Sunday, January 26, 2014

Loose Leafing: New Year Do-Over?

Let's see, it's January 26th and the temperature outside is a balmy 31 degrees Fahrenheit.   These facts mean two things.  I've gone approximately 26 days (the whole year thus far) with nary a blog post, and we're having a freaking heat wave.  We started and continued this year in a deep freeze to which I'm sure many of you reading can relate considering that much of the U.S. seems to have been afflicted with an unusually cold winter so far.  I can't stand the cold or the snow, and the extreme cold had plunged me into my "midwinter misery" stage before I could squeeze in the "new year, better me!" stage.  I've always said that I'd rather sweat than freeze, and it's proving to be that much truer this winter when it seems like it's so cold, it's hard to just live much less be happy, or dig into the daunting task of self-improvement.

Instead of reading more books, writing more blog posts, getting new jobs, eating less food, and getting in shape; I have been chattering my teeth, watching a ludicrous amount of football for someone who is more or less disinterested in football, and falling into a serious reading funk.  In fact, only just this week did I manage to actually finish my first book of the year.  By rights, there are two on my list, but the first one I read most of last year.  The first victim of my reading funk was a blog tour book that I read about a hundred pages of and discarded, which was followed by another book randomly chosen from my own stacks which I, again, read about a hundred pages of and discarded.  On one hand, this is a good thing.  I'm getting more discerning and not finishing the books that it's a pretty good bet I'm not going to love.  On the other hand, being so "meh" about a book that you invest a hundred pages worth of time into it and then realize you couldn't care less about what happens does not exactly lead to the warm fuzzies.

Happily, however, I finally bumbled my sad reading self into Mandy Retzlaff's One Hundred and Four Horses, a heartwarming, heartbreaking memoir of rescuing a herd of horses from Robert Mugabe's increasingly hostile Zimbabwe, and the funk was finally busted.  Here's hoping I manage to churn out a full review of this book because I really very much liked it.  I've since moved on to a book helpfully chose from my stacks, Falling Under by Danielle Younge-Ullman.  I was doubtful at first, but it's got its hooks in me now for sure, and I've been steadily devouring it this weekend.  Hopefully this one will help me put the reading funk firmly in the rearview.

This week offered an interesting occurrence in that while I was busy sucking at life and reading and everything, I unwittingly became the local poster child for shopping at the library's used book sale.  I mean, in the back of my mind I knew the local newspaper had a photographer roaming around, but surely he wouldn't take a picture of me, right?  Uh, wrong.

So, there I am, all dressed up in my blue "Property of HCSC" scrubs with mismatching red ancient Old Navy shirt looking all hyper-focused on my book nerdery, in full color in the local newspaper.  As much as I truly loath having my photo taken and don't think too much off this photo, either, I have to admit it's kind of fitting.  I mean, I kind of am the poster child for buying used books from local libraries.  Now it's just more official-ish. 

What?  You're wondering what delightful tomes are in my hands in that very picture?  Don't worry, I won't hold out on you.  Here they are!

(And if you're having trouble decoding the titles in the mildly abysmal iPhone photo that had to suffice because of the household-wide shortage of AA batteries or the Megan-wide shortage of energy to find the damn things, here's the list!)

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters
Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover
Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation Vol. II (Oops, I thought it was volume I when I picked it up.)
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards
Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

Also, I was kind of in a hurry, so I totally picked up several duplicates of things I already had and that copy of the wrong volume of Octavian Nothing, so despite my poster-child status, this was not exactly my best book sale performance.  Nonetheless, I think I still picked some winners while achieving extremely limited fame.

Despite the improvements brought about this week, I'm thinking of striking January from the record and trying to get back to "new year, better me!" when the month turns over into February.  Then I can stop being sad that everyone is reading great books without me and losing lots of pounds while I get fatter and attempt to hibernate until the temperature tops 40 degrees.  Here's hoping this year can be "rebooted" and I'll come back to my blog a healthier, happier reader in February (or, if the fates allow, sooner)!