101 in 1001 ~ update the eighteenth

It’s time for the 18th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

Can you believe it’s the end of 2017 already? I can’t. It’s insane how time flows. This year for me was particularly weird. Instead of the whole year flying by, I felt like I was properly able to enjoy spring and summer, but fall and winter have vanished without a trace. Very strange.

Here’s this month’s challenge progress:

December 2017
2 items completed this month
19 items currently in progress

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Reading #78: Complete a Reading Challenge in 2017 ~ 12/31/2017

The Challenge for this year was to read 10 Cat Mystery Books and to read 75% new books. Well, the Cat Mystery part of the challenge turned out to be harder than I expected, and the 75% new books ended up being easier. There are a handful of books I generally re-read annually, but I didn’t read them this year. (I won’t be reading them next year either, if I stick to my 2018 Reading Challenge.) The Cat Mysteries, though, all tended to have the same tropes and so I didn’t read any one series all in a row the way I had anticipated I would at the start of the year. Interesting how that turned out.

Food #35: get my kitchen knives sharpened or replaced ~ 12/10/2017

I did an at-home sharpening in this case. I’m hoping I did a good enough job so that I don’t have to take them somewhere to have them sharpened. We’ll have to wait and see, though. In any event, what I did counts for this challenge item.

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Happy-New-Year-2018

Get ready for 2018! If you’re partying tonight, please do so safely!

Best wishes to you and yours for a very Happy New Year.

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Friday Reads ~ the update version

So, I’ve been playing with ideas on how to update my Friday Reads posts. The “what I’m reading / what I read / what I’ll read next” updates have been both fun and boring at the same time. So I won’t be doing those here anymore. Instead, I’ll probably have a brief list of the bookshelf in my Sunday Summary posts most of the time. (Though the Sunday Summary posts will also be where any completely random stuff goes, so some weeks there won’t be reading updates.)

Here, for Friday Reads, we’ll have a deeper look at books. This could mean book reviews, or book tags, or peeks at my Goodreads bookshelves. I’ve seen people lately predicting 5-star reads, and if I do those, they will be on Friday. Same with the Goodreads TBR purge… if I participate, it will be on Friday.

I’m looking forward to it. I think this change will be freeing, rather than keeping me stuck in my 3-things rut like I had been for most of 2017.

The other thing that’s different for 2018 is my Reading Challenge. I’m doing a new one this year! I took a few different “must read” lists detailing the top books everyone should read, combined them, and pulled the books from them which I wanted to read. Some of these will be re-reads, and others will be completely new.

For 2018, all* of my (paper) reads will be from this Book Bucket List.

Audio and ebook choices do not have to be from that list, but it’s bonus points if they are. Since the point of this is to read “important” or classic books, I also am going to limit myself to 50% re-reads over the course of the year. I want at least half of the books I read to be new-to-me, and this part does include the audio and ebooks.

Some of my Friday Reads posts will be a look into this Book Bucket List and will go into why I want to read these books (and/or why I haven’t read them yet). For now, I’ll leave you with a couple questions: are there any books on your bucket list? Books that you want to read (or want to have read) but for some reason haven’t gotten to yet? Are there any books you hope are on my bucket list?

One thing that’s staying the same: I will still be maintaining my book review site, BookWyrmReads. I would love to say I’d update it more, but it probably will continue to get the same amount of posting as it has been. I will continue to upload my book reviews there for easier searching (even if I sometimes cross-post them on this site). I will also continue to keep a list of annual books read on that site. (It’s in the sidebar.) As time permits I intend to go through my backlog and add star reviews to all of my existing books reviews. I’ve already done some of the newer ones.

Have a great last few days of this year, and I’ll see you in 2018!

*The exceptions to this are The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid and To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. As long as I have started them in the first half of January 2018, they are okay too.

WIP Wednesday for 27 December 2017

Here’s a project I’ve been working on which isn’t really a WIP anymore, since I’ve finished it. However, I am planning ahead (what? Me?) and scheduling this for the future so that I don’t forget to show you and yet don’t spoil any surprises either.

I’ve been making cards lately, as you may have noticed. Well, I enjoyed making cards for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as some December birthdays. And now that the birthday and Christmas cards have been opened, I’m going to share them with you!

Though, the Thanksgiving cards first, since that came first:

Turkey day cards

Aren’t they adorable? I wish I could take more credit for them, but since they’re Lawn Fawn stamps and metal dies and backing paper, I kinda feel like I just assembled them. Still, they were a lot of fun to make and very well received!

And here are the birthday cards, also made with mostly Lawn Fawn supplies:

Birthday smash!

I really love the way these turned out. They were so fun to make! And some of the stamp sets really do make card making super easy. Plus, they’re a good excuse for pulling out my Copic markers and playing with color.

Lastly are my Christmas cards:

Christmas otters

Christmas otters

Christmas otters

They are also made using Lawn Fawn stamps and dies, and colored with my Copics. So much fun! These use a random variety of paper and wash tape to accent the stamps.

(No, neither Lawn Fawn nor Copic pay me for anything. I just love these markers and stamp sets, especially in combination. I love other stamp companies too, but these aren’t made by those companies. (I’ll pimp those companies when I show off things I’ve made with their stamps, to avoid confusion.) I have yet to discover any coloring methods I like as much as Copics, but I recently picked up some Derwent Inktense Colored Pencils on Chris‘ recommendation, so I may show those off at some point, too.)

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Preparing for 2018

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday!

toptentuesday

Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to In 2018

(These could be new releases, or books you resolve to read, ten debuts we are looking forward to, etc.)

This is an interesting list for me. In 2018 I’m planning on reading only books from a “must read” list I compiled from various “best books” or “top 100” or “bucket list” book lists. You know, lists like Time Magazine’s “Best Books of ALL TIME” (which was cute, since they meant books published since Time Magazine started) or the Telegraph’s “100 Novels Everyone Should Read“.

I took 9 of these lists, and pulled the books from them that interested me. From that master list, I looked at how many lists each book was on, and which books I most wanted to read, and I have created a priority list of books to read.

For this Top Ten Tuesday, I’ll only be including books that are new to me. Some of the books I’ll be reading in 2018 are re-reads from this master list of books (like The Hobbit), but I won’t list those here.

    1. 1984 by George Orwell (9 lists)
    2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (9 lists)
    3. Watership Down by Richard Adams (3 lists)
    4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (7 lists)
    5. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (1 list)
    6. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (1 list)
    7. Ulysses by James Joyce (5 lists)
    8. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (1 list)
    9. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (3 lists)
    10. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (1 list)

What do you think – have you read these books? Should I prioritize any of them over the others?

 

The Listicle Tag

Ally tagged me to do this post, but it required a little thought before I could finish it. (Which is why it’s been about a month between the tag and the post.) Still, it’s a fun prompt, and seemed appropriate for me since I’m both a reader and a writer!


RULES:

  • Create your own listicle tag, using the prompt from the person who tagged you.
  • Tag the creator of the post (not-so-modern-girl!) so that she can read all your brilliant posts and see how the joy of listicles is being spread.
  • Nominate as many people as you want!
  • Set those 5 people the subject/prompt of their listicle post!

Prompt: Books you’d like to rewrite (any number of books!) (I’m going to do 4)

1. Daggerspell by Katherine Kerr

I loved the premise of this book, and at the time I hadn’t read anything else quite like it. However, once the book got going (probably about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through the first book, not to mention the rest of the series) I feel that it lost its way and the author didn’t know how to finish it. Maybe she was trying too hard to make it a series. Maybe she had grand plans that didn’t connect to what I wanted from the story. In any case, I’ve been frustrated with this book ever since.

2. the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, starting with book 4

I wouldn’t rewrite these, per se, but I would edit the heck out of them. These last four books are WAY TOO LONG. Yes, a lot happens and this makes sure nothing gets left out. I still feel that Rowling’s editors stopped asking for many changes except for typos at this point.

3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

I’m not quite sure how I would do this one, but I want a do-over on this book. It’s a depressing look at love, and not a healthy relationship either. “The tree was happy”, my foot. So many people love this book that I want it to portray a healthy relationship. (For the record, I am not one of the people who love this book.)

4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I would make these less offensive. There are too many small things that could be changed to make the books more inclusive. Overall I still love the books, but I would rather they had fewer instances of gender- or race-based stereotypes and slurs.

For the tag part, I tag Jaime of Books & Waffles, Tez of Tez Says, and Sarah of Dragons & Zombies. (I just realized that I’m tagging two Aussies this time. Fun!) And since I’m writing this just in time for Christmas Eve, my prompt is:

4 (or more if you like) Characters you want to be visited by Scrooge’s Ghosts (aka the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Future)

Please note, though, that this isn’t intended as a religious prompt at all. When Scrooge is visited by the ghosts, he re-evaluates his life and character, and changes for the better. What I’m looking for is other characters that you feel could benefit from this same kind of self-evaluation.

Happy holidays to you, no matter which ones (if any) you celebrate!

Friday Reads ~ 22 December 2017

And now we’re down to the last of this style Friday Reads post! It’s kind exciting, but also a little sad. It was very reassuring to know that I had a go-to format for these, and that I could plug-and-play and have a post ready in minutes. My Friday Reads posts will be (potentially) more work now. I’m sure I’ll still use this format on occasion, such as when I’m short on time or have a lot of updates, but for now this is the last one of these. At least for a while.

WHAT I READ

I finished listening to Second Hand Curses by Drew Hays. This was a LOT of fun! It’s not for everyone, sure. It retells fairy tales from the point of view of self-proclaimed scoundrels who help you reach your fairy tale ending… for a fee. They do also have their own agenda, and their own fairy tales, but those aren’t really delved into until about half-way through the book. You get clues in the early chapters, but that’s it. Anyway, I found it highly amusing. Your mileage may vary.

WHAT I’M READING

I’m still reading Warcross by Marie Lu. However, I have also started To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. Warcross is amusing, but somehow it seems a bit shallow for this time of year. I don’t know why. Sometimes I’m quite happy with complete fluff reads. Right now, though, I felt a need to mix it up with something more adult.

I started re-listening to Indexing by Seanan McGuire. I got inspired after Second Hand Curses and its talk about The Narrative. That made me think of The Index, and so I decided to re-read this one. I really loved it the first time around, so I’m curious to see if I enjoy it as much the second time.

And I’m still working on Lazette Gifford’s Raventower and Merriweather #1: Secrets on my e-reader. I’m still stuck on the same mobile games that distracted me last week, so e-reading hasn’t happened much. Sigh.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid is really next this time. I mean it. Truly. I want to read it before the end of January, so that I can discuss it with the people who gifted it to me for Christmas 2016. This is way overdue.

Okay, and THIS TIME for my next audio book I’ll listen to Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Unless, of course, I decide to listen to the sequel to Indexing first.

WIP Wednesday for 20 December 2017

It is Wednesday and there has been knitting!

First up, my Boyfriend Sweater. (This, for those who don’t know or have forgotten, is made with yarn I spun from Kitty Mine Crafts fiber.) I’m to the neck & armhole decreases on the first of the fronts:

WIP Weds 12/20/17

I’m really enjoying this knit. It’s a lot of fun, and I look forward to having finished it so I can wear it.

And speaking of knits I’ve been enjoying, here’s the status of the gift scarf:

WIP Weds 12/20/17

I folded it in half at the yarn join, so those few inches at the bottom which aren’t double-layer is what I have remaining to knit. So close! I think I’ll even finish this one before Christmas.

And lastly, I’ve been working on the Vanilla Latte gift socks:

WIP Weds 12/20/17

It was a wrench frogging back half the sock, but it needed to be done. And now I’m working on the socks again, in the CORRECT pattern, and they look good. Fortunately these don’t need to be finished by Christmas, so I should be able to finish them before they are given away.

And that’s it for me for this week. Have you had time for any arts & crafts among all the holiday shopping and baking?

Oh… speaking of baking, I made these too…

WIP Weds 12/20/17