Escapades in Escapism

Projecting Belief
started an up to date Web project
started an unusual cobweb throw
started to update spider’s web
started…
tried…
tired.
evil seems a completed thought
-12.13.2017, latest #spampoetry

2017GRCThis blogpost brought to you by the letter P, for Pause between Competing Projects That I Need To Get Done Tonight. Pause. Not procrastination. Really!1

As I’ve mentioned, I finished my Goodreads Challenge six months early. So, here’s where I am with my reading at the beginning of December. After I raised the hurdle two whole books from last year, I cleared it by a 150% percent. Holy fish.

I’m thinking that I should probably raise that hurdle maybe … okay, probably just two more books. Three might be pushing my luck. Here’s the 2017 rundown for those of you who might be keeping score at home. Don’t freak out: I included opinions on some of them.

(Seriously, if you are keeping score at home, you should get out more.  Also, the links here are for reference purposes only: I’m not an affiliate of any vendor linked to on my blog.)

    • Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good, edited by H.L. Nelson and Joanne Merriam.
    • The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius, Kristine Barnett.
    • The Seventh Day, Scott ShepherdIn the interest of full disclosure, I couldn’t get past the first chapter of this one, and it still got counted. I think I made up for it.
    • Magel’s Daughter, Nancy Baker. My Goodreads review of this one is here.
    • Level Up Your Life, Steve Kamb. This book was vastly entertaining (and I enjoyed it more than my stint on Habitica), but I haven’t gotten involved with the NerdFitness community. That said, I’ve baby stepped my way into going to the gym three days a week (ideally, but life does happen).
    • The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, Meg Elison. This book was grim, brutal, and I loved it like I love The Stand.
    • SuperBetter, Jane McGonigal.  I read the book. I did not get the app. Part of the curiosity/unease that drove me to reading self-help books this year was a dislike of how much time I was spending using or reading apps and Web sites, so I admit I bounced just about every life management tool suggestion I got this year.1
    • The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015, edited by Rich Horton. Only two years late. I’m catching up on my TBR pile!
    • A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Depression, Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe. This turned out to be a wonderful, enlightening book. I’m glad I stuck to my plan to read it this year.
    • Outriders, Jay Posey. I played EVE Online for, uhm, years. I was terrible at their DUST expansion (not that I was great at spaceships either, but I managed), but I really loved the idea. This book scratched the itch I occasionally get to go back and play that game.
    • Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson. I’ve talked about this cheerful book about brokenness here before. If you’d like to rehash old history, go read Throw.
    • The Book of Etta, Meg Elison.
    • You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Live an Awesome Life, Jen Sincero.
    • Strengths Finder 2.0, Tom Rath.  I took the test for a staffing personality mapping exercise, then read the book.  Long story short, it read like a shorter take on The Secret Language books2 (which I admit I do have a couple of on my shelf, because they’re full of character brainstorming ideas). I nattered about my findings in Strengths Finder in One Hundred Percent Standard Deviations.
    • When the Timer Dings, Katharine Grubb. You can find my Goodreads review of this one over here.
    • The Whole 30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. My family vetoed this program on the basis of it meaning they couldn’t have any homemade bread for 30 days. The purchase wasn’t a waste, however: we’ve eaten a number of the recipes, and we use the charts for perfect steamed and roasted vegetables at least once a week.
    • The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions, David Quammen.
    • River of Teeth, Sarah Gailey. I mostly grew up within a few miles of the Mississippi River, so the whole premise of feral hippos running amok in the bottomlands was fascinating enough to make me pre-order this book the first day it was available. And wait. And wait. And wait. It did not disappoint.
    • Wild Child, Molly O’Keefe. This was another book off my TBR pile; a once-upon-a-time (ah, 2013) recommendation from a friend whom I subjected to a rant about why I don’t read erotic romance unless I have to. I’ll admit she wasn’t wrong about this one: the characters in it were imperfect people with plausible problems, not an interchangeable cast of psychos with perfect parts. I liked it. I’ve already ordered the rest of this series.
    • Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg. This was a thoroughly cheerful and uplifting book even though I didn’t read it while sleep-deprived to the point where I was hearing voices.
    • Taste of Marrow, Sarah Gailey. Sadly, the adventure didn’t make it as far north up the river as Memphis or New Madrid or (more likely, considering the time frame) Ste. Genevieve, but a feral hippo fan can patiently wait for the sequel. And wait.

I’m currently reading David Quammen’s Spillover: Animal Infections and the new Human Pandemic, which will be a relaxing holiday read for me, mostly because my boy isn’t going to be hanging out with sheep, camels and donkeys (or feral hippos) in a manger all night.2

I didn’t tackle Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch books like I wanted to this year, but I did finally get around to watching Game of Thrones3, so I guess that … kind … of … counts? There are now four novels in that universe, so I’d better get cracking before it expands any further.

So, what else to put on next year’s list?  I’ve got that Molly O’Keefe series I picked up, and the rest of my 2013-2015ish already-purchased TBR pile, which is mostly a grab-bag of anthologies at this point. In the stuff-I-don’t-have-yet category, I also have (finally!) the third book (All In) in Lily Gardner’s Lennox Cooper series to look forward to. Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries and Andy Weir’s Artemis also both seem awesome.  We gave someone Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon/National Park mystery series as a gift earlier this year, and I’m tempted to go pick that up and read through all that myself, since I’ve only read the first three.

I also just peeked at my Goodreads TBR for inspiration and noticed Kameron Hurley’s God’s War Trilogy staring at me impatiently.

Yes, I know, gah!  This is what happens when I start enjoying reading again.  Good grief.

Edit (12.14.2017) – I woke up this morning thinking, “Gee, Shai, you forgot all about the possibilities for 2018 non-fiction reading.  There’s Dan Chamas’ Work Clean (blame @rdonoghue for talking this one up), and since you already picked up Yuval Harari’s Homo Deus at the book fair, you should get his Sapiens and read that one first.”


1I could be lying.

2I gave up on only trying to use my Spark Planner, and switched in July to a combination of Todoist for task management and the Erin Condren Life Planner for — planning life. I use Toggl to keep track of my project time (which is very helpful come time to invoice), and finally signed up for Pinterest to have a place to park random stuff I want to keep track of.

3My Secret Language profile is “Wondrous Fortitude”. Yes, I too wonder how I function on a daily basis.

4He does ride a horse once a week, and we’re kicking around the idea of honest-to-goodness getting a dog, since we’ve managed to live here for five years. So, there’s that.

5I am happy to announce I now have watched that series that everyone I know assumes I’ve been watching from the beginning, as opposed to The Orville, which I actually have been watching from the beginning. I also watched all of the last season of Killjoys, but have yet to see American Gods or the latest season of Suits. The sweater I’ve been working on is still in the bag piled beside the entertainment center, waiting for me to finish that sleeve.

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