casvelyn's first thread of 2018: the books go ever on and on
Join LibraryThing to post.
Never mind that it's still 2017.
I didn't have a good theme for this year, but I had lots of fun in 2017 using pictures from my "Art of Reading" Pinterest board, so this year I'm using more Pinterest pics. The first quarter's images come from my board entitled "All Who Wander."
Libraries of 2018
I use libraries from all over Indiana and list them here! Libraries are awesome!
Indiana State Library (Indianapolis)
Indianapolis Public Library (Indianapolis)
Winchester Community Library (Winchester)
Category 2: Speculative Fiction
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (4.7)
Average rating: 4.7
Category 4: Book of the Year Award
I track the original publication dates of the books I read. My favorite from each year, 1800-present, earns my "Book of the Year Award." This year I'm focusing on non-genre fiction published in years that end in 8.
Full Award List
1808: (Nothing on TBR)
1818: Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock (read in 2018)
1878: Daisy Miller by Henry James (read in 2011)
1908: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (read in 2013)
1938: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (read in 2013)
1948: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (read in 2011, 2015) --and-- Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge (read in 2015)
1958: Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene (read in 2016)
1978: The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald (read in 2010)
2008: Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin (read in 2010)
2018: (Nothing on TBR)
Category 5: Miscellaneous
Anything that doesn't fit in any of the above categories.
1. The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson (4.3)
2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (4.9)
3. The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle (4.1)
4. I Spy Little Animals by Jean Marzollo (5.0)
5. 1 is One by Tasha Tudor (5.0)
6. Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg (4.7)
Average rating: 4.7
Category 6: TBR 5+
Anything that's been on my TBR list five or more years.
1. The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson (7.4 years) (4.3)
2. Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock (6.8 years) (3.5)
3. The Wisdom of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton (6.7 years) (3.9)
Average rating: 3.9
Average time on TBR: 7.0 years*
*I started keeping dates on my TBR nearly eight years ago, so books may have been on there longer but I don't have any way of knowing exactly how long for most of them.
Category 7: Books Chosen at Random
Books chosen using the LT feature found at Home > Folly > Book of Yours.
1. Was It Murder? by James Hilton (4.1)
Average rating: 4.1
Category 8: CATs
ColorCAT: The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson (4.3)
SFFKit: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (4.7)
ColorCAT: The Wisdom of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton (3.9)
MysteryCAT: Was It Murder? by James Hilton (4.1)
MysteryCAT: Classic and Golden Age mysteries
SFFKit: Time travel
MysteryCAT: Mysteries involving transit
SFFKit: Rise up
MysteryCAT: True crime
MysteryCAT: Police procedurals
SFFKit: Cyberpunk or techno
MysteryCAT: Historical mysteries
SFFKit: Makes you laugh
MysteryCAT: Noir and hard boiled mysteries
SFFKit: Myths, legends, and fairy tales
SFFKit: Historical and alt-historical
MysteryCAT: Cozy mysteries
MysteryCAT: Futuristic or fantastical mysteries
SFFKit: This is how it ends
Category 9: BINGOdog
1. Book that fits at least 2 CATs/KITs
2. Title contains name of a famous person, real or fictional
3. Money in the title: You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham (4.1)
4. Originally published in a different language
5. Book bought in 2017 and as of yet unread
6. New-to-you author: Mere Equals by Lucia McMahon
8. Book published in 2018
9. A long-time TBR: The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson (23 years!) (4.3)
10. Book with a beautiful cover: The Bad Food Bible by Aaron Carroll (4.4)
11. Poetry or plays
12. LGBT central character
13. Read a CAT: Was It Murder? by James Hilton (March MysteryCAT)
14. Title contains a person's rank: The Wisdom of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton (3.9)
15. Published more than 100 years ago: Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock (200 years) (3.5)
16. Book that is humorous
17. Fat book--500+ pages: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (759 pages) (4.7)
18. X somewhere in the title: The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle (4.1)
19. Relative name in the title
20. Related to the Pacific Ocean
21. Book set during a holiday
22. Title contains something you would see in the sky
23. Books on the 1001 list
24. Number in the title: 1 is One by Tasha Tudor (5.0)
25. Story involves travel: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (4.9)
Category 10: Alphabet Challenge
Just tracked from my regular reading; I don't aim for specific letters on purpose.
Black Arrow, The
Each Peach Pear Plum
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I Spy Little Animals
Mixed-Up Chameleon, The
One is One
Wisdom of Father Brown, The
You Need a Budget
Peacock, Thomas Love
Rowling, J. K.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Tudor, Tasha (double word score!)
I like your Pinterest pics, especially the one for speculative fiction!
>13 christina_reads: Thanks! I can't decide whether it's a cathedral or a spaceship. Maybe it's a space cathedral? That would be an awesome place to worship, with galaxies whirling behind the altar.
I love the creepiness of the TBR and Bingodog pics--I could stare at each of them for ages, and imagine all sorts of things wandering down those paths!
Great pictures, I think each one could be the cover of a book dealing with the subject you have used for it. I am starting to get quite excited for 2018!
>14 casvelyn: "Space cathedral" is exactly the vibe I was getting!
The "books chosen at random" picture is pretty wild! Great theme. Structured and flexible at the same time! Have a great reading year :)
>27 casvelyn: Me too! And the hard part is leaving them to be read next year instead of picking them up immediately.
>27 casvelyn: I never thought to tag my books with the categories they might fit. That is brilliant. I always have just made lists on paper, that have gone missing usually before the year even starts.
I really enjoyed going through those gorgeous pictures. I wanted to be there in every one! I wanted to go forth and see where they took me. Evocative is the word I would use for them. I hope 2018 will be a great reading year for you.
I loved your pictures from last year and these are great too. You said "first quarter" so I'm assuming they'll change and that will be exciting too. I also love the LT folly function - hope it gets you some great books.
Very cool images! I am looking forward to following your reading in the coming year.
Well, I'm finally here. I had strep throat and a sinus infection the whole first week of January, and it threw all my other plans out the window, so not a lot of reading has happened yet. All my work projects are tied to the calendar year, so I've spent most of the month thus far getting everything back on track there. I think I've got everything safely in order now.
1. The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson
Wordsworth Editions, 1995 (originally published 1888); 271 pages
Category: Miscellaneous; TBR 5+ years; ColorCAT; BINGOdog
This is most likely my longest-running TBR book. I bought it for a dollar at Half Price Books in 1995 when I was 9 because the cover had a horse on the front, so I thought it was a horse book. Yeah, not a horse book. I was so disappointed that I put off reading it until now, 2018, at the age of 31.
The Black Arrow is set during the War of the Roses and tells the story of orphan Richard (Dick) Shelton and what happened to his father all set against the backdrop of the struggle for the English crown.
I actually rather enjoyed this, although the old-fashioned language (all thees and thous and such) did get old quickly. I liked how Dick because an independent person over the course of the book, and that allowed him to see how the war was actually affecting the everyday citizens as the nobles trampled over their towns and farms in their pursuit of power and military victory, and how he ultimately decided he wanted no part of the power struggle.
>42 casvelyn: - Wow, talk about a double whammy! Hope you are feeling better.
>43 casvelyn: Loved the story about your longest TBR! And glad you are feeling better.
>43 casvelyn: I don't mind "thee" and "thou" because one can distinguish between singular and plural better in those archaic forms.
>44 lkernagh: Thanks! I am much better now, thanks to some antibiotics.
>45 VivienneR: Thanks! I think, lack of horses aside, I got far more out of it as an adult than I would have as a nine-year-old.
>46 thornton37814: So true, although I think to some degree Stevenson was trying to add "period flavor" and instead just made a mess of his syntax.
I love that a bunch of us decided to read The Black Arrow this year! I'm glad you were still able to like it despite its not being a horse book ;)
2. Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock
2012 (originally published 1818); 58 pages
Category: Book of the Year Award; TBR 5+; BINGOdog
What in the world did I just read?
When I saw that Nightmare Abbey was Gothic satire, I expected something like Northanger Abbey. Yeah, nope. This is the story of a morbid and melancholy man and his morbid and melancholy son and their morbid and melancholy friends and everyone gets thwarted in love and life and isn't it terrible. Oh, and despite being billed as "Gothic," there's nothing scary.
Weirdly, all the dialogue in the book is laid out like in a play. In between the dialogue sections are long passages of descriptive narrative. So strange and it kind of broke up the flow.
>48 rabbitprincess: It may have helped that I outgrew my horse phase about 20 years ago. :)
>49 casvelyn: I tried to read this one years ago and bailed. Interestingly, I'm currently reading an old German book billed as Gothic, first published in 1792, which also lays out dialogue as in a play. Maybe it was a kind of literary fashion?
Loved your long TBR story - funny how misleading a cover can be sometimes.
>43 casvelyn: You're doing better than me at reading books you picked up as a kid! I used to pick up books at the library sale every week because of interesting titles or covers, but when I got them home, I was never as interested as I thought. I've given away almost all of them at this point. To keep a book 22 years and then read it? That's a feat worthy of a fair share of pride. :)
>54 pammab: Thanks! Considering the length of time, I'm glad I actually liked the book.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007 (first edition); Harry Potter 7; 759 pages
Category: Speculative Fiction; SFFkit; BINGOdog
Not much reading going on lately around here due to the Olympics. (Not much sleeping either; mid-morning in South Korea is something like 1 am here.) But I finally finished my Harry Potter series reread. I don't really have much in the way of a review; at this point I think everyone is familiar enough with Harry Potter.
4. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Little, Brown and Company, 2005 (first edition); 642 pages
Category: Miscellaneous; BINGOdog
The Historian is absolutely one of my favorite books. Yes, it's about vampires, but it's much more akin to Dracula than Twilight. Although this is a vastly entertaining novel on it's own, it also includes ruminations on the nature of evil and the responsibilities of historians.
Beginning in the Netherlands, the story involves travel from Oxford (can you really have an academic tale that doesn't involve Oxford?) to Soviet Bulgaria in the 1950s, with stops in France, Romania, and Turkey, crossing Europe on the trail of Dracula, who fancies himself a scholar and who is searching for a historian with the skills to maintain Dracula's vast library holdings.
Actually, this book defies description, because anything makes it sound cheesy. It's not cheesy at all.
5. The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle
Harper Festival, 1998 (originally published 1975); 32 pages
Category: Miscellaneous; BINGOdog
I bought this for my nephew's first birthday, although it occurs to me that my challenge will go faster if I keep reading board books. :)
Carle's artwork has never been my favorite, but the kids seem to like his books, so I keep getting them.
6. I Spy Little Animals by Jean Marzollo
Cartwheel, 1998; I Spy; 26 pages
Also for my nephew, this is a simpler board book version of the I Spy books. I had the "big kid" version when I was a kid. These are the best.
7. The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully by Aaron Carroll
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017 (first edition); 234 pages
Category: Non-Fiction; BINGOdog
I really enjoyed this book. Aaron Carroll is a doctor and professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and he wrote this book as an effort to counteract all the dietary "facts" that "everyone knows" but that aren't actually backed up by research. Covering topics such as coffee, butter, meat, sugar, salt, and alcohol, he summarizes the research to date on these foods and provides dietary advice in light of that research.
Even more useful than the individual foods covered, I think, is the information on how to understand dietary research. Just because a news headline says something like "Research shows eating chocolate could improve your health" doesn't mean that the research study mentioned in the news article actually found that at all. Or the researchers studied all of six people. Or six rats. Or something else entirely. So much common-sense advice in this book, based on actual research.
8. The Wisdom of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton
Dodd, Mead & Company, 1982 (originally published 1914); Father Brown 2; 204 pages
Category: Mystery; TBR 5+; ColorCAT; BINGOdog
I'm still not a fan of the short story as a genre, but these are perfectly acceptable mystery stories. Chesterton is probably a better writer than plotter, but I liked them well enough to keep going with the series. (Which is good, because I own the complete anthology.)
9. 1 is One by Tasha Tudor
Little Simon, 2015 (originally published 1956); 44 pages
Category: Miscellaneous; BINGOdog
More board books! This time for my niece's first birthday. This is just a counting book, but Tasha Tudor's illustrations are AMAZING.
I've been staying away from this one due to its girth, but you're the second person to mention how great it is it in the last two days, so I guess I should reconsider. Again. :)
10. Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
Viking Books, 1999 (originally published 1978); 32 pages
A fun rhyming book featuring nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters in an I-spy format.
>57 casvelyn: It's AMAZING. It doesn't feel like a 600-page book, if that helps.
11. You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham
Harper Business, 2017 (first edition); 207 pages
Category: Non-Fiction; BINGOdog
I've been a user of the You Need a Budget (YNAB) software since ca. 2013, and it REVOLUTIONIZED my finances, so of course I had to read the book. This is a good introduction to the whys and wherefores of the YNAB system, although a lot of it is old hat for people who already use the system.
Most of the "dings" in my rating came from the writing style; I don't like a really casual writing style in finance/business-type books. The YNAB system itself gets 5 stars from me. Back when I started using it, I was a waitress with highly variable hours. I could seriously work 10 hours one week and 40 the next. I needed help budgeting because I never knew much in advance what my income was going to look like. I got a book from the library from a personal finance writer that lots of people speak highly of, and the first piece of advice was "write down what you make in a month and set your budget based on that." I was like, "Dude, I have no idea what I'm going to make in a month, that's why I'm reading your book." So I googled for budgeting with a variable income or something like that and found YNAB. YNAB said (at the time) "Live on last month's income." and I was like, "I can do that--I don't know what I'm going to make this month, but I always know what I made last month." Fortunately a three-paycheck month and my income tax refund collided and I was able to scrounge up about a month's average income fairly quickly. I've been a YNAB user ever since. I just got paid last Wednesday and immediately budgeted the money as "income for April" so even though I earn much more than my waitressing days, the system still works, and it enabled me to pay off my student loans five years early.
12. Was It Murder? by James Hilton
Dover Publications, 1979 (originally published 1931); 252 pages
Category: Mystery; Non-Fiction; Random; MysteryCAT; BINGOdog
A short little Golden Age mystery at a boys' boarding school in England. Colin Revell is an alumnus of the school who is asked to return to see if the accidental death of a student was actually a murder. He runs into a bit of trouble with his investigation because it seems that everyone has something to hide and everyone knows more than they are letting on.
I love all the little kid books too! They are so very good. :)
I've heard great things about You Need a Budget -- I wonder if it's another one of those books that should be part of a package for new grads? It seems like it teaches all the consumer financial fundamentals and is really accessible.
>69 pammab: Kids' books are the best! I love seeing my nieces and nephews enjoy the same books I enjoyed as a kid, and I also like discovering the new stuff that's been published since.
I would totally be in favor of YNAB for new grads. Anything that gets them thinking about money and finances would be good, in my opinion, but I like YNAB because it really puts the focus back on what you as an individual wants out of life and how you can leverage your finances to get yourself there. Most of the other books I'm familiar with are much more prescriptive, saying things like "As long as you have debt you should not spend money on anything fun!" or "You should never spend more than x% of your income on things that fall in the category 'blah'." YNAB is more all about "You are a person. You have interests. Your budget should reflect those interests so you are not wasting money on stuff that isn't really valuable to you. What is valuable to you is going to look different to every person and that's okay."
One quote that I don't think is actually in the book (I've read a lot of YNAB stuff online too and it kind of blurs together) is "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want." This really sums up a lot of the YNAB philosophy. It's kind of like how a reasonable diet plan allows you to have pizza and cake and beer. You just can't eat whole pizzas and cakes and cases of beer every day and still expect to lose weight. So as long as you aren't spending money you don't have (aka running up the credit cards) in non-emergency situations, you are really encouraged to create the budget that enables you to live the life you want. And if you realize you don't actually have enough money for the life you want, the book walks you through how to evaluate expenses to see where you can make cuts in things you don't really value so as to free up money for things you do value.
Because YNAB is really the envelope system but computerized, there's also a quote that circulated on the old YNAB forum "I have $10,000 in the bank but can't afford a pizza." Because you're supposed to "Give every dollar a job" you end up realizing how much you are stealing from your future self to buy things your current self doesn't really need and that don't really fit in with where you want to be going in life. So if I've spent my restaurant money for the month, I can't get that pizza without taking money from my car insurance payment coming up next month or my house down payment savings goal. Do I want pizza badly enough to delay buying my house? Yeah, it's just pizza, but it adds up. (And I don't personally have 10k in the bank, but I wish I did!)
The only thing I didn't like about it was how a lot of the people in the real-life examples had really high-paying jobs, or at least high-paying compared to me. It's a lot easier to pay down debt when you have a six-figure income. It just is. Also, at least where I was financially when I started YNAB, advice like "stop going to Starbucks and downgrade your cable package" were useless because I wasn't going to Starbucks and I didn't have cable. But I have yet to find a really good resource for people who are making less than $20,000 a year and are already nailing frugality. YNAB will help them too, because of the parts that help you focus your spending, but you have to be able to look past the inapplicable examples and not get frustrated with high-income people whining about how they spend too much on things you couldn't afford if you wanted too. And I wish more resources would acknowledge that geographic location plays a huge part in how good your income is. My solidly-in-the-middle middle class income here in the Midwest would have me living in a box under a bridge in San Francisco. Plus I'm single no kids. Add a couple kids and my middle class income isn't so great anymore. So there's that.
Okay, that got rambly fast. I just love talking YNAB! :)
That sounds like a very interesting system (I've never heard of it before). I got myself savvied up on budgeting at a time when some necessary expenses put me deep in the red and I realized that I needed to nip it in the bud immediately. I had a few very lean years, but after that I've been fine and I to this day manage my budget the same way I did back then (other than my book-buying account is constantly in the red, but I am improving there too...).
I love your discussion so much! I am not sure how to respond further, but I am rapt with the talk, so know it is appreciated. :)
I see a Christmas or birthday present for a couple of grandchildren - one who just moved into his first apartment and one a junior in college.
>71 -Eva-: I'm thinking there should be some sort of book-buying exception to budget rules. Although I had to end all book-buying due to lack of space. I'm taking the money I would have spent on books and saving it for bookcases in my future house. My current living situation has a bunch of built-ins that are gorgeous, but it means that in reality I own hundreds of books and no shelves.
>72 pammab: You're welcome! I love finances!
>73 dudes22: I approve this message! :)
I adore built-in bookcases, but they aren't entirely practical, are they...
>77 lkernagh: Thanks!
The Olympics broadcasters kept emphasizing how great it was that they could show us coverage live, but that meant staying up until 12 or 1 am to see my favorite sports. I think I would have rather seen everything recorded and earlier in the evening.
>78 casvelyn: My BF would have loved that! He works nights, and he had been looking forward to seeing some of the events live over the weekends (Friday and Saturday nights) when he was home. But the Canadian broadcasters weren't really showing much live -- they were tape-delaying it. Obviously he was watching the wrong channels.
Starting next month (well, April 25th really), my official TBR will be eight years old. I'm never going to get these all read...
>79 rabbitprincess: Weird. I think we're in the same time zone too. Who knows how they make these decisions?
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.