all she wrote, Reader. How are you?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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BEA 16: Books Off the Beaten Path

Posted 11 May, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, books and publishing, musings, Reading, Topics

BEA 16: Books off the Beaten Path

Just like most literary fiction bloggers going to BEA this go around of course I’m looking forward to and hoping to get my grubby little paws on the new Ann Patchett and George Saunders. As a apocalypse, horror, vampire blogger of course I’m looking forward to the thrilling conclusion of the Justin Cronin trilogy. The beach blogger in me admittedly might like to see what new thing Charlaine Harris will be pimping. But since I’m a little bit of an off the beaten path blogger I thought I might share some not-so-mainstream books that I’m hoping to encounter this year at BEA.

John Lennon vs. The U.S.A.: The Inside Story of the Most Bitterly Contested and Influential Deportation Case in United States History by: Leon Wildes (ABA Publishing)

“For the first time, noted New York immigration attorney Leon Wildes tells the incredible story of this landmark case – John Lennon vs. The U.S.A. — that set up a battle of wills between John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and President Richard Nixon. Although Wildes did not even know who John Lennon and Yoko Ono were when he was originally retained by them, he developed a close relationship with them both during the eventual five-year period while he represented them and thereafter. This is their incredible story.”

Truffle Boy: My Unexpected Journey Through the Exotic Food Underground by: Ian Purkayastha (Hachette)

“A self-described oddball kid from Arkansas, Ian Purkayastha found his true calling when he learned to forage mushrooms and tasted his first truffle. An instant passion for the delicacy sparked an improbable yet remarkable journey to New York to become the leading truffle importer in America in the dynamic and sometimes shady world of the exotic food trade. Today, at age 23, Ian has built a multi-million dollar specialty foods company with clients as renowned as Jean-Georges Vongerichten and David Chang. As “farm-to-table” becomes “forest-to-table,” Truffle Boy provides a unique view into the world of luxury sourcing, while delivering a coming of age story that will charm foodies and business readers alike.”

Mischling by: Affinity Konar (Hachette)

“It’s 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood.

As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele’s Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors unknown to others, and they find themselves changed, stripped of the personalities they once shared, their identities altered by the burdens of guilt and pain.”

Tacky Goblin by: T. Sean Steele (Consortium)

“An aimless twenty-something struggles to make sense of reality after he moves to Los Angeles to live with his older sister. His legs are rotting, his apartment is haunted, and he’s in charge of taking care of a human baby that might actually be a dog. On top of it all, he has trouble making friends. Tacky Goblin blunders through particularly strange but familiar misadventures to remind us that, ultimately, learning to take care of yourself is hard.”

The Motion of Puppets by: Keith Donohue (MacMillan)

“In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. She is spending her summer working as an acrobat with the cirque while her husband, Theo, is translating a biography of the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Late one night, Kay fears someone is following her home. Surprised to see that the lights of the toy shop are on and the door is open, she takes shelter inside.

The next morning Theo wakes up to discover his wife is missing. Under police suspicion and frantic at her disappearance, he obsessively searches the streets of the Old City. Meanwhile, Kay has been transformed into a puppet, and is now a prisoner of the back room of the Quatre Mains, trapped with an odd assemblage of puppets from all over the world who can only come alive between the hours of midnight and dawn. The only way she can return to the human world is if Theo can find her and recognize her in her new form. So begins the dual odyssey of Keith Donohue’s The Motion of Puppets: of a husband determined to find his wife, and of a woman trapped in a magical world where her life is not her own.”

The Last Days of Night by: Graham Moore (Random House)

“New York, 1888. The miracle of electric light is in its infancy, and a young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?

The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing Paul is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown attorney shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it? In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.”

So, those are some of the books off the beaten path I’ll be looking for at BEA, Reader. Any other suggestions? What are you looking forward to this fall?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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BEA16: Hopes and Dreams

Posted 9 May, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, books and publishing, Reading, Topics

BEA16 Hopes and Dreams

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. I’ve been consistently sick for about three weeks and because of that pretty consistently hopped up on cough syrup while at home.

Work has been an unholy nightmare of the best kind. There’s a contested judge’s election that is turning into nasty politics, inter-office drama, and the usual suspects. We finished up jury trials in April and don’t have jury trials again until mid-June. I’ll admit that I’m feeling a little antsy and would like some intellectual stimulation to break things up. After trials in June I won’t have jury trials until September. I’m going to need some good reading.

BEA is near. I’ve finally started looking into where I need to be when to get the most out of it. More or less I have to admit that really what I’m most excited about is getting to hang out with Catherine (Gilmore Guide to Books) and Shannon (River City Reading). There do look to be some interesting titles being dropped and I’m hoping to find some titles that will amaze and excite me so maybe I can start reviewing a few books here and there again.

Okay, Reader. What have you been up to? Roll call for those of us going to BEA! 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: Working Edition

Posted 28 February, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, musings

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Time // 12:20 PM EDT

Or it could be named: “It’s Sunday so why not work, edition.” Just got off the phone with a victim who said to me,”I can’t believe your working today.” Yeah. Well. At least I’m working from home. Then I took a phone call from a defense lawyer. The fun never ends.

Hubs is refinishing the doors to the fireplace so it looks less eighties-fabulous. We’ll see how that turns out.

Reading // my way through the Tournament of Books Shortlist. Let’s look at how it’s going. Watch your Instagram.

Tournament of Books 2016 Short-List

  • The New World by Chris Adrian and Eli Horowitz – review
  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty – Currently in DNF status. Trying to revive.
  • Bats of the Republic by Zachary Thomas Dodson – Read
  • The Turner House by Angela Flournoy – review
  • Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – review
  • Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf – review
  • Ban en Banlieue by Bhanu Kapil – I’m worried about the availability of this one.
  • The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli – Owned and on the list to read.
  • The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra – Read
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen – Read
  • The Whites by Richard Price – review
  • Oreo by Fran Ross – Semi-DNFed
  • The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard – Read
  • The Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak – review
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – review

Play-In Round

  • Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving – Just bought the audio, let’s face it… I was going to read this anyway.
  • A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – Zero interest. Might read it if it actually gets in.

I’m pretty amped at my progress, but also a little disappointed with the selections this year. I haven’t found nearly as many that have blown me away the way they did last year.

I also started The Man in the High Castle after finishing the first season on Amazon Prime. The series appears to be only related to the book in the loosest sense. We’ll see.

Ruffled Feathers // yesterday with my coloring post. I didn’t mean to and in retrospect I wrote it because I really felt alone in not getting the coloring fad. Now I know I’m not. 🙂 Still, good for the colorists! Just not for me.

Edit // Oh! I almost forgot! We went to the circus yesterday (husband’s idea). We all know that among my causes animals and the environment rank pretty low on things that concern me, but I had to stop and think about the absolute hubris of man, of (hu)man(s) in the 21st century that we train wild and majestic animals like tigers and elephants to entertain us by doing parlor tricks. It’s disconcerting to me. Perhaps I think too much. The dogs, horses, and camels don’t bother me… why not? My only guess is that they’re domesticated. I knew there was something else I wanted to put out there. Okay, more working.

I thought I had more to say, but I have a pile of cases that have to be reviewed before arraignment on Wednesday not to mention motions to prepare for tomorrow. What are you doing with your Sunday, Reader?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: Lazy Days

Posted 7 February, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

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I’m too lazy even to format this post with much. I’ve been doing a lot of reading this past week I’m making some good headway into the Tournament of Books 2016. Managed to devour the entirety of The Invaders yesterday and I thought it was fabulous. Finished Bats of the Republic, started on The Tsar of Love and Techno, I’ve make it through the first two stories and I think it’s going to prove an excellent read as well.

What else? Started Weight Watchers last Monday and I’m pretty much feeling hangry all the time. I’m thinking of just re-reading Dietland and reminding myself that my health is the most important thing. I’m happy enough with my size most of the time…

Sort of zoning out while I’m writing this post half watching whatever the Sunday Morning ABC show is, talking about New Hampshire. I hate to say it, but I think Hillary is fucked. There are people out there with such vitriol towards Clinton for reasons that they are unable to articulate. That being said, I love me some Bernie Sanders.

In a similar yet unrelated vein I find myself quoting Ronald Reagan at work, mostly on probation days, “Trust but verify.” What is happening to me?

My plans for the day are few… more reading, maybe playing some internet card games… sitting around… not eating. :/ Being lazy.

Tomorrow is the best day of the year, the farthest point of the year until I have to start hearing about football again.

Whatcha reading, Reader?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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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

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 11.57.01 PM

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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