Category Archives: Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Something I’m Proud of Doing

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

This week’s prompt was a little tricky for me because I’ve been feeling down in the dumps lately. January isn’t my favourite month of the year, and this one seems to really be dragging on.

I don’t know about all of you, but sometimes my brain likes to focus on the things I wish I’d done differently instead taking note of what I think I’ve done well in life so far. I will take this as a challenge to congratulate myself on how far I’ve come, though!

A white person’s hand and forearm has punched through a yellow wall and is reaching out for help with all five fingers extended. When someone needs help, I’m the sort of person who will leap to the occasion. That’s a positive character trait in many situations, but sometimes it can be taken too far if you don’t also look after your own needs or if the person who wants help doesn’t respect boundaries.

In the past few years, I’ve noticed that it’s slowly become easier for me to realize what my limits are and stop before I’ve been pushed past them.

As a hypothetical example, I can be available to do A or B for someone on the first Tuesday of the month from 7 to 8 pm but not be able to do anything outside of that time frame and never agree to do C, D, or E for them.

It’s a huge win, especially when the occasional person demands I give them all of the letters of the alphabet on any given day and hour of the week and I still stand firm in how much time and energy I actually have for them.

Not only that, but my guilt about saying no is decreasing, too, and I can now more easily end my availability to do A or B temporarily (or even permanently) for people who try to push past my limits one too many times.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A typewriter with a white sheet of paper stuck in it. The phrase “something worth reading” has been typed on to the sheet of paper. Many of the books I read in 2022 were written by authors I hadn’t tried before. Here are ten of them.

Just like last year, I’ll also be including what books I read from them and whether I want to read more from them in the future.

1. Author: Marlene Campbell

What I Read from Them: Vintage Christmas: Holiday Stories from Rural PEI

Would I Read More from Them? Maybe. I liked some parts of this collection but found other sections a bit too repetitive. Then again, I am not a particularly sentimental person, so other readers might have a completely difference experience with it.

 

2. Author: Sonia Hartl

What I Read from Them: The Lost Girls

Would I Read More from Them? Yes. I loved the author’s tongue-in-cheek approach to the pitfalls of romances between vampires and teenage girls.

 

3. Author: Kate Nunn

What I Read from Them: The Only Child

Would I Read More from Them? No, and it pains me to say that. I loved the premise of this book but found the character and plot development thin and predictable.

 

4. Author: Riley Black

What I Read from Them: “The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World

Would I Read More from Them? Yes. Not only was Ms. Black an excellent writer, she knew exactly how to translate often complex scientific information into something the average person can easily understand. That’s difficult to do but so meaningful when it does occur.

 

A quiet wooden cabin in a snowy winter woods. The cabin has a stone chimney. 5. Author: Yah Yah Scholfield

What I Read from Them: “On Sundays She Picked Flowers

Would I Read More from Them? Assuming her next work isn’t quite so violent, absolutely. I enjoyed her poetic writing style but can’t handle reading many of the types of scary stuff I loved before this pandemic began.

 

6. Author: Nice Leng’ete

What I Read from Them: “The Girls in the Wild Fig Tree

Would I Read More from Them? Yes. She’s lived an interesting and useful life so far. I’m curious to see what she does with her talents next as she continues fighting to end female circumcision in Kenya.

 

7. Author: Julia Scheeres

What I Read from Them: “Listen, World!: How the Intrepid Elsie Robinson Became America’s Most-Read Woman

Would I Read More from Them? Probably not. This was a neat peek at a portion of history I wasn’t aware of, but the writing style wasn’t my cup of tea.

 

8. Author: Carl Matlock, MD

What I Read from Them: “The Annals of a Country Doctor

Would I Read More from Them? Yes. He was a great storyteller.

 

An empty church that has white wooden pews and white painted statues of saints on their walls. 9. Author: Daphne du Maurier

What I Read from Them: “Rebecca

Would I Read More from Them? Maybe. I understood why this novel is a classic and did enjoy the storyline itself, but I was exasperated with all of the characters for reasons ranging from how passive aggressive they were to how little regard they had for basic interpersonal boundaries to how much they relied on what other people thought of them when making every single decision in life. Let met take a break from Ms. Du Maurier before seeing if this is a pattern in her work or if her next book will be filled with characters I’d actually want to hang out with in real life. Ha!

 

10. Author: by Deesha Philyaw

What I Read from Them: “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

Would I Read More from Them? Yes. I connected beautifully with her characters and would love to see what she writes next. She was delightful.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: New Things I’ve Tried Recently

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

I usually try new things more often during the warm months of the year when it’s easier to travel and there are fewer germs floating around that my household needs to avoid, but I have tried some cool stuff this winter. (No, this isn’t an ad. I don’t do paid or sponsored posts of any sort. These are simply things I’ve tried recently and liked).

Duolingo Math.

Logo for the Duolingo app. The logo consists of the word “Duolingo” written in a plain, bright green font against a white background. There is nothing else to be seen in this image. I was an average math student in school, but I didn’t find it particularly interesting or relevant to my life most of the time. It seemed like something that a few students were naturally good at while the rest of us slogged through it.

When this was released at the end of December, it piqued my interest. Maybe I’d have a different opinion on this subject now that there are no quizzes, exams, or grades to worry about?

Well, it turns out that I’m really enjoying it so far. Turning math into a game makes it practical, fun, and low pressure.

The lessons run the gamut from easy to challenging. There is a section for elementary students as well as a different one for older kids or adults who want to improve their mental math skills, so this is one of those free games that truly does have something for everyone.

 

Station Eleven Novel and Miniseries

Book cover for “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel. Image on the cover shows four tents that have been erected outside in a field. It is night outside and the cloudless sky is glowing with stars. Each tent has a bright light inside of it as well. The tents are surrounded by a waist-high fence that appears to be made out of hay bales piled on top of each other. I’d heard so many good things about ”Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, so I finally started watching it this winter.

It follows several of the same characters at different points in their lives as they encounter a deadly form of the flu that kills most of humanity and then about 20-30 years later to see how the survivors have fared.

If you’re comfortable reading about fictional pandemics, this is such an interesting look at how quickly the definition of normal can change. The people who were born after that pandemic had unique and sometimes humorous takes on what life must have been like back when unbelievable luxuries like airplanes, dentists, air conditioning, and the Internet still existed.

Unlike many books in this genre, this one is filled with characters who are kind and decent folks (with rare exceptions). They’re traumatized in the beginning, of course, but the storyline mostly focuses on them doing good things like adopting orphans, preserving as much of the past as they can, and simply surviving in a world where you must grow, knit, build, or scrounge around for everything you need.

I liked the hopeful approach this took to a genre that often assumes the worst about humanity.

The miniseries has been good so far as well. There were some major changes made to certain portions of it in order to help the storyline flow better on screen, but it remains true to the themes and characters of the book. Honestly, that’s exactly what any adaptation ought to do. I don’t need every single line of dialogue to remain identical so long as it still feels like the original.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals for 2023


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I like to set (mostly) realistic goals at the beginning of each year. Let’s see how many of these I complete before 2024 sneaks up on us.

1. Read more classic novels this winter. It’s something I do every winter to expand my vocabulary and explore stories that generations of people have loved.

2. Submit a Top Ten Tuesday theme to Jana that she ends up using. (I am 99% joking here, but I mentioned this in a previous goals post a few years ago and would be thrilled if she picked one of my suggestions someday).

3. Enjoy lots of ghost stories. Those of you who have read this blog for a while will know how much I like them in general, but they’re even more amusing on cold, dark winter nights.

4. Attend more library and other bookish events either virtually or in person. They’re such a great place to learn about our world and meet other friendly book lovers.

5. Read more nonfiction. I love learning about everything from science to history at my own pace and without any pesky tests or grades to worry about.

6. Patronize independent bookstores. This pandemic radically altered my habits, and it’s been years since I shopped for something other than food, medicine, or to replace something like shoes or a shower curtain that have worn out.

7. Eat more food featured in books. For example, last year I finally tried Turkish delight for the first time after spending many years wondering what on earth Edmund was talking about in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. What other literary or bookish foods or beverages should I enjoy next?

8. Try poetry again. I loved it when I was a teenager but have struggled to get back in that genre since becoming an adult.

9. Buy bookish socks. Do I need more socks? Well, technically no, but surely there is something to be said for adding just one more pair of socks to the rotation if they make a clever reference to something literary, right?

10. Convince the entertainment industry to make excellent film or television adaptations of all of our favourite books. Hehe!

 

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: What I Think of New Year’s Resolutions

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Seven paper airplanes are flying over a dark grey surface. The first six are white and flying in straight perpendicular lines. You can see white lines shooting out behind them. The seventh is read and flying in a zig-zag line with a white zig-zag line trailing behind it. I believe New Year’s Resolutions, as well as goal setting activities in general, are a fabulous starting point.

In my experience, longterm change is most likely to happen when you set a goal, make incremental changes that guide you closer to it, and then gradually build on them over time instead of trying to fix all of your habits at once.

For example, an hour of vigorous exercise will be extremely difficult at best for someone who hasn’t exercised in years. They might be so sore or injured the next day they will be scared off from trying again.

A 10 minute walk every day (or every other day, or what have you) is a much easier goal to accomplish for someone in that position, and it can be gradually increased or replaced with more strenuous workouts as you grow stronger and figure out what other types of exercise you actually enjoy doing.

So I like the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, but I think it’s better to keep your expectations reasonable when you’re trying to change something about yourself. Many incredible things are possible in life, but they rarely if ever  happen overnight.

I also believe in celebrating effort and partial success. If you didn’t reach your goal but you did make progress towards it and built up healthy habits along the way, that’s still counts as a win in my opinion.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2022

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl I thought this topic would be an easy one, but it turned out to be a little tricky! I found many wonderful books last year, but my list of all-time favourites continues to shift over time. Feel free to read my full reviews if you wish, but I also… Read More