Monday, November 18, 2019

January Mini-Reviews

So 2019 is almost over. And here I am, just getting started on my 2019 mini-reviews. But hey, I'm in the same calendar year, so that is pretty exciting, even if this is only a brief interlude before once again, I'm a year behind on reviews. Le sigh.

Also, I should really make an icon for these mini-reviews. I'm sure I'll get around to that right as I'm all caught up and done doing mini-reviews.

I can tell how much of a blur this year as been by the fact that I'm looking at the stuff I read in January and thinking about how I barely remember them. A lot was going on; I was just going back to work after being on maternity for 6 mos (and not an initially planned 6 mos leave). Figuring out daycare and work (when there were LOTS of changes there) took up a lot of brainpower.
Basically what I'm saying is, for the next few mini-reviews (this post and future ones) there's going to be a lot of guessing what the book was about and if I enjoyed it. I suppose it's not great for the ones I don't remember.

Let's get started, shall we?

Diary of a Hounslow Girl by Abreen Razia 
So this one I vaguely remember. It was an Audible Original (aka, with an Audible subscription every month you get 2 free downloads of an Audible Original that varies every month. Typically they are things I've never ever heard of but free is fun) so I can't say I was familiar with anything about it. Even the description says "You’ve heard of an Essex Girl or even a Chelsea Girl but what is a ‘Hounslow Girl’?" and I said "Nope, I haven't heard of anything of these because I, a dumb American, do not pay attention to things outside my country, apparently." But all of that was part of the appeal of picking this one up. It's about a bunch of stuff that is unfamiliar to me. In this case it's about a Pakistani teen in London. It's done as a play. Or I suppose a one-woman show, since there's really only Razia playing the part of Muslim teen Shaheeda, torn between wanting to be a modern teen in London and her family's traditional expectations. But the details I remember are vague, so I remember it being pretty good but clearly didn't leave too much of an impression.
Gif rating:

Lullaby by Jonathan Mayberry
Hey, another Audible Original. I really don't remember this one. Like at all. I vaguely remember listening to it and thinking "I know I just listened to this, but I already forgot what's happening." Something about a haunted house. A young couple with a new baby decide to leave the big city for a big quiet house in the Catskills and something weird going after the baby. I think. Maybe. Honestly, this seems like something I would enjoy and would really be paying attention to, and even skimming through some other reviews, nothing is coming to mind. It's super short (like 30 min) so maybe I'll try to listen to it again and see if it sticks this time. Or like...probably not.
Gif rating:

So. Those were some good reviews. Really doing my part here.

All books read in January
The Diary of a Hounslow Girl by Abreen Razia
The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan
Lullaby by Jonathan Mayberry
World War Z by Max Brooks

Monday, November 11, 2019

Another DNF

I was going to start this post saying "Recently I wrote about a recent book I did not finish" except when I went to look for that post to link, I realize I posted that back in June. So not all that recent. That's just what happens when I don't post like I used to. Anyway, at some point within the last 6 months, I posted about DNF-ing a book.

That DNF-ing was for mental health because of LOTS of baby death and I could not handle it. This isn't that. This is just a regular ol' "This is boring and I don't want to read it" DNF. Which is not that notable as to warrant a blog post except 1) I don't post that often so try not to discourage me and 2) I very rarely DNF if something is boring me. I just slog through and try to find something to latch onto until the book ends and I can bitch about it.
Well, bitch about it when I was caught up with reviewing. Now it's more silently forget about it until I get around to a mini-review.

I think a few things have contributed to me stopping the book when I wasn't feeling it.

I didn't buy the book
Through most of my reading experience, I would buy the books I was reading. I would often buy them on sale but I would use my money rather than employing a free option. Which meant I felt more like I had to read the book to get my money's worth. Later, as I did end up with more and more free books, usually from things such as NetGalley, I wasn't spending money but the idea was the book was in exchange for a review and I can't review if I didn't read. But I have finally embraced the library and thus I can pick up books willynilly should I choose (provided they are available in audiobook which is how I consume like 90% of my books) and there is no risk. Which means if I'm not feeling something, I have less incentive to keep at it if I don't want.
So many choices
I have way less time
Oh man, toddlers. They take up SO MUCH TIME. Real needy and I swear, actively trying to cause themselves bodily harm so constant vigilance is key. My free time is limited to when he sleeps but that free time must also be used for base level house cleaning because toddlers are also tornadoes of chaos and zero cleaning can get done while they are awake. All this is to say that if I'm listening to a book that is 15 hours, those better be 15 enjoyable hours. Even if I'm listening to it while doing some of said cleaning because there are just SO MANY THINGS that I could be listening to instead.

I was recently listening to an audiobook that was 15 hours long. And I slowly found myself in a situation where I would normally turn on the book, but instead I was looking for something else. Like digging deep in some podcast archives rather than just picking up the book again.

I'm trying not to name names with the book but it was a genre I thought would be right up my alley (ha) and instead it was just so...annoying. Maybe it was the narrator, at least in part, but who knows. There was a lot of exposition and dropped in at weird points. Like in the middle of a tense standoff scene and suddenly we're getting UTTERLY POINTLESS background into the past dating lives of these characters and I may have yelled "Who caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaares??" while listening during my morning commute.
Maybe the book would have gotten better. I gave it way more of a shot than I intended, meaning I listened to a full 5 hours and at one point was like "I'm a third of the way through, I should finish." And then I yelled at myself about sunk costs and decided to cut bait and just pick up something else.

I know past me would have finished the book. Past me probably would have read the book in a couple days while on the train and then would have named names in a review she totally had time to write. But past me is not current me. Current me is being more selective with how my increasingly infrequent free time is spent. Perhaps future me will have more time and more inclination to finish these books but who knows? Can I go back to always finishing after I've crossed the line?

I still feel a little bit of guilt not finishing the book. Which is why I listened to 5 hours of it instead of like, 2. But I have accepted that I'm not going to finish the book. It's due back to the library soon anyway and it's def not getting finished before then. I only hope for my future DNFs I feel less and less guilt until I am dropping books once they no longer entertain me. Those of you who are already at that point, please teach me your ways.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

October Reading Wrap Up

I know I’m a bit late on this post. Did you know it was Daylight Savings recently? Or rather, the end of it. (I'm never entirely clear.) And are you aware that small ones do not understand this concept that they can sleep an extra hour? On top of that, the little one was sick, and then I got sick and now Tom is sick and I am just praying this doesn’t make a second round. So what I’m saying is the end of October/beginning of November has been a bit exhausting. But look, a little tiger so that makes up for a lot.
Hey, let's take a look at the stats, shall we?

Number of books read
Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie
The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting by Bunmi Laditan
Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez
Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear by Kim Brooks
Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative by Chuck Wendig

Number of pages read
Second highest for the year


POC authors

Female authors

US authors


Book formats
Audiobook: 83%
Paperback: 17%

Where’d I get the book
Gift: 17%
Library: 83%

Decades Published
1940s: 17%
2010s: 83%

Resolution books
Evil Under the Sun – UK author and published before 2000
The Honest Toddler – POC author
Invisible Women – UK author