Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Wrap-Up

Can't believe it's the last day of the month already! How was your November reading?

I read four books, marked 2 as DNF, and am currently reading 4 more!

I also managed to complete my Goodreads challenge of 30 books read.

I should get Christmas Fairy Tales and Hope of Christmas finished this weekend as I have a three day weekend.

So, what's on my reading list for December?

It's all Christmas books for this month! I am actually going to finished Only Rule and Baltimore Noir then dip into The Aeneid. However, the focus will be on Christmas reads and Christmas fun!

What's on your December reading list?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tuesday Tunes: Christmas

I've already started listening to Christmas music! After this fall, I really needed the reminder of love, hope, and peace that Christmas music offers.

I have to say, I LOVE Christmas music! With 160+ albums in my collection, you could say that I'm bit of a Christmas music fanatic.

Let's start Tuesday Tunes with what I consider essential Christmas music/tunes/CDs/downloads. These are my go-to albums.

Ventures' Christmas Album is Christmas music with a surf rock vibe. 
A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi Trio is a jazzy soundtrack classic.
Christmas Clear by Straight No Chaser is both a cappella and hilarious! This is the only version of 12 Days of Christmas that I can listen to!
Songs of Joy and Peace by Yo Yo Ma because classic cello is always a good choice this time of year.
Christmas Eve by Trans Siberian Orchestra because this is the one with Christmas Eve/Sarajevo on it.
Now That's What I Call Christmas is at 4 volumes plus various variations. I like the mix of classic Christmas songs and newer songs. The first volume is really my go-to but have all 4 volumes plus the 2-disc Now That's What I Call Country Christmas. 
A Family Christmas by The Piano Guys has my favorite version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel on it.
Christmas at Downton Abbey is what I consider classical/church style music. If your church is professionally trained singers.
A Christmas Gift for You by Phil Spector is my go-to day after Thanksgiving, official Christmas kick off album. This has my favorite Christmas song on it: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love.
December by George Winston is a piano album that is incredibly soothing. This paired with the wide variety of Windham Hill holiday CDs make up my Christmas background music if I'm hosting the family gathering. It's soothing, Christmasy, and doesn't have my mother asking me to "turn off that racket."

Honorable mentions: John Denver and the Muppets, Beach Boys, Elvis, Carpenters, Rat Pack/Dean Martin/Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Mannheim Steamroller, Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton, Andy Williams. 

What's on your essential list of Christmas music? 

Monday, November 21, 2016

How I Choose My Next Book

You'll notice that when I review a book I'll mention why I'm reading a specific book. I wanted to share my method of madness when it comes to my reading.

I took a good look at what was on my TBR, the various websites I used to track books, and my desire to read a specific author or recommendations out of a book. Also, I organized my TBR list in LibraryThing (LT) by genre.

I then started listing those books in desired order and read across the sheet to find my next read. To make this even easier I entered this into Goodreads in order I want to read.

My categories are: King, LT/ROOT, Series, L'Amour, List Challenges, Penguin, Country, Akashic Noir, ROOT, Genres/LT, Books for the Journey, Book Lust, McBain.

My first category is Stephen King's oeuvre. King is one of those authors I always wanted to read but didn't know where to start. So I started at the beginning and have been enjoying myself. I haven't read much but loved The Long Walk, The Shining, and The Stand. I'm up to Dead Zone. 

Next up is a category that will change. Right now I've got a genre from LibraryThing (romance books and a handful of occult books) but will soon change to ROOT (read our own tomes). Romance books are the smallest genre I've got on LibraryThing and not sure how the handful of occult ended up on there. After cataloging my bookshelves, I realized I've got a problem with acquiring books and never reading them. So I'll switch to that after getting my LT books read.

Series is pulled from Fictfact. Right now I'm playing catch up on series. A tween series called 13 Treasures and more Jan Karon are on deck. Once I get caught up, I've got a ton of series on Fictfact to try next.

 Next is Louis L'Amour books by pub date. I read a lot of L'Amour in high school and have enjoyed the rereads and discovering new books. This is my escapism, fun read.

List Challenges is my next broad subject. List Challenges is a website that lists lists of all kinds. Right now, I'm working on Amazon's 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. Next up will be Goodread's Best Book Ever. I'm a little obsessed with at least trying books that it seems everyone else has tried.

Penguin Classics has released an PDF/eBook of their classic books. Find that link here. I've downloaded and uploaded to Google Drive and have started on the list. I feel like I should attempt more classical reading and this would be a good way to get me started.

Country is an effort to read more diversely by reading books set in and by authors of other countries. I used the list on A Year of Reading the World  to build my list. I've got a list in my reading spreadsheet to list which countries I've read.

Akashic Noir is a series of short story collections that are noirish and set in a particular area by a variety of authors from there. Check out Akashic Books for different titles. First up for me is Baltimore and I'm enjoying this look of a city I've only experienced through The Wire.

ROOT is simply, Read Our Own Tomes. Basically, it's time to read what I've got and make room for keepers. The first nine books listed is ARCs I've never gotten to!

Genres/LT is working on my online Mt TBR. Right now it's occult books (demons and physics and hauntings, oh my!). Next up will be cult (Westboro! Mormon extremism! Scientology!)

Books for the Journey is a book or recommendations. It's for teens and written by educators. Lots of great classics and recommended for expanding your horizon books.

Book Lust has been sitting on my shelves mocking me for years. It's time to put it too use. I'm conquering the books mentioned in the introduction first.

McBain is Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series. I'm attempting to read this all and am only up to #12. Someday I'll be finished with this fabulous series!

Do you organize your reading or just go by what you're in the mood for?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Vacation Disappearance

I was on vacation this week and I totally disappeared!

I didn't do much-took mom to the doctors a couple of times and made a road trip to Chouteau, Oklahoma. I also haven't read much this week.

I did get 1984 finished. I had started this last year and spent the summer ignoring this one. Turns out that last summer was the calm before the storm and was probably not the best time to be reading anything. Which explains why I've become so hooked on fan fiction.

One of the best quotes from this book:

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a Revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

Kinda chilling considering the current political climate.

Why did I read this one? It is on the Amazon 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list. Also, considered a classic and something that I needed to read at least once in my lifetime.

I got A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fears read over a week. I read a few pages at work, half of the book waiting on my mom for a mammogram, and the rest at IHOP. It's a short book and it seems like a dream sequence. However, now I'm curious about the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan and looking forward to more books about and set in this country.

Why did I read this one? Working on reading books by and set in countries of the world.

What's next on my TBR? I will be delving into Baltimore Noir more this week and dipping into Flatland. Also, Lee Child's newest, Night School, is in transit so I should have that inhaled in couple of days. Also, I want to dip into Unplug the Christmas Machine this week.

Then I'll have The Exorcist to finish, Only Rule is Has to Work, and Christmas Fairytales to read over the last 10 days of November. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I'll decorate the house, put on Christmas tunes, and read Hope of Christmas. Check my Goodreads to-read page for info on the books. I keep it in order of how I'm going to read stuff-although small switches happen as due dates and holds can make things change priority.

What are you reading this week?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November Already?!?

Wow, is it November already? Although, I have to admit I've been playing Christmas music since before Halloween!

So, what did I read in October?

 Every year, I take a day and enjoy a handful of children's books. These were all Goodreads recommendations. Waiting for Winter, That Book Woman, Thidwick the Bighearted Moose, Snowmen at Night, Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect, and A Child's Calendar were all stellar and ones I really enjoyed.

I read three adult books this month and enjoyed two of the them. Taggert  was read because I'm reading everything L'Amour and enjoyed this one. I don't think I've read this one before.

Kinsey and Me was a delightful short story collection and something I reviewed already on the blog.

Never Open Desert Diner was a let down. I love books set in the desert and enjoyed the characters and setting in this. Ultimately, it just felt like it dragged on way too much and I wasn't invested in the story by the end. One of those, "I just want to get this book done" books.

With 12 books read this month, my total for this year is at 28 books. I recently changed positions at the library and am behind the scenes. Since I'm not handling what felt like hundreds of books a day at my job, I am actually enjoying reading once again.

So, what am I going to read in November?

Yep, both The Exorcist and Christmas books in one month! I've decided to finish 2 half finished books (I have one more half-finished book on my shelf but don't want to conquer it yet). 

I actually have a spreadsheet with multiple categories or lists. Most of these books have a specific reason for reading. 1984 is on Amazon's 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear is set in Afghanistan and I'm determined to read more outside my country (yes, let's start with countries that start with A!).

Baltimore Noir is part of the Akashick Noir series of short stories in a specific location. Flatland is part of the Penguin classic series. Only Rule Is That It Has To Work is an unread ARC.

Night School is the latest installment of Jack Reacher series. Then there's the three Christmas books. Because I'm ready for Christmas music and stories.

Ambitious perhaps, but with being half way through two books, and three smaller Christmas books, and a Reacher novel this feels doable. This month should put me over my GR goal of 30 books.

Do you have plans on what you want to read this month?

Killers of the Flower Moon

This has been the hot book of Tulsa this summer. Probably the most butchered title also. As a librarian, I have gotten really good at figuri...