Reading, Not Adhering, and Life

I’ve actually been getting some reading done this week. The problem is I’m reading too many things at the moment to actually finish anything. I think my favorite at the moment is Bonk by Mary Roach which is a total surprise. Dewey reviewed it awhile ago and it sounded really interesting, so when I saw a copy at a local New Orleans bookstore a couple of days ago I had to pick it up and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a book all about the physiology and psychology of sex, starting with the early sex researchers like Masters & Johnson and Kinsey (and some even before that) and it then goes on into all kinds of interesting facts. Her humor and skillful writing is what makes the book truly an interesting read instead of just a textbook. Can’t wait to write the review for this one when I finish it!

The other main read right now is Martin Dressler: Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser and this one is just amazing. It’s about a young man in the late 19th century who sets off to make his own future basically in the hotel and restaurant industry. But it’s so much more than that…it has an air of magic to it. It’s haunting in a way and beautiful. Millhauser wrote the short story “The Illusionist” that the movie was based on and if it makes any sense, the look of the movie “The Illusionist” perfectly captures the feel of his novels. Very haunting and atmospheric with so much detail placed within them. I’ve loved this one so far and I’m only halfway through it.

I’ve also had a couple of graphic novels walk in the door this week. I bought The Watchmen (yay!) and the second volume of Fables finally which I can’t wait to dig into. And I bought Diana Wynne Jones’ first Chrestomanci book, Charmed Life. Looking forward to all of those.

As far as the “Not Adhering” part of the title of this post, I’ve decided that I’m no longer really adhering to challenges anymore. It’s just too overwhelming and I got myself in way over my head this year. I think I may be able to complete some of them anyway just because I read a bunch of books that will probably qualify for the challenges. For instance, I know I’ve read at least 12 YA books, just not ones on the list. I’m sure I’ve read books that fit the What’s in a Name Challenge, just not the one’s I had planned. I’m sure I’ll read enough Graphic Novels this year…just maybe not the one’s I wanted to originally. The lists are just so overwhelming! I am however sticking to two of my challenges: The Japanese Literature Challenge and The RIP Challenge whenever that one starts. Those are just two of my favorite genres of literature so I have to do those. Next year, I think I’m only allowing myself 3 challenges. I miss reading for fun 😦 But that’s what I’ve been doing lately, hence my doing badly in the challenges.

As far as life goes, the big focus is on Dad and he seems to be doing much much better this time around. It’s been one week today since he came home from the hospital and he’s been walking all around the house and he cooked a full meal last night and barbecued for the Saints game (which we lost) the night before. In my opinion he should not be doing all that, but he’s stubborn. Bad news, I thinkΒ  he’s pushing himself to hard, good news, he has the energy to push himself to hard one week after surgery. Thanks for all the good thoughts everyone.


18 Responses

  1. I’m so glad your dad is doing better.

    And yeah, it’s okay to not adhere. Joys should be joys. Once something voluntary takes on the air of mandatoriness and oppresses, one has to let it go. Glad you’re doing well. -C

  2. First off, good to hear about your dad. I hope he listens to you all and takes it easy, but I’m glad that you are having to fight him on that vs. the alternative.

    Second, glad you’re doing R.I.P. and yet totally understand you not wanting to do all the challenges. I love hosting them and hope they aren’t going to become a thing of the past because they do sometimes seem to have the negative effect of stressing out readers. I am really going back and forth on how I should do R.I.P. III. I have given the one book only option for my last couple of challenges which seems to be good but I feel that people still feel pressured by the other options. Maybe I should just make this a ‘read as many or as few as you want’ kind of challenge and encourage everyone to post potential book pools vs. lists. Or maybe not do that at all. The only reason I like opening lists is that it gives me ideas of what I want to read myself! We’ll see. Would love your or anyone else’s thoughts on this as I am really, really close to making the announcement for R.l.IP. III.

    I had been doing good with not reading multiple books at once or buying tons of books lately (hence the lack of book porn) but all of that has come undone in the last week.

    I got The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia from the library and Marsbound by Joe Haldeman from the library. Then I found John Scalzi’s newest book, Zoe’s Tale, at Borders and snatched that up, laying all other partially read stuff aside. Then I saw the newest short story collection of Ian Fleming’s Bond stories…grabbed that. And while seeing Colleen this weekend saw Ekaterina Sedia’s newest book, The Alchemy of Stone, that I’ve been dying to read and snagged that! I’ve been on a reading/book drunk for the last week!!! πŸ˜‰

  3. Carole, Thanks! And I couldn’t agree more…Joys are meant to be joys…I like that. I figured that I don’t want reading to become a chore because it’s my favorite past time, so I won’t let it become one! Now bring on the Constant Tower πŸ˜‰

    Carl, Thanks, I’m hoping dad doesn’t push it too much too. I’m so excited about RIP III!!! I don’t know if I like that one or OUaT more :p I say go for the normal offerings as far as the options go. I like the lists personally. You may just want to mention that you can make a pool of books and pick 4 or 5 of them to read. Something like that. I really like reading everyone’s lists. I’ve been so bad with the book buying recently too. I haven’t even mentioned everything I’ve been buying. I have The Secret History of Moscow too and I’ve been dying to read it. I was going to read it for OUaT but never got around to it. Maybe it’ll fit in for RIP in some way…I have to read the back blurb to remind myself. Sounds like you scored some excellent books. And you got to meet Colleen…how cool!!

  4. I’m glad your dad is doing okay, Chris. And lol, when you start saying “I miss reading for fun” then it’s definitely time to drop some challenges. πŸ˜› Challenges are supposed to be fun! I’m going to cut back as well starting next year…I enjoy challenges, but I miss my “reading freedom”.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying Bonk! I’ve never read anything by Mary Roach, but so many bloggers have recommended her. I really need to pick up one of her books.

    PS: I do think that The Secret History of Moscow has a dark enough mood to qualify for RIP.

  5. Mary Roach’s books are so much fun. She’s interested in the most crazy subjects.

    I had to stop doing challenges too for the same reason. But I love reading other peoples lists for challenges! More book ideas.

    I’m so glad to hear your Dad is doing so well. He might just be convincing himself he’s really okay this time. Parents. You can’t tell them to “take it easy” or they tend to go even more overboard.

  6. I’m glad to hear your dad is doing well. Sorry about the Saints losing but hey it’s just the preseason and I really think they will do well this year as for my Chiefs I’m not so sure.

    I’m also really into the Olympics right now. There have been so many great stories. Phelps, May and Walsh, The Redeam Team, and The Lighting Bolt. What a great week one. Go USA! πŸ™‚

  7. Glad to hear your father is doing okay. Reminds me of a time my dad had surgery and would just not keep still and rest!

    Whenever the reading ceases to be fun, you have to remove whatever makes you feel “I have to read this. Exactly the reason why I don’t do challenges, and usually turn down offers for ARCs as well.

  8. It’s tough to keep them going slow once they start feeling better. Would he listen to his doctor? Maybe a word to the doctor might help.

    And I’m with you – I’ve been reading more for fun than anything else. I’m behind in reviews, too. I’ll do what I can and call it good.


  9. I just think it’s good to see you posting again!! You’ve definitely been missed. I suck at challenges. I mean, I enjoy making the lists, but rarely seem to read what I planned. Oh well.

    I wouldn’t miss the RIP!! Again, probably my favorite genre of all.

    And I’m glad to hear your Dad is doing better. But I hope he doesn’t push himself too much. Makes the recovery process go even slower.

  10. Good to hear about your dad! My grandad’s philosophy when recovering from surgery has always been that if doing something doesn’t rip the stitches or make him fall over, then it’s fine! Stubborn indeed.

    You’ll love the Chrestomanci series. Absolutely superb! And I understand completely what you mean about the challenges, I think it’s good to have one or two structured reading things, but when the rest of the world takes over, it’s nice to have reading simply as a refuge.

  11. Really pleased to hear how well your dad is doing, Chris. That’s such good news.

    Where challenges are concerned I tend to keep to no more than 4 or 5 on the go at one time. I try never to overstretch myself as I like to read for fun too. I also like the challenges that last a whole year because that allows plenty of time.

    Re: the RIP challenge I like to do a list but am so bad at keeping to it that I’d be in favour of having a pool of books so I stand at least *some* chance of reading a few off it. The problem with me is that what everyone else is reading always seems much more attractive than what I’ve chosen.

    I have that first Chrestomanci book on my tbr mountain, and a book of her short stories on my library pile. Must get to them.

  12. Hi Chris.. ohhh, that’s great your dad is doing so well ! He deserves it !

    as you know the only 2 challenges I’ve ever joined are Carl’s Once Upon a Time and his RIP. I think anyone can make their list by simply saying “this is my POTENTIAL list, due to change as reviews come in” ! heh.. I sorta did that last time.. I did have a list but also said it was subject to change as reviews began to come in. The reason I only choose one challenge is because I don’t want to adhere to a defined list, so many things effect your choices to read..

    I still miss you being around.. hope that the new computer is within sight!!

  13. I totally understand, Chris. I had to bow out of some challenges recently because it just got too overwhelming. I don’t like to read a book because it fits into a challenge…I want to read a book because it’s what grabbed my interest at the time.

  14. Good news about your dad yay. Secondly reading should always be fun and not a chore so if you had to stop doing challenges for now then no worries. I still haven’t read Watchmen but I really really will soon. I hope you enjoy Fables, I just finished the fourth one and am loving it.

  15. Colleen actually mentioned you in our conversation the other day. She hadn’t realized that you got a job and was excited to hear about it.

  16. Nymeth, Agreed! Reading really has to be for fun…I think the best idea for now on is to limit the amount of challenges I join. I’m definitely going to check out some more Mary Roach books after Bonk. Stiff sounds really good too. Glad to hear that you think the Secret History of Moscow will work for RIP…I’ll add it to the list of possibilities!

    Carrie, Roach certainly is interested in some…interesting topics. I love her research, it’s great. And she has the best sense of humor about it all. I feel you on the challenges. I love reading people’s lists too though.

    Jeff, The Saints have won one and lost one so far, so we’ll see how it goes. I don’t put much in preseason though typically. It’s just disheartening. Hope your chiefs look good! The olympics have been awesome! I’ve really been enjoying them this year.

    Jeane, I really need to start turning down ARCs as well! It’s gotten a little out of control with those and now I just feel bad…I have a huge pile of ARCs to get to. :/ But who can pass up books that sound great and they’re free!

    CJ, It really is so hard to slow them down! I doubt he would listen to anybody! He’s a very stubborn stubborn man, lol. You think he’d have learned his lesson by now. Reading for fun is a good thing isn’t it?? I’m enjoying it πŸ™‚

    Steph, Thanks πŸ™‚ I’m glad to be posting again. I wish I could post more, I just never know what the hell to post about unless I’ve finished reading a book! I’m so excited about the RIP coming up!! It’s my favorite time of the year and one of my favorite genres of books. It’ll be great!

    Stormilled, Your grandad and my Dad would get along just fine! lol…sounds just like my dad…I owe you an email by the way. I’ve been meaning to get to you. I got my book awhile ago and it’s GORGEOUS! I love it love it love it! I’m always blown away by your work. I hope you do well at the fair. Really looking forward to Chrestomanci. I’ve heard so many great things about it.

    Cath, I think even 4 or 5 is going to be too many for me next year. I have three in mind that I want to do next year again and I really think that’s going to be it. Next year is going to be all about reading for fun. And the three I’m going to join would be books I’d read for fun anyway! I’m with you on the pool of books to choose from. I like that idea. I think I’m just going to list a pool of say 15 books and just say I’ll read at least 5 of them for the RIP challenge….hopefully I’ll read all 15 so I can clear up some of the TBR bookshelf!

    Deslily, Hi! He really does deserve to do a little bit better. Part of me is glad to see him moving around and part of me wants to tell him to sit his ass down, lol. As far as challenges, I’ll always join the Once Upon a Time and RIP as long as Carl does them. They’re incredible challenges and I love those two genres of books above all else anyway. That’s how I discovered Carl’s blog! We shared the love of those same genres. I miss being around too, but i’m trying to post more lately. Like I was saying to Steph, I just can’t think of post ideas anymore! That’s sad huh? Life has become so repetitive lately…all I do is work, sleep and read a little. I need a vacation or something to post about! lol…Or something like NaNo again, though I don’t think I even have the energy in me to attempt that. Wouldn’t I love a new computer right now. I’m trying!

    Trish, Those challenges really do tend to get just way to overwhelming. That’s how I was feeling too. It starts to feel like you have to read a book rather than wanting to read a book and that just takes the fun out of it!

    Rhinoa, Thanks for the reinforcement πŸ˜‰ I always feel guilty when I drop out of challenges or something, but it’s really just become too much…I just want to read for fun again!! lol…I can’t wait to read Watchmen…especially with the movie coming out next year. It looks phenomenal!

    Carl, That’s so sweet πŸ™‚ I feel special, lol.

  17. First of all, hooray, hooray, hooray about your dad!!! Been thinking a lot about you all and wondering how all was going. Hope this is truly the end of all the troubles, and that he just keeps getting stronger!

    It’s funny about the “not adhering” thing…I kind of decided the same thing for myself. I was going to post about it sometime in the next week or two. I love them and I hate them. Know what I mean?

    Rich absolutely LOVED Bonk! I bought him Stiff for Father’s Day, but he hasn’t read that one yet. I’m looking forward to getting to both of them one of these days.

  18. funny, Tony Santos wrote about this topic exactly the other day.

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