Sunday, November 29, 2015

What I Read This Week: November 29, 2015

Well, I did get some reading done over the Thanksgiving holiday, but I was majorly distracted by on-going games of Words with Friends. My family has an extensive and strong vocabulary.
  • Magazines
    • Glamour, November and December 2015 - I need to figure out how to cancel this subscription. I randomly started receiving issues a few months ago and thought I would give it a try. I read these two issues back to back and, aside from the RWAR girl power bits, this magazine is just not for me.
    • Real Simple, September 2015 - Having just finished up that tidying book, I was all about the organizing tips in this issue. I am raring to go on that project. I also enjoyed the article on creating study spaces. Finally, there was a great feature piece on a woman who built a one-room cabin the woods to act as her retreat.
    • Real Simple, October 2015 - There were even more organizing tips in this issue. Can I use the, yet? Can I? Can I? There were also some decent tips on strengthening your marriage, and the impact drinking has on women.
  • Books
    • I put a major dent in Dragonfly in Amber. If this was anything but a Diana Gabaldon book, I would be finished by now.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

No links today. Just a turkey perusing his reading options.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Book 27: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

TITLE: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
AUTHOR: Marie Kondo
STARTED: November 2, 2015
FINISHED: November 18, 2015
PAGES: 213
GENRE: Non-Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: In this book, I have summed up how to put your space in order in a way that will change your life forever.

SUMMARY: [From BN] Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles? Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

THOUGHTS: I don't necessarily need any encouragement to weed and organize my belongings, but I was intrigued by the buzz around this book. I get it now. This book is ah-mazing. I can hardly wait to put what I learned into action over the Christmas holiday break. The book is simple, easy to follow, and the logic behind her method makes perfect sense. I do think her "how this will completely transform the rest of your life" stuff might be a bit overblown, but the basics make perfect sense. This is one of the few books I've read "after the curve" that I don't think is over-hyped. 

RATING: 10/10 [Best. Book. Ever]

Sunday, November 22, 2015

What I Read This Week: November 22, 2015

Today, The Husband and I hit the road for Thanksgiving. We're visiting my family in upstate New York. There's a spot near the wood burning stove that has my name on it. I've got Dragonfly in Amber and a few magazines in my bag. Hopefully, I'll make a large dent in both.
  • Magazines
    • Savory, November/December 2015 - I noticed the new issue was available at Giant when we were grocery shopping last weekend. I'm beginning to have quite the fondness for this small magazine - it has great recipes that are simple to follow and, in many cases, use convenient ingredients. In fact, The Husband and I may have found the recipe for Beef Wellington we will use at Christmas in this issue. These pages were chock full of great holiday meal ideas (including cookies).
    • Washingtonian, November 2015 - The majority of this issue was devoted to great places to work. I mainly ignore that, but I did read the snippets about what makes an office great. There was also an article on Donald Trump's acquisition of a Virginia winery. It shows quite a bit of harsh business handling, but was a fairly interesting read.
  • Books
    • I'm still making my way through Dragonfly in Amber. How I forgot all of these plot points is beyond me. I am so glad that I am reading this before Starz releases the next season of Outlander.
    • I finished The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up just in time to return it to the library. I get what all the hype is about. This book is amazing and I simply cannot wait to put what I learned into practice over my Christmas holiday break. I will be weeding and cleaning so many things... and I am very, very excited about that prospect.
  • Other
    • WaPo posted a fascinating look at Hillary Rodham Clinton's name game. I had my reasons for changing my last name when The Husband and I married, but I seriously considered keeping my maiden name. (For one, my maiden name gave me awesome initials. Awesome, I say!) I have married friends who kept their maiden names. So, this piece was a rather interesting "investigation" to read. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Friday Find: Heart Strings

For today's find, I simply typed "poetry" into Etsy's search box to see what came up. There was a ton of great stuff, but this heart garland made of Shakespeare's work jumped out at me.

You can buy this at MaisyandAlice.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Links and Stuff: November 19, 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015

What I Read This Week: November 15, 2015

Most of my work week was spent interviewing candidates for our open Head of Access Services position. That is not what I typically tackle in a normal week. This change of pace was both fun and exhausting. I also went out four nights in a row (trivia! shopping! friendsgiving! house party!) which is so not me. I am le tired. There will likely be some napping during today's football watching.
  • Magazines
    • Washingtonian, October 2015 - This was a special, 50th anniversary issue. I enjoyed the many flashes back to DC throughout the years. As for feature articles, there was a great one about Joe Theismann's broken leg and the impact it had on DC and football. The interview quotes were so detailed that a few times I felt faint (maybe a bit too much detail about the nature of the break). I also enjoyed the features on the first DC celebrity chef, Jean-Louis, and the author of the exorcism
  • Books
    • I've only read a few chapters in Dragonfly in Amber. Apparently, I've fallen in love with our new mattress because I fall asleep almost immediately now. 
  • Other

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Friday Find: Scarf

Where your library love to keep you warm! How cute is library due date card scarf? Totes, I think.

You can find this at the Esty store Cyberoptix.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why I Love... Purse Books

Whenever possible, I like to carry reading with me. I always have a magazine in my commuting bag, and books galore make it into my carry-on bag when we travel. That said, I have a particularly love for small, purse-sized books I can take with me to run errands.

Today, I visited my grandfather's grave at Arlington National Cemetery. His birthday coincides with Veteran's Day, and I'm the only family member who lives locally. I took the day off so that I could lay flowers and spend some time with him on behalf of our family.

To get there, I chose a combination of walking and metroing. Since our metro system is running on a less frequent, Saturday schedule for today's holiday, I knew I would need a book with me in case of a long wait or random stop in a tunnel. Both of these things happen frequently in DC (unfortunately). In preparation, I slipped The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up into my purse. It's the perfect purse book: light, slim, and not much bigger than a mass market paperback. It's small enough that I also had enough room for the stuff you typically find in a purse. 

While I lucked out and never had a long wait or tunnel delay, it was nice to have a book that kept me occupied without weighing me down.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

What I Read This Week: November 8, 2015

The Husband and I got a new mattress this week. He had used the old once since before we started dating, so it was definitely time for an upgrade. This new mattress is from Tuft & Needle and is made of two different kinds of foam. It's much firmer than our old mattress - not to mention lacking in saggy spots and lumps. The first night felt weird because you sort of float on top. I'm used to it now (I'm also know for being able to sleep anywhere), but reading in bed is a whole new (and much more comfortable!) experience.
  • Magazines
    • The Atlantic, November 2015 - This cover features a "tin man" to highlight the article on paranoia. Said article was okay, but I preferred the feature piece on Al Gore. Who knew he turned into an investment king with a heart? Not I. There were also interesting pieces on Bill Gates and drones. Finally, the article on Snoopy and Peanuts made me rethink my whole stance on Charles Schultz. I learned quite a bit about the history of the comic strip and the changes it went through over the year.
    • Cooking Light, November 2015 - Have I told you I love holiday issues? Of course I have... and it's still true. This was a double issue of deliciousness! Cooking Light never fails to
      impress around the holidays and I pulled several recipes from this issue to try. Who knows... they might make an appearance at Christmas since The Husband and I are hosting for the first time. I also enjoyed the article on fat and how we might have been wrong about it all along. I'll take that as an excuse to eat more butter and full-flavor yogurts. Additionally, there was a very poignant article about how we share food during periods of heartbreak and loss.  
  • Books
    • I'm slowly working my way through my re-read of Dragonfly in Amber. I had forgotten half of the stuff that happens in this book happens. I can't wait to see how Starz adapts this for the series. Bring on the marathoning!
    • In a rare feat for me, I'm reading two books at once. I had a book on hold come in at the library. Since there is a long waiting list, I can't renew it. Thus, I am trying to read a chapter a night. This book is Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I was intrigued by the concept to begin with and even more so once it exploded on the best seller list. So far, I get it... I also want to GET RID OF ALL THE THINGS.

Friday, November 06, 2015

The Friday Find: Believe

There's nothing like some cute jewelry to brighten up your day. This piece is both lovely and nerdy. It will also test you in your knowledge of the dewey decimal system.

You can find it at Etsy.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Links and Stuff: November 5, 2015

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Book 26: The Awakening

TITLE: The Awakening
AUTHOR: Kate Chopin
STARTED: October 17, 2015
FINISHED: October 21, 2015
PAGES: 264
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over: 'Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Saprisiti! That's all right!'

SUMMARY: [From BN] At a time when women's roles were sharply defined by their spheres - the home and the care for their children, which they dutifully presented to their husbands upon marriage - Kate Chopin explored the life and mind of a woman who wanted more. Set in Louisiana, The Awakening contains many elements of style and setting which would later emerge as the trademarks of more famous writers, like Hemingway and Faulkner. Chopin's The Awakening is also among the first works of feminist literature, as it treats her protagonist's struggle against the mores of her time with seriousness, consideration and insight

THOUGHTS: I'm a touch disgruntled that the academic essay included before the story gave away the ending. It influenced my entire reading. Normally, I don't give a fig about spoilers, but this spoiler meant I was reading into motives the entire book.

Anyway, this book was well written and an incredibly easy read (particularly given that it is over 100 years old). In many ways, the text felt a bit like a stage-play. It was very posed and deliberate. As a modern woman it was interesting to read about a character utterly trapped by her gender and social norms. 

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Monday, November 02, 2015

Book 25: Rape: A Love Story

TITLE: Rape: A Love Story
AUTHOR: Joyce Carol Oates
STARTED: October 13, 2015
FINISHED: October 17, 2015
PAGES: 154
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: After she was gang-raped, kicked and beaten and left to die on the floor of the filthy boathouse at Rocky Point Park.

SUMMARY: [From BN]  Teena Maguire should not have tried to shortcut her way home that Fourth of July. Not after midnight, not through Rocky Point Park. Not the way she was dressed in a tank top, denim cutoffs, and high-heeled sandals. Not with her twelve-year-old daughter Bethie. Not with packs of local guys running loose on hormones, rage, and alcohol. A victim of gang rape, left for dead in the park boathouse, the once vivacious Teena can now only regret that she has survived. At a relentlessly compelling pace punctuated by lonely cries in the night and the whisper of terror in the afternoon, Joyce Carol Oates unfolds the story of Teena and Bethie, their assailants, and their unexpected, silent champion, a man who knows the meaning of justice. And love.

THOUGHTS: I "enjoyed" this book as much as one can "enjoy" such a book. Oates' story is well-written, well-paced, and deeply moving. Too bad it made me cranky. The subject matter is one of great importance to me, and I found it hard to divorce my opinions from the book to simply read the story. I guess my view of this book has more to say about me than it does about the book itself. Oates handles a difficult subject with a deft, realistic hand. 

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

Sunday, November 01, 2015

What I Read This Week: November 1, 2015

My magazines are starting to form a small mountain. I'm trying my best to read through the pile, but I don't seem to be making a dent. Harrumph. Given that The Husband and I are hosting Christmas this year, I hope I make it through all the holiday issues (just in case they have any tasty meal or hosting ideas).
  • Work
    • College & Research Libraries News, October 2015 - I skimmed this issue. Nothing jumped out at me, so it was a quick "read."
  • Magazines
    • W, October 2015 and November 2015 - I still have no idea how I came to receive issues of this magazine. It took me all of 15 minutes to flip through both issues. I'm not really into any of the content. If I remember, I'm going to find a way to remove myself from this mailing list.
    • Good Housekeeping, November 2015 - Holiday issues are the best, They're full of tasty recipes and fun hosting ideas, and this issue was no different. This issue also celebrated the 130 year history of GH. It was kind of fun to see all the "back in the day" bits they scattered through the issue.
    • HGTV Magazine, November 2015 - This issue was mainly pretty pictures. I'm okay with that, it's always fun to flip through and see pretty thing. I did like the article on how to decorate with the color gray, cause I love me some gray.
    • Food Network Magazine, November 2015 - Nom nom nom. *flips page* Nom nom nom. *flips page* Nom nom nom. If ever there was a good issue of Food Magazine to buy, it's this one. This was chock full of delicious looking Thanksgiving meals and sides.
  • Books
    • The Husband and I sat down last weekend and finally watched the last two episodes of Outlander. I know the next book has been greenlighted to continue the series, so I was inspired to pick up Dragonfly in Amber for a reread. I forgot how this book started, and I can't wait to hear how the non-readers react to the series. So far, so good with the re-read, but this book is lengthy and may take me until Christmas to finish.