Thursday, July 28, 2016

Monthly Recap vol. 35~ July 2016 & Music Obsession and Some Notes on Finishing Novels 1st


Welcome to my monthly recap, where I dish on books, what we're watching, links, and occasionally my recent musical obsession. Read on...  (Actually only have those 4 categories this time! oops!)

~Reading~

31. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

I do love me some Mindy Kaling. As former writer (and actress) for The Office, she is truly funny and she indeed has a winning smile and personality;)  I watched some of her show The Mindy Project, and I liked her in it most of all. So thus I was interested in her book. As a funny memoir, it did not disappoint. As a self-help book, she seemed a little lost and lonely to me. Also, I would personally give this book credit for being a fantastically fast read. That is owing to her humor and her precocious  style, I'm almost positive.

32. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

This was unexpectedly good!  I enjoyed this book. It provided an absorbing story, however, there were some unnecessary tangents in the storyline that felt cumbersome. The subject matter felt a little bit unflashy and that was almost tiresome. Overall, though, the character is surprisingly likable by the end, so I suppose it was redeeming in that way. If you're interested in Swedish culture and a very angry SOB with a very slightly heartwarming twist in an otherwise sad plot, pick this one up.

34. Still Life

On episode 30 of the Read Aloud Revival podcast, Cindy Rollins represented the why read a murder mystery crowd quite well. I recommend hearing her perspective, as it is one I respect and would emulate. ;) To be honest, Dorothy Sayers was someone I really wanted to like, but I never finished Gaudy Night (though I read hundreds of pages of it).  But that's one of the few books I haven't finished in a long time! ;)


33. Before We Visit the Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

This novel was really well written, and the pacing was per.fect for Summer.  Her perspective is extremely unique, and although I did not agree with her spiritual journey, I could not help being sucked into her journalistic style, wondering what I could learn from this viewpoint.  The ending was satisfying, and like a delicious meal, you'll enjoy this from start to finish, if you are anything like me in your taste in books. Because I have read too many longish books, I give this 5 stars simply for the perfect pacing.

~Listening~

"Marianne" by Mipso
It has, um, interesting lyrics (I have a couple of top guesses. And I don't think it is super subtle... but! I could be wrong! :0) ;)
If you want to see something really interesting, watch this very short (15 min) film about the band in Japan. And when I say it is worth watching and very awesome, I would not be exaggerating! ;)
But Joseph Terrell... could be the bluegrass (or the next) Sufjan Stephens. no. lie.
And read Wikipedia to find out where they got the title for their band. So interesting.

~Also Listening to...~
This is an excellent podcast about blogging --> The Hopewriters Season 1, ep. 5 Should You Blog?

~Watching~

all of the things we watched this month were actually super family-friendly, for which I was grateful. Looking for a Family Movie/Show selection? Try...

The Flash (the fastest man alive) superhero TV series, available on Netflix

The Great British Baking Show

Cupcake Wars

Brooklyn
an excellent film, written by Nick Hornby, about the US immigrants in NYC in the 1950's

Molly recommends Power Rangers Mystic Force

Madeleine recommends Word Party, a Jim Henson show about teaching words (vocabulary) to our kids

Frances recommends loli rock, about the power of music! ;)

~Linking~

The Scientific 7 Minute Workout @ The NY Times (664 comments?! must have struck a chord)
Lately after dinner and clean-up, I've been going for a 20 minute speed-walk, and then I do the 7 minute workout twice in a row. It has really improved my mood immensely! ;)

I've done a little listening of the soundtrack, and ... do it!!!;)

Um... >??!! phew. Glad that's over. :_-( sweating bullets ;)

~Some Notes on Reading (and Finishing) Books and Novels~

Sometimes people ask me, "How do you read so many books?" and especially, "So do you really read all of the books you say you read?"

The answer is, yes.  If I buy a book from anywhere, really, I feel like it is a waste of money if I do not read it from start to finish. If I set out to reread one of my favorite books, I need some accountability, like a book club, to make sure I do indeed finish it!

The only caveat is that I give myself a lot of grace when it comes to one genre in particular.

For novels, start to finish every single time. For classics, Grace.  That's my motto. Grace and lots of stacks of books in every room. Used book sales, Kindle steals, inherited bookshelves full of inherited books. Where to start?  How to finish even one? By doing. Make a list. Check it twice. If I check out a book like Ivanhoe from the library, and I find I have put the same amount of time "getting into it" as it would take for me to read an entire modern-day novel, I will count it as read. I might reread the abridged version to get a better concept. I say might, but that's exactly what I did!

Back in the day, I used to read Spark Notes for really really ridiculously confusing British novels or something, although at this point I feel like that's cheating, so I almost never ever go on there anymore. {knock on wood, I see your fist}.

But you will get some idea just by reading Goodreads.  Amazon has reviews too, but I wouldn't linger long on those.

Best rule of thumb is: read it all the way through. That was my rule of thumb for MiddlemarchKing Lear, and War and Peace.  I read them all the way through. I wrote my SIP (Senior Integration Paper) on King Lear, so I definitely had to read that one all the way through. And that's my rule of thumb with just about every single easy read on my list (which, lately, has been everything).

But what's the takeaway here? Long story short, skim what I would call the "antiquated" classics, if you must, but give them time. Give them time in a different way, of course. Pause over a meaningful section.  Read a touching paragraph out loud. It will do it good to give it fresh oxygen.

If you see a novel on my "Already Read" list, I read it from start to finish. AKA I've read every single book on this year's list cover-to-cover except one. The only exception to that rule in this year so far was Ivanhoe. I spent a lot of time with it and I read the abridged version from start to finish, but that was only after I found the original almost incoherent to my modern ears. But I gave it a fighting chance, and so should you.

Oh... and, I watched the movie.

;)

Classics are like that. Lost in the middle of Dickens? How many hours did you put into it? I give you the grace to put it down, watch the movie, and call it done. Dickens wrote huge, confusing books with millions of characters. Give yourself grace there. Why? Because there are other more readable books that you could be reading. Pick up the classic again later and try to forge ahead.

I do love recommending hot bestsellers and lots of other kinds of books to my IRL friends! It feels good to say: "Here, read this! I read it, it's great," and mean all of that sentence with my whole heart.  By prioritizing I am able to read four books in a month, and I really actually did read all four of those books in a month!!!! I'm an honest person for gracious sakes! ;) The secret, I think, is to read hard stuff and fluff all at the same time. ;) And pick books that you really feel a strong pull to- not the books you feel you *should* read because other people like them!!!! Finally, if you're stuck- I mean, really stuck- put it down with your whole heart, and move on, swiftly!! ;)

More later on why you should read new releases, although I'm not the best person to dish on that subject.

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