Feeling Fiction Malaise

Lavender Mist by Jackson Pollock
Photo of Jackson Pollock’s “Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist)” in East Wing of National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. by Detlef Schobert on Flickr. Painting captures the malaise I feel when I start reading fiction lately.

I started the year with two out of three nonfiction books and still am reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. As a result, I’m not feeling the fiction, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since I’m trying to reinvigorate my reading with nonfiction.

I let one fiction go that was on hold at the Free Library of Philadelphia, then checked out one other and returned. I also put another on hold, only to get it, then promptly return it. The two latter ones were a part of a crime fiction series and the first a science fiction, a genre I used to enjoy as a teenager, but can’t seem to get back into in recent years for some reason.

16130Five of the seven on my Goodreads to read list are nonfiction, and only two of the six on hold at FLP are nonfiction. However, the one nonfiction is on both lists, making an even split between fiction and nonfiction. To maintain the balance, I think for now, I am going to read nonfiction exclusively on Sundays, continuing with Alexander Hamilton first until I finish it. Then on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, two days that I go to work in the afternoon, I primarily will read fiction.

So what are the books?

Nonfiction

  1. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
  2. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  3. The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson
  4. Citizen by Claudia Rankine
  5. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
  6. Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Fiction

  1. The Burning Gates by Parker Bilal
  2. Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
  3. Gun by Fuminori Nakamura
  4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  5. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
  6. Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa

9969571I already own Burning Gates and Girl Waits with Gun. I am considering purchasing Citizen because of the genre and format. Ready Player One is the lone audiobook of the bunch; The Three-Body Problem, the lone science fiction. Nine of the 12 are the direct results of recommendations of bloggers, including but not limited to Andi, Kerry, Shannon, Jennifer, Michelle, Bob, Christine, and Candace (aka Beth). Many of the books were on multiple best of lists from last year. Thank you, one and all.

Other updates:
  • On my dad: Getting better day by day since the surgery last month. Each time I talk to him, he sounds better than the previous time.
  • On updates: I will be using the all the books, all the life feature sporadically, but especially at the end of the month. The #reinvigorate2016 I will update once a week, most likely Wednesdays.
  • Super Bowl: Skipping the umpteen hours of pre-game activities to participate in The Big Game’s On Read-a-thon: 2016 Edition, but then my wife and I are going to a neighbors’ Super Bowl shindig (won’t say party because it just will be the four of us, another husband and wife there) since they got a new 55-inch TV and I, for one, can’t pass up super high-definition TV (4K) Super Bowl commercials AND a football game in super high-def too. My wife could pass on both, but we figure it still will be good to be neighborly and also because the neighbor’s wife’s birthday is tomorrow. As is becoming my motto for this year, “It’s all good.”

So whatchya up to today? Super Bowl festivities? Reading? Both? Reading anything good lately?

#Reinvigorate2016 Revised

One Word 2016On January 10, I mentioned a few things I planned to do in terms of reinvigorating myself, with “Reinvigorate” being my One Word for 2016. This is an update, possible revision of what I said there, in those posts:

  1.  Read more nonfiction than I did the last few years and share with you here and social media what I glean from my reading both nonfiction and fiction: Two of the total three books I’ve read so far were nonfiction, with The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and the other, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates that I finished on Sunday. I shared some highlights from the latter on my Tumblr blog.
  2. My goal, I said on January 10, was to take a photo a day that encapsulates “reinvigorate” for that day and sharing it on social media with the hashtag “#reinvigorate2016”. I since have revised that to photos as they come up. I’m doing well with the photos from my exercises, but need to add more for my reading.
  3. My last goal, I said on January 10, was using mainly two categories here on this blog and also on Tumblr: Books and Life, using the hashtag “#reinvigorate2016” and maybe adding two others for books and life, specifically tailored to me, to be used on Tumblr and Instagram. I am using two categories here, but so far, I haven’t written a post on just one or the other. I only have done posts like this on both categories and my new All the Books! All The Life! posts on Sunday that incorporate both categories. Also the hashtag “#reinvigorate2016” hasn’t been used as much on Tumblr and Instagram and I’ve added two other hashtags on Tumblr: #stillunfinishedallthebooks and #stillunfinishedallthelife to separate tags for books and life.

So I’m still not sure how this is all working or if it is, but I’m just going to keep plugging away, giving updates at least once a week on my One Word: Reinvigorate. Beyond that, I really don’t know how it all will pan out. Hopefully you’ll stick around to see.

How are your New Year’s goals, resolutions, One Words going so far?

All The Books! All The Life! January 2016

All The Books!

All 3 of them.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz to start the year, Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich, and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which I plan on reading this afternoon.

Up from zero from December.

My lack of reading this month wasn’t helped by while on a trip to Baltimore last weekend, I left my Kindle at hospital where my dad was staying after a surgery (noncancerous and successful) he had at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. But also my focus was not there for much of the second half of month leading up to, and weekend of, his surgery.

16130I did start with high hopes as I had joined a readalong of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, but bowed out since I wanted to read at my own pace. That’s just as well, in light of the trip to Baltimore, which understandably received my focus for the latter part of the month.

Next up? I want to continue my goal of reinvigorating my reading by reading more nonfiction this year than I did last year. Maybe I’ll continue with Chernow’s book and I also have Being Mortal by Atul Gawande on hold on ebook.

All The Life!

With my One Word for 2016 being “reinvigorate,” I started off well with getting in a week of walking, using a Leslie Sansone DVD. Then as with my reading, I got off track after being caught up in preparation for trip to Baltimore for my father’s surgery and subsequent trip to and back from Baltimore. As February begins and I start a new schedule at work, I will be restarting walking again with Leslie.

20160121_083830
My father driving down to Baltimore Thursday afternoon; I drove on the way back.

The short version of the Baltimore trip: My father’s surgery went well. We traveled down from northern Pennsylvania last Thursday for a presurgery appointment. He had a successful surgery Friday but he had to stay overnight — and a few overnights– while I returned to the hotel at the start of the historic snowstorm (29 inches for Baltimore). We both were snowbound Saturday and Sunday. He was discharged Monday and we returned home Tuesday morning, arriving Tuesday afternoon.

I might put up a slightly longer version later for which I already have a rough outline. But for now, I’m still processing and my father’s still healing and adjusting to post surgery medication and treatment. As of this evening (Saturday night as I wrote this), he was doing well, had talked to a doctor from Johns Hopkins who let him know he has been doing everything he is supposed to be doing.

As I have been apt to say in recent weeks, something that might become my personal motto this year, “It’s all good.”

Speaking of all good, I’ve added a few “One Words” from bloggers to my initial One Word compilation post a couple of weeks ago. Please check out the words and click through to the posts if you’re in need of inspiration as you start the new year. In the featured image above this post (might have to be on blog to actually see), in the top right photo, my dad relaxes presurgery at the hotel Thursday night; bottom center photo, my dad’s car is second from the right in the back; and bottom right photo, Seamus (right) looks like he is snuggling with Alexandra (left) but is about to bite her in the neck.

So how was your January in reading and life?

The Quick Update

In hotel near Baltimore. My father had surgery (noncancerous but necessary) on Friday. Surgery went well. He’s still at hospital, has a follow up appointment Monday. Plan is to leave then, but might end up staying another day because of weather and/or make sure he’s still OK before making trip back to northern Pennsylvania where we live.

Books – and life – on hold until later in the week. Comments will be limited for this post, but thank you in advance for your prayers and concerns – and we’re both fine.

All the books! All the life!

This week I am starting a new feature on the blog called “All the books I want to read, all the life I want to live” in which I will look back at the week through those two lenses. The two phrases also are, not coincidentally, the taglines for my blog.

All the books I want to read

On Friday, I finished my second book of the year, Bull Mountain, by Brian Panowich. I saw the book on at least two best of 2015 lists: from Sarah of Sarah’s Book Shelves and from Tara of Running ‘n’ Reading and was a Book Blogger Top Picks for 2015 for Thriller or Mystery on Shannon’s River City Reading blog. Since my first book of the year, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, was nonfiction, perhaps it is only apropos that my second one was fiction.

With The Four Agreements, I don’t mind giving you the spoilers; they are: 1.) be impeccable with your word, 2.) don’t take anything personally, 3.) don’t make assumptions and 4.) always do your best. However, with Bull Mountain, I won’t give you any spoilers. The story covers six decades of a family living on a mountain in Georgia, through the eyes of various family members and others, culminating with the story of Clayton Burroughs, a sheriff, and his two outlaw brothers, Buckley and Halford.

All I will say is that it was very good, better to me than the Raylan Given series by Elmore Leonard, which was spun off into the TV series Justified, which Bull Mountain has justifiably been compared. Perhaps not surprisingly, Bull Mountain already has been optioned for a TV series.

In other bookish news this week, I didn’t participate in either the 24 in 48 Readathon or the mini Bloggiesta, both of which occurred – and are still occurring – this weekend. I had to work yesterday so I knew I wouldn’t be able to participate fully. However, I did start this new feature here and did download the Editorial Calendar plugin after reading Katie from Doing Dewey Decimal’s Bloggiesta Mini Challenge – Plan Those Posts. I also reorganized my Feedly reader on Friday.

I don’t know what I’m reading next, but I did buy Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart on ebook recently and did start Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, which I also bought and own on ebook. I also have several ebooks on hold from the Free Library of Philadelphia, including Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell, both of which I’m next to get and might even have one or both by the time you are reading this.

All the life I want to live

This week I started a walking regimen three days a week: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I am using one of Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home DVDs that I learned this week I can Chromecast to my TV. I’ll be honest that I find her a little too peppy so turn her down and listen to music on my phone, but I still found her routines helpful. Yesterday when I went to work, I didn’t feel as tired midafternoon as I sometimes do, especially on a slow Saturday afternoon where not many people were visiting the library. You can follow my walking progress via the #reinvorgate2016 hashtag on Instagram, a hashtag that I’m also using for other aspects of my One Word for 2016: Reinvigorate. To see others’ One Word choices, visit this post: All We Need Is #OneWord in 2016, which I’m continuing to update as I come across other bloggers I know who are choosing their One Word for this coming year.

I’ll leave you with a separate #reinvigorate2016 photo from earlier in the week:

So what are you reading this week? What else are you doing in your life?

New policy (started last week): I won’t be responding to every comment as I have done in the past unless a question is asked or I think a response is warranted. However, for those to whose comments I don’t respond, I will attempt to get to your blog and comment on a post there, usually your latest or another one that catches my eye. I usually do that anyway for every commenter.