"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Book Resolutions

I'm not one to really make resolutions, but this is the 2nd year in a row I decided to make some book-ish ones.

Last year I challenged myself to read 200 books in the GoodReads challenge and made it with flying colors.

I also wanted to read one non-fiction book a month, which I pulled off, scraping by the skin of my teeth with finishing the 12th one yesterday.

And finally I wanted to read at least one book off my shelves a month. That one I didn't do so well on.

So here are my resolutions for 2015:

  1. Once again I've set my GoodReads goal for 200 - it's a good number for the mix of books I read including a smattering of picture books and graphic novels.
  2. Once again I would like to read 12 non-fiction books. I kind of want to up this number, but knowing myself, it's just not going to happen. I want to challenge myself but not make it undoable.
  3. I want to clear out my "Currently Reading" shelf on GoodReads. Either I need to take the books off or I need to actually finish the book. By next December I want it to be down to only the books I'm actually actively reading.
  4. I want to read at least 2 print books I own a month - with the goal of getting rid of any that I've just been holding onto.
  5. And finally, I want to read at least 1 eBook I already own a month.
And that should do it! Any resolutions for you this year? Bookish or otherwise?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

No Colored Text: An Open Plea to Publishers

I am very disappointed right now.

I recently finished Marie Lu's book Legend. I really enjoyed it. I'm dying to know what happens next. I found the second and third books at my local library and sat down this afternoon to lose myself in her story.

Except I can't.

Once I hit the second chapter I had to put the book down. They're being returned to the library unread and since my library doesn't have them on audio, I don't know when I'll end up getting a chance to finish the series.

What made such a dramatic turn around? The sections from Day's perspective are printed in a bright aqua with rather bold squarish letters.

After reading only a paragraph my eyes were straining and my head had started throbbing.
And that's honestly not an exaggeration.

The square text would have been enough to differentiate the voices, The blue really isn't necessary. The third book has Day's perspective in vivid red. My vision was spotting just opening to book to see.

And I'm not one to normally be very bothered by this. I managed to get through Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver trilogy (though the third one was a struggle). And I barely even noticed that the text in Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo's In the Shadows was colored.

However, I have a sister who has difficulty with colored text. She still hasn't finished the Shiver trilogy and had some problems finishing In the Shadows. I know for a fact she will never be able to read these books.

I read Legend on my Nook, so perhaps these would be safe there, but I wouldn't want to risk it.

I'm only calling these out because these are the books I've encountered with colored text.

So Penguin, Scholastic, and any other publisher considering printing books with colored text, please don't. It might seem like a nice feature, but I guarantee that you are losing readers over it.

Perhaps print a special edition with the colored text, but most of them with black ink. That way people who don't mind/like the colors could have them, but people like me and my sister and many others with sensitivity to colored fonts can enjoy the authors we want to read.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Moving Right Along

It's happened. I'm actually in my new apartment. Woot! I still find it weird to look around and think, this is where I live now...
I had a bunch of wonderful people help me move and they only razzed me a little bit about all the books I own. (Since I used almost all B&N boxes to pack they seemed to believe I had bought out the entire store before I left :)
So we moved all the stuff in on Saturday and then I returned "home" to stay one more night so I could spend Father's Day with my Dad and then Sunday night I came "home" for the first time. (finding both places are now considered home which adds to weirdness)
I am so glad I planned on doing this because after people who helped had left and it was just family, Mom and Dad and sis asked what they could do to help, but I was just totally overwhelmed and couldn't even think, so Mom and I went shopping for things I realized I really really needed (like a kitchen trash can and a shower curtain) and I just left everything to start on Monday.
Monday morning I was up bright and early because my internet installation appointment was between 8 and 10 am. The Comcast guy came right around 8:30 and set everything up within about half an hour. He was super nice and I was relieved I didn't have to go more than half a day without internet (I may have a problem).
The kitchen was my first project and I kept a running list of things I discovered I still needed (like a step stool and sponge caddy). The biggest strain of unpacking the kitchen was washing all of the wonderful new things I go like all of my canisters, my new dishes and silverware. I did things in batches. Unpacked a couple of boxes until the counter was piled high, washed them, let them dry while I unpacked more boxes or ran to the store or ate breakfast or lunch. But I got most of the kitchen done. I have a few more boxes to tackle today and then I can move on to my bedroom.
Here are the "before" pictures of my apartment. As I finish or after I finish unpacking I'll post the after ones.
Kitchen 1
We did move the boxes
around the stove before we left

Kitchen 2
Love all my cabinets

Living Room 1
I don't have a couch yet
Living Room 2
So this is where a lot of boxes
ended up temporarily
Bedroom 1
Yay for closet space!

Bedroom 2
So grateful Mom made up the bed
Made Sunday night less stressful
Office/Spare Room 1
This is such a nice extra space for me
Office/Spare Room 2
Everyone was jealous of my
rolltop desk - my favorite
piece of furniture

These are pretty much all book boxes...

Friday, June 6, 2014

My first apartment!...now what?

1 week from tomorrow is my move in day. Into my first apartment. For the first time I will be living out from under my parent's roof. I am super excited about this, not because I dislike my parents, but because it means I get to pick the stuff that goes into the house and where to put it!

But as I contemplated this move, I began doing many interweb searches on what I would need when moving into my first place. Because there is a lot guys. So many things. And I found some really helpful lists and suggestions that helped me figure things out. For your edification, here is a list of the things I found to be most important or that I hadn't thought about at first that sort of compiles some of the other lists I found along with things I added.

Furniture - this seems obvious, but it warrants a little thinking:

  • tv cabinet
  • bookshelves
  • couches/chairs
  • side tables
  • dining furniture
  • bed
  • dresser
  • desk
  • inflatable mattress (I got one for easy company sleeping)
Lamps and lights - there is, fortunately, good lighting in my apartment, but I will still need more of these than I had in one bedroom.

Kitchen appliances - If there is one thing I'm excited about, it's that I'll have my own kitchen. I like to cook and my apartment has lots of counter and cabinet space. But I'm going to fill that up with

  • toaster oven (or toaster if you prefer, but toaster ovens are the bees knees and I can't imagine living without one)
  • microwave (if you want those evil rays infiltrating your brain. Or to warm up food fast)
  • blender
  • bread maker
  • crockpot
  • mixer (whether stand or hand or both)
  • you might also need things like a coffee maker
  • rice cooker
  • juicer depending on what kinds of things you like to cook
Other Kitchen Stuff
  • pots and pans
  • baking sheets and pans (loaf, 13x9, cupcake)
  • spatulas, spoons, scrapers, etc.
  • glass or plastic storage containers to hold all the delicious food you cook
  • cooling rack
  • measuring cups (liquid and dry) and measuring spoons
  • paper towel holder
  • dish towels
  • dish cloths
  • hot pads and/or oven mitts
  • mixing bowls
  • rolling pin
  • whisk
  • pizza cutter
  • ice cream scoop
  • cutting board(s)
  • knives
  • can opener
  • ladle
  • tongs
  • peeler
  • aluminum foil/plastic wrap/wax paper/zipper bags
  • toothpicks/matches
Dining Stuff
  • plates and bowls
  • silverware
  • serving bowls
  • napkins
  • placemats
  • tablecloths
  • salt & pepper shakers
  • cups and glasses
Bathroom Supplies
  • bath mat
  • shower curtain
  • towels
  • washcloths
  • hand towels
  • toilet paper
Cleaning Supplies
  • sponges
  • toilet brush and plunger
  • broom and dustpan
  • vacuum
  • toilet/glass/bathroom/all purpose cleaner
  • trash cans and wastebaskets/garbage bags
  • paper towels
  • dish detergent
  • laundry detergent/dryer sheets/softener/stain removers
Other random things
  • first aid supplies
  • extension cords
  • picture hanging supplies
  • hammer/screwdriver/allen wrench
  • duct tape/super glue
  • step stool
  • q-tips
  • clothes pins
  • batteries
  • light bulbs
  • recipes
And I also gathered some food stuffs so I wouldn't be tempted to eat out every day during my first couple of weeks:
  • spices
  • flour
  • sugar (powdered, white, and brown)
  • salt
  • baking soda/baking powder/cornstarch/yeast
  • vanilla extract
  • yeast
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • pasta/rice/couscous/potatoes/whatever starchy thing you like
  • oatmeal/cereal
  • bread/wraps/bagels
  • canned and/or frozen veggies
  • salad dressing(s)/soy sauce/worcestshire sauce/bbq sauce/ketchup/mayo/mustard
  • butter/margarine/Smart Balance
  • milk/cheese/eggs
  • chicken/tuna/ground meat (turkey, beef, venison, or whatever)
  • meals in a box like Hamburger Helper, mac&cheese, or other meal starters just so I have easy things to fix or throw in the crockpot while I'm unpacking and tired from the move stuff
  • ice cream (because, let's face it, when you've spent all day at the DMV and come home to an apartment full of boxes you're going to want a little treat)
This is a list I've compiled over the last 6 months or so, but by no means is it exhaustive. Some of the stuff I've listed you might not need and you might absolutely have to have something I never considered. If you think of anything important I've forgotten please feel free to leave it in the comments! And I'll come back and add stuff if I remember anything (or move and wish I'd had it).

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dusting off ye olde blog

I put this blog into stasis mode for a while, trying to deal with a LOT of things going on in my life. BUT exciting things have happened and I had a couple of post ideas I wanted to write with nowhere to post them. And I have some people in my life who want to keep up with things that happen to me once I leave them so I figured, hey, I've got this blog - why not use it again.

Here are a few of the super exciting things that have happened in the last six month that I will be writing about or that have led to things that I will want to write about:

    1. I finished my second Master's degree in December. Let's just say I had the most insane 3 1/2 years of my life before that. I was getting my Master's in English and working as a TA teaching college English and after a year I decided I didn't want to go for my PhD in English - instead I wanted to go for Library Science. Because libraries rock. And because I wanted to work with students, but not necessarily teach regular classes. So I started applying and got into an amazing online program which I jumped into the fall after I graduated with my MA. And because I'm insane I took 3 classes a quarter (while teaching 2-3 freshman English classes as and adjunct) so I could finish my degree in 5 quarters. The time flew by and the classes were amazing and I felt for the first time in a really long time that I was in the right field on the right path for me.
    2. I got a job. So I had the two degrees - now I needed a job. I went through the process of preparing my resume and cv and writing cover letters and finding all of the random information about previous jobs that I never could have imagined I would need to know. I sent out dozens of applications. And I got what is essentially my dream job. I am so blessed and I praise God for His guidance in this every day because I never in a million years could have believed I would get this job as my first library job.
    3. I am going to move. EEP. I've been living at home because my parents are amazing and let me live rent free while I'm in school. And I actually like my family. But the job is in the next state over. And I can finally afford my own place with the new job. And I'm ready to move out. (really ready). And I found a great little apartment and everything is amazingly falling into place.
So those are the crazy things that have been going on in my life since December. And I will be, at some point, writing about the things I learned about applying and job hunting and interviews. And I am narcissistic enough to want to post things about my new apartment and the crazy things I am sure will happen as I move out on my own away from everyone I know. So here they will be.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Stasis Mode

I just want to thank all of you who still poke your heads in here occasionally. I have decided to put this blog into stasis mode for now. I may resurrect it again.

For now, I'm moving Retail Wednesdays completely to the Tumblr. I know many of you find it easier here, but I am finding it too hard to keep up both, so neither is happening. So you are more than welcome to find it over there :) Booksellersarepeopletoo

I also post over at Booksellers Without Borders NY.

And I just started the new blog The Amateur Medialogist to vent and discuss movies, TV, and books (and music on occasion)

Thanks for all of your support in my random ramblings here and maybe I'll see you here again someday :)

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Reading Year in Review

Yesterday I was reading Sarah Enni's review of her read books from 2013, and I thought that it would be interesting to do something like that for myself. I put together some different categories based on what I was personally interested in knowing about the books that I read, threw all the data into Excel and started playing with pie charts (so much fun)(yes I am a nerd).

And since I spent more time doing this than I would probably want to admit, I thought I would share my findings with all of you.

Before you look, I do want to make a couple of qualifiers:

  1. This is very subjective. I assigned the genres, etc. as I saw that they fit, so a book I listed as a fantasy someone else might stick in another genre. And with many of the graphic novels I decided whether they were 1st or 3rd person based on my perception if it wasn't really obvious.
  2. The "special format" chart is just based on my curiosity of some of the different formats. Graphic Novels are all different genres and geared toward different ages, so I was curious to see how many I read, but didn't want to take away from listing them as fantasy or contemporary or whatever.
  3. For the Focus Age chart I broke it down into Kids (picture books or board books), MG (middle grade, chapter books, kind of 6ish-12ish years old), YA (teen), NA (New Adult (college or early 20s - the book either self-identified as such or that I perceived as belonging in this category), and Adult (anything else). Again this is based on my personal perspectives. I listed the Buffy graphic novels as Adult, though they could be considered either YA or NA, etc.
  4. If there were multiple authors all of the same gender (such as CLAMP) I just listed them as that gender. Same with main characters. If there was more than one author of different genders I listed it as multiple (same with MCs) and with some of the graphic novels if there were multiple authors but it was clear that one was the major creator sometimes I just listed it under that one. Like I said in 1 - very subjective.
So this year I read 190 books, so there was a lot of data to compile. I've decided to keep a chart like this going over the next year so I can do this again without it taking as long.
If you're still curious after all this rigmarole here come the pie charts!

I did learn some interesting things about my reading and confirmed other things that I already knew. Like I read mostly fiction - I am now determining to try to read a little bit more non-fiction this year to broaden my tastes a bit. For genres Fantasy definitely took 1st place, which wasn't a surprise. But I read a lot more contemporary fiction than I thought and not as much historical fiction as I thought. I would like to balance these out just a bit, but I love me some fantasy and dystopian so this probably won't change a whole lot this year, and I'm perfectly fine with that. The genders of authors and main characters was about what I expected. I thought I had a bit of a nice balance in both, though I think I'd like to read more books from male perspectives since I always struggle writing the male voice and another goal I have is to work on revising my WIP, which alternates between a male and a female.

Overall I found this an interesting exercise just to see what my reading habits are. I keep track of books on GoodReads (which is amazing and you should totally be on it if you aren't), but to see them broken down this way is quite intriguing.