This is not a post about Halloween. It’s best that I don’t talk about how Halloween is going right now, or rather, not going. This year was supposed to be the year where we had our patio and fire pit finished, so we could have little monsters traipsing safely across our backyard instead of negotiating the dark spots and trip hazards to get onto our porch. Preparations for this started in April, and were supposed to take three weeks. Three! Weeks! Notice how Halloween was not moved to Spring this year! We were finally supposed to get the gas line run and everything hooked up today — but now there’s a problem with the permit, namely the County can’t find the one for the fire pit, and is questioning if one was ever obtained for building it, never mind that they’d already inspected it when they checked the landing and the patio back in early September…
Like I said, it’s best I don’t talk about how things are going wrong with my favorite holiday in this year where everything else is going wrong. Not that the patio’s the only thing to go wrong: haven’t decorated, haven’t carved any pumpkins, haven’t … arrgh.
My goal for today, work willing, is to put candy out in a bucket on the lawn and just not be here tonight. Just not. I don’t want to deal with being repeatedly asked why we didn’t decorate this year.1
Like I promised, this is not a post about Halloween.
Yeah, that happened last week. I am both proud of myself for completing this year’s Goodreads reading challenge two months ahead of schedule, and embarrassed that I set the bar so low in the first place.
You see, when I was a kid, I used to read everything that was nailed down, and most things that weren’t. I didn’t start developing discriminatory tastes until I got older; when I was around my son’s age, I was reading beauty magazines2 side by side with nursing textbooks3, and a juvenile Heinlein in the same can’t-check-out-more-than-three-books-at-a-time-Shai library stack as a fat Herman Wouk and James Clavell (or The Silmarillion stacked with The Captains and The Kings and Gone With The Wind3 … or The Book of Skaith if GWTW was checked out.)
As an adult, well…
Okay, I still read everything that’s nailed down and most things that aren’t. Unfortunately, far more of everything is now articles, research reports/white papers, RFI/P/Qs, blog posts and lordhelpme Facebook shares5 than it is books. So, very likely I am reading the same amount of material that I used to, perhaps even more, it’s just not…
It’s not the same. It aggravates me. Perhaps next year it’ll aggravate me enough to do something about it. Hey, it’s possible! I got aggravated enough at my lack of fitness this year to start working out with a trainer, and now I’m able to keep up with the Monster on his Cross Country days.6
In case you were wondering what books I read this year, here’s the list:
Plot Perfect, by Paula Meunier
Level Up (Fandom Hearts: Book 1) by Cathy Yardley.
A Bitch Called Hope & Betting Blind (Lennox Cooper #1 & #2) by Lily Gardner
NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan
The View from Flyover Country by Sarah Kendzior
Best Served Cold, Red Country and The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
On second thought, maybe I haven’t developed discriminatory tastes after all. These are still a fairly random mix. The only pattern I’ve noticed emerge is that I tend to alternate fiction with non-fiction/reference.
Bhoneydew’s been after me to read Scalzi’s Redshirts next, which I might do after my networking class ends — which coincidentally, is around the same time my current massive work project wraps. I think I will need something to stop the bleeding from all the holes in my mind once those two things get yanked out of it. Some of my penguins like the idea of my adding Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy to the fiction side of next year’s reading challenge, so I might do that too, even if their agreeing on anything is a little disturbing. I’m not sure what to read next in non-fiction, though Jane Ziegelman’s A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression looks fascinating.
1Because the house is always decorated for Halloween. Never with tombstones and smoke machines or zombies erupting from the ground or such things, but it’s always festively lit even if it is draped with fake spiderwebs and spiders.
2Because my aunt had left them at the house.
3Because my aunt had also left them at the house. I grew up in a household that never gave or threw books away, and married a man with a similar disposition — so our son has access to all sorts of books, plus the access to bookstores (and yes, Amazon) that neither one of us had as kids.
4Hands down, this is still one of my favorite novels. I’ve always had mixed feelings about the movie: I think it scrubbed more warts off Scarlett O’Hara than it should have (e.g. she more-than-less abandoned her first two children, who weren’t even mentioned in the movie) in order to make her seem more conventionally appealing.
5Even though I spend more time blocking or hiding Facebook shares these days than I do reading them.
6I set a low bar for that too: get butt to gym, don’t fall on face or pass out during session, remember to drink your water. Yep. That’s my bar. If I clear that each week, everything else is cake. Umm … delicious caaaaake.