101 in 1001 ~ update the nineteenth

It’s time for the 19th 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.

And… now it’s a month into 2018. Wow. It’s strange, though; I can’t tell if it feels like this first month of the year has flown by, or taken forever. It seems like my New Year’s vacation was ages ago, but it’s still hard to believe that we’re in a new year. I think it’s been like that every January for a while, though. I hope your year is starting out well! Mine is, so far. There’s not a ton of visible progress, but there is some worth mentioning.

Here’s this month’s challenge progress:

January 2018
2 items completed this month
20 items currently in progress

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Personal #62: Take a class / find a software program and start learning another language ~ 1/24/2018

I haven’t gotten far in it yet, but I bought Rosetta Stone software and am learning Mandarin Chinese. I’ve always wanted to learn Chinese because it’s a heritage language (there are other heritage languages I want to learn, too, but this one has priority). To be completely accurate for my heritage, I’d need to learn Cantonese. I decided to go with Mandarin instead, though, because it’s the prominent Chinese dialect and will be more useful in the business world.

If Rosetta Stone works well for me, I plan to also use it to learn other languages. We’ll see how it goes – I’ll try to remember to include language learning updates periodically.

Reading #91: Organize my bookshelf to get the books off the floor ~ 1/26/2018

I had started this a long time ago, but finally finished it tonight. Part of it was figuring out how to make room on the bookshelves, and in this case it included deciding to re-home some of the books I’ve been hanging onto but will almost certainly never re-read. (An added benefit: it reminded me about some books I own that I’ve been meaning to re-read. I moved those to a more prominent place on the shelf so I’m more likely to notice and read them.)

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Hmm. There was less actually completed there than I’d hoped, but still it was progress. There was also progress made on items not yet listed here, things that will be more long-term and still require weeks or months to complete. (For instance, I made some great progress toward getting my desk properly usable again, but I’m not there yet. Still need to reorganize a bunch, though I have cleaned the area up now.) In any case, it’s been a good month and I’m hoping for more of the same next month.

I hope your February is fabulous!

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WIP – I mean FO – Wednesday for 31 January 2018

I’m not showing you any knitting WIPs today, sorry. Instead I’m going to show off my two most recent FOs!

You’ve already seen teasers of it, but here’s the completed Trinity Shawlette.

I really love the way this turned out, and I think the yarn plays well with the pattern. Neither overpowers the other. (I am sad, though, that I haven’t been getting home early enough to get daylight pictures of the shawl. Oh well.)

I have also finished the first of the 2018 Geek-A-Long squares: Monty Python! Featuring That Rabbit!

So much fun. I’ve cast on my next square for this blanket (and spoiler alert, it’s from the 2017 squares) but I really enjoyed knitting this one. I’m hoping that I’ll continue enjoying the squares all the way until the blanket is done. I’ve been knitting GAL squares semi-consistently since 2016, and haven’t gotten sick of them yet, so I have hope.

Happy Wednesday! Hard to believe that tomorrow is February already…

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books I Can’t Believe I Read

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday!

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Books I Can’t Believe I Read

I’m going to go with books that I know I read but can’t believe it. I hope that some of these will be “can’t believe” for a good reason, but I suspect that most of the time it will be the “oh, god, I read that?” type of case.

    1. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti ~ I didn’t rate this and don’t remember anything about it, so I can’t judge the quality of the book. But this is Christian fiction, and I find it hard to process that there was a time I was reading that genre.
    2. Candy Houses by Shiloh Walker ~ On the extreme opposite end of the spectrum, I also have a hard time believing there was a time when I read a bunch of erotica.
    3. Dhiammara by Maggie Furey ~ This is the 4th and final book in the Aurian series. By this time I didn’t like where the plot or characters were going, yet I read the book anyway. I don’t know why. If this had been now (instead of 20 years ago) I would have DNF’d it.
    4. Smoke and Mirrors by Tanya Huff ~ I love this book… but it’s creepy. I can’t believe that I intentionally read a creepy book. More than once, even.
    5. Left Behind by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkens ~ Another Christian fiction book that I have a hard time believing I read and enjoyed. Even less believable is that I read the first 8 books in the series.
    6. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy ~ 432 pages, and not in a genre I usually read. That’s a lot. I’m impressed that I read it, but it’s still unbelievable in some respects.
    7. Undead and Unreturnable by MaryJanice Davidson ~ This is book 4 in a series, and while they were highly amusing books, I’m shocked that I made it 4 books in.
    8. Rebel Ice by S.L. Viehl ~ I was done with this series before I got to this book (#6 in the StarDoc series) but I read it anyway. I should have stopped after book 4, but I kept hoping it would get better.
    9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling ~ I nearly didn’t read this book (and therefore the series). I hate hype-reading, where people read a book solely because everyone else is. And that’s what I saw when I looked at the Potter books. It wasn’t “I like fantasy” or “I like magic” or even “I like reading” when people talked to me about Potter. It was “everyone else is doing it”. For ages I avoided the books because of it. (The rest of my family felt the same way.) And then my sister did a book trade with a student in her drama group, and the other girl gave my sis the first Harry Potter book in trade. And my sister loved it. If it wasn’t for her specific recommendation, I don’t know that I would have ever picked up these books.
    10. Private Demon by Lynn Viehl ~ In this case, I’m surprised I got to book 2. Book 1 was… a bit more graphic than I enjoy. It also had other issues, and while I rated it 3 stars on Goodreads, I’m not sure I would even rate it that highly now if I were to re-read it. So I’m surprised I decided to continue with the series (but I’m glad I did, because I liked the later books a lot more than the early ones).

A note on Christian fiction: I have no problem with it as a genre. In my experience, however, the authors of said genre use it as a way to shove their beliefs at me instead of presenting Christians as important characters and letting me find my own way. The books in the genre I have read seemed more demanding and less subtle. I hope the distinction makes sense. I’m also open to recommendations of Christian fiction that is more subtle. Also, I love the Narnia books, and I completely see that they have Christian elements in them without shoving those beliefs in my face.

Sunday Summary ~ 28 January 2018

It’s the end of the month! (Or nearly. Close enough.) This month has been fun for me. It was a nice mix of going places and staying home, of visiting family and being a hermit. (I’m an introvert. Much though I love my family, I need alone time to recharge, too.) We celebrated a belated Christmas and a birthday and just generally had a good time.

While I mostly finished the books I was working on, I did DNF Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It’s technically possible that I’ll go back and finish it later, but I couldn’t take it now. I like his writing style, but the content and assumptions are so dated and prejudiced that I can’t do it right now.

I’m not noticeably ahead on my challenge progress, but I’m right on track, so that’s good. I have a few other things (mostly related to the Evil Day Job*) that I’ve been doing but not blogging about. I don’t get super personal online, most of the time. That doesn’t mean that personal stuff isn’t happening, I’m just not talking about it.

Next up is the month of candy hearts and chocolate, and my attempt to eat responsibly will possibly suffer as a result. Oh well. At least it’s getting lighter later in the day again, so I can go for walks after I get home from work without needing to bring a flashlight.

February is also InCoWriMo (International Correspondence Writing Month) where participants pledge to send one handwritten letter per day for the month of February. Since I love sending snail mail anyway, this sounds like a great excuse! If you want to play along as well, there are resources on the official blog as well as Boho Berry’s post about InCoWriMo 2018.

Random side note: due to an upgrade last month, I now have room on my phone for all of my digital music. (Many, many days worth of music.) I’ve been enjoying having it play on a random shuffle and listening to songs I haven’t heard in ages. Maybe I’ll do a music shuffle blog post someday soon.

*not necessarily evil. This is just a fun name for it that a writer-friend uses to refer to her non-writing day job, and I stole it.


January 2018 Status:

Knitting

Knitting projects finished:
Knitting WIPs:
  • Minecraft Socks
  • Boyfriend Sweater
  • 2016 GAL Blanket (current square: Periodic Table)
  • Seeta Mitts
  • 2018 GAL Blanket (current square: Monty Python)
  • Raw Honey mitts

Reading

Books read:
  • Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire (audio, re-read)
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (ebook, new)
  • Warcross by Marie Lu (paper, new)
  • Raventower & Merriweather #1: Secrets by Lazette Gifford (ebook, new)
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein (audio, DNF @ 21%)
Reviews written:
Books in progress:
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (paper, new, 153/493)
  • Total Recall by Philip K. Dick (ebook, re-read, 3%)
  • Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn (audio, new, 5%)
Challenge update:

While the rest of this status update has been for the current month only, this is my year-long progress on all of my reading challenges.

My Life in Books Tag

I was not-tagged for this tag by Ally! (Not-tagged meaning the tag was open to whomever wanted to do it.) This tag was originally created by One World, Too Many Pages, which you can see here! It sounded like fun, so I decided to play along!


Find a book for each of your initials

(the) Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
(the) Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

These are all from books on my 2018 Reading List. I might not get to all of them (especially The Chocolate Factory since it’s a re-read) but we’ll see.

Count your age along your bookshelf. What is it?

I have lots of bookshelves, so picking a random one and counting many books along brings me to…

Eight Million Gods by Wen Spencer

I really loved this book. I’d love to see more in this world, but I think it’s going to stay a stand-alone book. I guess I’ll just have to re-read the book.

Pick a book set in your country/city

Rosemary & Rue and the other early October Daye books by Seanan McGuire

Hooray for the San Francisco Bay Area! I love that the books I’ve read so far in this series are set around the Bay Area, and so I can pick out not only the San Francisco locations, but the ones in the rest of the Bay. I’m not sure if the rest of the books in the series sill stay in the same area, but I’ve enjoyed the ones that have.

A book that represents a destination you’d love to travel to

The Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

I decided to go factual for this destination, rather than fictional. And even though the Robin Hood version is fictionalized, I’d love to go to England and see castles, and Stonehenge, and Sherwood Forest.

A book that’s your favorite colorhobbit_green_fcover

(#SorryNotSorry, I Americanized the spelling of favorite and color…)

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I have the fancy green deluxe edition, and I love this cover and the metallic accents.

A book you have the fondest memories of

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

I can’t tell you how many rainy days I spent lying on the living room floor when I was young, reading and re-reading this book. We had the hardcover version, and between the myths themselves and the lovely illustrations I could look at it over and over again.

A book you had the most difficulty reading

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

There have been lots of books that I DNF’d. However, of my school books – and therefore books I was not allowed to DNF – there was only one that gave me TONS of difficulty. There were plenty I disliked, of course. But this was the only one where I had to buy the CliffsNotes version in order to “finish” it.

A book on your TBR that will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

This one is the biggest book on my TBR, and it’s a non-fiction. It hits a lot a accomplishment buttons.


I’m not-tagging everyone, too. If you haven’t done this and feel like playing along, then please join in and let me know!

WIP Wednesday for 24 January 2018

Happy WIP Wednesnesday! Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard asked last week if this was a meme anyone could join, and the answer is yes! (Okay, it’s not an official meme, and I don’t have a cool logo for it. But I’m happy to have other knitters join me in posting updates on Wednesdays!)

So… what am I knitting these days? Well, I’ve gotten back on a Geek-A-Long blanket kick. I’m working on two right now, both the 2016 blanket for me (which includes 2014 squares too) and the 2018 blanket for my sis and BIL. (I’m not sure yet whether that one will include other years too, but it probably will.) Here’s the current progress on the one for me:

WIP Weds 1/24/18

It’s the Periodic Table square from 2014, and I’ve modified it so that one side says “KNIT” and the other says “TINK”. (Knitter humor there.) This blanket is being knit with sock yarn.

Here’s the progress on the blanket for my sis:

WIP Weds 1/24/18

This one is the Monty Python square, featuring That Rabbit. I think the design choice for this one is hysterical. I love it! And unlike the blanket for me, this one is using worsted weight yarn. These squares will be much bigger, so hopefully the blanket will be finished faster!  🙂

I’m also still working on the Minecraft socks, which will be for me, but they’ve been put aside briefly while I finish up some gift mitts. Here’s the state of the socks before they started their brief nap:

WIP Weds 1/24/18

And here are the mitts in question. These are Raw Honey, being knit for the third time. (I really like this pattern.) I’m making them in KnitPicks Capra yarn, in the Thicket color to match the scarf I made Mr. Wyrm for Christmas. I so adore working with this yarn. Squishy merino-cashmere goodness.

WIP Weds 1/24/18

And that’s about it for my weekly WIPs! I should be done with the Monty Python square by next week, so I may have another square to show you by then. We’ll see. Happy hump day!

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books I Liked But Don’t Remember

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday!

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Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Anything/Much About

This is similar to the Goodreads Books I Can’t Remember post I did a few weeks ago, but it’s also different because I didn’t generally like the books in that post. This one should be pretty easy to do, because I have a lot of books I remember liking but can’t tell you why.

  1. the Star of the Guardians series by Margaret Weis ~ I read these in college with some of my closest friends at the time. We loved them. Most of what I remember about them now, though, is the not-lightsaber that was the main weapon of the guardians.
  2. Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip ~ All I really remember about this is that I read it and intended for it to be on my keeper shelf. I don’t even know if I did actually keep my copy of the book, though.
  3. The Sherwood Game by Esther Friesner ~ Robin Hood in a computer program. That’s about all I remember about it.
  4. the Talent series by Anne McCaffrey ~ While I remember the overall plot of the series, there are details about the individual books that I have completely forgotten. I especially want to re-read the later books in this series because I don’t remember much about them at all.
  5. the Demonica series by Larissa Ione ~ I really liked these, but that was during my paranormal romance kick. I’m not sure I’d enjoy it as much now, so I have no plans to re-read the series right now. (I reserve the right to change my mind later, when I’m in the mood.)
  6. Beautiful Death by Joely Sue Burkhart ~ I know I read this and enjoyed it. I don’t remember the plot or characters at all, though.
  7. Half Magic by Edward Eager ~ I loved this book. All I remember is the basic premise, though, so I want to re-read it (and try the other books in the series).
  8. Heart’s Blood by Gail Dayton ~ I remember liking this book (#2 in the series) better than the first book in the series. I want to re-read it before I read book 3, though, because I just remember that the worldbuilding features a weird magic/steampunk cross.
  9. Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep ~ Another one that I need to re-read before continuing with the series. I know I liked it, and I got the next book in the series to read. But now I have forgotten what happened in book 1.
  10. The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce ~ Another book series where I remember the overall series plot but have forgotten the book plots. At least I know that I finished this series and enjoyed the whole thing, rather than stopping part-way through.