2020 First Quarter Update and Stuff

Boy, do I have a lot of reviews to write. I’ve been able to read so much since this whole thing started and I haven’t been able to go to work. My university’s spring break was extended by a week, so even though I’ve already been taking classes solely online, I still got an extra week off. SO MUCH READING. Silver lining to all of this? I’ll definitely meet my Goodreads goal this year! Wooooooo!

Anyway, I thought I would give a quarterly update about how my reading has been going and how I’ve been doing with the challenges I’m “participating in” this year.

For the Popsugar Reading Challenge, I’ve completed 18 of the 50 prompts, which means I’m 36% done.

As far as the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge, I’ve completed 19 of the 52 prompts, or 36%.

I feel like I’m in a good place to finish both challenges, even though I’ve read a few books that don’t fit on one list or the other. There will come a time when I’m down to looking for books that fit certain prompts, but I’m sure I’ll be able to find something out of the hundreds of books I want to read.

For the #20For20Books challenge on Goodreads, I’ve only read one of the books on my list, and it wasn’t a good start (I’m side-eyeing you, Where the Crawdads Sing). But I’m still looking forward to reading the rest of the books on the list I chose. I’ll get to them — this is a challenge I know I’ll finish this year.

Sj and I started an Apocalypse Book Club on Facebook because we’ve been feeling like reading a lot of apocalyptic fiction lately. So far the group has read World War Z, and now we’re reading The Stand. Well, I mean, I assume others are reading The Stand. With everything going on, we’re just kind of reading at our own paces and doing what we can. The club was just a way to get people together who feel like reading that kind of stuff right now (I’m sure plenty of other people think we’re out of our minds). Both books are rereads for me. I’m about halfway through The Stand right now and loving it.

Other updates:

Pennsylvania libraries are now closed “until further notice,” so it looks like I’ll be “working” from home a bit longer. I’m still making library cards for people and a few of us are going in to the library on Friday to get some administrative work done. I miss going to work and I miss my people, but the silver lining to this is being able to do school work starting next week without also worrying about going to a full-time job. That’s something. It also means more time for reading. My husband has two jobs, both of which are considered “essential,” so he’s still going to work like normal (and being very, very careful).

In some ways I was made for this situation we’ve got going on, and in some ways I wasn’t. I’m fine with staying at home. The older I get, the more introverted I get. But I haaaaate cooking, and I’m tired of trying to decide what I can eat for meals that doesn’t involve too much of that. Ugh. I’m dealing with it, but it sucks. Also — and I’ve said this elsewhere — having super short hair is all fun and games until there’s a pandemic. I got my hair cut right before we had to start staying home, but my next appointment is supposed to be on April 21, and THAT’S not going to happen. Sigh. I will be unfit to live with if I can’t get my hair cut until May (only 50% joking, maybe less).

ANYWAY, I have things to keep me busy…books to read, reviews to write, library cards to make, and naps to take.

How is your reading going so far this year? How is everyone holding up? Let me know in the comments!

Last week was a whirlwind…

First things first, how is everyone doing? Are you hanging in there? Are you breathing (and I ask this in total seriousness because I found myself forgetting to breath at least a half-dozen times last week)?

The last couple of weeks have been a total whirlwind, but last week was especially bad. I thought for sure I would end up having a panic attack, but my body hung in there…or maybe I didn’t end up having one because I just didn’t have time. Who knows? Bottom line is, I’ve been handling shit pretty well, all things considered. I won’t say I didn’t cry a few times over the past week, but it was mostly out of frustration.

I’m not going to go into all the details and rehash everything, but the short version is that a huge fundraiser had to be postponed (I sobbed), our library had to close to the public, I had to go get our daughter from college (I cried again), and then our library was closed down to staff as well (almost cried for this one, too). Unless something changes (and I’m sure it will), I’m home until March 30th at the earliest. I’m still doing some work from home, but that’s just making library cards for patrons who request them online. Other than that, I’m doing nothing but fuckall and reading for the next week. Which I have complicated feelings about. My husband is still working (both his full-time and part-time jobs are considered “essential”).

So, remember that library book haul I posted about at the beginning of March? Well, when we were told the library would have to be closed for staff, too, I grabbed another big stack of books. I have hundreds of books in my house that I haven’t read, but whatever. Taking home another stack of books made me feel better. Heh.

What’s in the stack:

  • Salt Slow, by Julia Armfield
  • Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernardine Evaristo
  • Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
  • My Dark Vanessa, by Kate Elizabeth Russell
  • Black Sunday, by Tola Rotimi Abraham
  • The Girl with the Louding Voice, by Avi Daré
  • The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Imaginary Friend, by Stephen Chbosky

Sj and I started an Apocalypse Book Club on Facebook, and the group is currently reading World War Z (Max Brooks). This is a reread for me, but I’d forgotten some of the details, so it’s been fun to reread. We’ll be reading The Stand (Stephen King) next. Yes, I know we’re weird, and I’m totally okay with that.

I’ve also finished Nothing to See Here (Kevin Wilson) and Upright Women Wanted (Sarah Gailey). Reviews to come soon, if I can get my mind right. Who knows? Maybe blogging will be the the ONE NORMAL THING in my life right now.

Even though I already take all of my classes online, spring break has been extended by one week for the whole university, so my next set of classes doesn’t start until April 6. Lot’s of time for reading, which I actually want to get back to now, so until next time…

Breathe.

Who are your favorite book bloggers, BookTubers, and Bookstagrammers? Links, please!

As I’ve said in countless posts this past month, I have been out of the blogging loop for some time now. Some of the blogs I used to follow are no longer a thing, and I know there are a lot of book blogs, BookTubers, and Bookstagrammers out there that I’m not even aware of.

I need to get back in the loop, and I need your help!

So tell me…who are your favorite book bloggers, BookTubers, and/or Bookstagrammers to follow? Link them up or just list their names in the comments!

A Weekend in the Life #AMonthofFaves

For the month of December, I am joining Girlxoxo and Traveling with T for their #AMonthofFaves blog event. To learn more and to see the list of topics, read their announcement post–#AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement.

Today’s prompt is “A Day (or Weekend) in the Life,” and while my weekend life isn’t very exciting (which is just the way I like it), I’m going to write about it anyway.

Weekends for me are Lazy Time. I work Monday through Friday, get out of work at 5pm, then go home and do school work most nights. I watch TV with my husband from 7-9pm, then go to bed. So on the weekends, I don’t want to do a damned thing aside from read for pleasure, take naps, and be lazy.

This weekend was a little different because I had some chores to do, but all-in-all, it was still a lazy weekend.

My husband had the flu for the entirety of Thanksgiving week, so I’ve been sleeping in the guest room. He was still coughing a little last week, and I didn’t want to move back into our bed for fear he would cough in my face while we were sleeping and I wouldn’t even know it. Ew. So this weekend I had to wash the sheets on our bed so I could start sleeping in it again. This is a major operation because we sleep in a waterbed, and we have so many blankets and sheets on it. It takes me most of one day to wash everything that goes on the bed and then get help putting it all back on. I did that on Saturday.

I also watered the plants on Saturday. Most of them are succulents that only need to be watered about once a month, and I typically forget to water the other ones more often. I usually end up watering them all on the same day, or individually when they start to look like they need water. The aloe plant and the large plant in the bottom-right corner are out of control. I don’t even know what to do with them. The one in the bottom-right of the images needs to be trimmed again (we’ve already cut it down once).

I did get some pleasure reading done on Saturday–I read 143 pages of Duma Key. I was hoping to finish it this weekend, but with the other things I had to do, I’m not sure that’s going to happen. I had the last of my school work for this quarter to turn in this weekend, but…

NO MORE SCHOOL WORK UNTIL JANUARY 6! WOOOOOOO!

I can pleasure read in my free time for the next 28 days! I’m so excited about this.

Sunday was a truly lazy day. My husband and I went to the family-owned restaurant around the corner for breakfast like we do every Sunday (their breakfast is so good), and then he had to work at our local library from 1-5pm. He has a Monday-Friday job, but works that the library a couple days a month for play money.

As soon as we came home from breakfast, I put pajamas on, folded a load of laundry that was in the dryer, then got on the couch with Rascal. I read more of Duma Key until I felt tired, took a nap, then got up and wrote my last mini paper for school for this quarter. Now I’m writing this post, I’ll have dinner when I’m done, then I’ll read more of Duma Key (and maybe finish it?) before it’s time to go downstairs to watch TV.

I also watched more Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Friday and Saturday nights with a friend who lives in a different state (we do this every Friday and Saturday from 9-10:30pm and chat on Hangouts while we watch).

This is how my weekends typically go. If I had to write for this prompt next weekend, I would have been able to tell you all about the Hogwarts Escape Room my husband and I are doing next Saturday, but alas…

How was your weekend? Did you do anything exciting, or do you like your weekends to be lazy like I do? Let me know in the comments!

My Favorite Things #AMonthofFaves

For the month of December, I am joining Girlxoxo and Traveling with T for their #AMonthofFaves blog event. To learn more and to see the list of topics, read their announcement post–#AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement.

Today’s topic is “The 2019 Favorite Things Edition.”

It’s winter. It’s cold. The air is super dry. And cold. My skin and my lips suffer tremendously this time of year. Not only because the air is so dry (and did I mention that it’s cold?), but also because I’m a bit of a germaphobe and I tend to wash my hands a lot more this time of year (and “more” is saying A LOT).

One of my favorite things all year long, but especially this time of year, is Beessential’s Lemon & Lavender lip balm.

Click to visit the Beessential website and read more about (and order!) this lip balm.

This stuff is AMAZING. It took me years to find a lip balm that really works, and y’all, this lip balm WORKS. My lips can be a dry, sore mess before I go to bed (I don’t tend to wear stuff on my lips during the day for reasons), but when I put this on before I go to sleep, I wake up the next morning and my lips are ALL BETTER. Overnight. And it smells (and tastes) so good. This is the first lip balm that I’ve ever used until it runs out, and I have to have another one on hand to open immediately. There are multiple flavors, but this is the one I started with and love, so I don’t even care about trying the other ones. I buy mine from Amazon in the four-pack. I highly recommend it.

Click to visit the Greens Steel website.

Another of my favorite things right now is this stainless steel tumbler from Greens Steel. I mean, it’s called the Beast, and it is a beast. I received this as a gift from my friend Katie because she cringed every time she saw me drinking something with a plastic straw (which was every day). This tumbler came with two stainless steel straws (and the brush to clean them out)—a straight one, and one with a bend at the top. This thing works so well. I only use it for cold drinks (I’m not a hot drink kind of gal), and at the end of the day (6pm), the ice that I put in it at 8am is still there. My drinks stay SO COLD. And as an added bonus, it’s cheaper for me to use it to get a “cold refill” at the convenience store every morning than it was for me to use one of their plastic cups every day. I’m saving 50¢ a day with this thing. Score! Thank you, Katie!

My last favorite thing for this post isn’t a thing. It’s a person. A TV character on the show Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Gina Linetti.

For those of you who’ve watched the show, I’m actually a mix of Amy Santiago and Captain Holt on the outside, but I am all Gina Linetti on the inside (and, if we’re being honest here, sometimes on the outside, heh). Gina is so great, and she’s so quotable…

“Hi, Gina Linetti, the human form of the 💯 emoji.”

“The only thing I’m not good at is modesty, because I’m great at it.”

“I need someone to take this personality test for my psych class. I was hoping to wow my professor with a genuine psycho. Like Amy. Or Hitchcock. Or Charles would be great.”

“Every time you talk I hear that sound that plays when Pacman dies.”

“The English language cannot fully capture the depth and complexity of my thoughts, so I’m incorporating emoji into my speech to better express myself. Winky face.”

“Amateur. Always say your insults to someone’s face. No paper trail.”

These quotes are all better in context (and everything she says is great), so you should really watch the show. Part of her hilariousness is the way she delivers her lines. But even though Gina is my favorite, I love all the characters. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is always good for a laugh.

What about you? What are some of your favorite things? Tell me in the comments!