Posts Tagged ‘obsessions’

25th January
written by Steph
So, I've been dragging my feet something fierce when it comes to finally wrapping up 2011 with charts and graphs and whatnot. Not to get all spoiler-y on you, but as we will see, the end of 2011 was marked by a dramatic plummet in my reading–I think the technical term for it is "reading slump"–which also accompanied a blogging slump. Alas, a new calendar year has not managed to allay my reading burnout (I've only read two books thus far, and those were both in an official reviewing capacity. If not for that, I would probably have nothing really read by now.), so perhaps that's why I've been in no rush to write this post. Once it's done, I got nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Bupkus. A few years back, a friend of mine was finishing up her dissertation and she would often lament about how the whole process sapped her of all her reading mojo and pretty much the only thing she could read for months was Middlemarch. No, that isn't a typo, and no I don't understand it. Slowly but surely I am dragging myself to the finish line of my own doctorate degree so who knows what bemoth will be my salvation through this all. Moby Dick? A Suitable Boy? Shataram? I suppose only time will tell... Tony is actually out of town the next few days so perhaps without my favorite distraction close at hand I'll finally remember what it is to look at words on a page again. Fingers crossed. Anyway, let us finally tour the wreckage that was my reading in 2011, shall we? (more…)
27th September
written by Steph
I have spoken before about the rather perilous state of my TBR collection at home. Some of you might think that I am prone to exaggeration or hyperbole, but I assure you, when I say my TBR stack was teetering skyward, I was speaking the truth. In fact, last week, due to what I can only assume was the slightest of breezes the three towers of books we had stacked along the wall in our living room toppled over. I remarked that if either of the dogs had been drinking or eating at that moment, either of them could have been seriously hurt (but especially Rory, our corgi!), since the books would have fallen right on top of them. That was all the motivation we needed to finally go out and get another much needed bookshelf. Behold our success!

Most of the books pictured are unread...

The shelf on the right is the bookshelf we have always had, and most of those books, I am happy to report, have actually been read. The new bookshelf—which we bought for the express purpose of housing our UNREAD books that were simply scattered about the apartment in random, precarious piles—is the hulking one on the left. I think that at most, five of the books contained therein have been read.

N.B. We have two other bookshelves + two nightstands that are filled to the gills, predominantly with unread books... So when I say I have a TBR book/book buying problem, I mean it!

But at least it's a pretty-looking problem to have, and one that will no longer threaten the safety of our loved ones! So let's call it an upside.

15th July
written by Steph
We each of us have a Harry Potter story. Now when the franchise faces another ending, this time with the films, it seems only fitting to take some time to look back on my relationship with the boy who lived.

Getting enthusiastic for Harry during the midnight launch of the final book, Deathly Hallows

I am not one of those fans who can say I grew up with Harry, because I didn't. Not really. When Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was first published, I was 14, but it wasn't until the age of 18 that Harry and I finally met. I was in my final year of high school, and my schedule at the time allowed for plenty of "spare" periods which I tended to spend in the library (big surprise) where I'd study and complete homework. More often than not, I'd find myself browsing in the fiction section of our school library, especially when I was meant to be completing my Algebra & Geometry homework. I was a good student, but AlGeo was my Achilles' heel and so I often spent my time reading instead of toiling away when it came up in my work pile. As I stared off into space wondering about imaginary numbers, vectors, and polar space, a paperback version of Philosopher's Stone caught my eye on one of the fiction spinners. By this time there was enough buzz about the series that I had actually heard of it and knew it was supposed to be really good. So I decided that I would give it a try and see what all the fuss was about. (more…)
11th February
written by Steph

Indiespensible #24

After a short delay due to the last-minute decision to include a galley in this installment, Indiespensible #24 is now in my hands! The featured book this month is Hannah Pittard's debut novel, The Fates Will Find Their Way, which tells the story of a girl who goes missing on Halloween night. Given that its told from the perspective of a group of young boys, I am immediately reminded of The Virgin Suicides, so I'll be interested to see how Pittard uses this iconic form of a narrator and makes it her own.

Also included was a snazzy Powell's mug, those weird interview cards that Powell's so loves to include, and an advance reader's copy of Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson. According to Powell's, this is a highly anticipated novel, but I am not too proud to admit that I hadn't heard of it when it showed up along with my other goodies. The special edition box containing Pittard's book is extraordinarily lovely and definitely whets my appetite for the book itself. What are you waiting for? Isn't it about time that you treated yourself to an Indiespensible subscription?
31st December
written by Steph
Now with more charts and graphs! Yeah! 😀 I have been eagerly awaiting writing up this post because I love making charts and graphs and looking at stats. I definitely put the nerd in "Book Nerd"! I was going to start writing this up while we were in Minnesota, I decided I would wait until the very last day of the year so that this post would be as official as it gets. And I'm glad I did because we managed to sneak one more book onto the list, as I read the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay, aloud on the way home in the car (verdict: Unsatisfying and infuriating, especially as there were glimmers of the possibility for it to be rather good. So, pretty much on par with the rest of the series, though perhaps slightly less annoying than the other two). So my procrastination paid off, and clearly the lesson here is this is why one should not write up year-end recaps before the year is out! Anyway, enough with the waffling... let's get to the numbers and pictures! (more…)
19th December
written by Steph

Indiespensible #23

The holidays, they are a crazy time, and as such the blog has been suffering. My time has been taken up with planning Minnesotan road trips, bracing myself with all this cold weather, taking motorcycle classes (! But also true! Story to come another day!), and of course attending holly jolly festivities. I am tired, y'all, and as a result my reading has been at the pace of a snail. If we accept that snails can read. And maybe they do. At the rate I'm going, by the time I've finished my next read they probably will be able to read if they already can't. So clearly what I need is another book in my life, this time a 1000 page chunkster in the form of The Instructions by Adam Levin. Normally I'd be a tad p.o'd that it took 10 days to get here by mail, but 'tis the season for parcels being delayed in the mail and really it's not like I've just been sitting around waiting for it to arrive. If I can't even make it through a 250 page book, how am I going to make it through this, I ask you? And yet I am kind of excited for this book... if only I could finish The Wilding (Indiespensible #22)! Along with this lovely tome (which I can use to easily replace 5 lb free weights, right?) came a lovely Powell's tote (you know how I love little birds on things!), an interview with Levin on those notecards that make me feel like a tv news reporter, and a box of chocolate-covered marshmallows from A Little Bit of Sweet, a Portland bakery and sweet shop. Who knows when I will read the book, but I bet you those chocolates don't ever see 2011!
4th November
written by Steph

Indiespensible # 22

With October being as busy as it was, my reading slipped off quite a bit, and I have to admit I haven't yet regained my reading mojo. I've only got one book waiting to be reviewed in my queue, and in the past week I've picked up and started several books only to put them down because they just weren't doing it for me right now. But maybe this new installment of Powell's Indiespensible will be the panacea to my reading slump? Included in Volume 22:
  • Signed, first edition copy of Benjamin Percy's The Wilding
  • Powell's interview with Percy on commemorative collector cards (which make me feel like I'm a newscaster getting ready to read for broadcast)
  • A Powell's insulated metal canteen, which is perfectly Steph-sized!
I admit that prior to Powell's announcing this month's pick, I had never heard of The Wilding; anyone out there already read it? Normally I don't offer up official synopses or press material, but I figure this book is sufficiently "beneath the radar" that a bit of background might be helpful. From Publisher's Weekly:
Percy's excellent debut novel (after the collection Refresh, Refresh) digs into the ambiguous American attitude toward nature as it oscillates between Thoreau's romantic appreciation and sheer gothic horror. The plot concerns a hunting trip taken by Justin Caves and his sixth-grade son, Graham, with Justin's bullying father, Paul, a passionate outdoorsman in failing health who's determined to spend one last weekend in the Echo Canyon before real estate developer Bobby Fremont turns the sublime pocket of wilderness into a golfing resort. Justin, a high school English teacher, has hit an almost terminally rough patch in his marriage to Karen, who, while the boys camp, contemplates an affair with Bobby, though she may have bigger problems with wounded Iraq war vet Brian, a case study in creepy stalker. The men, meanwhile, are being tracked by a beast and must contend with a vengeful roughneck roaming the woods. A taut plot and cast of deeply flawed characters--Justin is a masterwork of pitiable wretchedness--will keep readers rapt as peril descends and split-second decisions come to have lifelong repercussions. It's as close as you can get to a contemporary Deliverance.
Intriguing, non? It certainly seems seasonally appropriate, so I'll probably be digging into it soon! I will let all of you know how it goes!
18th September
written by Steph

A new obsession...

When it comes to marking my place in books, I'm all over the map. I've no problem with using a scrap piece of paper, leaving my book face down (spine damage be damned!), or even just making a mental note of the page number before heading on my merry way. I routinely pick up fistfuls of complimentary, paper bookmarks whenever I'm out at bookstores, but while I'm pretty good at keeping track of these while a book is in progress, once it's done, it's as though whatever bookmark I used must also disappear to mark the finish of the book. For this reason, I haven't made it a priority to collect beautiful bookmarks, as I've always assumed the pleasure of them would be fleeting.

It's a pun! Get it?

[Tony on the other hand is very fastidious with his bookmarks, which is why when we found this hilarious one in a used book, he got to keep it and use it as his own, because I would never forgive myself for losing such a gem.] My ambivalence towards bookmarks changed when at Christmas my friend Taryn gave me a whimsical set of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" bookmarks. Not only did I love their sturdy construction and quirky bent, I really enjoyed how they "clipped" onto pages (meaning I can attach them to a back cover when I'm reading so that they don't go wandering) and are rather conspicuous, so at the conclusion of  a book, they're easy to spot

En garde!

when set aside (rather than nestling down in the pages of the book only to be forgotten until some future read). These fun bookmarks are ones I really enjoy using, and the materials used are flexible and forgiving so that using them with hardcovers is a breeze and there's no fear of ripping or snagging the pages in a book. When I saw these bird bookmarks online at Our Workshop (a U.K. based store), I knew I had to have them. They were so pretty


and delicate, and in case you haven't noticed from our header image, Tony and I have a bit of a fondness for avian depictions. So enamored was I that I happily ignored the intimidating £ signs next to the prices and placed an order for one gold and one silver bird bookmark. Despite their overseas excursion, I'm happy to report that these new additions to our collection made their way to us very speedily (just over a week!) and were actually not all that expensive ($20 for the two, including shipping).  They are even more beautiful in person than I imagined; pictures really can't do justice to how dainty and intricate they are, and we are truly delighted by them. I think these bookmarks shall have clipped wings as I'd hate to lose them, and will likely only use them for books I read at home as I can't bear the thought of slinging them haphazardly into a bag. Added bonus! The bird bookmarks came with the following hilarious warning placard:

Do most bookmarks come with warnings?

I fear this may be the start of a new book-related obsession for me. Any other bookmark aficionados out there? Which of the three showcased here is your favorite? Are there any bookmarks out there that you have been coveting?
2nd April
written by Steph
Surprise!  Not.

Suprise! Not.

In honor of April’s showers (of which we have thankfully seen none… yet!), Tony and I celebrated the abundance this month brings by purchasing a ton of books.  If only I had posted this yesterday, y’all might have thought this was an April Fools prank… but no!  We really did buy all of these books… I guess when I fall off the wagon, I fall hard. And repeatedly.

Break down of our bounty after the jump! (more…)
5th March
written by Steph

Falling off the wagon has never felt so good...

After months (or at least what feels like months) of avoiding bookstores, I finally caved last weekend and asked Tony if we could visit McKay’s. You knew something had to give!  I am confident this is my first time visiting in 2010, and if the logs on this site are correct, I haven’t been to my favorite place on earth since October!  Surely the best way to celebrate is by buying some books, am I right?

To be fair, I only purchased 9 books on this visit, which is probably the most self-control I have ever exhibited at this bookish paradise. Moreover, this time rather than relentlessly combing the ENTIRE fiction section, I went in with a list of specific authors I wanted to seek out, and largely stuck to those. I admit that a few unexpected titles jumped into the cart, but I wouldn’t say that there were any wildcard picks this time. Also, I’m very excited by the relatively international scope of the fiction I picked up. Check it out in-depth after the jump! (more…)