Sunday, January 19, 2014

Short Attention Span Reading

Am I the only one who doesn't like change?

My mom told me that when I was a little girl, I'd be irritable for the first few weeks of school every year. I LOVED school. It was just that it took time and energy for me to adjust to the change of a new classroom, new routine, and new classmates, and evidently it showed.

It seems that I'm not that much different now. Seven months ago I left ten years of employment at the bookstore to work for a new company. I started at this non-book related company in an entry-level position, knowing I wanted to learn and grow with this company. Last week I accepted a new position (promotion!) in a new location. This is a positive step. AND it is change.

Today is my last day at my current store. Tomorrow I'll be at the new store, learning a new job, meeting new co-workers, and learning new routines. In addition, next week-end I'll be traveling for a memorial service for an aunt that I was close to. Changes.

Did I mention that I don't love change? I am more tired than usual. On edge. It's been harder for me to focus. And I haven't been able to settle down with one book.

After I finished reading Donna Tartt's THE SECRET HISTORY. I was going to move right into Tartt's first book, THE LITTLE FRIEND, but I didn't want to start it knowing that I wasn't focusing well. THE LITTLE FRIEND has to wait.

A friend of mine really likes Caitlin Moran, so I got How to Be a Woman, and started reading that.

I also pulled Simon Winchester's A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 (P.S.) off my shelf after seeing the 60 Minutes episode about volcanoes. I read the Winchester book several years ago, but it is so packed full of information about plate tectonics and geologic happenings, and is really readable, so I knew that reading it again would be interesting.

And then another ERC (Early Reviewer Copy) from librarything came in the mail...Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless SurveillanceN by Julia Angwin. The author tries to erase her digital footprint and discovers that doing so is virtually impossible. A little scary. And fascinating.

I've been reading all three books in short little spurts. They are all easy to pick up and read little bits at a time. Which seems to be good for my short attention span.


How do your reading habits change when you are dealing with stress or change?

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Why Are You So Sad? by Jason Porter

I always consider myself lucky to be chosen as a recipient for an ERC (Early Reviewer Copy) of a book from librarything, even if I do not entirely love the book.

Case in point...

Librarything does a great job on their website of displaying and describing each book, making it fun to browse their ERC offerings. Of course I try to choose that I think I will like, which is why I selected WHY ARE YOU SO SAD? by Jason Porter. Described as hilarious and poignant, it looked like a book I would enjoy. I like hilarious. I like poignant.


Why Are You So Sad? is a novel about a guy, Ray, who ruminates about being sad. Why is he sad? Is it out and out depression? Isn't everybody pretty much depressed? How could he find out if other people feel the way he does (as he suspects) or if it's just him? Ray devises an emotional wellness survey, purporting it to be from the higher ups in his company, to see how depressed other people around him might be. He uses questions like, "If you were a day of the week, would you be a Monday or a Wednesday?"

I liked how Ray sneaked the survey to co-workers, and reading some of their responses was fun. Ray squirms a bit when he has to explain where the survey originated. Also amusing.

He leaves the survey for his wife as well, hoping she'll complete it, even though he knows that she is rather impatient with him and all his ruminations.

I found myself being a bit impatient with Ray too. While there were a few injections of creativity in the story - I liked some of the co-workers' responses to the survey - it seemed a bit self-indulgent to have a character who did so much ruminating and not much living. I wanted him to figure out what he wanted to do in his life and just do it.

Thank you to librarything for allowing me to receive an ERC! You can check out librarything here: Clicking on the book cover will take you to Amazon's web page for this book. Clicking on the underlined book title will take you to Powell's web page for each book. Purchasing through these links helps support the blog!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Celebrating With Reading!

If you've been following the blog, you'll know that I left employment at the bookstore about seven months ago to work for in a different field, with an un-book related company.*

This has been a big change for me, having worked for bookstores for the last ten years of my life.

As changes often are, it's been mixed emotionally. It was time for me to leave the bookstore*, and this new company has been an exciting one to be part of. At the same time, it's meant learning new routines, getting to know new people, new operations, and discovering what I like and what I don't like. All of these changes have been an adjustment.

I haven't felt as though I've found my home with this company, the ideal position where I can utilize my unique set of skills and talents. And that's one reason I chose to work for this company, there are many opportunities for advancement and growth, which is exciting.

I have applied for several positions with this company. Today I had an interview and also found out that I got the job! I will be transferring to another store. It is closer to my home, which is a plus. In addition, there is a new job to learn and new team members to meet and work with and develop relationships with. It's all very exciting...and it's more change.

It all came about fairly quickly, so friends and family have all been doing their own other words, living their lives. Therapist left town today to spend time with her aging mother, a time she has to schedule far in advance. So I'm on my own tonight. I feel a bit celebratory, and I know what I'm going to do. I saved a bottle of Two Towns Rhubarbarian hard cider (a slightly tart and delicious seasonal cider produced by this excellent cider company out of Corvallis) and I am close to being done with the book I can't wait to get back to...Donna Tartt's THE SECRET HISTORY**.

It's raining outside, I have a fire in the fireplace, a dog and a cat, some excellent cider and a great book. Sounds like some good celebrating to me.

*This is a link to the blog post about leaving the bookstore:

**This is a link to the blog post about THE SECRET HISTORY:

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Can't Wait To Get Back To It!

How can you tell when a book is really good?

I know when a book is really good for me when I don't want to put it down. I also find myself thinking about it while I'm doing the something else, wondering about the characters, and what is going to happen next. I can't wait to get back to reading it!

Luckily, I'm reading such a book right now (well, not right now, I'm typing this blog post, but you know what I mean).

Last fall I read Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, which was also such a book for me. The Goldfinch became one of my favorite books from 2013.

After reading The Goldfinch, I knew I wanted to read Tartt's two other books, so felt lucky when I saw a copy of The Secret History at Costco.

I am in the middle of The Secret History and am loving it. The book starts out with reference to the death of one of the characters, so that that character dies is not a surprise, but WHY does he die? And what happens after he dies?

Richard Papen narrates, unfolding his history with the main characters, a small band of students studying Greek at a small Vermont college.

Tartt creates a vivid world for her to characters inhabit. She also manages to create a sense of hovering doom at the edges of the story, not quite visible, yet slowly growing closer as the story progresses. I am loving it.

I can't say that her books would ever be categorized as light or fluffy, as her characters and story have depth and some, characters and parts of the story, are pretty dark. Deliciously so.

Next up will be her first novel, The Little Friend. Donna Tartt is definitely a can't-wait-to-get-back-to-her author!


Clicking on the underlined book titles will take you to Powell's web page for each book. Clicking on the book covers will take you to Amazon's page for each book. Purchasing through these links helps support the blog!

You can "like" us on our facebook page, NOT The New York Times Book Review. You can also send us email: 2of3Rs(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Thanks for stopping by!