My To-Read Stack

I haven’t actually done a lot of reading in the past week. We’ve been pretty busy prepping for the Maryland Renaissance Fair, which kicks off on Saturday! We help a friend out with her booth, so we’ve been going to her house a lot to work on inventory. I do have several books out from the library, though, so I’ll try to give a real quick description of what I’ll be reading soon!

I checked out several books on the history of LGBT rights in the US – Gay America, which I’ve now read, was FANTASTIC. I’ve already turned it back in, though, so it’s a little hard to write up a review. I still have The Gay Revolution:the story of the struggle, by Lillian Faderman, Gay Lives by Robert Aldrich, and Stonewall:the riots that sparked the gay revolution, by David Carter.

I also checked out a batch on the history of Baltimore, our adopted home city. I reviewed Walking Baltimore last week, but I also have The Baltimore Book: new views of local history, by Elizabeth Fee, Linda Shopes, and Linda Zeidman, and Charm City: a walk through Baltimore by Madison Smartt Bell.

In more fun reading, I have Steampunk II, a book of short stories edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, Smoke by Dan Vyleta, and The Young Elites and The Rose Society, both by Marie Lu.

In searching for something else, I stumbled across Eve of a Hundred Midnights by Bill Lascher. It’s “the star-crossed love story of two WWII correspondents and their epic escape across the Pacific.” It sounded interesting, but we’ll see if it holds my attention.

So that’s my current reading list!

Once More, With Feeling

I dropped off for almost two years, came back, posted three reviews, and dropped off again. Like before, I never stopped reading, so why have I stopped posting? That’s a complicated question.

The short answer is I haven’t had the energy.

The long answer is a combination of health problems, household duties taking what energy I have, and stress. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and migraines. Some of the side effects of those are extreme fatigue and lack of motivation. In addition to that, I’m the stay-at-home member of the household, making me responsible for the majority of the housework and cooking. The heat of summer also sucks energy right out of me – being hypothyroid affects the body’s ability to regulate its own temperature, and I overheat VERY easily. Summer is not my favorite season, especially in the humid mid-Atlantic!

I’ve been reading a lot of fascinating non-fiction recently – subjects of interest being GLBT history, and the history of Baltimore, Maryland, my adopted home. I’ve also gotten into DC’s New 52, so I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels lately. Not just DC Comics – I stumbled across Fables and Y: The Last Man at my local library. Both are excellent. I bought a handful of $1 paperbacks at my local Roses – some of which were good, one was cringy, and a couple I haven’t read yet. I finally read The Hero and the Crown, and The Blue Sword, both by Robin McKinley. Classic fantasy, and excellent reads. Caught up on the most recent books by Patricia Briggs in the Mercy series and the Alpha and Omega series. So you can see I have plenty of material to write about! I’ve just been too lethargic to do much more than read them.

I finally have meds and supplements figured out, and I feel that I have more good days than bad lately. I think I’ll try to start with an entry every week – possibly every two weeks, we’ll see how it goes – and ramp up from there as I can. I’d like to get back into the swing of things, but I don’t want to jump right back in and burn out. So we’ll try this.

A Return, Perhaps?

I have been surprised and flattered by the occasional like or follow this blog still receives – I haven’t updated it in two years! Life has been very hectic, and stressed. But the blogging bug has bit again, and I actually started a new blog to chronicle the progress of turning our new home’s yard into a vegetable garden. But then I remembered my little book blog over here, still getting the occasional like….it’s not like I quit reading! I just haven’t reviewed and posted! I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to keep up with two blogs, but I AM reviewing gardening/homesteading books over on my new blog, Badger Sett Farm, so I thought – I can cross post those reviews here. And maybe – maybe I can fit in some reviews for everything else I’m reading too.

Right now I’m in the process of going back through my old posts and updating links where they need to be updated. I’ll be cross-posting the two reviews I’ve done over on Badger Sett, and then I might just get some new content up!

My Ideal Bookshelf

My last post was about the book, My Ideal Bookshelf. This post is actually my person ideal bookshelf. Let me start by saying my ideal bookshelf is about five shelves high and stuffed with books, but when forced to condense it down to about ten books, this is what I’m left with.


I’m not sure all of the titles can be read in the picture, so I’ll talk about each one.

First, that red gingham cookbook. The Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook was ubiquitous in my mother’s kitchen – it was stained with canola oil, the pages were gritty with flour, and it had been well-loved for years. When I moved out, my mother bought me my own copy. It is my go-to for basic home cooking. (The Supreme Biscuits in there – I will never look at any other biscuits. Ever.) The other cookbook there is The Joy of Cooking. Even though I don’t use it much, the pure encyclopedic knowledge it holds earns it a place on my shelf.

A Girl of the Limberlost has achieved almost fabled status in my memory – I think it was the first really big book I tackled on my own, sometime back in elementary or middle school. It was this large, ancient-looking dark green book with gold lettering on my grandmother’s shelves. I opened it and sat in one of her uncomfortable chairs for hours, lost in a swamp with a girl hunting for butterflies. I’d like to find it again and re-read it, but at the same time I don’t want to spoil the sense of wonder I associate with it.

My parents traded off reading to us when we were little – they read Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, even The Lord of the Rings. But it was The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe that stuck with me. The idea that a fantastic land lies -just- out of reach, just past the ordinary – that idea stuck with me. The Forbidden Door works on the same principle; two children found a door in the back of a cave, with a little dragon crying just outside of it. Beyond the door they find the dragon’s home and learn life lessons. (And in writing about it here, I’ve just learned it was the first in a trilogy. Must find the other two books! Unfortunately, they’re LONG out of print, it appears that may be difficult.)

The other books on the shelf are more recent additions to my life; Brave New World I read in high school, and remember being the only one in my class who actually liked it. The allegory of the oppressive government is becoming all too real these days. (And I’m realizing now I should have actually added Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale to this shelf!)

Shakespeare I was introduced to in middle school and fell in love with instantly. I have a giant Oxford collection of all of his plays and sonnets – the pages are paper thin, like a Bible, but filled with Shakespeare. It was the very first book I thought of when putting together this shelf.

The Harrad Experiment and Time Enough For Love both deal with issues of love and relationships – what in the 70s they called “free love” and what they now call “polyamory.” They’ve helped me to understand and overcome jealousy and my insecurity – they both stress loving a person for who they are, not what they can do for you.

Reading Women: How the Great Books of Feminism Changed My Life is an excellent primer on feminist lit. This book added several books to my to-read list and brought the great feminist authors within my reach.

All of these books have impacted my life in some significant way; some continue to affect my life every day. It was an interesting exercise, to sit down and figure out exactly which books I felt deserved to be highlighted. It was hard, too! I own so many books – and have read so many others – that picking so few was really tough, but I’m glad I did.

What’s on your Ideal Bookshelf?

I’m back!

Now that the holidays are well and truly over, I have a bit more time to blog again. I got rather busier than I’d anticipated this last month, between the holidays and starting a new job, so sadly I’ve had no time to review the books I’ve been reading. That will be changing! I finished Tamora Pierce‘s Tortall series, and her Magic Steps series, so I’ll be writing about all of those. I also read Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (Review Here), Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter (Review), and The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker. (That last one was SPECTACULAR and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Edit: Review here!)

So many things happening! My local library re-opened on Saturday, so that will make new books much easier to get. Crash Course Literature, with John Green, is starting a new course in February, and they’re starting with Homer’s Odyssey (free for your Kindle device!) and Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex (also free for your Kindle!), so I have those requested from the library to re-read before the Crash Course videos come out.

I am very much looking forward to talking about everything I’ve been reading, so stay tuned!