Being a Reader

I heard something on the Reading Glasses podcast recently that I don’t totally agree with. I think Brea said it but Mallory agreed with it but it was that reading one book in a year makes you a reader.

I’ve been kayaking a few times on a relatively calm lake. Because I went one time last year, does that make me a kayaker? Does watching a dog for a week make you a pet owner? Does playing in one company softball game make you athletic?

I had a friend who proudly never wore makeup. She wore a lipstick for her wedding courtesy of the makeup artist. Anytime someone on social brings up makeup, especially lipstick, she comments like she’s an authority on the matter.

Being a reader is integral to a lot of our identities. There is no score to keep and rules to follow. Do read magazines, newspapers, or other articles? Do you enjoy short stories or fanfic? How about blogs or creative writing forums? Those contribute to being a reader.

I had several library holds come in at once so I’m going to have to read like crazy since I can’t renew any of them. Saying I’m in the same category as someone who read one book in a year felt like it cheapened what being a reader means to me. It didn’t respect the time and effort that goes in to being part of the bookish community.

I blog and do a lot of bookstagram. I watch a lot of booktube and actively support my local library. There’s a distinction between being a reader and someone who read a book. I want the bookish community to remain inclusive but if we include everybody, including folks who may not want the label, it stops being special.


TBR Jar: Mental Illness

My first jar pick was a book about mental illness. My library was kind enough to deliver me Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.

I was amazed at how accurately and empathically Green conveyed the mania that is living with mental illness. It’s complicated, messy, constant, and out of your control. I have not lived with the exact same thing Aza did but I’ve lived with something similar.

I loved how the romantic relationship wasn’t the biggest thing in this story. It mattered but didn’t dominate. It was about mental illness, self-care, friendship, relationships, and growing up. Love also wasn’t a magical cure all. Aza’s brain was still screwy and it was something she had to navigate with her issues.

Highly recommend for teens and adults. 5/5

2018 Bookish Activities: Shop Indie

I will have a book haul for January. Not ideal when you’re starting a low spend part of your life but it does check off an activity: buy at an indie bookstore. I can check this off twice over.

I bought two at my favorite indie One More Page books while Hubs was there looking for a gift for his aunts. I was able to check it off again when I had an errand downtown in the same neighborhoods Kramer’s. It’s a bit hipster-y and smug about it but they have a fantastic selection. They even had copies of Fire & Fury If you were on the waitlist which is better than Amazon. Perks of being a Washington staple. I’m being a good little broke girl and waiting for it to come from the library. It’s a long list but it’s moving fast.

Excellent First Lines

Since I’ve added the category ‘great first lines’ to the TBR Jar challenge, I thought it only fitting to provide a list of books with excellent first lines.

Dear You, The body you are wearing used to be mine.
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

They shot the white girl first
Paradise by Toni Morrison

Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy.
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you’re dead
A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The letter that would change everything arrived on a Tuesday
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley

You stop fearing the Devil when you’re holding his hand
Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Once upon a time, in a far-off land, I was kidnapped by a gang of fearless yet terrified young men with so much impossible hope beating inside their bodies it burned their very skin and strengthened their will right through their bones.
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

The Rutherford girl had been missing for eight days when Larry Ott returned home and found a monster waiting in his house
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

The night breathed through the apartment like a dark animal
Reckless by Cornelia Funke

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into an enormous insect.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

On the day of the miracle, Isabel was kneeling at the cliff’s edge, tending the small, newly made driftwood cross
The Light Between Oceans by  M. L. Stedman

If you’re reading this on a screen, fuck off. I’ll only talk if I’m gripped with both hands.
Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen
1984 by George Orwell

The man sitting across from me at the café was thinking about murdering his wife.
The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton

It was a nice day. All the days had been nice. There had been rather more than seven of them so far, and rain hadn’t been invented yet.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Ironically, since the attacks, the sunsets have been glorious
Angelfall by Susan Ee

It was a pleasure to burn*
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

One summer night I fell asleep, hoping the world would be different when I woke
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I’m pretty much fucked.
The Martian by Andy Weir



*  – I don’t like the prose version because it lacks necessary exposition (IMHO) so I linked to the graphic adaptation. It wasn’t until I read that version that I truly appreciated this work.

Bookish 2018 Reading Challenge

Bookish is a little late to the reading challenge party but some of their categories are pretty solid.

They do a good job hitting the diversity checklist (POC, LGBT+, translation, etc.),
Some of the more random ones should be very fun to accomplish: title, stars and/or moon, uncommon letters (K, Q, J, X, or Z), There’s a lot of great thrillers that feature forests for a fast and easy ‘nature cover read.’ ‘Pun in the title’ could be fun or a colossal PITA.

I genuinely dislike ‘won in our raffle’ since it’s both a shameless plug and a mandatory giveaway entry. I have crap luck with those and am convinced most places favor folks with larger audiences. I’m also not a huge fan of ‘year you were born’ or ‘author from your state.’ It’s arbitrary, limiting, and irksome.

Some categories are kind of standard like cover buy, one word title, or graphic novel. It’s been done so give it a year or two off. The # on ‘own voices’ felt like it was trying too hard. I may be misreading this but it felt like Bookish was trying to be cool.
I’m not a fan of ‘book you’ve lied about reading.’ I’m not here for reader shame so don’t cop to it if you don’t want to. I fully own not having read several books if asked. I’m an adult. There is no required reading anymore.

I think there’s enough good categories here to give it a try for the Casual Reading challenge but if it’s going badly, I’m fully willing to scrap it.

Twofer Challenge: P is for Presidential.

I just finished the memoir of the woman who should have won, Hillary Clinton. I started What Happened last year but it wasn’t the right time for me to read it. I sent it back to the library and it came back to up on my hold list right at the end of December.

I’m really glad I finished this. It sheds so much light on what stories of hers got buried, mistakes she acknowledges, and a lot of feelings I think were absent in her last memoir. This is an important book about a crucial time in American history. But with this much book, it couldn’t be perfect.

Much like her secretary of state memoir, I thought it could have been edited down. There was a lot of book and it wasn’t all necessary. Several times, I couldn’t tell if she was dropping names or telling her story. It took me out of the narrative. I’m also just not a big fan of her style of writing. It’s not my jam.

My complaints are minor and Clinton is so smart and her points so important that this still gets a 4.5/5 from me.

Working at a Doggy Daycare

Things I Have Learned/Observed

Bulldogs, basset hounds, corgis and pit bulls are much denser than they look.

All poodle mixes are 15-30% fluff and are much lighter than anticipated.

Not all German shepherds are smart.

Dogs get reflux too and it usually results in spit-up.

Starting a howl is a real thing.

Some dogs literally bounce off walls.

Kennel cough is basically the canine version of a common cold and is not to be fucked with.

Dogs often like sitting on feet and will jostle for the privilege.

I was putting our boarders away for the night when I saw the small dog blanket pile move. I lifted the blanket and around four pounds of Chihuahua had burrowed completely underneath.

Size of the dog and interest in sitting in laps are in no way related.

Dog logic: “If I bark at them incessantly, they’ll play with me.” This works about as well for the dog as for the man who uses this as a dating strategy.

Breed is not a solid indicator of which dog will bark a lot. Except large hounds.

Common dog names: Riley, Kona, Dog (yes, really), Cooper, Lola, Sadie, Wally, Lucy, and Luna. We have 4 Lunas that I know of.

Dogs don’t have language centers in their brain so if you get the name close enough, they respond to it.


Things I Have Said that I Never Expected to Say

“Put your penis away!”

“No face licks for poop eaters.”

“I will turn this car around!”

“Blonde dog whose name I don’t know!”

“We do not hump our friend’s heads.”

“Well, if you played better with others, maybe you wouldn’t be in time out.”

“Stop barking at them. You are such a hall monitor.”

“Fluff Humps A Lot, I will put you in time out!”

“Get outta my armpit!”

“Stop licking my elbow pit!”