Category Archives: blogging


I offhandedly asked on Twitter a week or so ago, “Is NaBloPoMo still a thing?”

Today, being November 1, I went in search of the answer to the question. And while the official Twitter account for the event is dormant, fallow since 2011 [November 8, they didn’t make it very far into NaBloPoMo, did they?], the answer is yes, the event lives on.


And here I am, posting.

Maybe I should take a step back. You know that November is National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo), yes? The event has daughtered spin-off events galore: National Knit a Sweater Month, which I participated in last year, and National Blog Posting Month, which I took completed in 2012.

I miss blogging, and there’s lots I could talk about. I still sometimes find myself composing blog posts in my head.

I’m not officially committing, but I want to take a swing at it, NaBloPoMo 2015. Can I do it? Will you join me?


Sunday Salon

I was chatting with my husband about how long it had been since we each had blogged (as one does). I was thinking it had been a month or maybe a month and a half. But come to find out? It’s been longer than two months already. Sigh. I have so many ideas for things I’d like to write about, but as I opened the blog today, to attempt to break the drought, none of them were flowing from the fingers. So we’ll try a more useless kind of unsticking, like so.

I’m reading a book that, I can hardly remember during the day. But once I get back into it each night, I enjoy it (or at least one of the two points of view). I’m about 100 pages in now, but I’m thinking I should maybe abandon it. I know we’ve talked about this before, but what’s your standard for quitting a book? I don’t usually regret the books I don’t finish, but I do sometimes get frustrated that I wasted time on a book I’ve finished. I have a draft about this, untouched for almost a year (honestly).

I want to write about my crafty pursuits (so much you haven’t seen). I want to write about picture books.

In my seemingly never-ending quest for good books for my almost 2-year-old that don’t annoy me, I rediscovered SLJ’s Top 100 Picture Books list, posted it, and started keeping a record of those we’ve read, hoping to make it through all or most of them together. We still have a long ways to go, but that’s OK. How many of them have you read?

Related: Are there any books about Easter (the real thing) that have trains, even in the background? Because the boy is still quite train-obsessed.

I’ve been intending to post a round-up of train books, too. Some are awful, but there are some that are excellent. And some in between, of course.

And then I could share what I’ve been reading. Just because I haven’t blogged doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. If you’re curious, here’s the list of what I’ve read, to tide you over.

Today, I’m sick. We’ve had so much illness in the past month or so that I’m wondering if we’ll ever be healthy again. (And how are you supposed to get better when you can’t sleep, again? I’ve never figured out how that is supposed to work.)

The weather, however, is supposed to be fantastic today. The sun is out and the high is forecast to be in the 70s. After what feels like an interminable (if lacking in snow) winter, this is most welcome.

What’s going on in your world today? Hope your day is sunny!

Best of Reading for 2013

I’m borrowing shamelessly from Trish at Love, Laughter & Insanity (who got it from Jamie of The Perpetual Page Turner) so I didn’t have to come up with the questions, too. Just the answers will be enough blogging work for me these days, thank you very much.

2013 EOY book survey

1. Best Book You Read In 2013?
To Kill a Mockingbird. Lots of other great ones, but they pale in comparison to this one.

2. Book You Were Excited About and Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
I wasn’t really all that underwhelmed by any books that I finished. Although Theodosia and the Serpent of Chaos was kind of annoying. And The Explanation of Everything was pretty disappointing, too, actually.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
Maybe Daystar by Kathy Tyers?

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2013?
Daystar, The Dragon’s Tooth, The Reluctant Prophet (not a 2013 read for me, though; does that count?), With a Name Like Love … And then there are the book club books; since I picked them, does that count?
:: How to Save a Life, Small Damages, Maisie Dobbs

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
• the ND Wilson one
• Robert Liparulo’s series that started with The 13th Tribe
• Also, started (but not really discovered this year): Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles books.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2013?
Harper Lee? Except my standard for declaring someone a favorite author generally includes having read more than one of their books. So. ND Wilson?

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Looks like I stayed mostly within my comfort zone for reading this year.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
The Doll / Dragon’s Tooth / Eleanor & Park

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
Um, maybe Eleanor & Park, if I pick it for book club. I only very rarely reread, but I did more in 2013 than normal, by a lot. And that’s mostly because I picked them for book club and then needed to refresh my memory before the actual discussion.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
Small Damages / How to Save a Life

11. Most memorable character in 2013?
Well, it’s hard to say it’s not Maisie Dobbs, since I’ve read like 10 books starring her, but Sherlock Holmes might be a strong contender … Oh. Also Scout Finch, and Eleanor and Park.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
To Kill a Mockingbird. Small Damages. How to Save a Life.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
To Kill a Mockingbird.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
TKAM? Me: Broken Record.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
I don’t really keep track of quotes.

16.Shortest and Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest: Man of Action is a standalone short story (87 pages); The Sign of the Four clocks in at 136 pages, according to what I can find.
Longest: Daystar (652 pages)

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
A Treacherous Paradise by Henning Mankell

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Eleanor and Park
Maisie Dobbs and James Compton

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You Read Previously
The Doll. Small Damages. Eleanor & Park.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
With a Name Like Love, I think.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
Atticus Finch?

23. Best 2013 debut you read?
I’m not even sure I read any 2013 debuts.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
Small Damages.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
The Dragon’s Tooth

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
To Kill a Mockingbird, maybe?

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
Into the Free. Daystar. With a Name Like Love.

And then looking forward…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
Jane Eyre
Count of Monte Cristo
Cloister Walk

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014?
The new Maisie Dobbs? Really want to get to Matthew Quick’s latest, too.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?
Actually blog, maybe? Continue clearing the TBR book case.

So what did I read in 2013? (links lead to posts)

1. The Theory of Everything by J.J. Johnson (2012)
2. The Stars Shine Bright by Sibella Giorello (2012)
3. To Far to Say Far Enough by Nancy Rue (2012)
4. Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear (2013)
5. Doors Open by Ian Rankin (2010/2008)
6. The Missing File by DA Mishani (2013)
7. The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman (2008)
8. Into the Free by Julie Cantrell (2012)
9. Seeking Unseen by Kat Heckenbach (2012) (ebook)
10. Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore (2012)
11. Dead Man’s Hand by Eddie Jones (2012)
12. A Light in the Darkness by Heather Sutherlin (2012)
13. The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo (2012)
14. Daystar by Kathy Tyers (2012)
15. Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker (2012)
16. Freeheads by Kerry Nietz (2011)
17. Placebo by Steven James (2012)
18. Cake: Love, Chickens, and a Taste of Peculiar by Joyce Magnin (2012)
19. With a Name like Love by Tess Hilmo (2011)
20. Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan (2012)
21. Soul’s Gate by James L. Rubart (2012)
22. Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins (2012)
23. The Dragon’s Tooth by ND Wilson (2011)
24. Caught by Margaret Peterson Haddix (2012) (ebook)
25. So Cold the River by Michael Koryta (2010)
26. A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans (2012) (ebook)
27. The Judgment Stone by Robert Liparulo (2013)
28. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by RL LaFevers (2007)
29. Still Midnight by Denise Mina (2009)
30. A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley (2011)
31. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1887) (ebook)
32. The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina (2011)
33. Goodness and Mercy by Patti Hill (2013) (ebook)
34. A Treacherous Paradise by Henning Mankell (2013)
35. The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1890) (ebook)
36. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892) (ebook)
37. Sidekicked by John David Anderson (2013)
38. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
39. The Explanation of Everything by Lauren Grodstein (2013)
40. The Doll by Taylor Stevens (2013)
41. Small Damages by Beth Kephart (2012)
42. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (2013)
43. Motorcycles, Sushi & One Strange Book by Nancy Rue (2010)
44. How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (2011) (reread)
45. The Drowned Vault by ND Wilson (2012)
46. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1894) (ebook)
47. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (2003) (reread)
48. The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen (2001)
49. The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen (2002)
50. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1902) (ebook)
51. Man of Action by Matt Bronleewe (2013) (ebook)

Quick Stats

Book Posts: 18 (44%) [not counting this post, oops]
E-books: 10 (20%)
Library Books: 4 (8%)
From the Shelf: 11 (21.5%)
Male/Female Ratio: 21:30 (41% : 59%)
Book Club: 3+
Fiction/Non-Fiction Ratio: 50:1 (98% : 2%)
Books Abandoned: 20

How was YOUR 2013 reading year? I’d love to hear what your favorite book of the year was.

Today in bookish thoughts

I finished my first Henning Mankell book a day or two ago (A Treacherous Paradise), and I’m still not sure what I think or feel about it. Has anyone else read it (and/or other work of his)? I’d love to chat about it!

I might be starting a book club soon. Where do I start? I’ve never done this before, so any and all help is greatly appreciated.

A is lately ignoring his toys all day every day (with very few exceptions) and instead insisting on being read to NONSTOP. We bought some more books, we went to the library and borrowed some new books, and the variety is a small improvement, but … my brain feels like it is melting. I don’t think it’s completely true that, at least in this situation, having good, new books will cure my read-aloud woes, as Julie Danielson claims at Kirkus. But, if you have some recommendations for me, I’ll take ’em. (He’s 15 months. We regularly make it all the way through We’re Going on a Bear Hunt — sometimes even 10 times in a row — but Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is usually too long, although he does like it.) Is he too young to appreciate I Spy books?

Some day I really do think I’ll get around to writing and posting reviews, or at least mini reviews or thoughts of some kind on the books I’ve been reading. But that day is apparently not today.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday list

A list of randomness today, perhaps?

  1. This month is crazy busy — at least it feels that way to me right now. A’s birthday, two rounds of house guests so far and more to come, Paul‘s birthday, and my party coming up.
  2. Argh, why can I not override that backwards apostrophe in the previous item?
  3. I’m grateful for labels — like introvert — that I can wear unashamedly and that will hopefully help me communicate aspects of who I am with some new friends (who sound like they have no idea what introversion actually is); no, it doesn’t mean I hate people.
  4. I’m grateful for the rain we’ve been getting this week because hopefully it means we’ll avoid the horrible drought we experienced last summer. My sunburn from Monday is even making me less annoyed at all the days of grey and low clouds.
  5. I have books I want to review, but my thoughts are kind of muddy about them (yes, several of them), which is making it hard for me to sit down and actually write reviews. What to say? Do you experience this? How do you handle it?
  6. A’s twelfth tooth has broken through, as of this morning; might this mark an end to the fussy/clinginess? Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if we had to wait until these most recent two teeth are completely through, not just beginning to show themselves.
  7. I’ve completed and posted about three Pins so far, for this month’s Pin It and Do It. Since I signed up for 4-7, I think I’ll likely complete it, yay! (I don’t want to think about when the last time was that I completed a challenge within its given timeframe.)
  8. We (finally) watched Brave last night, and we were basically appalled. I know there’s some difference of opinion on this movie, but even going in with low expectations, I felt it wasn’t worthy of the name Pixar. No transcendence, no magic. Several counts against it, in my book. The best thing about it is Merida’s hair.
  9. I’m kind of stuck on knitting projects. I have been knitting, but I haven’t found a project that pulls me in, that strikes me fancy, that … isn’t boring.
  10. I learned something about myself this month that I probably should have already known. When my routine is disrupted and/or I have guests? I don’t get anything done. I love seeing people, but it takes me awhile to get back on an even keel afterward.
  11. I think winter might finally be over here, finally! Time to switch out the short sleeves for the long sleeves, pack away the snow pants, and maybe — finally — get a garden put in.
  12. I am continually drawn to nonfiction (to buy), but I rarely get around to reading it. Why is that? How do I fix it? Am I alone in this? Although I did just finish one nonfiction book, yay!
  13. Mother’s Day is coming up, and my thoughts about that day, even now that I am a mom, are complicated. Here’s one post I ran across today.

Happy Thursday, friends!

Pin It and Do It

PinitDoitMay2013My friend Trish of Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity created a Pinterest challenge, wherein participants actually do/make the things they’ve pinned. She’s been hosting the monthly challenge for a whole year now, but this is my first time to participate.

The Pin It and Do It challenge is open to everyone, so join in the fun!

I’m signing up at the Pinterested level, hoping to complete 4-7 pins.

I feel a little bit like I’m cheating, since this installment of the challenge runs for the month of May, and a couple pins I’ve already done (or at least started), but hey. She said it was OK, and she’s the host.

My first completed pin (for the challenge)

We (and by we I mean my husband, but I found the recipe) made these cookies last night. Chocolate chip cookies, but with browned butter, sea salt, and Nutella? How could they be bad, right?

And they’re not (bad). They’re actually really tasty. But they’re also complicated. And we’re not convinced that the Nutella actually adds to the experience, *gasp*! (We made some with and some without. They basically look the same, though, so you just get one one type pictured.)


I totally didn’t notice that Nutella seepage while taking the photos. Oops.

We did make a few modifications, of course. First, we subbed out the flour, to make them gluten free. I think that may be the cause of the giant-ness of them? They spread like crazy. And we didn’t have sea salt, we used kosher salt.

A cookie in hand is worth two?

Pictured here on my relatively large hand for scale.

Now excuse me while I go pin some things I have planned to make/do for A’s birthday party. I also have some projects I pinned months ago for my own birthday party that I’m planning to accomplish this month, too. Lots of party-related pinning and doing planned for this month, over here!


We announced the shortlists for the 2013 INSPY Awards on Monday, in case you missed it. The lists have some really great books on them again this year, check ’em out!

I spent the remainder of Monday writing lists of all the books I could read and all the things I could knit, now that I wasn’t reading from a set list. Not that I didn’t enjoy the INSPYs reading, but, you know. There’s still freedom in not being constrained. My lists were shockingly mundane. I couldn’t even bring my brain to brainstorm effectively, since I’d been seriously cramming for so very long. (All this before Boston (or even Pulitzer) news. Another day of tragedy. I have no words.)

And then, Tuesday, I had ideas. I even managed to get them jotted down before I forgot them, and I even more shockingly got one of them fleshed out!

Besides those two, I’ve started two other pieces. One is now finished and scheduled to publish. Another is still in progress, but I made significant headway.

And yes, I did pick up a book. I’m reading So Cold the River by Michael Koryta. Don’t expect me to push myself to finish it in a day or two, though. I like room to let my reads breathe.


Made of stories

The universe is made of stories, not atoms.

~ Muriel Rukeyser