City of Glass

On Tuesdays, I post a bit about what I’ve been reading lately.

City of Glass 1Last week, I finished City of Glass by Cassandra Clare.

To liven up my photo of the book, I decided to put it alongside two things that make me think of Texas (where I live):  potato chips from Schlotzsky’s and an HEB diet soda. In Lubbock (where I’m from) they do not have HEB (*gasp* — I know!) So I didn’t discover its fabulousness until after I got married and we moved to Houston. Now I am a huge fan, of course. And I have been drinking Diet Coke for years and I honestly think the HEB brand of diet soda tastes better. This is cool for me, considering how much less it costs than Diet Coke. And yes, I realize the cheapest (and healthiest) thing for me to do would be to quit drinking soda altogether, but…so far, I have not done that. So. Yeah. We all have our vices :).

As for the clothespin in the photo…I have this bad habit of not finishing my chips when I go to a sandwich restaurant. So I often bring them home and close the bag with a clothespin. Then I eat ’em later. And, uh, apparently I sometimes take a picture of it :).

Funny (by which I mean terrifying) story about this photo: I moved outside to take it because the lighting was better and only after I’d been out there for a while did I notice the wasp’s nest stuck to a chair, with all the wasps crawling all over it — not unlike the way my skin crawled when I saw that :(. I may have screamed. Just a little. But I took the picture anyway, grabbed up my stuff and then ran back inside! Ah, the joys of summer-time.

So…this post was not really about City of Glass after all, was it? But what can I say about a book almost everyone but me has already read, anyway? Y’all already know it’s good :)!

Happy reading (and snacking. And not being stung by wasps),

Elizabeth

Royal reading.

On Tuesdays I post a little about what I’ve been reading lately.Princess Diaries CollectionAmong other things, I have lately been catching up on Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series, which I started reading years ago but never finished (story of my life where series are concerned, it seems).

The above photo is of a collection of volumes I-III and volume IV, the the only volumes I have in physical format. I had gotten up to volume VI before I stopped. Within the past few weeks, I’ve bought the rest as e-books and have read almost all of them in anticipation of the 11th installment, Royal Wedding, coming out next month. To be honest, I am a little princess-ed out at this point. I should have spread the reading of these out a little more! But I am almost done now…and still looking forward to the new book :).

Happy reading,

Elizabeth

5 TBR (the impossible dream?)

On Tuesdays, I post a bit about what I have been reading lately.

I’ve mentioned before that I used to SO not be a minimalist, right? Well, here’s another example.

I used to work in a video store. This was back in the days when movies were released on VHS. I love movies (and I had a pretty good employee discount), so I used to buy TONS of tapes. One day I told one of my co-workers that I had bought so many VHS, I had stacks of them at home that I had never watched or even unwrapped. He was shocked. He said “When I buy a movie, I am always so stoked to watch it that I can’t wait. I take it home and watch it that night!”

So then, I was shocked, because…it made me wonder. Why was I buying so many tapes if I wasn’t excited enough to watch them, not just that very same night but in some cases, not ever? Basically, I was just hoarding. Something I used to do a lot of back then. Thankfully I (eventually) got over that sort of behavior. For the most part.

Recently, this little tid-bit of conversation with my co-worker re-surfaced in my memory while I was contemplating my TBR piles (both physical and digital). I counted and it seems S and I own roughly 178 books that I have never read :(. Granted, a lot of these are his, not things I bought for myself, but…some are mine and altogether, there are probably around 100 or more that I would like to read someday. I know this sounds crazy and it will likely take me a few years, but I would like to get that number down to…5.

Yes, 5 total!

Wouldn’t that be awesome? I can’t see myself reading more than 5 books at any one time anyway (I usually read 1 – 3, MAYBE 4), so 5 seems like a decent number to have in reserve at any given time.

In order to make this happen, I will obviously have to stop buying so many books. So I’ve implemented a new rule for myself. From now on, I can only buy things I will read immediately*. Things that I am “stoked” to read right away. Because if I’m not that excited about reading it NOW (or in the VERY near future), it can probably wait, hm? True, it may no longer be on sale later (this is where I get into trouble, with sales! Particularly of e-books), but…I think I’d rather pay more for it later than to have it sit on the shelf now, making me feel bad for who-knows-how-many months. Or years. Because I do. Feel bad. Even though digital books don’t take up physical space, they still tend to take up mental space. For me, anyway. I get anxious when I see how much stuff I’ve bought that I still haven’t gotten around to reading, and when I start to feel as though I will never catch up.

Anyway, we’ll see how this works out, but so far so good. In March, I bought ONE ebook and I read it right away. The TBR pile did not grow! Instead, it shrank by 5 books. In April, I bought 2 ebooks and 1 small paperback and I am currently in the process of reading all of them right away, too. Plus I read 4 books from the TBR pile, so yet again, it got smaller. I like this feeling, of using and enjoying things I already have instead of feeling like I am just hoarding new ones.

I will continue to report on how this little (okay, pretty big) goal of mine is progressing over the following months. In the meantime, here’s a book I finished over the weekend and can finally take off my TBR list (after having it sit on my shelf for almost 4 years)! Woo-hoo!

DSCF3466  Happy reading,

Elizabeth

*PS – An exception to this rule may occur at Christmas time, when I tend to get a lot of books as gifts. If I do get gifts, I won’t count them against myself, especially since I tend to be pretty good about reading those within a few months of receiving them :).

PPS – And may I also take this opportunity to brag on my husband, who does not seem to have this book-hoarding issue? He usually just reads as he buys. I look forward to the day I can do this, too. Honestly, I used to pretty much do that, too, but within the past two years or so, my e-book buying has escalated.

Beauty is terror.

On Tuesdays I write a bit about what I’ve been reading lately.

The Secret History

I’ve read a lot since my last book update, but I’m just going to skip ahead to the latest book I finished, which is The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

The pages beg to be turned…Tells you whodunit on the first page and makes you read on hungrily to discover the how and why. – People

I have read this book twice before, but not for about twenty years (and yes, it is crazy to me that I am now old enough to say things like that). I remembered loving it when I first picked it up. I was maybe 16. I still loved it this go-round, too, although I imagine it was for different reasons. Back then, I probably identified more strongly with the narrator, Richard. I was probably as dazzled as he was by the other characters, by how unapproachable and romantic they all seemed. Now I see everyone in the book differently, (perhaps more realistically and with a lot more sympathy), but I still enjoyed the story immensely. I’m glad I had forgotten most of it; it wound up feeling almost new to me.

Here is a post that lists 10 reasons to love this book and I’d have to agree with all of them, especially #10 (emphasis mine):

It lets you in on secrets. Tartt’s title is a cracker, not least because it is true to the appeal of the book. We, like Richard, are being given membership of a select group. One secret is given away at the book’s opening, only because we can be assured that others lie in store. Every one of the millions who have read The Secret History has the delicious illusion of being admitted to the most dangerous of confidences. It is as if her every reader is the first and only one to read it.

This is certainly how I felt the first time I read it, as if I had stumbled on something special that no one else knew about. Back then, the internet wasn’t what it is now (and I didn’t have a computer, anyway); I had no idea this story had such a huge following!

Here is a cool (spoiler-free) video review of the book I found on Youtube.

The copy the reviewer holds up at the beginning of this video looks just like the one I used to check out of the library all those years ago! It is so pretty (I’m sure that is why I picked it up in the first place), I sort of want to hunt down a first edition and buy it for my very own. But I am a minimalist these days; I probably don’t need any more things ;)…Right?

Here are a few other fun links I’ve found, too, for people who are obsessed with enjoyed this book:

The Book Drum profile, including “illustrated page-by-page notes, mapped settings, a glossary, a summary, an author biography and a review.”

A Tumblr dedicated to the book, with some amazing (fan-created?) artwork.

8 Great Books for Fans of The Secret History (darn it, now I want to read every one of these, too!)

Happy reading,

Elizabeth

Worth the wait

On Tuesdays, I post a bit about what I am currently reading.

It’s been weeks since I finished reading From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, but I just wanted to document how great I thought it was!

I think I’d mentioned before that I’d received this book as a Christmas gift a long time ago…back in 2008! I feel bad that I let it sit around that long before reading it, especially since I had specifically asked for it as a gift :(. I think I was mostly putting it off because:

  1. It’s long for a graphic novel (572 pages) and since it’s hardcover, this makes the book quite heavy and not easy to cart around while one is reading it.
  2. It’s in black and white.
  3. Some of the drawings are really tiny.
  4. The lettering is crooked and sort of hard to read.
  5. The characters all speak with accents.
  6. The story seemed dense (in other words, not like a quick, light read). This is fine, but I have to be in the mood.

Well, it turns out I was wrong about number 6. Yes, the story was complex and involved and deep (and dark, too, of course, since it’s about the Jack the Ripper murders) but…it felt quick and light. Once I got started reading this, it was like I no longer noticed how small and black and white the drawings were, or how crookedly-lettered the speech bubbles were. The characters’ accents presented no problem for me. I’ll admit I had a harder time forgetting the physical heaviness of the book, but even so…I didn’t want to put it down. I flew through it and totally loved it.

You know how when you finish a book you totally loved, you wish you could call up the author and ask them a million questions about it? That’s how I felt about this one. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered this appendix at the end:

DSCF3461Moore’s notes cover almost every single page in the book!

And while he didn’t answer every question I had, he covered a lot of ground and shared all sorts of insight. I loved reading all that extra material. It was like the next best thing to having a conversation with Moore about the story over coffee…or tea, I guess, as he is British.

DSCF3465Seriously, why don’t all (great) books have this?!

I have learned there is also a From Hell companion book available, so I’ve added it to my wishlist.

I’ve read several other books in the past few weeks, too, but I’ll maybe cover those in a different post. If anyone is really curious, I track almost everything I read over at LibraryThing. Feel free to add me if you want! I’ll add you back. And let me know what you are reading, too. Anything that you’ve loved?

Happy reading,

Elizabeth

PS – If you decide to read From Hell on my recommendation, please be forewarned that it is intended for, as the movie ratings board likes to call them, ‘mature audiences.’ It contains nudity and graphic violence.

The Velvet Room, etc.

On Tuesdays, I post a bit about what I’m currently reading.

A few years ago, I was sort of on an Alan Moore kick (I still love him, BTW). I asked S for From Hell for Christmas and got it…but then I never read it! I think I was intimidated by how way long it is (572 pages!). But I resolved to read it this year, and finally started it yesterday.

from hell cropped

I’m also reading these two:

The Velvet Room by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

So far, this is cute and a page-turner. I doubt it will take me long to finish it; it’s pretty short.

Velvet Room

Happy Wives Club: One Woman’s Worldwide Search for the Secrets of a Great Marriage by Fawn Weaver

I don’t really read many articles on the HWC blog, but I like the idea of the club. As Fawn states on the club’s ‘about’ page, there often seems to be a lot of negativity (in the media and culture in general) surrounding the concept of marriage and as someone who loves being married, it’s nice to read positive things about being a wife!

Happy Wives Club

Both of these titles are from my digital TBR pile, which grew quite large in 2014 (because I bought a ton of books). I really hope to whittle that list down this year. Seems daunting, but I wound up finishing 8 books in January! If I can keep that up, it will be fantastic and I may actually have a chance.

Earlier today I read about the concept of “binge reading,” (vs. “binge watching” TV shows). I think this is what I have been doing. But books are one of the few things it’s perfectly okay to binge on, IMO :).

Happy reading,

Elizabeth

Scrap Simple

On Tuesdays, I post a little about what I’m currently reading.

I’ve been remiss in posting about books these past few weeks. However, I HAVE been reading a lot. I’ve read 5 books already this month! And I’m in the middle of 3 others.

My mantra for the new year has been “books, not blogs.” Meaning that when I find myself with time to read, I opt for one of the books I’m reading rather than just clicking around, reading random blog posts online. Yes, I realize the irony of writing about this on a blog :). But it’s not that I am no longer reading blogs at all, just that I am trying to be more intentional about what (and when) I do read. I’d have to say it’s paying off! So far this year I have read the following:

Queen of the Dead (Ghost and the Goth Book 2)

Body & Soul (Ghost and the Goth Book 3)

Mr. Darcy’s Persistent Pursuit: A Pride and Prejudice Variation

Love’s Fool: The Taming of Lydia Bennet: What Happened After Mr. Darcy’s Persistent Pursuit

The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: Achieve More Success with Less Stress

I enjoyed all of them, especially Love’s Fool, which is probably the cutest romance I’ve read in quite some time!

One of the other books I’m reading now is Scrap Simple: Using Minimal Design to Create Beautiful Scrapbook Pages. I borrowed this from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library because I was intrigued by the promise of “fresh, clean and uncluttered (scrapbook) pages created with minimal product,” as well as the following description:

Scrapbooking doesn’t have to be fussy to be fun! For those with the desire but just a little bit of time, money or space, Scrap Simple is the must-have guide for chronicling all the important milestones and moments efficiently and economically. Perfect for beginners and veterans alike, this book makes it easy to give your pages that clean, simple look you want.

Sounds good to this minimalist!!

One of my goals for 2015 is to finally start a scrapbook for all of the bibs and other running memorabilia S and I have collected over the years. Right now, it’s all just sitting forlornly in a plastic tub.

DSCF3422

But I’m hoping to transform this mess into something at least semi-cute. I ordered a memory book and have gathered a few running-themed stickers.

DSCF3423

I’ve also still got a lot of other paper crafting paraphernalia sitting around, left over from my deco (mail art) days.

DSCF3425

I knew there was a reason I’d kept so much of this stuff :)!

Hopefully I’ll be able to report progress on this project soon.

Happy reading (and scrapbooking)!

Elizabeth

Happy Holidays (and a book announcement)!

I’ve baked entirely too many cookies over the past two days, only about half of which have turned out decently :(. Ah, well, they can’t all be winners, I guess. And it’s still fun to make them, even if they turn out ugly!

Here are a few before they went into the oven (for the record, these turned out okay :)).

DSCF3070For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you are having a wonderful one!

But regardless of how you celebrate (or don’t), I wish you all the best of the season and hope you are enjoying some fun with family and/or friends.

I also wanted to let everyone know that my latest book, Fear and Laundry 2will be going on sale over the weekend! It will be available from Amazon for $.99 beginning Saturday, after which time the price will increase to $1.99 for a few days and then finally return to the usual amount of $2.99. So get it soon!

book cover mock-up file from cover_20141125.jpg

And if you haven’t read it yet, the first book in this series, Fear and Laundry is always available for $.99. So if you are looking to read a couple of cute and lighthearted YA romances (the first of which was honored as a notable entry in Shelf Unbound Magazine’s 2013 Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book), I encourage y’all to head over to my author page this weekend and put that Amazon money you got for Christmas to good use ;)!

Also, I am always interested in learning about and supporting my fellow authors, so if you’ve written a book, too, LMK with a like or a comment! I would love to check out your work.

Happy holidays,
Elizabeth

Queen of the Dead

On Tuesdays, I post a bit about what I’m currently reading.

DSCF3065

I finished Anno Dracula and wow…I hardly remembered any of it! Big surprise, I guess, considering how long it had been since I last read it :). Overall, I liked it again, though. And it was nice to get all caught up in a fairly long novel for a change. A lot of what I read tends to be relatively short. Not because I have anything against long books; it just seems to happen that way.

Now I’m about to start Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade*.

I read the first book in this series a couple of years ago, thought it was really cute and entertaining, and have been meaning to read the next two books ever since.

Yes, I’m slow. And yes, my Kindle is old :). I love it, though, and use it all the time.

Happy reading!

Elizabeth

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Anno Dracula

On Tuesdays, I usually post a bit about what I’m reading.

I did finally finish re-reading Dracula a while ago :). Now I’ve moved on to this:

HPIM7763I have read this one before, too, around the same time I first read Dracula…so, quite a while ago. Maybe 20+ years?

Yikes!

I don’t really remember much about it, other than that I liked it. There are at least 3 other books in this series, now, but I’ve only read the second one.

Happy reading!

Elizabeth