Tag Archive | library books

I Read for 1hr/day in February and Here’s How It Went

In the interest of attempting a different challenge every month this year, it should come as no surprise that I chose to tackle an hour of reading for each day of February

Same, Patrick. Same.

It was supposed to be a no-brainer: I’m a writer, and I love to read. Until recently, it was literally part of my job responsibilities, so I wanted to keep it up during personal time despite the change in my workday. I’ve also struggled with reading for fun since I haven’t had a 90min commute (not complaining!).

As a baseline, I would read anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours a day without this challenge at hand – so I wasn’t starting completely from scratch to begin this habit. I’m also a fast reader. I read five books in January and I figured with this goal in mind, I could likely knock out another 6-10, despite the shorter month, with a dedicated hour each day.

But, you’ll see soon how it actually negatively impacted my desire and eagerness to devour a book.

To start, I’d just begun The Last Story of Mina Lee, a recent pick from my book club (inspired by Reese’s Book Club picking it). I flew through a lot of Nancy Jooyoun Kim’s 384 pages, but was stalled in parts because I was mentally exhausted and found myself reading the same sentences over and over.

I was leading a few big projects at work and looking at apartments in my spare time, so it was not a “normal” month … but what does “normal” even mean anymore? I’m always tough on myself and felt like I should just keep pushing through the books, instead of showing myself some grace and being OK with reading less (or not at all!) for a few days.

Instead of looking forward to my little reading ritual before bed, I would grumble through it and viewed it as a chore. 

That changed with The Year of Magical Thinking, which had been on my list for a while and was recently recommended by my gentleman friend. I did zero research to remind myself before digging in, and this one cut deep – Didion’s experience in the first year after her husband’s death cracked open my heart in ways other stories of grief haven’t.

Although its 227 pages took me a week to get through, TYoMT got me energized to dig into another sad read I’d had on my list for a bit: Shuggie Bain. A heavy hitter at 430 pages, this one had me in fits and starts where I struggled to get through and then couldn’t put it down. I completely understand why it’s been awarded so much as Douglas Stuart’s debut novel.

In need of a palate cleanser, I decided The Office of Historical Corrections would be a good fit because of its setup as a collection of seven short stories. I knocked out the 269 pages in three days – most of it on a weekend day while lounging and losing myself in Danielle Evans’s prose.

Finally, I somehow thought I could tackle The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck with just five days left in February. This iconic novel about farmer Wang Lung’s life remains on best books lists EIGHTY YEARS after publication for good reason, but a fast read it is not. I finished it this morning and was only about 300 pages in (out of 418) at month’s end.

Along with these titles, I also read a few chapters of Bringing Up Bébé, which I really enjoy when I remember to pick it back up. I didn’t count any of the reading I did via articles on news, entertainment, sports, etc., though that probably adds up to an hour or two each day.

All this to say, forcing myself into a challenge to complete an hour of reading each day worked against me

Through my therapist, I listed what a perfect day would look like and managed to write down “reading” three times without even realizing it.

So I found a pattern that works better for me just in the last week, where I start each day reading a few chapters of something and then start reading emails, texts, etc. I continue to read each night before bed (and I continue to fall asleep a few times a week with the chapter open, my lamp on, and my mouth wide open).

Taking the pressure off myself to set a timer or achieve this goal exactly as I envisioned it is a work in progress for my perfectionist nature. But, there’s a million self-help books I can check out when I’m ready to climb that mountain 🙂

Do you have reading resolutions? What helps you let go of goals that aren’t serving you? Let me know in the comments below – and as always, thanks for reading.

Okurrrrr.

My 5-Star Reads from 2019

No time like the present, eh? I read 94* books last year — thanks to a long commute + it’s now part of my job — and have a goal to finish 100 in 2020.

If you’ve started (or abandoned!) a reading goal or are stuck on what to read next, here are the books I gave 5 stars to after reading them in 2019. It’s a pretty even split between new and old, fiction and nonfiction, plus various genres.

And while I’ll happily discuss books with anyone, anytime, I do not need to hear your thoughts on why a book “sucks.” We all have our preferences; if some (or all) of these aren’t your style, simply share your faves so I can try those out, too 🤓

background book stack books close up

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

Fiction

Nonfiction

*I read 94 books from cover to cover. For the first time in a while, I allowed myself to abandon books I wasn’t enjoying. I listened to some in audiobook format, but did not make it through any from start to finish. </end disclaimer>

WitLit 2018

You may have noticed how much I love reading and sharing book recommendations. As part of my new job, I won’t be able to do that on a regular basis anymore — but I thought I could provide a quick recap of All the Books I’ve Loved Before.*

I started 2018 with a challenge to read 15 books, aiming to double my paltry performance from 2017. With the help of Libby and a newfound taste for e-reading on a long commute, I smashed that goal and read 45 books this year.

In order of when I read them, here are the books I consumed in 2018. The titles in bold are my faves:

  1. Lying by Sam Harris
  2. The Emperor’s Children by Claire MesSud
  3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  4. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
  5. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  6. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  7. Am I There Yet? by Mari Andrew
  8. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  9. A Working Theory of Love by Scott Hutchins
  10. Shrill by Lindy West
  11. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  12. Meaty by Samantha Irby
  13. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  14. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
  15. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
  16. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson
  17. Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
  18. It’s Not You by Sara Eckel
  19. The Heart Is a Shifting Sea by Elizabeth Flock
  20. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  21. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
  22. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
  23. Best State Ever by Dave Barry
  24. Refinery 29 Money Diaries by Lindsey Stanberry
  25. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  26. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  27. We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
  28. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
  29. The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz
  30. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
  31. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
  32. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  33. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  34. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  35. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
  36. The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
  37. Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett
  38. The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green
  39. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
  40. The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clementine Wamariya
  41. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  42. A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
  43. Fear by Bob Woodward
  44. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight
  45. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

There are plenty I’m awaiting from the library, so I have no doubt I’ll be off to a strong start tomorrow. Happy reading, and see you all in 2019!

*Yes, I am as cheesy as they come.

WO: Weekly Obsessions

My cold is still lingering and SF’s notoriously chilly summers aren’t helping. Here’s what’s trying to break through and clear up my mental Fog-ust.

Image Credits Listed Below

  1. “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again”: My bestie here does not go to the movies. Seriously, she hadn’t been to a movie theater in five years. So when she suggested we see this sequel to the 2008 classic, I jumped at the chance. The costumes are fun, the songs are infectious and you won’t be able to watch it without humming along.
  2. Libby: I severely underestimated how life-changing it is to have a library card again. And with Libby, a new app from Overdrive, I can skip the Kindle app altogether and read right from my phone or iPad on a sleek and easy-to-use interface. #NerdToTheMax
  3. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”: Thanks fall film previews, I was tempted to dig into Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series. My new buddy Libby made it impossible to resist, and I subsequently devoured the first in the trilogy in three nights. At this rate, I’ll be ready for “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” long before its debut in November.
  4. “When I Kissed the Teacher” – ABBA: This is one ABBA song I didn’t know by heart, but Lily James’s performance in MM2 makes it hard to forget. Who wouldn’t have wanted their college graduation ceremony to go like this?  I only wish this lyric video was used in the film itself.

Images courtesy of: Variety, iTunes, Goodreads, Pinterest

WO: Weekly Obessions

Am I still blowing out birthday candles? Yes. Am I mad about it? No.

Image Credits Listed Below

 

  1. The Never-Ending Birthday: Yes, it’s been seven days since my birthday and YES, I am with you, hating on people who are still setting off fireworks. But I’ve been quite surprised to enjoy so many celebrations, from a pinata at work to a park picnic to a delicious dinner and more. I’m feeling the love, folks!
  2. SFPL Is #1: You may recall my infatuation with the library and this article cements why the San Francisco Public Library is truly top-notch. From engaging programs to redefining the role of librarians, it’s clear the SFPL is #1 in our hearts and the Dewey Decimal System. (Don’t @ me for a DDS joke, y’all.)
  3. “52 Lists for Happiness”: This weekly journal has made the rounds on plenty of gift-giving lists and must-have articles. It was gifted to me last year, and while I wasn’t diligently sticking to the habit (and am therefore, not done), I can honestly say it’s given me a healthy and helpful way to document the things I’m proud of. Plus, it’s preeetty.
  4. All Drake Everythang: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about Drake’s latest record-breaking album “Scorpion” and mega collaborations. Just look at the Billboard Hot 100 — he’s on 13 of the top 21! If that doesn’t scream “Success!” I don’t know what does.

 

Images courtesy of: iStock, Library Journal, Moorea Seal,  Scene Chicago

WO: Weekly Obsessions

I acknowledge time flying by nearly every week here, but I just have to say, I was asked about my plans for the fall today and nearly had a full-blown meltdown. I understand June is creeping around the corner but THE FALL? Please, don’t make me think that far. I can barely plan my next hour.

Image Credits Listed Below

  1. Overdrive: An added benefit to voraciously reading Refinery 29’s Monday Diaries is that I often learn about apps and services to make life easier. It’s how I heard of this app, and “obsessed” is an understatement. Simply log in with your library card and gain instant access to thousands of options. It’s my first actual foray into e-reading, but I’m beyond excited to dig into more books than ever before.
  2. MealPal: While I’d heard of MealPal while living in NYC, I hadn’t researched or revisited it since moving here. Then I read yet another R29 MD and, well, now I’m its newest member who’s enjoying $6 lunches (instead of $20 salads). Want a promo code? Sign up here.
  3. Half-Price Mondays: Memorial Day was the perfect backdrop to join some girlfriends from Tampa at the A’s/Rays game. And wouldn’t you know it? The Treehouse — a beautiful, shiny stadium spot with a full bar and games — offers half-price drinks on Mondays. No mustache required, and  it almost made a 13-inning game painless.
  4. “This Is America” – Childish Gambino: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely already heard and watched this. Breaking news reporting over here, I know. But I haven’t covered it yet with WOs AND Cardi B brought it top of mind with her *shocking* discovery that Donald Glover and Childish Gambino are the same person. Pssst … the video is NSFW, in case you haven’t heard.

 

 

Images courtesy of: Twitter, Overdrive, Twitter, Genius