Sunday, December 31, 2023

2024 TBR plus reading strategies for reading lots for free

 I am a fast reader. I also love to read. And I am avoiding scholarship and my novel, sometimes my children. That's how I read so much, if you asked here, on IG or on FB. Also, I have a PhD in the humanities and after slogging through dense academic theory and also thousands of feet of Planned Parenthood archives at Smith College (who do archives measure their stuff in feet? So daunting) a couple hundred books is a BREEZE.

I also do not buy books EXCEPT I get a book every month from Book of the Month, and I have an Audible subscription. I have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, but I think I am going to cancel it and will use the money to buy an e-book if library waitlists are too long for stuff I really want to read, since most of the KU stuff is just filler.

I am a huge library stalker. I periodically google "best books of the year" or "books releasing in <whatever month it is next>" or "best books of <the upcoming season>" or "most anticipated book releases" and put stuff on hold BEFORE it comes out. Sometimes, even early googling is too late for the library, though, which is how I am 338th on the list for the new Kristin Hannah, for example

If my library doesn't have the title yet, I add it to my Amazon wish list and remember to check on that from time to time and update my holds accordingly. I don't buy books from this list, but I do use it buy Audible books with my monthly credits and update my library lists.

Libby is the app I use for audio and sometimes Kindle library books, and I can only have 20 on hold at a time-- so I throw some on Libby hold and save a few spots for books I can't get into in print but would probably like to listen to.  Right now, I have 16 books on the way from Libby, and this is a good number for me.

Also! Books come out on Tuesdays, so you should peruse your library new release walk-in shelves on Thursday mornings, IM(not H)O.

Here is what I am looking forward to in 2024 based on a quick morning's google. (There's an old King collection on my Amazon list because I haven't read it yet). (Also book screen shots are on my Amazon list because the library doesn't have them yet, but I also managed to find 11 to put on library hold).

Plus there's a new Lisa Gardner in March!!

Any titles you're looking forward to next year (WHICH IS TOMORROW!!!!!)

Friday, December 29, 2023

What I Read in 2023: BOOKS OF THE YEAR!!

 According to Goodreads, I read 210 books this year, and here’s how the numbers break down:

119 books published in 2023

112 old fashioned book books

16 Kindle books

82 audiobooks

It was hard for me to make a top 10 list for this year (and because I am pretentious, I only consider 2023 books for my 2023 top 10– so, even though I read some great backlist titles, they can’t make the cut) because it was hard to pick stand-out books— you know?? Does this mean everything I read was great? Or, does it mean I read a lot of meh titles this year? Hard to say.

I tried to read more than just middle-aged white ladies this year, and I tried to pick romances  that didn’t just I feature cis hetero couples. THERE IS EVEN A DUDE ON MY LIST, you guys, and I read at least a handful of books by men this year. Still, I read a ton of books by white women, and many of them ended up on my list—I am going to keep diversifying my book choices in 2024. A Madison Mom readier called me out a year or so ago for choosing romances by white women about white women in a romance roundup post, and I am ashamed to say I hadn’t even noticed that. Since then, I have been applying the same critiques of canonicity and understandings of representation that I know from my academic life to my pleasure reading life. (But also, I am a middle-aged white lady, so I like seeing myself reflected in book pages).

 ANYWAY— here are my 10 faves, from least favorite (still a fave, though) to most.

10. Evil Eye by Etaf Rum (old fashioned book book)

9.  I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai (audio)

8. Maame by Jessica George (old fashioned book book) 

7. Sam by Allegra Goodman (old fashioned book book)

6. Everything’s Fine by Cecelia Rabess (old fashioned book book)

5. The Guest by Emma Cline (old fashioned book book)

4.  Yellowface by RF Kuang (kindle!! Color me surprised!)

3. Somebody’s Fool by Richard Russo (kindle!! Color me surprised!)

2. Hello, Beautiful by Ann Napolitano (audio)

1. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett (audio— Meryl Streep reads it **chef’s kiss**)

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Wait— what day is it?? A very merry recap!!


I missed you!

How are you?

I am coming out from under one thousand (conservative estimate) Hershey kiss/M&M/pretzel candies, sort of stumbling around and blinking my eyes like a newborn kitten. Only I am a middle aged lady who has also been drinking too many old fashioneds. Not as cute.

Some pics from Christmas Eve eve, uploaded in random order because Blogger:

1. The cutest little bite out a of dinner roll

2. All of the holiday dress options I offered Minnie for our Elks Club night out
3. Table chaos
6. Even the elk is merry
7. What Minnie actually wore: a too-small, stained licensed character dress.
8. Fancy Jack
9. Show choir hair! My dress had Christmas presents on the skirt, and I wish I took a pic because I wore it again on Christmas, and the zipper ripped. NOT FROM THE PRETZEL CANDY AND OLD FASHIONEDS.
10. I was merry, apparently:
11. This is my ideal supper club order: a wedge salad (with French ideally, but they brought both blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese, so whatever), a baked potato, a shrimp cocktail, and an old fashioned.

Even though she is a very jolly elf, we put Minnie to bed and made cookies after dinner without her. 

Things escalated quickly

Christmas Eve:

It was lovely and cozy— we went to the Capitol to see the Christmas tree and made a huge dinner. That’s it.

Well! Except! We did our food-themed white elephant, which was hilarious. I ended up with a box of Fannie May pixies, and Coop got a YARD of Twix, but the other offerings were less clear-cut winners, you know? (We got Minnie a food-shaped Sqishmallow, and she was exempt from swapping.)

The littles left cookies for Santa, and all 5 of them went to bed early, which was good, because as prepared as Santa thinks he is, there’s still a bunch to do last minute. Notably, Minnie dictated her note for Santa to Coop, which was darling. And! She could not draw a picture of Santa, so she drew dog poop (KIDS ARE SO WEIRD).

MAGIC-READY, just add five kids:

Christmas day was lazy and delightful

I got awesome, thoughtful, wonderful gifts, but the very best was Harry’s horror at this sweatshirt
Minnie wanted a cauldron from Santa, and the big guy came through
OF COURSE we wore matching jammies that our elves on the shelf delivered on Christmas Eve, but I only got one kind of bad pic. Hopefully we all wear them again on NYE.

We just sort of sat around and ate homemade cinnamon rolls and opened gifts and played with gifts and admired gifts all day— it was delightful


On the day after, we purged.

On the 26th, Ben took down all of our Christmas decorations and tossed 2 trees to the curb and boxed 2 more awhile I baked gingerbread house pieces for our annual competition (so much more fun than buying kits because everything smells amazing, tastes great, and is all wonky from imperfect rolling, which adds another challenge). I also made incredibly stiff royal icing this year because I bought it from the cookie decorating store and just had to add water— 10/10; will do this again.

No treeeees!!

Competition ready:

All of the houses stood up this year—- except Ben and Coop’s, which FB liked the best anyway **eye roll**

Last night, we went to a fancy supper club to celebrate my dad’s birthday, which meant MOAR old fashioneds. Someday, I will be back to my teetotaling ways, but it’s almost NYE (I think), so I am going to need a second.

Happy end-of-year slothdom, friends.