Tag Archives: administrivia

Um, I think I know the answer to this already…..

So I got linked to this today

And it just so happens that this is the weekend that my best friend moved, so we had a brief conversation about having to move books. And then I unpacked what I think might be the last box of books in our house (but I can’t guarantee this), cataloguing them as I go, because that’s what I do now, as I’ve got a pretty decent app on my phone that lets you enter or scan ISBNs (or SBNs, even, have had more than a few of those) and checks them on Amazon and Goodreads to get all the information. (You can also enter the details manually for any book that is pre-SBN-days. Got some of those too…..) Anyway, long story long, 1082 is the current count of print books we have in this house. I don’t know exactly how many are on my UK Kindle account, or how many are on my shared US Kindle account (hi, Mom!) or how many I’ve got randomly on my computer from Project Gutenberg or Publishers Weekly or whatever other ebook sources I’ve found over the years. Or how many print books are still back in the US (hi, Mom!).

For the record, my book nerd score is 43.

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New Year’s Resolutions

So last year was kind of a big year for me. My partner and I went to the US to visit my family (first time for him; I hadn’t been back in over three years), we bought a house, I got promoted twice, and we got engaged. That’s in chronological order, by the way. March to early November.

So that didn’t leave a whole lot of time for, you know, other stuff. Like my blogs. Or writing that’s not for Publisher’s Weekly. (And not a lot of reading that’s not for Publisher’s Weekly – I won’t read a new book until I’ve finished a review, for fear of getting things mixed up in my head.) Or anything that wasn’t just collapsing on the couch or staring at a different kind of screen (….we may have also played a lot of Crusader Kings 2 and Final Fantasy).

But this year is going to be different! And one of the ways that it’s going to be different is that we’re now saving for a trip to my sister in California in 2015 and two weddings in 2016 (ah, the joys of a multi-nationality relationship), so I’m going to be buying a lot fewer of the “oh they’re only 99p” Kindle deals, and the Buy-One-Get-One-Half-Off temptations at Smiths and Waterstones. By which I mean none. No spending on books. (Free books are still okay.) Which means a lot more of reading what I already have, what is on my shared-with-my-mom-and-sister Kindle account, and what is public domain.

In other words, reading a lot more of the type of thing that I then want to write about. I have nothing against Mills and Boon, obviously, I want to write for them someday – but I don’t usually feel inspired to analyse, critique, or sing the praises of each individual book in the Desire or Blaze lines. (Mills and Boon in general though….)

I’m also keeping a reading log again, in Google Drive for easy access. Since Christmas Day, I’ve finished six books and started three others, at least one of which I won’t read all of – I skipped to the end, and the other two I’m debating about – they’re not really grabbing me at the moment. I’m also in the middle of several “big” books – a few non-fiction ones on the Kindle – a history of the Mediterranean that I started possibly over a year ago, a biography of Oswald of Northumbria that’s entitled “King of the North” to get the Game of Thrones fans in – Lorna Doone, and Don Quixote. Pretty sure I’ll have things to say about all of those, once I’m done with them.

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Dissertation texts

I am writing my MA dissertation on the role of musicians in Middle English poetry. I am starting to reach the point where, even though it’s nowhere near where I want it to be and nothing works the way I thought it would in my head, I may just have to call it done.

One of the good things, though, is that all of the texts I am working on are available online. So, if anyone’s interested….

Sir Orfeo – This was the poem that inspired the dissertation topic.

Orpheus and Eurydice – Another Orpheus story, but very different than the above.

Sir Cleges – A Christmas story, sort of.

Sir Tristrem – A Middle English version of the Tristan story

Bits of Confessio Amantis – There are a few stories in here that feature musicians, although it is probably the text that I am weakest on.

My deadline is Monday…..I will post again and talk more about these texts, maybe, after I’ve finished and turned it in.

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Here’s my deal:

I love to read. I read everything, all the time. And I read quickly, as well. A few years ago, my aunt made me a book journal so that I could record the books that I read. For about three years, maybe four (I’d have to go back and check) I faithfully recorded every book that I started and finished. I didn’t include books that I started and didn’t finish, or collections if I didn’t read the whole thing. Every year I counted up the books, and it was always more than 100. I know this doesn’t make me the fastest reader in the world, or the most voracious, but it certainly impressed my former students.

I put my book journal on hold during my master’s degree studies. Between research and coursework and trying  to have some semblance of a social life, my pleasure reading dropped drastically and when I did read things not-for-class, they tended to be things I’d read before, fluffy romance novels that I’d gotten either free or from charity shops, or online articles and blogs. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those categories, let me emphasize. But I hadn’t been recording my online reading in my book journal, and I didn’t have the energy to record the romance novels that take me an hour or less.

Also, my book journal had one minor flaw: it had spaces for title and author and a brief rating, but no further comments. I have another book journal somewhere that my mother gave me, which has space for more detailed review and analysis, but I don’t think I brought it with me to the UK.

I want a space that can be a record of everything I read – the online articles and blogs, the fluffy romance novels, the research for my master’s thesis/dissertation, the ‘classics’. I want a space that will let me summarize and discuss the things that I have read. I want a place that I can record the books that I want to read. I also want something that will give me a little bit more discipline in my writing without the self-imposed guilt that comes from not sticking to an arbitrary schedule (although there may be some of that. Midwestern Protestant blah blah blah).

So here’s what I am planning to do (It’s good to have plans – they allow you to look back and see what you haven’t accomplished):

When I finish reading a book, or give up on a book, I will post about it here. This includes the fluffy romance novels that take me an hour as well as the longer, denser books that take me up to a week (or longer, in the case of something like War and Peace, which took me several months – although, to be fair, I only read it in airports and on airplanes until I was about two-thirds of the way through, and then I just wanted to finish it. Anyway).

Every so often – ideally once a day, but given my surfing habits and writing habits, it may be multiple times a day or it may be once a month – I will post a list with commentary about my online reading.

When I run across books that I want to read, but either don’t have access to or don’t have time for, I’ll put them in some sort of list – a post that I’ll update and edit as I go along (once I figure out how).

For the next month, I am going to have to be hard at work on my master’s dissertation (thesis), as well as trying to find a job so that I can stay in this country, so I don’t know exactly when I’ll get back to this. But I have a plan! A goal! Plans are good!

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