The Monthly Check Up: April

Hey! Hi! Hello! Me again.

A few new things.

First, I finished Wolf Hall!

It was okay. I'll read Bring Up the Bodies. I don't know a lot about Cromwell. The Boleyns are a lot sexier so I know more about them. Also Henry VIII is a terrible king. Such a baby man. Anyway Wolf Hall covers the period of Cromwell's life from the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey to the death of Thomas More. There are flashbacks to Cromwell's awful childhood and tiny glimpses into his life before becoming Henry's right hand man. Things are looking pretty good for Cromwell at the end. I'm sure nothing bad will happen to him in future volumes and he'll live to a ripe old age surrounded by loving great-grandchildren.

I listened to the audiobook edition narrated by Simon Slater which was sometimes entertaining. He made a lot of choices when he did certain characters' voices, like Thomas More. He sounded like a slithery snake. Sometimes though he took a lot of breaths as he rushed through parts. So a mixed review from me.

Oh and I have a new job. Part time but I like it. It's nice to be employed again.

Reading the End Jenny and Alice are hosting a Readalong for Frankenstein in May.

I think I'm up for it. I bought a new edition a few months ago but didn't read it. I can't remember the last time I read it but it was a looooooong time ago. I hope I still like it. I was very disappointed by Little Women when I reread it. Might as well find out now!

Let's seal this with an appropriate gif, an electrifying Mary Shelley.

What I'm Up To and Maybe Bloggiesta?

Hey Everybody! I've writing up my monthly report. Haha!

Here's what I've been doing.

Reading: I'm rereading Persuasion by Jane Austen. I bought a beautiful Penguin edition. It's so pretty! It's slow going though.

Listening: I borrowed Wolf Hall from the library but it was returned before I could finish it. So I'm back on the waiting list. How is there still a waiting list for this book? I'm also listening to Dear Fahrenheit 451. It's a cute book. A librarian writes letters to some of the books on her and others shelves.

Watching: Lots of Netflix. I just finished the second season of Jessica Jones, Godless, Nailed It (so fun!), Weekend Aristocrats, Jane the Virgin, and Grace and Frankie. And probably more. I'm also addicted to crafting vlogs on YouTube. I'll watch sewing, knitting, crocheting, cross stitching videos. Exciting! Mostly they just talk about the projects they are working on and what the latest trendy patterns are. It gives me FOMO. Which leads me to...

Doing: Sewing. Lots of sewing. I have a new serger so I'm putting it to use. Here is what I've made.

From the top: Mandy Boatneck Tee, Shoreline Boatneck,
 Swoon Cardigan, Blanc Tee
Three of the four here are free patterns (Shoreline Boatneck is a paid pattern). I'm learning a lot. I have a few more projects I want to make. I even have the fabric for those already. So yeah, reading isn't at the top of my list right now.

What about blogging? Suey wrote a great post about blogging slumps as a Bloggiesta post. I can relate. How do we feel about blogging now? I haven't been keeping up. Do people still blog? Do they still read blogs? (Somebody must be because I keep getting emails from people trying to get me to review their books.) I keep hearing that video is the new blog. "Everybody" has a YouTube channel. I like watching vlogs but do I want to do one? Umm... not really.

What do you think about blogging now? Are you participating in Bloggiesta? I might check out the Twitter party tonight.

That's it for now. See you next month!

A February Kind of Saturday

February 2018 Chrisbookarama

Back again.

It's February. It's my birthday month. Yes, birthday month. I'm choosing to celebrate the month. Why not? I have the whole month since my birthday is at the end. February is short, and it's February which needs some pepping up. I'm using it as an excuse to do things. Should I get red in my hair? Yes, it's my birthday month! Order some books? Yes, it's my birthday month! Yes, to everything!

Also there is Galentine's Day!

February is it's usual self. The weather is terrible. It poured rain, then it froze. Good times.

Last month I read a book! Yay! I read Vanished by Karen E Olson.

I read the first book in this series: Hidden. I didn't get around to reading the ones in between. I don't think I really needed to. I knew from the first one what Tina was running from, and what her relationship with Zeke was about. There were some things that happened in the other books but all that I needed to know was that Tina's still on the run.

Tina is trying to stay off the radar of her nemesis, Tony DeMarco. Unfortunately, Tina is recognized and must drop everything and run. Tina suspects part of the sudden interest in her whereabouts has something to do with a college student who went missing in Paris after using a hacked ATM. With the help of her friend Spencer, she heads to Paris, a place with a lot of personal history. It's also where Zeke was last spotted.

Vanished is a quick read. The pacing is fast, perfect for someone who no longer has the attention span for reading sprawling tomes. Tina is still kick ass. I appreciate that she's not a twenty-something and sometimes feels her age. I like her weed smoking friend though I don't 100% trust him. There is something about him. But every time Tina trusted someone, I thought bad things would happen. I'm much more skeptical than she is, I guess. Ha!

I'm interested to see where Tina's adventures will take her next. Will she ever have a normal life with a house and a dog and a regular bank account that's not a hole in the floor? Probably not.

Thanks to Netgalley and also Karen for the review copy. (Disclaimer: Karen is an internet friend.) All opinions are my own.

In other book news, I am reading (well, listening to) Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy. It's a Librivox recording. I'm finding it entertaining- and also a little depressing, considering it's a story about an imagined year 2000.

I've been doing some sewing. Thinking about getting a serger. If you have one, I'd be interested in your thoughts on that. Maybe I'll do a post on my sewing adventures in the future. Maybe, if I don't get lazy.


One Word 2018

I know many people have already posted about their One Word for 2018, but I've been pondering mine. What do I want for myself this year?

There is a lot about the world that we can't control. There are even things about ourselves we don't have absolute control over. How do we take charge of our lives and guide ourselves in the direction we want to go when so much is out of our hands?

I've been trying to not feel so anxious about, well, a lot of things. It's a struggle for me. The world is an unpredictable place. I'm lucky to live where I do and have the things that I do, but that doesn't mean that I don't feel that anxiety creeping over me.

On a personal level, I've been working on and off at the same job for a few years now. I could easily see myself doing this for a long time. The thing is, I'm not super pumped about this idea. It's not really where I want to be. So, what am I going to do about it? That is the question I am asking myself everyday.

That brings me to the word I chose.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go. -Dr Suess

First, I need to figure what direction I am going. I am the guy who'll decide where to go. Where is that?

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. -Lao Tzu

This is good advice for me. I don't want to end up where I am heading at this present time.

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. -Henry David Thoreau

I like this one. I will advance confidently in the direction of my dreams. Thanks, Henry!

Direction feels like the right word to me. I can apply it to many parts of my life. Not just work related. I want to direct my health, and my creative life too. That's the plan. 

Did you choose One Word for 2018? 

Oh Hey, It's 2018! Here a Review: The Grave's a Fine and Private Place.

Well, I'm still here so I must have paid for my domain again this year. Oh and my blog turned 11 on January 6th. It's a pre-teen, guess. It will go through a growth spurt any day now.

So 2018. What is up with that? I've promised Goodreads I'd read 20 books which in the past would seem easy but now feels like a cautiously optimistic goal. I finished my first book of the year. And it was an audiobook. At least it's a start.

What did I read? The Grave's a  Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley. It's a Flavia De Luce mystery. Flavia is back in England, WHERE SHE BELONGS, but for unhappy reasons. She and her family are trying to regroup after another tragedy. What better way than to take a vacation and find a body?
Flavia needs to put her super-sleuthing skills to the test to investigate the murder of three gossips in the local church, and to keep her sisters out of danger. But what could possibly connect the son of an executed killer, a far too canny police constable, a travelling circus, and the publican's mysteriously talented wife? -Goodreads
I was glad that Flavia returned to her old haunts, although this is still an out of town mystery. She again uses her chemistry knowledge to make sense of the baffling clues. We see more of the other characters inner lives as Flavia begins to mature into a more self-aware person. She is realizing that the people around her are more than just objects in her orbit.

The Grave's a Fine and Private Place feels like a reset, like it's setting up for the next chapter of Flavia's life. The mystery was kind of secondary, in my opinion. I figured out quite a bit before the end, which isn't what usually happens when I read these novels. It will be interesting to see where this series goes next.

As always, the book is narrated by Jayne Entwhistle.

I was given access to this review copy from Random House Audio via Volumes. All opinions are my own.

In other reading related news, I think I'm going to join Reading Rambo's Readalong of Looking Backwards by Edward Bellamy.

Published in 1888, Looking Backward is the story of a young 19th-century American who wakes up in the eve of the 21st century, in the year 2000. Guided by Dr. Leete, Julian finds out all there is to know about this new utopian society marveling at the invention of credit cards and ‘cable telephone.’ -Goodreads
That sounds... interesting. It's weird to read a book about the year 2000 written in 1888 in the year 2018. It might melt my brain. Also, it's weird to think of all the babies born that year are turning 18. What is time even?

Hopefully I'll be seeing you all again soon. In the year 2000...